Extra Hours of Design

No complaints so please don’t read this as a moan just a vent 😉

Is it a by-product of design in the modern age that’s watered down by online bidding and overseas outsourcing, but margins are less and clients are looking to pay a lot less for a lot more so when constant contract work is available you take it especially in the current economic climate.

Getting the contract work on a guaranteed long term scale is great but then when new clients and old all come online at the same time wanting work yesterday it means working evenings and the scorn of the wife :-O

Mustn’t grumble it’s all good just thought I’d blog for a change rather than tweet.

http://www.designvent.co.uk

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SEO is great but not at the expense of the Brand?

Okay, to cut a long story short I’m a designer, I specialise in design predominantly branding but also over the years now code, build content managed websites along with the more traditional marketing. I also offer full SEO solutions.

In a conversation the other day with an SEO ‘specialist’ I was interested by his approach? To gloss over a situation he works in-house for a web company who predominantly run in-house projects but he does get involved with the odd customer but never delves into any other form of marketing but online.

The opinion was that the only thing that should be considered at the start of a web project is the SEO and all other elements should fit that.

My argument being that if that were so we would end up with a design industry comparable to a template era as there would be a finite design layout that Google liked the most, that be the layout that has the largest SEO footprint, the result being the one that everyone would use.

I then brought up the what about design question to which it was simple you just make that fit the SEO, okay I can see his thinking but that’s okay if you work inside a bubble of a brand that has been built that way from its conception?

So I broached the question … A large corporate comes along with a strong internationally recognised brand accompanied by it strict brand bible wanting a new website, good accessibility, and of course great SEO, me being a designer sees this as simple, I produce the design to the best of my ability within the brief taking into account elements of Optimisation with the SEO being added to its upmost once the design is signed off.

His opinion was no, start with the SEO and do the design as best you can within the optimisation framework as that’s what’s important?

Brand > Design > Optimisation

Optimisation > Design > Brand

Just a quick summary of an interesting chat which I’m sure happens a lot these day but it does raise interesting questions?

Who is right? I would argue myself but in a rapidly changing online landscape is the SEO Guru the man to lead?

Walking down the high street now seeing empty shops in still busy towns I agree with some is a sign of e commerce and online savings, I know shop owners who have closed down as they could not compete online or off with web wholesalers.

Getting you products online is key to success now, getting found is a fundamental part of this, but once there the design has to engage, and is a brand that in the past stuck so rigidly to its brand bible now okay to be forced to be flexible?

John Whalvin
Creative Director

http://www.designvent.co.uk

Design Industry shift?

It’s only after a lot of years 10+ in a business (and im not that old) that you start to truly see the changing face of an industry and it’s effect on career paths. I always remember being told that “there are twice as many designers out of work than in work and every job you apply for you will be up against at least 100 others etc”, this was back in 1995 but I for one have never been out of work since leaving university, be it luck, talent or just a bit of blag I’ve been working.

Fast forward to present day I’m running my own agency, it’s small but busy and suits my life setup but I did this on the back of years of experience in a number of different industries from large corporate blue-chip in-house design to advertising agencies to working for local web design agencies, even a stint as a marketing manager but the one thing that was always constant was that when design was needed clients looked to the design industry which you found through a number of sources.

With so many online services the question I now ponder is from a clients point of view who is the design industry? I obviously consider myself part of it but so many potential clients are posting work online and accepting bids based on price rather than on quality, don’t get me wrong there is a lot of talent out there but the Internet gives everyone the ability to be a designer just because they own
photoshop.

I’m busy, I have a great core of customers and a constant workload so there are no sour grapes from me I just worry about the changing face of design based in an economic downturn. A lot of people are trying to start small home businesses and are keeping the purse strings tight so I understand why they are price governed and students are looking to boost grants so a bit of extra design work on the side is great, I get that too not to mention overseas trying to grab lots hence I see a lot of bids include the phrase “UK bids only”.

I just worry that anyone can get a hooky copy of creative suite from their mate Dave or Colin, nick a bunch of logos and design off the web to pass off as their own and bid on work with no regard for quality just a quick few quid in the pocket.

