Research suggests that over 2.2 billion people live with a vision impairment or blindness globally. Recently, the Braille Institute partnered with Applied Design – a graphic design company – to create a new typeface for the visually impaired.
Together, they created a typeface to help tackle problems users face when reading and writing on digital devices.
Visually Impaired Font Design
The sans-serif typeface has been named Atkinson Hyperlegible, after J. Robert Atkinson, who founded the Braille Institute and invented Braille machines, and more.
The font was designed to concentrate on letterform distinction – allowing users with low vision to easily differentiate between letters. It includes 992 total glyphs and is available in four weights over 25 languages – helping to be accessible by millions of users.
Why Are Braille Fonts Important?
Visual impairment rates are increasing throughout the world, and are affecting those that do not currently know or want to learn Braille, but who still need support and training to aid them in living independent lives.
Atkinson Hyperlegible font was created to increase character recognition and improve readability whilst users browse the internet and use digital devices.
The new font is available to designers around the world, helping them to create designs for users across the visual-ability spectrum.
When we talk about trust in websites, we could be referring to any number of things. Typically, website users are taught to look for a number of tell-tale signs as to whether or not the website they are using is safe (or trustworthy).
Safe and Secure
At the top of the list is usually the “padlock”. Does the website show a padlock in the left hand corner of the address bar? If it doesn’t, it is likely that any data you provide is not encrypted and could be intercepted. Checking for a padlock is good advice, the padlock shows that the site you are using has a valid SSL certificate and that it is secure. In some cases Google is starting to exclude sites that do not have an SSL certificate from its search results and, in other cases, is warning searchers that the site it is sending them to might be insecure.
Word of Mouth
Another sign that promotes trust within a website is reviews. Reviews show visitors how other users have found the experience of working with this organisation. Reviews validate the business and can give people confidence that the product or service they are about to purchase or order will be as described, the quality will be as they expect it to be, it will actually be delivered and what the companies customer service department is like.
It’s All Well and Good Ticking the Boxes…
All the usual methods of earning trust from an online visitor are absolutely necessary. These are the things that people are taught to look out for and if you don’t have at least an SSL certificate, then you are likely losing out on valuable traffic and conversions. However, it’s all well and good taking these steps to gain the trust of your visitors, but if your website is poorly designed, hard to use, frustrating, or generally not very pretty to look at, your customers still won’t trust you.
A website, whether it sells a product, a service or is there to provide information, is just like a physical store, if its not appealing to your audience, then it will lose business.
Think of it this way; it’s Friday night, you’ve had a busy week and you want to treat the family to a take away. You check out Tripadvisor to see what’s good in the area and the local Chinese has great reviews. Everyone is raving about the food and how great the service is and you can see that they have a great food hygiene rating. So, you hop in the car and make your way over. When you get there, there are a couple of dodgy looking characters hanging around outside, it puts you off slightly, but you squeeze past and make your way inside. As you open the door, a rancid smell smacks you in the face. You proceed to the counter wading your way through, what looks like, rat droppings and when you get there the hygiene of the person impatiently waiting to take your order seems questionable. Are you still going to place your order? Or are you going to try the other place a few doors down, that looks a bit newer and seems much nicer?
If the answer is “I’m going to try the nicer looking place down the road”, then read on. If not, then take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and consider getting some help.
Decide for yourself…
Take a look at these two sites:
Exhibit A is the website of a company that provides holiday courses for children. Exhibit B provides… exactly the same thing, in exactly the same areas. Neither of the websites have official reviews, but Exhibit B does have some testimonials. They both have a valid SSL certificate and show the secure padlock (at least on the booking/payment page). Which one would you feel safer handing your details over to? The answer is Exhibit B, and if you disagree, then take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and consider getting some help.
You are in the market for some home-brewing equipment, these two websites sell exactly the same products, for roughly the same prices:
Which one do you buy from? Exhibit A, right? It’s much nicer, seems more trustworthy and is generally more pleasing on the eye. What if I told you that it isn’t secure and doesn’t have the padlock in the address bar? Did you even notice, or just make your decision on how the site looks? (It does, by the way, so don’t bother checking, I’m just trying to prove a point).
What is the Point I am Trying to Prove?
My point is, if your website is secure and has trusted reviews, but doesn’t look as good as your competitors, then you are going to lose business.
