Advanced Website Building Techniques

The Key to Success - Storytelling

You may already have a website for your business. Or perhaps you‘re here because you‘re in the planning stages and need some extra tips? Either way, this is something everyone should consider when building a site for their business.

We all have visited websites that just seem….blah! There’s nothing particularly wrong with them per se; they may have nice photography, the site is fairly straightforward, and somewhat visually interesting. So why do they feel so cold, uninviting and make you want to jump off?

Let’s face it, most people are drawn toward stories. Back in the early days, storytellers were renowned because that was how you learned things outside of your realm of life. They were the early “walking dictionaries”, wise men, and newspapers. This was information and connection. We are still very basic in the sense that we all connect with a good story. On the deepest level, we are searching to find a commonality and see ourselves in a narrative. Why align with this person? Are they a single mom, too? Are they also from a small town in California? Did they graduate from the same college? We are less likely to align if we fail to connect and relate.

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So what can you do to connect your business and your product? You want to skyrocket sales not win a Pulitzer Prize after all…

How do you tell a story which people can hold on to that resonates long and hard? There are several different ways. 

  1. Visual Storytelling - This is a very basic way of getting a feeling or mood across. They fill in the blanks but you guide them along the path with very little help. There are parallax scrolling websites that have full photos with minimal type to just communicate the basics: “Came from here, going to there…” This is effective because people are very drawn to stunning photography. Visuals appeal to all ages especially with the need to “wow” them quick. While you should always include photography with any option, this is one area that should be planned out accordingly in order to guide the narrative along. 

  2. Origin Story - Many companies have a blurb (sometimes short, sometimes long) about the founders story. Who decided to start brewing? Who wanted quality working jeans? People are inspired by struggle, overcoming, and ultimately success. Don’t be afraid to share the struggle to the top! Vulnerability is a huge stepping stone to connection, and it’s one that really resonates with audiences. 

  3. Pick A Side / Join A Struggle - Another way to do this is to parallel yourself and champion a cause. Similar to Nike’s techniques. While some suggest it’s a super risky move to make a statement which might have social or political backlash, if that is part of your story it will speak to people. It may thin out the herd of potential customers or clients, however you may win clients for life in the process. Your story might be one of supporting a team or a person in the spotlight. Brands have been doing this for so long, (Desi and Lucy drank Instant Sanka!) and that’s because it works! 

The important thing to remember when telling a story is that you don’t need a beginning, middle, and end. When selling a potential client, you are showing them the beginning. There may not be much to it, but that’s okay. They want to know, all the same. If there’s not much else to say, utilize a lot of relevant photography. If you have a lot to say, make sure to use typographic hierarchy to make sure they see the important parts and draw them in. If you are aligning yourself with a cause, remember to be open. Support is key. Don’t use tear-down tactics.


Quick Exercise For You!

 
  • When you see the photo below, what kind of story do you get?

  • What questions do you have?

  • What might be sold?

  • Why is it more effective in black and white vs. color?

 
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Always consider the mood you are creating and how to be the most abstract when using photography. You don’t need a photo of your product (you’re trying to create a narrative). Maybe show your ideal client before they find your product?


Key components of brand storytelling

When considering your brand story, use these as a guide:

  • What is the reason your company came to exist?

  • What motivates you, and your team to show up to work each day?

  • How can you give your audience an inside look at your company?

People will always remember a good story. A great story - one which personifies your brand - should be the goal in order to position your company most effectively in the marketplace.

Why?

Because brand storytelling is the best way to distinguish yourself from the other brands in your industry. The more you can pull back the curtain and allow your audience to see inside your company, the better. It humanizes your brand. It’s what helps you to connect with your audience, appeal to their emotions and touch the hearts of your customers.


Let us help tell your story!

If you are curious where to go next on your site building journey, or feel stuck, just reach out! We‘re ready to help with your next steps. 


Email us: hello@829design.com or call (916) 581-1777


Happy storytelling!

Branding 101

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Branding 101: Brand VS Company

While the two are intricately connected, a brand is much different than a company. A company is the entity and business represented by the brand but a brand is a carefully curated public face of the company’s product or service. There can be parent companies who supply branded lines of product  (Procter & Gamble or Johnson & Johnson), or a company who has a branded product with variations (FedEx and Apple). A company has CEO’s and accountants while a brand has a color palette and a photography style. Brands are essential for growing a business and customer base, but the actions of the company support the message of the brand. The trick is to develop and brand that represents your company. 


