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A St Louis web and graphic design company.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Can you see bluish yellow or reddish green?

While at the airport on my way to Chicago last weekend I picked up the Feb issue of Scientific America. It's always a good read and I was particularly intrigued by an article on impossible colors, colors that we are not supposed to see. Can you imagine a reddish green (greenish red) or yellowish blue (bluish yellow).

You can read about the theory here but cut to the chase and do these simple tests below to see the colors for yourself.
Instructions
  1. Click on each of the graphics below, this will bring up a much larger image in a new browser.
  2. Hold a finger in front of your nose and focus intently on it. This will cross your eyes.
  3. Slowly remove your finger from view
  4. On your screen you will see three boxes. The middle box will show the impossible color, a bluish yellow or a reddish green. Make sure the crosses line up.
Can you see yellowish blue?

bluish yellow


Can you see reddish green ?



reddish green

It took me a while to master the visualization technique but it is a bit like doing the magic eye pictures. The key to seeing the colors is to hold the cross steady. They are pretty unstable and seem to flick in and out but they are definitely colors I have never seen before.

How about you, can you see them?

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

How to work with your web designer during the design phase of a project

Last week I talked about How to Hire a Web Designer , today lets tackle what to expect and how to work with your web site designer during the design phase of a project.



What to expect
  • Your designer will create a look and feel of key pages of the site and you will be presented with jpegs of these pages. Nothing will be "clickable" at this stage.
  • The site will most likely be populated with Lorem Ipsum. This is because the designer needs you to concentrate on the graphical elements and layout of the site and not get bogged down in copy. 
  • The design phase is a very collaborative phase, expect a few rendition of a design based on feedback you give.
  • You will be given a time frame in which to critique. Imperative to keep your project delivery date on target.
How to Evaluate
  • How do you feel about the overall look and feel?
  • Does the color palette work for you?
  • How about the white space?
  • Are there intuitive navigational elements
  • Are there obvious call to actions?
  • To what element of the design is your eye drawn?
Giving Feedback

Don't be afraid to be brutally honest in your feedback. If the design is not working for you on any level it is much better to be upfront. However a simple "I don't like it" is no help. Your designer needs to understand what it is about the design that is "not floating your boat" and will help guide your evaluation process to fix on the elements that need to be addressed. For example, imagine you have a real aversion to the color purple and the inclusion of a purple element is causing "tunnel vision" Sometime just tweaking the color palette of a design can have the effect of " I don't like it" to "I love it".

In short being able to articulate  your likes and dislikes will ensure you end up with a design you absolutely love.

Signing Off

Once your designer produces the "winning" design" you will be asked to sign off on the design. Making drastic design changes after this point can effect the coding efforts during the next stage of the project and typically incur additional costs.

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Color palettes and web design

Last week I talked about  how color can be used in website design.

Quick pop quiz. What do the follow three web sites have in common?



The answer is ORANGE

Does the use of orange in these designs conjure up the same emotions or associations?  Lets take a look at a breakdown of their color palettes.



The color palette used in this site results in a cozy and friendly feeling. The use of orange here really adds warmth.


Teaming orange with cool blues produces an invigorating pop which not only helps guide the eye but also adds an element of energy.



Here again orange has been teamed with blue but in this case the use of yellow and orange adds a sense of friendliness and approachability.

So three designs and three different emotions, warm and friendly, invigorating and approachable.


2010 © St Louis Web Designer

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

The uses of color in web design

Color is one of the most important tools in a web designers tool box. It happens to be one of my favorite.

The uses of Color: Define: Engage : Differentiate

Color can can be used to define, think of brands like T Mobile (they have a trademark for Magenta) , UPS ( What can brown do for you) and our very own Indigo Image.



It can be used to engage - look at these example of call to action elements.




And can be used to differentiate, look how the use of color on this web site is tied into the navigation.



Colors are also associated with different emotions and meanings but interestingly these emotions can change depending on the palette in which they are used.

Stay tuned for more about color palettes next time.

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The anatomy of a repeating pattern: Free vector download

color sheet
Looking to design a unique repeating pattern? It is easier than you think.

Start with a simple shape like an oval

repeat pattern

Duplicate and rotate to form a flower shape


repeat pattern
Duplicate horizontally
repeat pattern
then vertically
repeat pattern

Voila!

Printed out these are a great coloring project for kids.
Download repeating pattern here

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Web design creative block? Try color sampling

Suffering from creative block? Try color sampling a photograph you are drawn to. The result, a color palette which may kick start your web design process.



St Louis web designer tip of the day.