If your website looks great but isn’t secure, you will be losing out on business too and you should definitely consider upgrading your hosting, especially if you want to comply with (and you 100% should) the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into play on 25th May 2018.
If your website isn’t secure and looks terrible, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and consider getting some help!
Research is a crucial aspect in any industry that offers products, services and/or applications. As user experience (UX) designers, we should ask questions, take notes, learn everything about our target audience and then repeatedly test our work during the design process to ensure we create something that is fit for purpose.
UX research helps us to accept or reject our hypotheses and find similarities across our target audience members. Moreover, recognising their needs, goals and mental models, research helps the designer to understand and endorses their decisions.
A Deeper Insight
UX research or design research includes a variety of analytical methods used to add context and vision to the design process. Research in UX is not exclusive to its field, however, it usually transforms from other forms of research. Thus, UX designers and practitioners use many techniques from market researchers, academics and others, while there is research unique to the UX world as well.
We can divide UX research methods into two different categories of quantitative and qualitative:
Quantitative research is the form of research that we use to measure aspects numerically. For example, you should ask questions such as: “How many people clicked on this element?” or “What percentage of users are able to find call to action?” This helps us to understand what is happening on a website or app.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is also known as “soft research”. It quite simply helps us to understand why people do the things they do. The common question here is; why did users not see or interact with the call to action and what else did people notice on the page instead?
There are different types of UX research ranging from in-person interviews to unmoderated A/B tests which originate from observation, understanding and analysis.
Observing the world is the first step in the research process. Inexperienced researchers need to learn how to see the world around them.
You may think that observation is a simple task but in reality, it can be very subjective. Hence why the good designer always takes notes so that they can find interesting trends across diverse groups.
Understanding is very similar to observation, it is something that we do all of the time in our daily lives. We try to understand our families, friends and colleagues, and sometimes we even try to find the point of debate or unfamiliar concepts. However, for UX designers, understanding is more related to mental models rather than disagreements.
Finally, we must look at the analysis, this is where we must delve deeper into our research as it can be very informative and valuable for the design. However, in order to derive an insight from the research in the design, it should be analysed and presented to a larger team. Analysis helps UX researchers to discover trends and find solutions while making recommendations on how to improve.
How Can We Help?
Ballyhoo have all the skills needed to help identify and improve UX issues and can work with you to improve your user interaction and experience. We are passionate about web design and have been working with companies big and small for nearly a decade to produce high-quality websites with a focus on design, function and accessibility.
With the new year unfolding, Pantone is back with an all-new ‘Color of the Year’, Ultra Violet. 2018 is represented by a colour that symbolises a night sky that leads to discoveries beyond our current capabilities. It will inspire us to look towards a world beyond our own and incorporate a sense of mystery and magic into our designs.
2018’s Colour of the Year
The colour of the year chosen for 2018 is Ultra Violet, a mystical extension of the traditional bluish-purple violet.
Ultra Violet was not only chosen to inspire others, but it was determined based on a variety of aspects such as cultural trends, emerging emotions and political developments. This colour embodies aspects of blue, purple and red to create a vibrant, mystical and magical shade.
Experts at Pantone refer to this chosen colour as “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future” and we couldn’t agree more.
A Source of Inspiration
Ultra Violet already seems to be having an effect on the art, beauty and digital world. We are only in the first month of 2018 and can already see Ultra Violet artwork, beauty products and fashion items being released in the shade.
When searching the web, we have already seen digital agencies incorporating Ultraviolet into their designs and branding, with some even including a mystic touch to their theme. As web designers, we’re always on the look out for new trends and get excited at the end of each year to see what Pantone announces.
Many designers in the fashion industry, for example, use Pantone’s chosen colours to keep up with modern trends. Therefore, we expect to see more purple on the runways and in clothing stores this year. Many online clothing stores have a feature on their website that allows shoppers to select their preferred colour, which in 2018 is most likely going to be purple. Fashion designers must ensure they are supplying the ideal shade, Ultra Violet.
Not only can Ultra Violet be incorporated in digital and fashion choices, but many violetta maniacs are keen to bring this colour into their homes and are taking inspiration from leading interior designers; most of which are advising decorators to embrace the dramatic colour and to incorporate a variety of complementing, purple shades.