Importance of a Brand

The reason a brand is so essential to a growing business is because it helps build brand loyalty and recognition. The experiences that people have with your brand and the stories they hear will stick in their mind, dictating their future buying choices. If you are recognized on the shelf, it elicits an immediate positive response from potential buyers. The consistent look will build trust with your customer base as well. Like a friendly face, they will return to you time and again and spread the good word. And nothing sells like word of mouth. If you are at a small store looking to buy toothpaste, are you more likely to grab the Crest or the other one you’ve never seen before? 

Answer: The Crest.


Good Branding vs. Poor Branding

Good branding can be expensive because there is a whole science behind it. Good designers and firms look into market trends, competition, and deep dive into the profile of your ideal customer to custom make a brand system specific to you. One that creates a consistent look for your company as well as the essential tools to target your niche and pull ahead of competition. It is a disservice to your company to pay for cheap instant logos. Bad design is often worse than having no design at all. A branding identity specific to you is able to communicate your company’s mission and establish the standard of service that they can expect. Think of Apple; They have a brand that has changed very little over the years. They are known for their customer service and dependable services…and the pretty price tag. But you will willingly pay it.

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Building Blocks of Branding

Did you know that a consistent look will make you four times as visible in the marketplace? Many people don’t know what goes into building a consistent brand. The logo is the most well known. Unfortunately this is usually purchased without a brand book or branding suite that provides secondary marks, color palettes, and fonts to support it. A good example of branding is Chipotle. The cups, the napkins and even the paper in the chip basket are all branded materials that would appear in a brand book. They all have the same style of artwork, the same fonts, colors, and “vibe.” They are instantly recognizable even if the logo is on the other side of the bag. You know exactly where its from.

There are other parts of a brand like signage, packaging, promotional items, and websites. Websites are a part of a brand and are built using branding materials. It is important to say that websites built by DIYers usually follow a style predetermined by the “style package” or template they select. Using this approach will get a sleek and stunning website that is soulless and devoid of your essential brand message. Plugging your logo in at the top will brand it as yours but the template style might not have the signature color you selected, and the default font might clash horribly with the typography of the logo. When building professional websites, developers will incorporate the fonts and colors that are part of your brand as well as stylized photography, icons, and graphics. 

Brand books are created by designers to help guide you through the ways to apply your logo and what not do to. It has the color codes so you always have your brand colors, something that “boosts your recognition by 80%” says an article from DesignRush, What Is Branding? The Importance Of A Strong Identity & 10 Companies Creating Core Brand Values. Even the fonts selected are showcased and labeled for their uses, a big key to remaining consistent and looking professional. 

Setting Yourself Apart

It’s hard for new businesses starting out, especially in saturated markets. A surefire way to get your best food forward is to narrow down your target audience. Its not always good to play it safe and be an everything dealer and master of none. Find your niche and speak to them directly. Tell your origin story and share your values. This is sure to boost revenue by 23% and create brand loyalty with minimal effort. If you know exactly who you are selling to, you will reach them with the right marketing tactics. They will recognize you and keep coming back for more.  

Branding might seem like an unnecessary cost but it is essential to creating a lasting brand. It is important to invest in good design and a designer who is invested in your company.



 
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If you are interested in taking the next step to strengthening your business, contact us today.

Email us at hello@829design.com.

Or call (916) 581-1777

Our team of designers was curated special to give 829 Design clients the best designs to elevate their brand and create revenue.

Check out our branding portfolio by clicking here.

Keeping Up With The Kustomers

Is your website keeping up with your customers?

You might have an awesome website, yes. But is it delivering to the people you need to reach? A beautiful site will do nothing for you unless it is keeping up with the changes of technology, social media, and the growing expectations of modern sophisticated browsers.

It’s safe to say that nearly everyone who visits your site these days will be highly tech literate and web savvy. There are very few people who don’t know how to google these days. Not only that, but they have been exposed to all different sites and they know how a good site feels. Apple is the #1 smartphone in the marketplace, so I can guarantee you that those people have all seen Apple’s website. They know they like the feeling of visiting Apple.com but they can’t put their finger on why. That is why UX and UI designers are so important! You can’t just show a person what they want, you have to curate how they feel about it and sell it to them without actually throwing a sales pitch in their face. It might sound crazy but your website can do that.

