Originally posted on http://www.fluorescence.co.za

A website is very much a living organism, it needs some sun, some water and a constant injection of viatmins and minerals. To start with create rules that are cast in stone based on these mistakes. In the end every website has his own set of rules, but even they can never be set in stone. To start with – a good website needs to be designed and developed by people who know what they are doing.

Get the right people for the job, designing a website is unlike designing anything else, it’s a scientific art form – and not a scientific analysis – or a work of art – but the optimal collaboration of both. Like all good design, a website should have an emotional undertone, something that keeps people coming back. Something that makes them like where they are. Something besides good content.

Yes it’s true content is king, and we will get to that soon, but good design is never a commodity and good design was never supposed to only be pretty pictures. Good design is the optimal communication of content and service to an accurately explored target audience.

Good design will always establish your brand and your services or products in an enormously overpopulated cyber world. For some or other reason there is this notion that a good website has to be ugly, boring, safe (let’s call it for what it is). Good design is not unsafe, good design is never boring and best of all it’s good to look at. Good design is good business.

Web design is an art form because it requires sensitivity, knowing what is going on in the cyber world, seeing the problems before others do so they can be solved before anyone else. It’s also an art form because there are no explicit rules, there are some, but the majority of them are tangible. There is no ultimate right and wrong, although there are many that would say otherwise.

The web evolves in itself, it’s in essence still in its waking period. Research is done and then proved wrong time and time again as far as the users on the web are concerned, yet some ‘studios’ persist on certainty in their rules of the web.

Web design is a science because there are numbers, search engines, audiences, hits, references, keywords and all forms of statistics to take into consideration. Creating the right formula for maximum exposure on a related target audience. Even if you are working from home, the web can make you money, if you are willing to commit. It’s a science because you are constantly brewing up new ideas and formulas to make your website even stronger than it already is till eventually it’s a Super Website, the truth is you never stop working on your website. It’s a total commitment.

Where to begin?

First off decide whether your website is going to be content driven, entertainment driven or in rare cases a combination of both. If your website is content driven, you would most likely go for a typical HTML website. If your website is entertainment driven, you will go for a core Flash website (typically). Consider the advantages and the disadvantages for both. HTML is quick, usually easy to interpret, easy to maintain and update, and most preferred for websites with stacks of content that gets updated regularly. Flash websites have multi media capabilities, and better interactivity out of an interactive entertaining perspective.

The possibilities revisited

Now that the dot COM crash is over, we are bound to learn some valuable lessons from it. The web has the potential to bring in money, even if you’re a one man organisation, but… There are a couple of points to take into consideration. First of all,… it requires total commitment. A website is not going to do anything for you if you just want to create awareness on the web, people don’t surf the web to become aware of your product or service, they surf the web to obtain knowledge, gather information, to be entertained, to purchase, or to tap into your culture.
   You need to provide “up to date” information. If a website even smells dated, the user will leave, except of course if you provide them information that has value, something they couldn’t find anywhere else. Even then they will not return after they saved all the pages to their hard drive. The key is to obtain return visitors, loyal visitors. Then awareness is automatic, awareness doesn’t come from a single visit.

All websites and their owners have a technological responsibility to educate users and to support the expansion and growth of technology. If websites and their owners do not take on these responsibilities then the entire web community suffers.

The other advantage that the web has over almost anything else is that even if you’re a one man organisation you can “appear” to be a professional enterprise. Obviously it’s not about the dishonesty, it’s about the potential to create an
on-line office that showcases your business in its optimal state. A red comic font on a blue background doesn’t do that…

The novelty of the web has worn off, but the experimentation has only begun. The key is not to compare apples with pears as so many people do. Every company’s website is and should be unique. This is why so many rules are tangible and none of them are caste in stone. Even two motor vehicles websites could and should have completely different approaches on the formula, the purpose and value of their websites.

Designing a website does not leave anything for chance, but that should not mean that the website can not evolve and certain parts of the website be experimented with. That is why we refer to a website as a living organism, it should experiment with different options without jeopardising consistency and continuity. This is by no means easy but important to keeping your website alive.