An easy way to start bringing this colour into the home would be to purchase a variety of cushions in a number of shades and finishes as well as placing artwork around the building. It’s easy, not too expensive and shows you are keeping up with Pantone.
Previous Colours of the Year
Each Pantone colour of the year demonstrates how design and industry trends are changing and showcases how the digital world can keep up with them. In 2018, designers will need to add a mystic touch into their designs and show colour in all its glory. Will they incorporate vibrancy? mystic elements? animations? or add a variation of light and shade?
Previously, we’ve seen hues of Greenery, Blue Iris, Chilli Pepper, Honeysuckle and Sand Dollar become very popular and well loved so we are excited to see the rise in Ultra Violet and how it can be used to show a world beyond our own.
There’s a huge variety of conferences taking place this year for the web design community – too many to choose from, in fact. To make life a bit easier, we’ve rounded up a selection of the UK-based web design, developer and UX conferences that Ballyhoo staff are thinking of attending this year, along with some key information where available.
a dedicated time and space away from the screen to think about the future of our industry
As it’s still early on in the year, many sites aren’t listing their full schedules and pricing yet, but we’ll be keeping the list as up-to-date as possible. Many are very affordable, with discounts usually available for early birds and students. Although many take place in the capital, they do spread the length of the UK too which means that, with Ballyhoo based in Birmingham, travel isn’t too much of an issue.
At Ballyhoo, we take a proactive approach to industry conferences. These events are not just a chance to get away from the office and have an expenses-paid jolly; they present an opportunity to not only expand your knowledge but network with peers. Most importantly, they allow you to create a dedicated time and space away from the screen to think about the future of our industry and how you can adopt and adapt to emerging technology and design trends.
Things to Consider
Before we get listing, there are a few points to consider that factor into whether going to a conference will be a sound investment for you. Cost can be prohibitive regardless of whether you are an employer weighing up the expenses or a freelancer with precious little time to spare away from paid work.
Total ticket price
Go as far as adding tickets to your basket and getting the full price breakdown. Many have hidden booking fees.
Do you have friends or family in the area? Can you stay nearby and then travel a short distance on the day so that you don’t need to shell out for a city-centre hotel? Does travelling down early on the day itself make sense?
If you’re on your own, the train is probably cheapest, and you can use the time productively to check out the agenda. If there are a few of you, carpool and don’t forget you can usually claim back the mileage to cover fuel (45p per mile plus 5p per passenger!).
Many conferences film and release their content on video after the event – often for free, others may charge a small fee. If you don’t have the time or funds to attend in person, this presents an excellent opportunity to absorb and benefit from the content at your leisure.
Westminster, London January 17-19, 2018 From £1,090 +VAT
Taking place over three days, this software developers conference covers a huge variety of topics, delivered by nearly 100 speakers, with multiple tracks available throughout each day. You can attend one, two or three days and there are an additional two days of workshops taking place on the days prior to the event, you can purchase these separately or as part of an “All Access Pass”.
Early bird all sold out, but student tickets are still available. There’s even an after-party in the venue bar which includes a complimentary drink.
Agile Content Conf
London January 29, 2018 £500 +VAT
Agile Content Conf is one for content strategists and online marketers. Not strictly web design but an essential piece of the puzzle. Current pricing available is until 15th January, and a two-day ticket is available if you also want to attend the workshop on the day after.
This PHP conference takes place over three days, with the first day being an optional, immersive workshop day. You can choose to attend the full programme or pick and choose which days to attend (discounts available for subsequent days). Tickets include breakfast, lunch and refreshments and there are pre-conference and mid-conference socials to attend too.
This user experience conference is in its second year now, and its theme is “exploring how to improve collaboration between designers and business stakeholders”. Speakers come from a range of big-name companies, including Uber, British Gas, Zendesk and Deliveroo.
Early bird tickets (15% off) are still available until the end of Jan. Student tickets are available too at 50% off. Included in the ticket price are a breakfast registration event, a buffet lunch and an after-party with a free bar.
This (predominately) UX conference is one for anyone in the public sector looking to create engaging service design. Whether you are part of an internal design team or contracting for government, this event brings together top speakers on the unique challenges that creating truly accessible and goal-oriented services can bring.
