Website and graphic designer speak

The relevance of design

Clients come to us with problems that require visually creative solutions. Whether they know it or not, they need their brands to speak and they do not know how to bring them to life. They have a vision of functionality and purpose but no idea how the tool to help them perform said tasks needs to look like, and so they come to us to build it for them from scratch, to hear out their dream and visualize how to bring it to life.

Structuring the creative process is paramount. Scope and project parameters are integral aspects of the creative brief. The combination of them all guides our thinking and serve as the map (deadlines, audiences, desired results) to move us into the research and ideation process.

Defining “creative” depends on what you are trying to communicate and to whom. Describe the ultimate goal of the visuals? How can they better communicate to the intended audience? Here, we transition into the exploration phase. To make something better, you have to first make it different. Here are some infinite numbers of ways to make something different:

  1. Aesthetics

Getting your idea right is only half the work: the point of impact is purely dependent on execution. Many projects have great ideas but fail to make an impact because of poor execution and implementation. As a subject, design is very subjective and as such, we use a plethora of components to develop objective concepts:

  • Size: Use of size and scale to really create some visual drama—and tell a whole different story. When changing the size of one element in contrast to another element.
  • Color: Color has a powerful ability to tell a story. As one of the strongest assets in the designer’s toolbox, it can serve as a base to establish the type of mood and energy conveyed by the visual.
    our natural perception of color is dependent on light, color is especially helpful when defining time of day and location
  • Shape: making shapes work to better communicate the message. A more drastic change, such as simplifying the geometry, can completely alter energy.
  • Pattern: Developing and underlying grid that forms the pattern composition through which flow can be altered ever so slightly.
  • Texture: portraying texture on images in order to suggest to the eye based on memories of previous encounters – elude texture to surfaces.
  • Form: Use of 2d, 3d or 4d on whole objects or very subtly on edges, slivers of the whole object to change the form of the image.
  • Lighting: use of high or low contrast.
  • Style: use of classic, traditional, modern or contemporary styles to appeal to the intended market and to meet the desired goal.

2. Consistency
this is the ultimate marker of ‘getting it right’ for brands. Consistency in tone, look, application and visual is the ‘true north’ for brands. It marks the fact that proper assessments and analysis of the same were conducted from the very beginning of brand development and this map is what is in use to guide brand direction. Consistency is integral for brand relatability and identification with audiences.

3. Flexibility
A brand needs to constantly realign itself to changing market needs as well as to the Company’s changing goals and objectives. It needs to be able to listen to what its customers are saying and not saying to formulate a more effective way to communicate and listen and meet needs.

Designers are tasked with creating high impact visual experiences, over and over. Good ideas must be executed in a uniquely memorable way to truly leave a mark. Getting there, though, is a journey. And it requires constantly making things better, bringing something new and engaging into the world. Clients approach us with problems that require visually creative solutions: start-ups need a branded visual voice; established companies need new websites that align more with their current needs and goals; organizations launch campaigns that must excite the viewer at every point of interaction—the design challenge grows!

How to website design

At AKSENT, we believe that every item of collateral must have a purpose and in order to achieve this purpose, we have developed processes that enable a client to come up with a plan for the web design process from start to finish.

Because of its structured nature, our process is not always received well by clients despite the fact that it is designed to ensure the client gets the website they require within the specified time frame. Some find it tedious and unlike the off-the-cuff nature they expect of design projects.

  • Client contacts us mainly asking for a costing
  • AKSENT responds with a request for a list of requirements or a general brief, we go over this and if it is clear, we prepare a draft costing. If it is not clear we ask for specific clarifications or for the client to come in for a meeting. Based on the meeting we send the client an initial estimate. Here, we are very clear that it’s subject to change.
  • The client pays a commitment fee and we initiate the process by sending them our brief structure to fill in. Once they send it back, we review it and conduct a needs analysis with the client to narrow down the specifics of what they need and why.
  • We then draw up a scope and deliverables document and the client’s signs off on it.
  • We are now ready to commence. Finalize on the website structure phase and move onto the design phase.
  • All these various phases developed for the design and development of the website are crucial in establishing grounds for the project, planning for the undertaking, implementation and maintenance of the project. Without them, there is no project, it is reduced to a whimsical activity bound to waste resources of the client and the developer.

4 Web Design Trends That Need to GO

Something I experienced on good websites is bad design. You should make your marketing design efforts work for you. Most visitors will form an opinion of your site in less than a second. Your design should assist the user into the areas where he or she needs to go.

Here are 5 design trends marketers should just let go.

Separate Mobile Versions of a Website
Gone are the days of a site having duplicate content, different URLs and duplicate edits just to satisfy the different devices that are now available. More trendy web designers are now turning to responsive web design for mobile sites. This enables one site to respond to the width of the device the visitor is using. This is better for SEO, and it is more inexpensive than building and maintaining two different sites.

Stock Images
In the past, marketers have heavily relied on stock images for website design. As a result, companies are now using the same ones which makes it more difficult for your company to showcase its branding, team and overall personality. A better idea would be to have a professional photo shoot that can better communicate your company’s story. The sites I have done that have used this option definitely have more appeal and trust deriving from the real images that are displayed on their website.

They have been annoying ever since they came to fruition. No one likes having what they are looking at interrupted by a pop-up asking them to sign up for something. It’s more important to be aware of the message your website is sending and focus on the users experience.