Like everything in life, it’s about making mistakes and learning from them. Be careful though, sometimes a mistake on the web does not come from a single event, and don’t

Here are some key factors to the experimentation of a website:
Be open to criticism (sometimes with a pinch of salt and sometimes take it serious) – Don’t over-react on all criticism.
You absolutely have to get stats on your website to measure the success or the failure of an experiment and the daily life of your website.
Some experiments might fail miserably, kindly apologise and move on.
There is a limit, don’t go crazy, there is nothing as dangerous as a website that is constantly down or falling apart.
Experiment with the parts and pages that is not effective and doesn’t appear to bring in any money.
Never stop experimenting!

Conclusion

There is still a lot more to say on web design and the development of a website formula, we will have something more about website design later this year. The key is to remember that a website can bring in money for any company, as long as you are committed to it every day
 


Originally posted on http://www.fluorescence.co.za 

It could be said that design is an artform, just like jazz or cooking or even plumbing can be an artform. But “art” is the expression of an individual or group of individuals, usually on a visual medium, although some genres of films and music could probably also be considered as art. But art generally relates to social or political issues. Design is not art, it is something completely different.

Most of our older designers and creatives know this, however, recently I have discovered just how many designers regard their work as art and not as a design. This is an important issue because something really appalling is creeping into the industry. The worst thing that can happen to a brand, to a design and- more importantly- the client, is your ego. There is no place for what you want, only what you think. Designers are problem-solvers; they need to find the most adequate solution to the client’s problem. If you cannot communicate with flawless reason why your concept is going to generate money on some level, it’s not a good design. Good design is not about pretty pictures and fancy fonts. However, it must be said: a good design will somehow be aesthetically pleasing, but this is a by-product of the real solution.

Your most important concern as a designer is communication, everything else comes in second. However, here comes the fun part: design is creative, design is rewarding and design can deliver gorgeous works of art that sell. Yes, you can create artworks in design, but not the other way around.

Let’s use the Klipdrift advert, that has recently screened on our TV sets, as an example. For me and the studio there are a few simple questions to ask as to whether an advert is successful:

Does it communicate the product?
Does it communicate the brand?
Can the local audience or target audience relate to the advert ?
Is it well produced?
Does the mood, actors and script distract from or attract to the communication of the product and brand?
Do I enjoy watching the ad, even if it’s been showed often?
Obviously, a proper analysis of whether a solution, in this case an advert is adequate, can get a lot more complex, but let’s just leave these as basic benchmarks.

If we look at the Klipdrift advert, in my opinion it’s a work of art, because in all these aspects it rates favourably. The brand is well communicated and sharp on target, the product is well communicated and appreciated (even if we don’t drink Klipdrift). It’s brilliantly local with a fine understanding of our rainbow nation, sensitive to the communication disparity in typical everyday South African life. It’s humorous and shows a sense of “The good life”. The mood reflects very accurately on the presumed target audience/s and could even spread into new markets. The actors, props and mood also communicate at least in concept – a most favourable day in the life of an average South African or someone that would typically drink Klipdrift. There are many other facets we can touch upon and the discussion can go on for hours, but my point has been made.

Now it’s time for an example of something that is perhaps not so successful, at least in my opinion.
We recently went to see a film, Wicker Park (bit disappointing), when this FNB advert show on the screen.
   It starts of with some traditional South African tribesman, which in itself was a bit condescending and patronising to me. He is reading a poem out loud about all the good people in South Africa , and how they make the world tick. The ad was loud and made the point and in the end, as I suspected it was an FNB ad (well, that’s sort of a good thing). The problem is this,-
I had nothing to relate to, and the problem was not the fact that they used a tribesman, but the fact that he showed nothing to me that I could or want to relate to;
it was all virtue with the sun setting in the background. So the problem was that all the elements of the ad – the actor, his voice, the mood, the background, the props and the story had baggage that was uniquely different, so the communication got mangled, every element of the ad contained information that conveyed different messages. So there was no unity in the message.
I love adverts that portray local South African pride, and there are many examples that come to mind that really moved me. MTN (Madiba at empty stadium), Standard Bank (different interpretations of fire), Alive with possibilities. But this advert just did not have this, and the key problem for me is the baggage of all the elements that presented opposing messages of communication.