Tickets available to attend 1-3 days, with discounts available when booking across multiple days. There’s a 20% discount for anyone employed by central or local government, with further discounts available for academics, students and groups.
Another event coming back for its second year, UX in the City is delivered by the team behind UX Cambridge and UX Scotland. The Financial Times, Google, Foolproof and University of Nottingham all have speakers attending this two-day event.
You can go for one or two days, lunch and refreshments are included, and there are free evening social events.
Neilsen Norman Group’s UX conference hosts a number of full-day sessions on a wide variety of UX topics. This is one of the pricier conferences to attend, but there are discounts available for subsequent days/sessions booked. You can also pay an additional fee for session certification to demonstrate CPD.
Early bird tickets have already sold out and current pricing is only available until 23rd Feb, at which point last chance tickets go on sale. There’s a real social aspect to Render Conf, with both a pre-event quiz night and an after-conference party. You can also book the pre-event workshop day taking place on the 22nd March (various sessions).
Okay, not exactly the UK, but close enough. Offset Dublin is a creative festival featuring content across multiple disciplines including graphic design, photography, illustration, fashion, photography and film. Creative types will be in their element here. The website itself is a joy to browse.
Early bird tickets are still available. Students and recent graduates get a nice discount too.
So, this non-profit event calls itself an “unconference”, where they do things a bit differently with 20-minute sessions, such as talks, demos or discussions with a focus on sharing and socialising as a catalyst for learning. The schedule isn’t even confirmed until the day when speakers have to scramble for their desired timeslot. For anyone who’s working in UX design, accessibility, UI, user research, or similar.
It’s only two months away but tickets haven’t been released yet. However, we do know that the price will include free meals, a UX quiz with prizes and an afterparty.
Covering a huge array of topics, including Java, infrastructure, server side, web frameworks, browser apps, security, architecture, AI and even delving into cybernetics and the tech of the future.
You can attend up to three days depending on your preference. Currently, only 2 or 3-day tickets are still available.
London May 10-11, 2018 £499 +VAT
A web performance conference covering site speed, scalability, accessibility standards and more.
A limited number of free tickets are available on a ‘Scholarship Scheme’ whereby applications may be accepted from anyone who feels their personal circumstances hinder their ability to attend the conference.
Camp Digital brings together digital, design and UX with a range of presentations and workshops from top speakers on topics such as ‘Humanising Data’, ‘Agile: How to Get Stuff Done Without Wasting Money’ and ‘Using and Understanding Assistive Digital Technologies’.
Only last-minute tickets are still available. Even so, this is still one of the more affordable conferences to attend.
Pixel Pioneers launched in 2017 and is back again this year in Bristol on June 8th. The event promises to be a hub for creative culture and looks to bring together the web community for more than just the latest cutting-edge tech. You’ll get eight practical sessions with actionable takeaways for your money plus a range of extras (goodie bag, exclusive Slack channel, afterparty).
You can also attend an additional user testing or UX psychology workshop day taking place on the 7th June (prices vary). Students get 50% off the main conference!
Taking place at Dynamic Earth (sure to bring back memories of school trips for anyone from Scotland), this is an established UX event offering the opportunity for the design community to gain hands-on, practical experience and learn from industry peers and leaders alike. This is a 3-day programme, but you can attend your preference of one, two or the full three days (from £210 +VAT).
For user researchers, by user researchers. Some of the world’s best design and user research experts are due to be at User Research London, helping to shape user experience based on the accurate measurement and understanding of user needs.
Only a talks-only early bird ticket is currently on sale (ending 18th May). Presumably further tickets for the workshops and talks will then go on sale at a higher price.
Being a lead developer’s a tricky balance between knowing your s*** and having the tools and confidence to lead your team and deliver results. If this sounds familiar, head down to The Lead Developer to network with your peers and stay ahead of the curve. Whet your appetite with your choice of two full-day workshops on the 26th June.
UX Bristol 2018 is now in its eighth year, promising “hands-on UX techniques from leading practitioners in a friendly and sociable setting”. The event takes place over a single day, during which you have the opportunity to attend four workshops (from a choice of 12).
Turing Fest is “Scotland’s tech gathering” and this year they present their most ambitious programme yet. The conference takes place over two days, each with three tracks to choose from – which may be a tough decision! On Day 1 you’ll be able to choose from either Product, Strategy or Growth, while on Day 2 your options are Engineering, Culture or Marketing.
