Wednesday, 30 April 2014
One of the things that makes Bearfoot Graphics popular with our clients is our full service offering. When it comes to design, there’s not a lot we can’t or don’t do. So when we were asked by our friends at Reward Workplace Benefits to take their newly formed brand and apply it across a range of media we jumped at the chance.
Having been provided with their new logo and colours we set to work designing and building a compelling sales presentation. We combined a simple design with subtle animation to create a slick, clean PowerPoint which both attracted the audience’s attention and enabled the sales team to effectively deliver the company’s business messages.
We were able to transfer these simple but effective design elements from the presentation to a series of business e-shots. Using our eye for design, we were able to break the content-heavy mail shots into manageable chunks pulling out important key elements with call-out shapes and colours producing a more persuasive user experience.
With a clear, simple design style under our belts we moved on to developing business cards, legal documents and, arguably the most important marketing tool, a website. With tablets and smart phones ever increasing in popularity the brief was that the site needed to be responsive, but with budgets tight we needed to find a simple web design solution which was both flexible and powerful. We plumped for Adobe’s relatively new piece of software, Muse. Designer friendly it allowed us to adapt our chosen design style to be web friendly, enabling us to create both a sleek desktop and tablet site.
The result is a suite of distinctive and functional business assets, encompassing a variety of media, consistently branded and carefully designed to enable Reward Workplace Benefits to attract the attention of potential new clients, engage with them and deliver their key business messages effectively and consistently. Check it out here…
Thursday, 10 April 2014
There are many great logos in the world, the best of which are well considered, applicable and instantly recognisable. Here we look at five of the best…
In 1891 Shell was founded. Then a trader of antiques and oriental seashells, the company quickly developed into Shell Transport and Trading Company and, although now trading fuel, the iconic Pecten shell has stuck. The logo not only suggests an environmental conscience, but also a sense of tradition and heritage: the shell is an elegant and precious symbol from the roots of the company. It’s simple design and warm colours (the red and yellow taken from the Spanish flag in an attempt to please Californian customers of Spanish descent) make the emblem so recognisable that it is often not accompanied by any text, giving it a bold and confident character – a reflection of the economic superpower we know today.
Love or loathe the fast food giant, McDonald’s ‘Golden Arches’ is undoubtedly one of the most iconic logos ever created. Initially developed from two separate arches that stood at either end of their first eatery, the M is an instantly recognisable symbol across the globe. Employing a similar colour scheme to Shell, the McDonald’s logo feels self-assured and proud, and, despite drastic changes in McDonald’s image in recent years, remains a key symbol of their brand – standing tall and resilient. Whats more, the ‘Golden Arches’ is simple yet well consider – key attributes of a successful logo – allowing it to be applied to all manner of products and merchandising easily and unobtrusively.
In the 1980s MTV encapsulated a generation and birthed its own culture. The MTV generation was young, care-free and pop-culture orientated: and the channel designed a logo to suit. A simple mix of two fonts, the chunky, block ‘M’ and the scribbled, graffiti like ‘TV’- the logo is so successful because of its adaptability. Always retaining the basic layout, the logo has lovingly played to pop-culture trends over the years to please its target audience and remain fresh and quirky. It has been filled with colour and shapes; zombified and space-aged; scrawled across the American flag; written in the stars; even made from nuts and bolts, yet has always defined MTV.
The FedEx logo is much loved by graphic designers. Simple and plain, perhaps, but the hidden arrow that subtly slips by many of us is a great example of using negative space and well considered design. Between the E and X lies an arrow that sums up the company as a global courier and logistics provider. There is nothing showy or forced about the logo and the arrow, a reflection of the company’s ideal perhaps? To go about business efficiently and seamlessly behind the scenes, to be there but not necessarily be seen – much like the ingenious arrow.
The infamous Nike tick, a.k.a. the ‘Swoosh,’ is a hugely recognisable logo. Nike, a name taken from the Greek Goddess of victory, adopted the ‘Swoosh’ in 1972. Initially developed to represent an outstretched wing of the Goddess, the tick began life as branding on the company’s running shoes. Due to its popularity and Nike’s sponsorship and endorsement by all manner of sportsmen the logo has become synonymous with the name, and hence become a stand-alone icon of the brand. The way it ‘Swooshes’ suggests a free-flowing and almost natural movement – of course a connotation the sporting brand would approve – whilst the tick embodies success and achievement.