They key is to realise that everything communicates – music, mood, actor, baggage, design, character, story, concept, production, format, quality and so on. Yes, that means everything, every single thing that is seen, heard or interpreted by the audience. No element must ever stand out on its own.

This is where creativity starts, and every single solution is different. After some years it becomes easier, but the creative challenge is always there. There is no project too small, too easy, or too boring. Even if you’re doing a layout for a local school newspaper, the reward is awesome if you know that you have found to ultimate solution to reaching the audience. Not just reading the content,
but experiencing it.

So the question is not whether something is original, although if you do it right it will always be; the question is not whether it is beautiful, although all perfect solutions are beautiful. The question is not whether it’s cool or funky, although sometimes you get lucky. The question is; how pure is the communication into the heads and hearts of your audience?

All solutions are unique, just like all problems are unique. So any problem properly addressed will be original, but don’t be afraid to use tools and trends that help you adequately solve these problems. On this note it is important to state that copying work is not creative, it is not problem solving and is not design. But using what is out there, interpreting it, deconstructing it and remolding it around your problem in a unique way, is. We have in the past had people copy our work, which
I believe was always original, because of what was just said. So the sad part that these copycats don’t quite understand, is that design (problem-solving) is a long and hard process and there are no shortcuts.

Art is like poetry, an opinion and interpretation of the artist.

Design is the interpretation and communication of the client – never the self.

Copyright Steven Brewis
Fluorescence Media Design 2005
 


Print Services

01May07

Originally Posted on www.fluorescence.co.za
Print media and design

Print media refers to traditional graphic design, brochures, packaging, corporate id, business cards and advertisements – anything that you can touch or attempt to touch in the real world.

We will not likely ever see an end to “print design” as it is called, even when we use CD-Roms, they will still need sleeves, and computers and software will still need instruction manuals and reading from a computer screen is just not the same as reading from a piece of paper.

In the graphic design industry there are hundreds of different genres of design studios with different methodologies, and different ideas to what sells and what doesn’t. We believe in one thing above all and that is; “Communication”. If there is no communication with the target, there is no sales regardless of statistics, methodologies or concepts. As is happens good design is good communication so good design is good business. “A Good design” is typically something like a brand that you want to belong to.

So good communication is when the right audience (your target) feels proud to belong to your brand. This is proven time and time again, we believe consumer loyalty can only be obtained with good service and passionate branding – or good design. This methodology can be translated into all forms of design, magazines to DVD ROMs.

This methodology does not only affect retail or consumer related industries. In the corporate environment – business are constantly looking for the company with the best edge, the most credible reputation, the most room for growth offering the most effective and reliable service. 
 
Good design (communication) in the corporate business world would need to be either with the times, or just ahead of the trends. How a business is portrayed often comes before the service benefits. If a company looks reputable half the marketing is already done.

Print media can be used to achieve many goals: it can prompt action, catch attention, arouse desire or spark interest. We can provide your company with all the tools needed to reach the relevant target markets with a clear portrayal of the essence of your company’s identity, brand, services and products.


Originally posted on www.fluorescence.co.za
Multimedia 
Multimedia is a form of rich media presentation for both large corporate clients and smaller enterprises.

Multimedia refers to the planning, design, development and distribution of interactive mediums such as CD/DVD ROMs but can also imply e-mail able and downloadable rich media that usually includes sound and animation.

Multimedia is often understandably confused with web development, there is a convergence and a grey area between the two, but they still remain separate from one another.

Multimedia refers to onscreen presentations, interactive cd/dvd-roms, kiosks, downloadable promotional material such as screensavers or games to name but a few. It usually incorporates sound, video, animation and various types of mediums to interact with the user.

Multimedia is perhaps richer in the types of files and mediums that can be used to penetrate a market or a target group. High quality audio can be used, full screen video material, 3D animated features and long animated sequences, as well as various types of interaction with the user such a voice recognition and unique device control.

A PowerPoint presentation is just one little spec in the realm of multimedia but perhaps the most commonly used.►
  Interactive CDs has the ability to showcase, teach and impress almost every type of consumer with a computer and a CD-Rom.