Individual day tickets are also available for £249 +VAT. Group discounts of 15% are also available if there are four or more of you.
Create experiences that people will fall in love with. Get inspiration for your current projects and advice on how to build a design team of your dreams. Find out the secrets of what makes products successful and what mistakes companies made when they were building new services.
Following a sell-out event in February this year, the UX Conference is back for a day of expert talks exploring the theme of “collaboration between designers and researchers in User Experience design”. Taking place at the The Design Museum on Kensington High Street, you can look forward to seeing reps from Microsoft, Spotify, BBC, NHS, Google and more.
Tickets include lunch and refreshments. Early birds are available for £229 until 1st May, with a second early bird tier at £249 then available until 1st July. Group tickets and video-only are available too.
As an established UX conference, UX Cambridge is unlikely to disappoint. the full 3-day programme is available to view online with keynotes announced from speakers Alisan Atvur and Sara Wachter Boettcher.
Current pricing is available until 18th May and you can also book individual days at a cost of £210 +VAT per day.
Gracing Ballyhoo’s doorstep here in Brum, Canvas is back for another round of inspiring stories from the digital frontline. Join eight of the biggest digital disruptors at the Birmingham Rep (connected to the glorious Library of Birmingham) where you’ll have a day of inspiration, get fed and be able to attend an afterparty.
Earlybird tickets are sold out. Standard tickets will be on sale until August 31, after which you’ll be looking at an extra £30 for late bird entry.
UX Insider is a new one-day event from the team behind UX Bournemouth. Managing to attract speakers from Google, Sony, The Home Office and Big Lottery Fund for their inaugural event, UX Insider looks promising and hopes to “deliver insight into best practice for creating first-class customer experiences”.
Your ticket includes access to all speaker sessions, breakfast bakes and a hot drink, lunch and soft drinks, and an invite to network with your peers in the evening. From 1st September, tickets will go up in price to £199 +VAT.
Join speakers from Lego and NHS Digital for Interact conference, whose theme this year is Intelligence in Design. The conference, taking place at The British Museum, will explore how digital design, UX and AI all place a role in today’s society.
There are several ticket releases, starting with early bird at £199 +VAT until the end of June, standard release at £249 +VAT until the end of August and then final release at £299 +VAT.
The theme at this year’s UX Brighton is Advancing Research. Topics are likely to include survey design, building research teams, researching for new technologies and taking a step beyond traditional methodologies.
Early bird tickets are still available at £145 +VAT with student tickets also available for only £50 +VAT.
Limited details as yet but a range of speakers have been announced, with the call for proposals still open. The site says “AngularConnect is a 2-day, multi-track conference featuring the world’s leading Angular experts, including the core Angular team at Google”.
An additional day of workshops covering four tracks is taking place on the 5th November, costing £450 +VAT.
MUXL is “Europe’s most forward-thinking UX/Design conference”. This year’s 4th annual conference focuses on user-centered design and multimodal interactions (think voice, vision, haptic). Tickets to be announced.
Design systems are a hot topic at the moment, with more and more organisations big and small realising the benefits of standardising their design components to ensure creative unification. Enter the first dedicated design system conference, that we’re aware of, taking place in London this November. From the people behind ReactFest, 10+ speakers are already lined up and there’s a workshop day on the 15th preceding the main conference on the 16th.
All talks, food and an afterparty are included in your ticket price.
A one-day, uniquely brand-led conference and networking event for conversion-boosting user experiences and user-centred digital customer experience strategies. Discover how 20 UX brand-side professionals are driving cultural change and harness cutting-edge technologies to put UX at the heart of the organisation.
Have we missed anything…?
Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any Web Design, Dev or UX conferences off the list that you think we should know about. We’ll be happy to check them out and get them added!
Trends in the world of web design are always changing; some get more complicated while others take more of a simplistic approach. So far this year, we have seen many new trends and unique ideas and thought it would only be right to compile a list of our favourite trends to keep you up-to-date.
Typography is simply the words you see on a page, how it appears and which style of text has been chosen. The typeface you choose and how well it works with your colour scheme, grid, design theme and layout will help determine whether it is an excellent or poor design. There are two main styles of typography we have been seeing very often, big and bold, and contrast.