Home Page Slideshow Banners
These have been a marketer’s friend for a few years now, but I am now in agreement that these need to go. Depending on people to stick around on the home page to view slide three to see a service is simply not the way to go. Most viewers are impatient by nature and to expect them to stay around to view your “story” is just not realistic.
So whatever web design marketing techniques you decide to go with, always put yourself in the eyes of your end user. The variety of websites out there is what makes this exciting. Just make sure your website keeps your viewer’s attention, or someone else will.
Article by Tom Jelneck
Owner of On Target Digital Marketing, an Orlando SEO & Digital marketing agency

When is a poster not just a poster

More than just a poster

‘It’s just a poster, please just whip something up, we need them up in schools…’

If this is how you are thinking of approaching this very important marketing piece, please consider reading on…

Our view – each and every collateral piece is an integral part of your company’s communication and should always be developed with intent.

Read More

How much does it cost to build a website?

This is the most common question we are asked by individuals, start-up Companies, large corporates, schools and institutions in Nairobi, Kenya and East Africa.

Our immediate answer is always geared at explaining that we do not have a standard rate card because as similar as websites may seem, they are different – subtle, overt – they may be visual, they may be functional but no website is exactly a clone of another.

In order to establish a client’s needs, our first step is always to obtain a brief. This is a clear indication of the client’s needs in order to establish the key function and purpose of the website. Briefs tend to morph after the initial briefing meeting because we ask our clients questions that give direction and meaning to the process, more often than not, questions they had not thought relevant to the project.

Read More
History of Coca-Cola logo

5 signs you need to refresh you logo

Your logo is very important, but, if you have had it for a while it might be time to refresh it. How do you know when it is time? Here are five quick pointers:

  1. You no longer do what you did when you designed your logo

This is of note because many logos are used as euphemisms for what the company does. It stands to reason then that if you logo says steel mill and now you do diamond mining, you should change the logo.

Read More

Importance of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in Selling Your Property

CGI in real estate means the production of Computer Generated Images of a property for the presentation to potential clients before its completion.

It is the application of Computer Graphics to show interior architecture, design details, lighting, atmosphere and even the property within the environment, the gardens, garage, pool and more.

Floor plans are also brought to life using renders.

Below are but a few reasons of how Computer Generated Imagery works in your favor in the sale of your property.
Firstly, Computer Generated Imagery helps in visualizing technical concepts that would be difficult to illustrate in any other way.

This gives clients the opportunity to visualize living in that particular home.

Secondly, it is a useful way to create very high quality photo-realistic illustration.
Architectural visualizations give a professional, sharp and artistic edge to any real estate commercial presentation.

Thirdly, it is inexpensive and allows a single artist to produce content without the hiring of extras for crowd scenes, expensive set pieces or props.

Fourthly, Computer Generated Imagery’s visual effects are more controllable than other more physically based processes such as constructing miniatures for effect shots because it allows the creation of images that would not be feasible using any other technology.

Lastly, unlike hand-drawn animations, Computer Generated Imagery is time efficient and believable.

With Computer Generated Imagery there is the ability to go in and out of scenes and move images or objects not wanted without distorting the background or surrounding images.

All these make CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) really important while selling property for it gives clients the possibility to consider details such as dimensions and interior design options.

Thereby you get to present to your clients with exactly what they are to receive way before the completion of the project.

– Wamuyu Kariuki

5 aspects of all a great company profiles

Company profiles are a great tool to introduce your business to other business people. Often you will be told, “send us your profile and when we have something we will call you.”

What happens next?

When your profile arrives in the prospective clients inbox the person who receives it does three key things.

The first is determine if you used MS Word or if you care enough about your business to have a professionally designed profile. By having your profile designed professionally, you show potential clients that you care about what you do and how your Company will be perceived. This shows them that you will also care about the work you do for them when the time comes.

Read More
home afrika annual report cover

Five reasons we design awesome Annual Reports

Annual reports are a legal requirement, some in Kenya have taken this status of the Annual report to mean it should be treated like other company documents that are required by law and be given no design consideration at all.

Thankfully not all have this theory. Home Afrika contacted AKSENT with a firm view that we could create an Annual Report that was both pretty and useful to both Home Afrika and its shareholders.

Read More

How a PR / Marketing consultant can work for you

Having worked in various design agencies over the years, I have observed that the simplest projects are those that are brought by a consultant. These consultants are usually either hired to oversee the spending of funds by donors or as brand experts or even purely to oversee the design process for technical companies who have none to spare to oversee their branding process.

These consultants usually have heard it all from their various clients in their various fields, from ‘too plain’, too busy, too white, too bright, format is too large to too small… name it, they have heard it!

They therefore approach the design brief with as much specificity as they can muster based on the information they taken from the client committee either based on their last designer or on what their competitors are doing.

Suffice it to say, most of the ones I have worked with are very clear about what their clients’ wants without being rigid or overly directive in supervision. I think that they, like us, swear to NEVER be like their finicky clients and that effort makes a world of difference.

Our client here was AgMark represented by Tara Dooley, the consultant, and she was by far the best I have ever worked with, patient, polite, as complete an opposite of unreasonable as can be :).

The result was a Company profile we enjoyed working on despite the rigid brand rules on what could and couldn’t be done.

Check out the resulting profile here and the resulting website here.

– Thithi Kinyanjui

Page 1 of 4