Archive for April, 2012

ForceFive Sponsoring Canada Day in Kanata for 2012

by Ryan Grassie - Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:27am

ForceFive Media is proud to be a sponsor of Canada Day in Kanata for 2012. We always love attending this event. Look forward to seeing you all there!

Photography and Your Business

by Ryan Grassie - Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:24am

Ottawa-Photography-Website-Design

Your website is often only as pretty as the photography and images that are on it. A beautiful website template can be ruined by poorly taken pictures.

Lets take the case of getting head shots of company staff to display on a website.

We commonly see 3 categories of images:

 

1. “Hey everyone, go on Facebook and send me a picture where you have less than 4 beers in you!”

Uh oh. This always results in a gallery of horrors that no web designer can photoshop away.

What this says to people viewing your site:
“We don’t really care what you think of us, we just wanted some pictures on our about page.”

2. “My daughter bought me a digital camera in 2002, I’ll see if I can find it!”

This is one we see a lot. The staff member sitting nervously on his or his office chair, the bright flash in a dark room washing out all of the details of the face, a big ugly shadow on the wall behind the person. Some photoshopping can be done to correct exposure issues but the images are often too far gone to make respectable.

What this says to people viewing your site:
“Here are some mediocre pictures of our mediocre staff.”

3. “Attention everyone! We will be doing a staff photo shoot with a professional photographer on this date so please get a haircut and wear nice clothes.”

These are beautiful, well exposed, high resolution images. An absolute delight for web designers to work with. They don’t have to be straight-faced images on a white background; feel free to get creative with various settings and poses so long as it reflects your brand and personalities.

What this says to people viewing your site:
“We care enough about our staff to make sure that they are presented in a professional way that represents our values and culture. We’ve done such a great job with taking these pictures that you can bet the products and/or services we provide are just as creative and professional.”

 

This goes beyond simple staff head shots. The same rules apply for photos of your office, products, etc. By taking your time to ensure that a few elements such as lighting, composition and expression are consistent, you can greatly improve your online impression.
As the saying goes: How you do anything is how you do everything – Make sure that the images and graphics on your website are sending the right message to your potential clients.

ForceFive Welcomes Julie – Our Newest Print Designer

by Ryan Grassie - Apr. 19, 2012 at 8:40pm

ForceFive Media is proud to welcome the newest edition to our team. Julie Nyenkamp brings over 5 years experience as a print designer. She has designed recognized brands all over Ottawa including “The Fix” cafeteria in Algonquin college. We are very excited to have her on board. Check out our portfolio print section for some work she has already created for us and some of our clients.

Why Simple Logo Designs Kick Ass

by Ryan Grassie - Apr. 18, 2012 at 2:14am

Ottawa Logo Design

One design-related trend among smaller companies involves the complexity they often seek in their logos. Many corporate decision-makers prefer intricate logo designs that seem as if they required significant time to create. The level of detail in their ideas can be staggering.

A lot of professional designers take an alternate route. They create logos that are simple and memorable, and can successfully communicate the company’s brand story. However, when these early drafts are presented to clients, they are often rebuffed in favor of something more complex. It’s worth taking a moment to consider the advantages of using a simple logo. This article will describe these advantages, as well as some of the downsides. By its end, you’ll understand why the logos of many of the world’s top brands are simplistic in their design.

Communicating Strength

 A lot of company owners approach their logo designs without considering the messages they convey to their respective audiences. Instead, they focus on features that appear attractive, trendy, or “cool.” This is the reason many contemporary designs contain swooshes, pointy men, and even tribal symbols that have little to do with the companies behind the logos. The problem here is that these designs quickly become outdated.

By contrast, consider the logos of the world’s largest brands. They are simple, and project a sense of strength and constancy. Ford Motor Company’s logo offers a good example: white lettering of the company’s name is superimposed upon a blue, oval-shaped emblem. The design has been in effect since 1928.

A sense of permanence is one of the advantages to using a simple design. It is the reason such logos are used by financial institutions, such as Chase Bank, Bank Of America, and Wells Fargo.

Consistent Output Across Various Media

Another reason to use a straightforward design is because they are often more adaptive to a range of different media. Whether this is important for your logo depends on how you intend to use it. For example, a complicated design may be fine if you only intend to display it on your website. But if you also plan to use it on your letterhead, business cards, custom bumper stickers, product packaging, and sales brochures, it may appear muddied.

Here, again, it is instructive to look at the designs of the largest brands since most of them use their logos on various media. For instance, the logos of Hewlett-Packard, FedEx, and Microsoft are well-suited for displaying online, and printing on a range of surfaces.

Promoting Immediate Recognition

Simple designs are more memorable. When we observe an uncomplicated logo, it is easier to recall the company, its products, and the ideas for which it stands. This quick recognition also brings to mind their brand story, which strengthens the image we have about the company in our minds.

For instance, consider Apple’s apple and Nike’s swoosh. Text is unnecessary in both designs. From observing their respective symbols, we immediately recognize both companies, and can imagine their products. Think of UPS’s identifiable brown and yellow shield, or IBM’s rectangular, striped letters. Both are immediately recognizable.

The Drawbacks To A Simple Design

So, is a simple logo always appropriate? Or, are there times when a complex design offers an advantage? The answer is that complexity does pose benefits.

For example, it is often difficult to trademark simple logos. If you can do so successfully, you may still find it difficult to protect the trademark. Also, the simpler a design is, the harder it is to make the design appear distinctive from others. There are fewer features with which to work. Even though this challenge can be solved by a professional designer, it is worth considering.

Neither downside presents a compelling argument against simplicity. Rather, both are limitations that are worth taking into account. You’ll find in most cases, a simple logo design will prove more effective than one that is needlessly complex.

3 Week Old Site – HUGE SEO Rankings

by Ryan Grassie - Apr. 11, 2012 at 7:04pm

ForceFive just recently launched a new website for http://www.fireplacewest.ca and within 3 weeks they are ranking on top or top 3 for some great local keywords including:

  • ottawa west fireplace installs
  • ottawa west fireplace installations
  • ottawa fireplace installs
  • ottawa fireplace installations

Just an example of how a well built wordpress site can gain top rankings quickly.