Big and Bold
Currently big and bold typography is all the rage amongst web designers as it helps to break up a page nicely. Not only does this attract the reader’s eye, but it also holds their attention.
Big and bold doesn’t necessarily refer to the weight of the font; it’s more about dedicating space to just a single word or statement and making it the primary focus.
Something else favoured among web designers is creating contrast within their typography. The most popular way we’ve seen this implemented is by using a range of contrasting typefaces, with Geometric, Serif and Monospaced fonts being common choices. Designers have also been seen to contrast the colour and size of their fonts to enhance the look and feel of their websites.
With web designers increasingly on the hunt to find new ways to make typography their principal focus, they have started to adopt a more minimalistic approach by using basic monochrome colours or condensing their content, so fewer words are on each page. Some designers even take this approach to the next level, with pages displaying a single sentence or word placed over an image.
Card design is an approach that started with Pinterest; it involves making images the focus of the entire page to give users all the information they need to know. Sites like Netflix and Spotify have now adopted this approach, displaying screen grabs from films or images of album covers; the thumbnails can sometimes do more talking than a short bio could, and, because of this, it is set to be a big trend this year.
More and more websites are using their own unique images relating to the brand over stock photography and graphics. This makes the site a lot more personal, and some websites even incorporate “Meet The Team” photographs to help put a face behind the name.
While professional photography isn’t going to blow the bank, with tools like Instagram and the hardware on smartphones becoming ever more sophisticated, it’s becoming easier than ever to take and edit stunning photographs in-house to communicate brand values and demonstrate products and services in action.
As websites get more minimalistic, web designers need to come up with new ways to keep their appearance attractive without looking too busy. Using brighter colours and patterns that compliment one another across the website adds depth and texture to layouts, while still keeping it straightforward and minimal.
A duotone image is an image made up of just two colours, websites like Spotify’s have been seen sporting this trend as it keeps their website minimal and adds interest. We hope to see more sites use this approach to determine whether it has been a success or not.
So far this year, we have seen many famous brands like Fanta and Calvin Klein revamping their logos, some of whom have used techniques that are becoming more popular throughout 2017. As a result of this, we thought we’d compile a list of some of our favourite ideas in logo design seen this year, some of which we have used in the past ourselves.
Minimalism is everywhere right now. With many brands such as Kodak and Mastercard simplifying their existing logos, other companies and brands have decided to take away any unnecessary details and just focus on the essential parts to keep up with the trend. Web designers and graphic designers both love it as it leaves potential customers wanting more.
This technique is probably one of the biggest trends so far this year. A lot of companies who have redesigned their logo this year have capitalised the writing, and it’s proved to be effective.
We mentioned earlier that Fanta had given their logo a revamp and capitalisation is one of the techniques used in the redesign. They’ve swapped the rounded cartoonish font to an upper case squared font, while still keeping the cartoonish element to it by using different sized letters. This approach helps make the logo seem more modern yet still recognisable – and, of course, minimal.
Colour (or Lack of It)
With minimalism on the rise, companies are going one of two ways with colours – they are either using bright colours and gradients to make simple logos more exciting or going for a black and white colour scheme to keep their logos simple.
The black and white trend can be observed in logos like Calvin Klein’s or the iPad logo – both of which have taken an extremely minimal approach.
On the other hand, some brands are taking a wholly different approach, and are adopting bright colours and using gradients in their designs. With this trend, many designers are using one or two vibrant colours to make an otherwise simple logo more appealing. By using no more than two colours, this keeps to the ever so popular minimal trend, while still making the logo that bit more interesting and eye-catching. Take the Yoga House logo, for example, they’ve used an orange and pink palette and have successfully met the goal of minimal, yet eye-catching.
Typography has been one of the most popular techniques in logo design, with many brands adopting a ‘text logo’ approach – logos that don’t include any graphics at all. There have been many different styles adopted so far this year, including stencil typography and decorative lettering:
Some brands have opted for a text logo using broken letters, where they seem to have been painted using a traditional letter stencil.
In an attempt to keep logos simple, while maintaining simplicity yet style, some companies have used more decorative fonts. Take Album Art Exchange, for example, they’ve kept their logo super simple, but their use of swashes on the letter ‘X’ has added extra meaning and interest to their design.
