Archive for INSPIRATION

Web Design Trends for 2010

By: Jaqueline Thomas

With a new year on the horizon, it’s time to pack away the old, worn web designs and prepare for the brave, new face of tomorrow. Although trends don’t start and stop on January 1st, there is a definite shift from what we craved at the beginning of the year to what we are seeking tutorials for at the end of the year. Most of the time, this shift is subtle. It’s a perfection or re-interpretation of a currently hot trend. Trends help us evolve as designers. As we master the skills of design aesthetic, we continue to push forward to what’s next or what needs to be fully discovered.

Make no mistake about it, you will recognize the ideas behind these trends. Although this list isn’t a drastic departure from what was popular in 2009, it marks different trends that will be expanded upon and made better as a result. As you think of how you will incorporate new trends into your designs, focus on the main idea of each trend. Be encouraged to dabble into these trends so that you become part of the movement.

1. Oversized Logos/ Headers

Splash pages are so yesterday. To make an unforgettable impression on the visitor, the trend for 2010 will be oversized logos on an equally oversized header. These types of headers can take up the entire screen, but with one important note. Visitors will not need to click anything, just scroll down. Visitors often having a clicking phobia (due to years of poor navigation), so big headers do the job of a splash page without forcing your visitors to click anything.

Main Idea: Huge headers that make your visitors remember you.

2. Sketch/ Hand-drawn Design

Hand-drawn design is not exactly new on the horizon, but we all know that it is still on the fringes of web design. Many designers admire the style but are afraid to create their own sketches because of the “I can’t really draw” attitude. If you look at the most popular hand-drawn websites (and relative to other types of trends, there are only a few), you will notice that most of your fellow designers can’t draw. These designs are not exactly headed to an art museum, but they do convey a sense of whimsy, and blur the line between cold web and personal interaction– the ultimate goal of the internet. If you can doodle, you can sketch for web design.

Sketch in 2010 will become more elemental, and not as much the main focus of a web design. It will be used to personalize standard web copy in new and exciting ways.

Main Idea: Sketch becomes an elemental part of corporate design.

3. Slab Typefaces

Slab typefaces are relatively new, although they’ve been around for over 200 years in traditional media. To get a good visual definition of slab typefaces, think of the old Wild West “Wanted” posters. Those bold letters are slab typefaces. Slab typeface is commonly all capital letters and are bold and imposing. Many designers have shied away from slab typefaces in the past because logos and headers were smaller and more understated. However, combined with the trend toward larger headers, slab typefaces demand the reader to take notice.

Main Idea: Slab typefaces is used to bravely express who you are.

4. Typography

Typography is one of the most difficult trends to tackle which is why it will remain fresh in 2010. With all the cries for usability, web designers are afraid of using new and different fonts. The idea of mixing varying font sizes together is completely unthinkable. Fonts are meant to be explored, twisted, and molded to fit your purposes. With the correct placement, a website that utilizes Typography as its main design element will be more interesting to a reader than overloading the same site with tons of photos.

Main Idea: Typography is young, but will continue to be a part of web design.

5. One Page Layouts

One pay layouts challenge you to edit away what’s unnecessary. In 2010, this trend will move away from the quirky navigation and become more minimal in its approach. Think of these websites as business cards. These websites will be more of a one-stop-shop for how to locate you and your work on various other sites– your blog and your social media hangouts.

Main Idea: One page layouts will be more about personal profiles and less corporate.

6. Huge Images

A close relative to the oversized logo/ header, the huge image does much the same thing. It creates an visual impact that the visitor won’t soon forget. Unlike the oversized header from above, huge images are not part of the site’s branding. Instead, these images draw the visitor into your site, if not for their content then for their humongous size. In 2010, web designers will find themselves more comfortable using these big statements in their design to convey the site’s tone.

Main Idea: Huge images will be used to invite visitors in.

7. Change of Perspective

As we’ve discussed before, the desktop perspective has been done to death. 2010 will see a definite change in perspective to a more realistic view. There may also be a move toward side-shot aerial.

Main Idea: 2010 will play around with different perspectives.


8. Interactive/ Intuitive Design

Flash has seen better days. There was a time when you couldn’t visit a website without running into an annoying Flash interface. These days Flash is a lot more relaxed and much more professional. Although some designers prefer jQuery for forms and popups, Flash still has its place in design, especially when done subtly. Flash still has no equal to its interactivity. In 2010, web designers will move toward the more redeeming elements of Flash. Because the average visitor is more web savvy these days, designers will also create sites that are slightly more intuitive than in the past.

Main Idea: Interactive design will make a come-back.

9. Modal Boxes

Modal boxes are a trend that’s picking up steam and will be virtually everywhere in 2010. A modal box is like the popup’s more sophisticated older brother– it’s smooth, good looking and popular. Modal boxes are so easy to design and easy to use, making them the perfect solution for any designer concerned with usability.

Main Idea: Modal boxes will continue to pop up in 2010 designs.

10. Minimalism

Forget the old school minimal websites. Websites of 2010 will continue to feature lots of white space but with bold typology and surprising color schemes. Not all minimal websites will agree with the notion of black and white simplicity. Although minimalism is by nature muted, it will also showcase fresh colors. Minimalism isn’t cold, it’s warm and too the point.

Main Idea: Minimalism will venture into typology.

11. Oversized Footer

Oversized footers may be everywhere already, but 2010 will find them even more exaggerated. The footers of tomorrow will be less of an after-thought and more of an integral part of the design. Look for footers that feature contain random information, such as feed updates from various social media, daily polls, and Flickr feeds.

Main Idea: Oversized Footers will feature less important, but more personal information.