There is an amazing industry out there and I love looking at the daily feeds via Twitter etc and I dont see that changing but a lot of let’s call it interesting design is and will be produced at the lower end of the Market and not all of it that good!

John Whalvin

http://www.Designvent.co.uk

Idea – Freedom Beer?

Just had an idea tonight, I’d like to see a brewery launch a beer called Freedom Beer and Market it to Universities and Student Unions, then at dredgers week and throughout the year it’s available.

Imagine being away from home, parents, own digs or halls, walking into the union bar for the first time and ordering your first pint of freedom! It’s an advertisers dream, you could hand out promotional keys on lanyards which entitles them to special promotions all throughout the term and if they lose it that’s it so they become sought after.

Just an idea?

www.Designvent.co.uk

Design it’s what human does

New website launch www.designitswhathumandoes.co.uk

At first glance an eclectic jumble but did deeper, not very deep to be honest you will find a simple site containing a new brand and some great Volkswagen related unofficial merchandise.

A number if t-shirts produced to a high quality branded human (with a vertical twist) and the main brand subtly added. Add to this mousemats both left and right handed, a variety of messenger bags, iPad sleeves, iPhone sleeves plus a coffee mug and what you see is the conception of a new brand, okay it’s early doors and starting small but Rome wasn’t built in a day 🙂

Will Social SEO? Be the end of Social Networking as we know it?

Facebook? It’s been around for what seems forever with a true stranglehold on the social network environment, it basically wrote the hook on how to do it, the problem I see is in what happens next. Recently in the news there was a story about how pupils were looking up teachers to see what they had been up to over the weekend and getting ammunition for the week ahead, okay you could argue that the teachers should know better and there are safeguards in place to stop this happening but this is the tip of the iceberg. It’s a guarantee that since it’s conception users have looked up ex-girlfriends, ex-wife’s, work colleagues, the boss, the girl or guy at work, the list goes on but but it leads to is a far tighter and far more strict level of anonymity that is required and that exists if you want it. I can log onto Facebook, I can adjust my settings so only friends can see my albums, I can pretty much hide myself so I cannot be found unless I want to be but then where does that leave the social media advertising?

The app, yes I expect 80% of my usage is via my phone as it’s convenient but every time I click that little blue button I first have to wade through the ‘insert company name’ is now friends with followed by on average about 10 profile pics and there is usually about 6 to 7 of these before I even get to anything remotely interesting. I can’t see that its just me who gets this and it’s not really an issue as it’s quick to scroll past, the problem I see is the anonymity?

I only share what I want with friends and I’m certainly no ‘friend collector’. I’m guilty of regular culls to keep that online list guarded but at the same time I also have a couple of pages and groups running which I have invited people to join as part of the promotion of events but here lies the problem, everytime a request to join a company or event or group happens it bring strangers one step closer? Okay I know they are only members of a group and not ‘friends’ but is this truly understood by users and ‘friend collectors’ and the trail between strangers and friends and what everyone can see or access?

I use Facebook, more for entertainment and these days I have more strangers than friends on my list. These are mainly from the VW community for which I use it to promote a business site and an owners club, I also have the usual business page for my agency which I’m guilty of neglecting on a day to day basis but I certainly do not chase fans or members of these. It’s getting to the point that unless you employ a Facebook guru to administrator your setup and day to day it’s nigh impossible to keep track of developments.

I still have friends and family on my friends list and from time to time post images of ‘family time’ for the relatives abroad to see hence regular culls to the list so I know who is seeing the info but how many people do this, I recently saw a user with over 2000 friends, nobody can manage this and this was his profile not his company, group or page and this is common place yet if you are on his list and not licked down it’s so easy for others to browse your goings on?

If everyone locked down tighter than Fort Knox would the online world be a safer place? or would it just be a boring one with no communication and ‘networking’ grinding to a halt and the main question the rambling post is unsure of is amongst all the confusion, tightening of access and anonymity where does the increase in social media advertising see it future?

John Whalvin
Director
www.Designvent.co.uk