CD-Roms can even be shaped as a business card with valuable service related queries, interesting and fun related content, but the key is – before it’s too late, to give the user real value! A little secret from us >>, entertainment related value combined with real practical usable information can be used to make that first spark to getting real loyal customers and clients.

Our multimedia capabilities include:

PowerPoint / Director / Flash presentations,
Onscreen presentations,

CD/DVD Rom authoring and all types of interactive CDs,
E-mailers and E-mail able applications such as interactive invites,
Downloadable content such as screensavers, skins and desktop themes
Some of our multimedia projects

Mercedes-Benz (CD-ROM)
Mercedes-Benz logo Animation
SASFIN Graph Animation
Leaf Character Animations
Munimed Cinema Advert
Speskom
Wealth-e-Trader (30 minutes)
Goldgate Mining Training Video (60 minutes)
Proudly South African (CD-ROM)
AA Autobay (E-mailer)
Whiteflash (E-mailer)
Proudly South African (E-mailer)
Sanlam Promotional (E-mailer)
Old Mutual (E-mailer)
__________________ _________________
 


Originally posted on http://www.fluorescence.co.za
Website design & development

Since the Internet’s humble beginnings, when it was first used by a small number of academics in the 1980s, it has grown into a formidable and revolutionary communication medium. Although the Web has already had a noticeable impact on the commercial arena all signs point towards the Internet continuing to grow in business importance.

The web can provide a unique forum for marketing, public relations and customer liaison functions. It can be used to generate additional revenue through e-commerce. And it can be used to enhance a company’s internal functions and processes. Regardless of how it’s used, one thing is clear: taking advantage of the Web is vital to business in the twenty-first century.

Yet despite the significant benefits it offers, Web media is still plagued by many problems. The main root of the problem seems to be lack of appreciation of the possibilities the Web presents. In fact, most of the websites we design have already been through a few incarnations before coming to us.

Our website services cover the whole spectrum of the web medium, from content development and design, to interactive flash websites, to content management solutions.
Here are some of the benefits of trusting Fluorescence Media Design with your web

  • Quality design from an award winning design team
  • Unique design, that distinguishes your brand and your image from the competition
  • Content that has been developed with research on whom your target audience really is
  • Search engine ready and optimized websites submitted to all major search engines
  • Optimized for printing, regardless of how involved the website gets
  • Cheap solutions to expensive search facilities even in Flash or Acrobat related content
  • Websites that are truly developed with the technology the web offers
  • A passion driven team that puts a value and not a price to their work
  • Acclaimed web animation and interactivity for flash related websites
  • Secure database web development for large scale content and commerce related websites
  • Free domain set-up and initial administration
  • Error handling and solutions

Originally from www.fluorescence.co.za 
Logo design & development

Your logo is your identity, its more than just an emblem – it represents your company, your products, your culture and your vision for the future. Your logo is used to identify your company amongst millions of other companies with logos, including the competition.

Your logo will work for or against you – for years to follow. Your trademark in the industry has to be one that adds value to your brand, and in turn becomes the essence in the brand. If you change your logo it means something changed in the company, it could mean a new target audience or new ownership or a new direction for the company.

The design of your company logo should therefore not be taken lightly, it becomes hard to change a logo later, for example – imagine a big brand like Coca Cola, Nike or Vodacom changes their logo completely. What sort of money are we talking about to change the brand awareness for such a big empire. Many companies start out small and end up on the stock exchange with brands that are short lived and disappears in the mud with thousands of other brands.

Sometimes a company wants to change their brand. Here in South Africa most of the petroleum companies changed their logos, not because they had a change of heart, but because they had to make a dynamic change to the perceptions of their volatile target audience, who became more conscious of the environment and appreciative of a healthier lifestyle and planet.

If we see the importance of the brand and the role the logo plays to the brand – then we understand how important it is that our logos stay current for as long as possible.