Line Art & Geometric Shapes
Geometric shapes have always been favoured among logo designers, and their popularity has risen considerably recently. They’re especially effective at creating stylish and unique designs that can appear to be quite involved but are actually somewhat simple and minimal. Line art is also proving to be quite popular too and helps to bring together drawings with typography through its simplicity – again the art attracts the attention of viewers, and draws their eye to the writing.
Hand Drawn Logos
So this trend is a little different to some of the ideas we’ve already talked about – they are a far cry from the geometric styles! Hand drawn logos are more unique, as well as being more personal to a brand, and authentic logos can convey a more honest image, making companies seem more trustworthy. This style was a trend throughout 2016, and it looks like this is going to get even bigger over the next year.
So, what is the most popular trend this year?
It’s fair to say that the biggest design trend so far this year – and not just across logo design – is minimalism. So many new logos this year have embraced this trend, and many companies who have redesigned their current logos have opted for a more minimal approach. We expect that this trend is going to get bigger and bigger throughout 2017.
With current browsers supporting more file types than ever before, it is important that you are clued up on which file formats work best on your website for different images. Do you know what format you should use for your logo? Or which format you should save your photographs in?
Using the wrong file format can affect the way images appear on your website and may determine whether users can in fact see those images. As well as this, incorrect file formats can have a negative effect on your page speed.
Raster and Vector
All images are made up from either raster or vector file types. Raster images are built through a series of pixels, whereas vector files are built using proportional formulas. Every photograph you see on any website will be a raster image and will be saved as either a JPEG, PNG or GIF. Vector images, on the other hand, are more complex and are typically saved as an SVG. They differ from raster images as they are not known to work well with photographs, instead they are perfect for graphics that require frequent resizing such as logos.
Here is an example of raster and vector images:
Choosing the Best File Format
As there are many different file formats to choose from, we have selected the four we think work best on the web: a JPEG, PNG, SVG and GIF, all of which contain a lossy or lossless compression. A lossy compression means images lose information and quality once the file size decreases whereas a lossless compression does not lose any detail when the file size is changed.
Joint Photographics Expert Group – otherwise known as a JPEG or JPG are the most popular choice when saving photographs as they are capable of containing over 16 million different colours. They are also a good choice for saving images with complex colour and shading.
JPEGs are probably the best file format for photographs on the web as the level of flexible compression when saving means they are capable of shrinking to a smaller file size and, therefore, they won’t have a negative effect on pagespeed. For example, a compressed 80KB image won’t take as long to load as a 8MB image as its smaller size means it requires less resources to load.
However, when it comes to graphics and text, JPEGS are not the best option as they use lossy compression, meaning they lose a lot of information when saved, making text or lines blurry in the process. Therefore, PNGs or GIFs would be the better choice.
As well as this, JPEGs, don’t support transparency, so it is worth keeping in mind if you want to place a transparent image on your website. We suggest you opt for a PNG instead.
Look at the example of the Apple logo below, can you see how the JPEG version has lots of grey spots around the edges? These are called artifacts which became visible as soon as it was saved as a JPEG. The reason why these two images appear different is because the JPEG compression introduces distortion caused by its lossy compression.
Depending on which PNG you use (either PNG-8 or PNG-24). the more colours you can include. PNG-8s are capable of containing a maximum of 256 colours whereas a PNG-24 can contain an unlimited amount of colours. This means they are not just suitable for images, but also graphics and text. PNGs also give you control over transparency, unlike JPEGs, which makes them pretty much perfect for logos. PNGs also use a lossless compression, meaning they don’t lose any information or quality.
One of the main drawbacks of using PNGs, however, is that some web browsers do not support them. If your logo is saved as a PNG and someone is viewing your website on a browser that does not support them, it simply won’t appear.
GIFs tend to be much smaller file sizes compared to other formats and aren’t capable of containing millions of colours. Just like PNGs, GIFs also support transparency, which would make them suitable for small graphics and logos, and due to their small file size, this format is great for placing lots of small graphics such as icons and buttons on the same page.
As GIFs can hold both text and transparent backgrounds, they are perfect for creating banners that intend to hold text on top of colours or images. However, as GIFs can’t handle as many colours as a JPEG or PNG, they aren’t suitable for photographs and images with lots of colour and shading.