No..it should be doing that.

What is expected from a high quality site that is keeping up with the customer curve?

Glad you asked! 

  1. Performance 
    It cannot be stressed enough: If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you are out! (You can actually test this with Google Analytics if you are curious). People have short attention spans and they will be quick to bounce away from your site if the landing page doesn’t load fast enough for them. 

  2. Content
    Like real estates “Location, Location, Location” the motto of the web development world is “Content, Content, Content!” And it’s not just text based content. You need videos, links, high quality photos, and more! Content is key and it needs to keep up to date. We recommend hiring a copywriter if at all possible when it comes to your text-based content. You need to have concise wording and very clear calls to action. Yes, calls.

  3. User Experience
    Do you know the patterns of your customer? Knowing their journey through your site will help you to meet their expectations and then blow them away! The ability to look at your site through the eyes of the customer is invaluable. This will allow you to streamline everything to fit them. 

  4. Design
    Of course, design is huge. You need to wrap all this awesome stuff up into a really lovely package. It can’t be ok or so-so otherwise they will head to greener pastures. Remember, they know what truly beautiful websites look like, but they don’t know WHAT it is that makes them beautiful. (Designers are seriously awesome)

  5. Interactivity
    Does your site currently offer any type of interactivity? Are there videos, chat boxes, surveys, downloads? This gets tricky because you don’t want to overstimulate and spam. There is a balance to providing this and remaining true to the design of the website. (Again…aren’t designers awesome?) 

TLDR? 

What are we telling you: Don’t just update your website every 5 years. Take a critical look. Always be looking at the competition to make sure you’re not falling behind, you’re staying well ahead. Make sure you are staying on top of the ball when it comes to your customer; they grow and change as much as your market and the weather! 

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Stay hip. Reach out!

We want to help you.

And if you’re not sure if this applies to you, ask us about our website audits. We would love to pop the hood on your current site and see where there is room for improvement. Let us keep you dangerously relevant.


Email us: hello@829design.com or call (916) 581-1777



A Blushing Year for 2019

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Say so long to Paisley Park and last year’s Prince inspired Ultra Violet color. We are here to share the awesome symbolism behind this year’s Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral.

Everywhere you look and anywhere you go, screens follow. Technology has boomed and with it, we are exposed to news alerts, weather reports, status updates, tweets, pins, photos, texts… ah, the list goes on! We have slowly been desensitized. Every month we hear about trash taking over the environment and a new animal on the endangered species list. Along with the advent of tech and social media comes the feeling of isolation and less empathy…

ENTER 2019 - The goal: reconnect, nurture, and foster genuine connection. Like the delicate and complex coral reef systems of our awesome oceans, we are all in need of more kindness and playfulness. Reach out and revitalize your community. Look to the Earth to make your mark in a beautiful and sustainable way.

Did you know that coral reefs are nature’s protection from storms? In the same way, we should look to help protect our fellow neighbor and our environment we all share. In our constantly changing society, it is easy to shut down. Remember to build bridges, not walls. Let the golden warmth of Living Coral remind you to glow from the inside out with positivity. Pass on the joy this year! Happy 2019 ~

Interested in bringing some Living Coral to your brand?

We’re ready to serve up fresh ideas and designs that will make you blush!

Email us: hello@829design.com or call (916) 581-1777


A 100-Year View of User Experience

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There has been quite a bit of buzz lately about User Experience (UX). The majority of people still don't quite understand what that means, how it affects them or how important it is to the development of successful websites or quality products.

When applied to web design, it's referred to as User Experience Design (UXD). In a nutshell, UXD is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by providing tailor-made solutions that meet their specific needs. So when websites are built around how someone will use it — rather than forcing them into a different method of interaction — this results in a much higher user satisfaction level and measures of success and enjoyment as well as how easy it is to use. What does all that mean? For starters, it results in increased time on site, more sales, and ultimately more revenue for the company. In the end, isn't that what websites should be doing for your business?

The future of web design continues to move in this direction with the implementation of engaging characteristics built into the strategy and design of the sites. This will only continue to grow as the UX/UXD profession expands and changes in the coming years.

For the profession of UX, it has come a very long way since 1950; still even since 1990. Check out this fascinating article by the Nielsen Norman Group which discusses a long-view approach to the anticipated growth of UX.