Costing:
To work out costing on a logo, is an ever evolving science. Because every company is different, just like people are different. Would it be fair to charge the same price for “Coca Cola” as for “Pete’s Soda”, no, because Coca Cola’s brand will have reached a Billion Dollar price tag, where as Pete’s Soda doesn’t even cover costs. The research that goes into a big brand could literally reach millions, the research to develop a logo for Pete’s Soda could involve walking into a shopping mall and asking a couple of innocent bystanders to participate in a survey.►
  
Corporate identity
 
Your corporate identity and stationary (business cards, letterheads etc.) is key to developing a strong brand. A corporate identity is essentially a list of rules – of dos and don’ts to compliment your brand. A formula that dictates what images, colours, fonts etc. are complimentary to support your brand. Designing the corporate identity, logo and corporate stationary is the process of deciding who you will reach. Your target dictates the direction of your marketing. Your target changes, evolves over time – what was hip or fashionable three years ago, might not be hip today.

Your target audience can be anticipated by the design of your brand, but true successful branding will actually lead your target audience into a direction rather than simply accommodate it. The benefits of leading your target audience into a direction are obvious, yet too many brands simply accommodate the audiences and rarely exceed expectations.

Your corporate identity could also be slightly more flexible than your logo. If the logo permits, your corporate identity can be adjusted slightly on an annual basis to accommodate changing trends and revitalizing the brand.

All design has a limited life span, even the classic design styles. Logos are the least likely to change but almost everything else should have room for growth and evolve naturally. A brand evolves with time, to oblige to the intended audience. ►
  .Quite often a campaign is driven too far for too long and the effects of this means losing business to evolving competition. It is good to design an identity that has a long lifespan, essential even – but it is as important to know when the time has come to pump new blood into your sector of the market. With that said, nothing can be worse than a campaign that is short lived.

Your campaign uses your corporate identity as a guide to send an accurate message that is not conflicting within your business. Campaigns in itself then reinforces the logo, the corporate id and therefore the brand.

Our logos and corporate stationary follows amongst others these strict guidelines to the development of a brand, that has an unlimited lifespan, that can evolve without having to be reinvented and where all parts of your marketing send an identical signal to your target audiences.
 
Campaign development & design
Your corporate identity and stationary (business cards, letterheads etc.) is key to developing a strong brand. A corporate identity is essentially a list of rules – of dos and don’ts to compliment your brand. A formula that dictates what images, colours, fonts etc. are complimentary to support your brand. Designing the corporate identity, logo and corporate stationary is the process of deciding who you will reach. Your target dictates the direction of your marketing. Your target changes, evolves over time – what was hip or fashionable three years ago, might not be hip today.

Your target audience can be anticipated by the design of your brand, but true successful branding will actually lead your target audience into a direction rather than simply accommodate it. The benefits of leading your target audience into a direction are obvious, yet too many brands simply accommodate the audiences and rarely exceed expectations.

Your corporate identity could also be slightly more flexible than your logo. If the logo permits, your corporate identity can be adjusted slightly on an annual basis to accommodate changing trends and revitalizing the brand.►
 


Originally from http://www.fluorescence.co.za
Broadcast development & production

Our specialty lives in the production and direction of below the line commercials, corporate videos, event videos (such as award ceremonies) and music videos using digital film, 2d and 3d animation. Some of the work we have done includes – an event/product advertisement for Telkom, a gala event opening for Iscor, the award ceremony for the Sappi think ahead awards, animated study guides for RAU and Technikon Pretoria, the first animated music video to receive a finalist award at the SAMA awards, presentations for Stauch architects and the Senegalese government and year end function award ceremony for TBWA Gavin Reddy. We’ve also produced numerous outstanding corporate videos, architectural visualizations and cinema adverts.

The motion graphics and video industries have gone through some changes during the recent four years, with the development of new technology and equipment, comes new possibilities and problems. Material can be produced cheaper, broadcasting requirements could also be penetrated with a new market using for example digital cameras instead of film. However, this new technology does not come at a compromise. Film still has a much higher colour value than digital, therefore film looks and feels more accurate to actual life, which makes it more aspiring and believable. Although digital production costs are less, it is visible, not just to the trained eye but anyone that watches movies and music videos will feel uneasy.

We don’t recommend using digital filming for broadcasting material, in above the line commercials for cinema and tv, even though it has become more common practice.

It is key to always communicate with your audience, representing something they can or want to be associated with.