The most interesting thing about GIFs is that they can be animated, meaning you can make moving images for your website such as an animated logo because they are raster based. Although the quality wouldn’t be amazing, you can also cut film clips and save them as a GIF to upload to your website.
SVGs are vector based formats, meaning they aren’t built using pixels like the other three formats we’ve looked at, instead they’re built using mathematical formulas. As SVGs are based on vectors, they aren’t the best choice when saving photographs, however, they are a good choice for drawings and line art.
With SVGs, you can create full resolution images that will look good on any screen size, zoom level or resolution, which makes these great for graphics that can be viewed on all devices such as desktop, tablets and mobile phones.
SVGs do not require any HTML requests and will, therefore, improve page speed. This also means that SVGs are great for creating logos that will be used on different screen sizes and resolutions.
Another thing to remember about SVGs is that they can be animated too; they’re very similar to GIFs, except for the fact that they are vector based, not raster.
How Can We Help?
If you are still unsure on which file types to use throughout your website, why not contact one of the Ballyhoo team? We will be more than happy to help and can offer services that will best suit your needs.
Following the introduction of the Companies Act 2006 it is now a legal requirement to display your company’s registered office address on your website. This information doesn’t have to be on every page of your website, but it must be easily found – for example on your website footer or Contact Us page.
For most basic websites there is no legal requirement to show your address on your website. However, if you sell goods or services on your website the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 dictate that you must provide your “full geographic address”, particularly if payment is taken in advance as is the norm.
If payment is taken through your website your bank or payment gateway provider may even have more stringent rules and can insist that you show both your address, company registration details and VAT registration number (if you have one of course) in their terms and conditions.
What Do We Suggest?
We actually believe and always advise our customers that it is beneficial to show an address on any corporate website to add credibility to your business. If you are not happy showing your home address then a compromise could be to set up a PO Box or a virtual office. We feel it is important to take every opportunity to give visitors to your website confidence in you and your business, therefore increasing the chances of them getting in touch or placing an order. We put huge efforts into driving traffic to a website but many people forget the simple things that can help make a website successful.
Birmingham web design agency Ballyhoo have recently launched a new e-commerce website for Walkover Sprayers, a South Wales manufacturer of unique lawn treatment equipment and accessories.
Walkover Sprayers have worked with Ballyhoo, a Birmingham web design agency, for many years to help sell their products online and keep their website up-to-date. In late 2012 Walkover Sprayers commissioned Ballyhoo to produce a new version of their website to bring it in line with modern web design techniques and introduce new features for their customers.
At walkoversprayers.com South Wales manufacturer Walkover Sprayers sell a range of spraying equipment, garden treatments, parts and accessories. Their spraying equipment works on the principle that the spraying nozzle is powered purely by the motion of the wheels as the user walks forward, meaning there is no need for an external power source. All walkover sprayers and parts are made in the Walkover Sprayers warehouse in West Glamorgan, UK and are used by gardeners and groundskeepers in gardens and sporting facilities worldwide.
Walkoversprayers.com, based on Ballyhoo’s e-commerce engine Ballyhoo Commerce, was first duplicated to a temporary online development environment where the new website could take shape without affecting the live site. The e-commerce system was then upgraded to the latest available version (meaning a host of new features would become available, including auto-complete search and saved orders) and a custom design by Ballyhoo’s graphic designer was implemented. After being thoroughly tested for consistency and accessibility in all major internet browsers the website was ready to launch.
Walkover Sprayers are also undertaking an online marketing strategy with Ballyhoo to improve website traffic and conversions whereby a number of techniques are being employed to increase the website audience and turn visitors into customers. With a strong background in e-commerce web design and SEO, Ballyhoo were the perfect choice to trust with this task.
Ballyhoo managing director Anthony Chaffey is quoted as saying, “I’m very proud of the new walkoversprayers.com website which is a vast improvement on the site we first developed for them some years ago. We’ll be on hand to support them as their needs evolve and we hope to continue working on and promoting the site for many more years to come.”
More information on this e-commerce web design project and other recent projects can be found in Ballyhoo’s online portfolio at www.ballyhoo.ltd.uk/Portfolio.html.
About Ballyhoo Ltd:
Ballyhoo provide website design, e-commerce, online marketing and hosting services to companies throughout the UK in addition to developing their own e-commerce engine and content management system.