Welcome to the new: Bauhaus Redefined

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Have you noticed something different about us lately? We have been undergoing a brilliant rebrand this summer to better align our name with the scope of services we now provide. As brand specialists, what better way to illustrate this than with the transformation of our own brand. 

Since the launch, we've been getting a lot of questions about the meaning behind the name, and curiosity about why we named it 'Bauhaus Redefined.' To understand this, let's take a peek to the past for insight.

 

Bauhaus in Design History

Since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been no other style in design and architecture that has dramatically influenced the modern style quite like the Bauhaus movement – both in the classical modern and avant-garde styles. In fact, we can still see its resonance effectively in today's contemporary culture, which continues to inspire artists, architects and designers around the globe to fill the Bauhaus belief of "less is more" with new life and purpose.

In 1919, the German architect Walter Gropius founded Bauhaus as a school of arts in Weimar. It turned out to become one of the most significant schools for design and architecture of all times. His concept of combining of a variety of arts – architecture, sculpture and painting – with crafts and engineering lead the way to create a visionary and utopian craft guild that would combine beauty with usefulness.

The Bauhaus existed from 1919 to 1933 and today is still considered to be the genesis of the avant-guard of classical modern style as seen in all industries where artists, architects and designers define their craft. 

 

Bauhaus Redefined

For many of us, the Bauhaus is an ideology and a conviction, it's wasn't just a school of arts and architecture. Today, designers and artists alike experiment with new materials and forms to push the limits of contemporary design in our culture to create online experiences.

In modern culture, brands must become a digital experience. Consumers want to know your story behind your brand to feel connected in a world full of digital dominance. At 829 DESIGN, our vision is to convey this sphere of the Bauhaus culture from the past, which still sets trends today, in such a way to create an exceptional digital experience for our clients. Our core competencies of creating brand experiences and creating sustainable brand identities is based on many years of experience with proven strategic processes in place.


A Nod to the Past

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Admittedly, our old logo was outdated, a bit antiquated and obsolete when compared and contrasted to the more contemporary styles of design today. We used the traditional De Stijl font for '829 Design' along with those primary colors so typically seen in many original Bauhaus creations of the early 20th century. Piet Mondrian comes to mind when you look at our old logo, even though his style was more neoplasticism in form and function.

For the love of all things Bauhaus, it was time we brought our early 20th century inspired identity back in vogue with a fresh, modern and contemporary aesthetic. We just love it!

Let us know what you think! Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcomed.

 

Let us help you design a fresh new identity for your business. 

View our gallery of work, and let's create some awesomeness.

Design with Greenery

Ahh... Greenery! You can almost smell the freshness; so uplifting. It's Pantone's new Color of the Year for 2017. Just like the first days of Spring, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. It's a fresh, bright green that evokes nature, hope and fresh beginnings. 

Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, states that "greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose." It reminds us of bamboo or green smoothies, plants in our garden and it certainly makes us cogitate on bright ideas for the new year. 

WHAT IS THE COLOR OF THE YEAR?

The Pantone Color Institute is the global authority on color. Each year, they assemble a panel of industry professionals to select a color of the year. This panel examines influencers from the design world — graphic design, textile, digital, fashion, etc. — and study what's been happening in the arts & entertainment fields, popular travel destinations, pop culture, and socio-economic conditions. The color of the year is a choice proposed to capture the mood of our times. And for those of us who are in the design world, it's a guide that may influence design projects of all kinds, from print to web and everything in between.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOUR BUSINESS?

Now may be a good time to reconsider your brand colors. Whether Greenery is a choice color for your business or not, every so often, it's a good idea to review your brand and consider a fresh approach. For example, Greenery would be a popular choice for food or spa companies. Brands that want to express strong environmental characteristics will also use colors like Greenery. On the contrary, it would be a more modern and bold choice for traditional corporate businesses — industries like financial or insurance type services — who quite often use hues of blues (say that 10x fast!). For those who work in those sectors and are looking to stand out, without losing any meaningful perceptions like trust or significance, Greenery would be a great choice for the new year.

FEELING INSPIRED?

Ready to make a fresh start and bring new life to your business? Let's explore how we can breathe new life into your brand and create some dynamic stuff! Call us at (916) 581-1777 and let's start a conversation.