Friday, 7 March 2014
We have discussed presentations for business using an iPad previously. Today we’ll be looking at Cloud-On; the iPad app that views and edits office files in the cloud.
The ‘cloud’ has become a game changer for businesses. It allows content to be stored on the web which can be edited and viewed by anyone (with permission), anywhere, but since this is predominantly used with Microsoft Office, where does this leave the iPad?
Meet the CloudOn app. Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be uploaded to the cloud via DropBox or SkyDrive and then downloaded through the app. Files can be edited with some basic tools and previewed directly on the iPad. Content can also be created on the app and uploaded back to your favourite cloud service. Unfortunately when we tested it, the PowerPoint presentation quality wasn’t ideal; it was pixelated, sluggish and we also had issues playing video content. Overall performance is poor; we won’t be using it for our next pitch but it’s one to keep an eye on as further developments come along.
Ease of use: CloudOn is very simple to use and we liked the fact that it supports popular cloud based services like Dropbox and Skydrive.
Cost: Currently CloudOn is free as it is early on in development but they plan to use a tiered pricing structure in the future when more of the issues have been ironed out.
Final thoughts: CloudOn is still in its early days. We love the compatibility and ease of editing content on and off the app, but currently it’s a bit too sluggish to use and the quality of the presentations is poor.
Monday, 16 December 2013
We have discussed presentations for business using an iPad previously. Today we’ll be looking at using Adobe’s InDesign as a tool for creating presentations for the iPad.
InDesign is widely recognised as the premier print layout and digital publishing tool; we use it all the time for creating brochures, leaflets, business cards – almost all of our print output, so we were as surprised as anyone when we when we heard about this too. Via the free ‘Adobe Content Viewer’ app available for the iPad and the Adobe Digital Publishing Patch for InDesign on the PC or Mac, content created in InDesign can be downloaded and viewed directly on the iPad through your Adobe Creative Cloud account. Creative Cloud accounts are available for free from Adobe. The app doesn’t support InDesign animations and the only transition is the page flick. We feel this tool is aimed more towards the production of digital magazines than presentations. It does do a good job of hyperlinking content and it also plays video well too – with options to play in a window or full screen.
Ease of use: If you use InDesign already, you will be right at home creating content for the iPad. Any presentations created are uploaded through your Creative Cloud logon and downloaded through the app the same way.
Cost: We use the full Adobe Creative Suite in our studio so this addon was free for us however; InDesign is roughly £350 for a standalone licence. Although a Creative Cloud account is free from Adobe, software such as InDesign can be used through this service via monthly or yearly subscriptions.
Final thoughts: We thought this was a great PowerPoint alternative in terms of cost (as we already use the Adobe Master Collection which includes InDesign) and ease of use. The only thing letting this solution down is the fact that the animations and transitions in InDesign are all currently Flash based (so unsupported by the iPad). Considering how some of Adobe’s other applications have already begun to support HTML-5 animations, I wouldn’t be surprised if this changed in the near future, but for now we feel this is a fairly decent alterative.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Kinetic typography, perhaps more simply defined as ‘moving text’, is an animation technique that fuses text and motion. Increasingly present in popular culture, kinetic text is a dynamic, engaging way to bring ideas to life and is perhaps an appropriate tool for your business…
First coming to prominence in Hitchcock’s enticing title sequences of the 60’s, kinetic text takes a standard, un-inspiring bulk of text and, through movement and graphic style, transforms it to better portray the information.
Reading a large chunk of text can become incredibly dull and monotonous for any audience. With kinetic text animations this copy is brought to life and emphasised through variation in font, size, colour, motion, angles, shapes etc. Key messages can be enhanced in the layout and timing of the piece, whilst iconography and graphics can create visual metaphors to support them further.
This great piece on procrastination is a fantastic example of engaging text and illustrates exactly how specific sections can be highlighted.
A very current style in the design world, kinetic text is often supported by narration, or created directly from narration (as in the video above). This works incredibly well as this form of visual communication can really add to the voice. Subtle movements and visual motifs can paint a picture of whose voice the audience is hearing and therefore – as with every presentation – a good script is essential.
This video encapsulates two different ‘voices’ and shows how their individual personalities can be reflected through animation and visual style.