Communicating with your audience is more a science that a creative accident, a formula can be calculated to opt for proper communication. Although concept is important, no concept can survive for long on a weak production, however – a weak concept can run for years if it is well executed. More importantly is communicating the brand, everything else comes afterward and must always support the brand.
▪ Broadcast development & production
▪ Animation and visualisation
▪ Video & Film direction

Broadcast development & production

Our specialty lives in the production and direction of below the line commercials, corporate videos, event videos (such as award ceremonies) and music videos using digital film, 2d and 3d animation. Some of the work we have done includes – an event/product advertisement for Telkom, a gala event opening for Iscor, the award ceremony for the Sappi think ahead awards, animated study guides for RAU and Technikon Pretoria, the first animated music video to receive a finalist award at the SAMA awards, presentations for Stauch architects and the Senegalese government and year end function award ceremony for TBWA Gavin Reddy. We’ve also produced numerous outstanding corporate videos, architectural visualizations and cinema adverts.

The motion graphics and video industries have gone through some changes during the recent four years, with the development of new technology and equipment, comes new possibilities and problems. Material can be produced cheaper, broadcasting requirements could also be penetrated with a new market using for example digital cameras instead of film. However, this new technology does not come at a compromise. Film still has a much higher colour value than digital, therefore film looks and feels more accurate to actual life, which makes it more aspiring and believable. Although digital production costs are less, it is visible, not just to the trained eye but anyone that watches movies and music videos will feel uneasy.

We don’t recommend using digital filming for broadcasting material, in above the line commercials for cinema and tv, even though it has become more common practice.

It is key to always communicate with your audience, representing something they can or want to be associated with.

Communicating with your audience is more a science that a creative accident, a formula can be calculated to opt for proper communication. Although concept is important, no concept can survive for long on a weak production, however – a weak concept can run for years if it is well executed. More importantly is communicating the brand, everything else comes afterward and must always support the brand.


  

  
3D Animation and visualization
 
3D Animation has an unparalleled ability to convey information and demonstrate concepts. Perhaps the most important benefit that 3D Animation offers is that it allows for an accurate, yet virtual, representation of models and concepts. The medium also lends itself to a vivid presentation, which in turn enhances understanding.

3D Animation can be a powerful tool to accurately demonstrate products or enhance presentations. And, with the technology that enables 3D to be integrated into all kinds of media design growing rapidly, we see its importance continuing to grow.

Our Animation Capabilities:
We’re experienced in using 3D/2D for cinema adverts, presentations, corporate videos and short films both using 3D(3 dimensional) and 2D (flat) to accentuate traditional video or entirely animated productions
  . Our capabilities include:

Story line / concept development and direction
Character development & animation (2D & 3D animation)
3D Model design and production for representing new products or packaging
All types and styles of 3D animation
Flash animation, to use for multimedia or web
Architectural representations & visualizations
Animated music videos, corporate videos, or educational resources
To be used in normal print or digital design as a medium
General 3D rendering
3D Compositing
Stop frame animation
__________________ _________________
Development| 3D | Video | Top of page
 
 
Video/film direction and production

Video can be a powerful contributor to any advertising campaign and, although costly, can offer fantastic return on investment. And as new media continues to grow and evolve, video can be applied in a range of new ways for maximum impact

Our video capabilities:

We’re experienced in for various types of projects that include:

Corporate videos
Music videos
Event onscreen productions (such as award ceremonies, or product launches)
Intro videos, typically for multimedia projects (see multimedia section)
Training videos
Below the line, cinema commercials
Above the line commercials (outsourced)
DVD authoring (see multimedia sections)
__________________ _________________
Development| 3D | Video | Top of page
  Some of our videos/animations

HP Animated Clip
Mercedes-Benz logo Animation
SASFIN Graph Animation
Leaf Character Animations
Munimed Cinema Advert
Speskom
Wealth-e-Trader (30 minutes)
Goldgate Mining Training Video (60 minutes)
Technicon Animations
Bollywood
Peepshow
Sappi Think Ahead Awards
Truvelo Product Animation
BlackMilk
Iscor
Crossmedia
Mystify
 




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.