12. Retro

Retro designs are here to stay. Although a lot of the design community admires retro web design, it can be difficult to fully embrace this style without coming across “undone.” The key to retro designs is to be inspired by its tone and underlying playfulness. In 2010, retro design will be expanded as designers find new ways to honor vintage art.

Main Idea: Retro is new.

13. Intro Boxes

“Hi, my name is…” will find an even bigger stage in 2010 as designers recognize the beautiful simplicity of introducing yourself to your visitor. If you’re struggling with making a creative “About” page, the intro box will be your best bet. It forces you to condense who you are into a relatively small about of space. In 2010, intro boxes will push its own boundaries. Instead of the boring hello, designers will find new pick-up lines. And, instead of the left-flanked intro block, 2010 will see boxes in unusual placement, perhaps even in the middle of a page.

Main Idea: New ways to say “hello.”

14. Magazine Layouts

As more and more people migrate from the comforts of traditional press to online infotainment, designers are challenged to welcome them in with an easy transition. There is a move toward the magazine layout, where information is carefully organized on a single home page, giving the visitor an opportunity to explore as interested. The familiar layout will appeal to appeal to anyone who’s ever read a magazine or newspaper, but it will also be easier to use– no flipping pages! In 2010, magazine layout will become very huge for blogs in particular.

Main Idea: Magazine layouts will be used for infotainment sites.

About the Author

Go MediaJacqueline is an artist and a writer who spends an inordinate amount of time playing Super Nintendo and watching Star Trek. You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website, and follow her updates on Twitter.

Speaking Brand Language, Telling Your Brand Story

Written by Dan Stiff 

Everyone has a Brand story. The question is, who is telling it? You, or the competition? Told well, your Brand story will not only leverage your presence in the marketplace, but it will become the one great differentiator for your company.

Let’s shatter a myth: Brand does not belong to Marketing. In fact, when leveraged well, Brand is a powerful tool that can be used by Sales to boost your company’s performance and profits.

As an sales professional, you need to get comfortable with the success stories of your Brand in the marketplace, and make those stories part of your company’s selling arsenal. By articulating your Brand story, you will convey your company’s impenetrable advantages, engage the customer, and differentiate your products and services from those of competitors.

You should be able to tell your Brand story in thirty seconds. A good way to start thinking along this vein is to ask yourself  these questions:
•    Am I adequately meeting the needs of a buyer who is now more than ever interested in looking at the attributes of Brand in considering products?
•    Am I typically emphasizing concepts that relate to Brand in my presentation to the buyer?
•    Do I even have the words in my vocabulary to express the importance of Brands?

Don’t be surprised if the answer to all three is no. Brand is the crown jewel of the company, yet for too long it’s been considered the property of Marketing. A great Brand story in your hands will give you more focus in your profession, boost performance at work, and improve your customer relationships.

Creating Your Brand Story
Your Brand is made up of the collective experiences of the customers who engage it and the people like you who represent it every day. If it’s your story, you need to make it your story, by being engaged with it and by engaging the customer.

This will not happen overnight. You will need to practice it and, most important, live it. First, though, you need to start crafting a Brand story. Start by answering these questions:
•    What is the history of your Brand?
•    What is the language of your Brand? That is, what are the compelling and emotional words that represent your Brand well?
•    What has been the impact of your Brand on you, your buyers, or the marketplace? If the Brand is new, a better question is: What impact do you believe the Brand is destined to have on the marketplace?

Finding Your Brand Language
How do you start speaking Brand language? Start by becoming a student of your Brand. Learn from your customers how they perceive the Brand and what words they would attach to it. Ask questions of your buyers that help build your Brand language—questions that can get at the customer’s perception of your Brand. These questions can be utilized one-on-one or in a group setting, such as an end-user panel, market research, customer forum, or customer feedback surveys. Your end users are closest to the product and have a keen sense of what the Brand means to them. They can articulate it.

Here are some questions that will help you collect Brand language:
•    Why do you buy from us?
•    What does our product or service do for you that no one else can duplicate?
•    What is your impression of our Brand? How does it improve your lifestyle?
•    How do we build trust and credibility with you as a customer?
•    If our company went away tomorrow, what would be missing in the marketplace?
•    If you have Brand loyalty to us, describe why.
•    If you have Brand loyalty to a competitor, describe why.
•    What are we distinctively known for in the marketplace?
•    What blockbuster product or service was a breakthrough for us in the last five to ten years? Why?
•    If you could tell our CEO one thing about how to improve our personal connection with you the buyer, what would it be?

Turning Your Salespeople into Brand Ambassadors
Studies have shown that the salesperson is the most vital link to the customer. A survey by Prophet Company, management consultants based in San Francisco, found that companies “ranked the sales force as their most effective Brand-building tool, ahead of traditional tools such as advertising and marketing.”

In truth, most companies spend the largest portion of their annual budget not on advertising, but rather on the investment they make in their salespeople. If that is the case for you, then make a concerted effort to build each salesperson into a Brand Ambassador who will become a “walking billboard for the Brand.” The study went on to say that “what drives customer perceptions during the purchase cycle is traditionally managed by other parts of the company, outside of marketing.” Salespeople are key to driving customer perceptions of your Brand.

Salespeople need to tell a Brand story that is rich and has history, using Brand language that is evocative and memorable. A great Brand story will knit you and your customers together as people with similar experiences and similar heritage—just like a family. If your customers only knew this story, they would understand how your company thinks, who you are, and why it makes sense to do business with you. 

Once you have created a Brand story and language that reflects it, get it to the lips of all of your salespeople. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

May 25 -INSPIRATION for TODAY

It is in the ordinary events of every day that we develop the proactive capacity to handle the extraordinary pressures of life.

It’s how we make and keep commitments, how we handle a traffic jam, how we respond to an irate customer or a disobedient child.

It’s how we view our problems and where we focus our energies. 

P. 92 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People