Kinetic text captures audience attention and manipulates it to key areas, becoming far more memorable than block text. This is perhaps why many organisations now have ‘Who We Are’ text animations that help sum them up as a business. More personal than a couple of bullet-pointed slides and unique to their ‘voice,’ these animations can provide a great overview that is both interesting and informative. A gardening business, for example, could feature their text growing from shoots, floating down on leaves, or being trimmed by a mower: there are endless possibilities to be creative with text and this is perhaps why this creative trend may be around for a while yet; we even made one for ourselves.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
We have discussed presentations for business using an iPad previously. Today we’ll be looking at Microsoft’s offering, SkyDrive & WebApps in more depth.
Microsoft has recently released their Office app for the iPhone and latest iPod touch only. Their reasoning behind this is that SkyDrive & Web Apps are already available for the iPad. These work through the web browser on the iPad where you can access and edit your Office files online.
Unfortunately, we found that there are some irritating issues which regrettably let the service down; slideshows didn’t display in full screen (pinching to zoom in on them ended up with horrible pixilation of the presentation) and as the presentations are stored in the cloud, when we turned off the internet connection we were surprised to find that whilst the presentation still played fine the video content did not.
Ease of use: SkyDrive is very simple to use and many businesses will be using it (or at least SharePoint which works in a similar way) already. The web apps run Office software directly from SkyDrive in your browser with a simple click.
Cost: SkyDrive & WebApps is free. All that is required is a Microsoft logon which again, costs nothing to create.
Final thoughts: Considering this is from Microsoft, we were disappointed with the issues we encountered and really wish Microsoft would just release an official app for the iPad. The iPhone/iPod app is currently free if you are paying for the subscription based Office 2013 service. We think they would get a lot more subscribers if they offered the same app and scheme on the iPad.
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
As professional presentation designers we predominantly use Microsoft PowerPoint to create presentations for our customers, the main reason for this?
Compatibility. A very large proportion of our clients are PC, or more specifically MS Office based and using PowerPoint. The content we create needs to not only be viewed by them, but also edited, simply and with minimal hiccups.
Three and a half years on from its launch the Apple iPad is still the tablet market leader. Its initial success throughout the home consumer market has now spread, to the business sector too. And this is where as presentation designers we are faced with a problem… PowerPoint is not currently compatible with the iPad.
Whilst Microsoft have just released their Office app for the iPhone and latest iPod touch models, which is of course a huge step in the right direction, there is still no sign of a release for the iPad.
Clearly our clients want to utilise the stylish and portable nature of the iPad, but they also need a flexible, creative and presentation solution so what options are available.
Over the next few weeks we will cover some alternative presentation software solutions we have found and the advantages/disadvantages of each:
Adobe Captivate – An e-learning suite for the PC that supports HTML5 conversion of PowerPoint presentations.
Adobe Edge Animate – A new animation based program from Adobe that is completely HTML-5 based and therefore compatible with every web browser.
Adobe InDesign – Widely recognised as the premier print layout and digital publishing tool, InDesign also offers export options for the iPad such as PDF.
CloudOn – An application that can download and play PowerPoint files via Dropbox or SkyDrive from within the app. It offers some basic editing tools.
iSpring – A PowerPoint addon that converts presentations into HTML-5. Once converted, presentations can be downloaded from the web onto the iSpring app for offline viewing.
Keynote – Considered to be the ‘Apple alternative to PowerPoint’, Keynote offers many of the same features to Microsoft’s counterpart. A dedicated Keynote app is available on the iPad however; to easily edit content a pricey Apple Mac is required.
PDF – Developed in the early 1990s as a way to share documents, including text and images, among computer users of disparate platforms; PDF files have become the format of choice when something absolutely has to be viewable by virtually anyone.
Prezi – A cloud based presentation software that mixes whiteboard drawings and slides. The zoomable canvas has proved to be quite popular with its fast growing user base.
SlideShark – We have blogged about SlideShark before; which you can read here. It is a free mobile app which enables PowerPoint presentations to be run from the iPad.
SkyDrive/Web Apps – Microsoft’s SkyDrive combined with Web Apps allows the viewing and editing of PowerPoint presentations from within a web browser.
Our alternatives listed here are by no means the full extent of solutions available; as new software arrives on the market we will review it and look out for further updates to existing presentation alternatives. With the uncertainty around whether or not Microsoft will release a full iPad app, these alternatives are currently our only choice. Depending on the type of presentation that needs to be created, we can and have put some of these programs and apps to use successfully already.