© 2009 St Louis Web Designer

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Custom Cartoon Illustrations for your Website?

As a graphic and website designer sometimes my design tool of choice is simply a piece of paper and a pencil. This is especially so when a web site calls for custom cartoon illustrations, these work really well on websites targeted towards kids. The result is a very original feel to the graphics of the final site.

Here are some examples of custom illustrations I created for children's author Cynthia Reeg. I let my pencil flow freely, scanned the drawings and imported them into Adobe Photoshop. Then they were brought to life with the magic of color.


custom cartoon illustrations

The graphics for Cynthia's site are incorporated into the template of the page, used as navigational elements and add interest to sections of the site. Although all different they have a very branded feel due to the hand drawn and colorization techniques used.

Are you looking for custom illustrations for your new or existing web site? We can help


© 2009 St Louis Web Designer

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eye of the St Louis Web Designer


Fall is undoubtedly here in St Louis.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

An Identity in action

We have recently been working with Building Products Corp, of Belleville, Il, in the development of a brand identity for a new division, Bella Stone.

They are already putting the logo we designed into their marketing efforts, its great to see their identity in action!





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Thursday, October 23, 2008

What happens to Pixel and Vector graphics when they are enlarged.

Here is a graphic which illustrates what happens when you do an idential enlargement on pixel generated and vector generated circles.

The pixel generated graphic goes all blurry and not too nice at all. The vector one however stays crisp and clean.





Now imagine you want your logo enlarged 20 times and put on a banner on the side of a building. Which format would you want your logo to be in ... pixel or vector?

Any logo we develop is always generated in the vector format so it will perform however you want to use it.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The power of Adobe Photoshop Filters

One of the main tools of my trade is Adobe Photoshop.
I encountered a little creative block while trying to think of something to write on my blog today and sat there doodling with photoshop. In less than 2 minutes this is what I had created ...all done with standard abode filters. I used a smudge stick, accented the edges, applied a difference cloud and added some grain .. the only way I know this now is beacuse is by checked the history on the file I created.
Below this photo you will see the one I started with.


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We are being published in a new design book!

One of our web site has recently been selected to feature in a new design book, Market Smart Design. It will be published by Harper Collins in Spring 2009.

"MARKET SMART DESIGN Great Design Examples Created Specifically For Target Markets.
A smart, new graphic design bookfocusing on market segmentation."


The site we created for "The Rockwood" , a senior living community, will feature in the Baby Boomers category.

During the entire design process we kept a high level of focus on the target audience of the site. It features an important usability option allowing a visitor to easily adjust the size of the type on the page.


We are delighted "The Rockwood" has been selected for publishing!

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

New i Google theme: Perfect Petals

Looking to brighten up you i google page? Try our "Perfect Petals" a dynamic theme which changes throughout the day.

Get the theme by visiting this HERE




To see the full directory of themes designed by Indigo Image visit HERE

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Color and mood: A rainy day pick me up.

We are facing another rainy day in St Louis today and greeted by a rather gray sky again this morning it got me thinking about color and mood. For me gray is most definately a mood downer. I like bright vibrant colors and a blue sky with bright sunshine is an instant pick me up.

So if the St Louis weather is not going to cooperate today how about this for a digital pick me up. This was designed using Adobe Illustrator and is currently being incorporated into a dynamic iGoogle theme called color punch. It is not yet in the Google themes directory but you can get it via inthemes



If you are interested in Meaning and Associations of color read one of our previous posts

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Our web and graphic design blog

We started our blog in June 2005 and nearly three years later are still going strong.

You may find this blog intresting if you are looking to hire a web or graphic designer, you are interested in web site usability and search engine optimization or are a web/graphic designer looking for some tips and tricks.

Today I am going to talk a little about the sort of subjects we cover here for any of our new readers. Each of our posts are given one or more label to categorize them so I thought it would make sense to talk about our categories:-


  • Design Snippets
    We cover subjects here that are useful to graphic and web designer. For example Meaning and associations of color, What is Ipsum Lorem and Favicons.

  • Eye of the St Louis Web Designer
    A picture speaks a thousand words and most of the photographs we feature in this section are of something that has given us inspiration, from a fabulous natural color palette to a great texture or pattern. As mentioned thoughtout these posts a designer's eye never sleeps

  • FREE
    Who doesn't like free stuff. We cover everything from free custom i google designs, the free definition phase or our projects to our much visited recipe for a garden deer repellant.

  • Graphic Design projects
    A showcase of graphic design projects, from brochures, letterheads, banners, menus, logos, newsletters, greeting cards and packaging.

  • Indigo Tips
    Tips to improve your productivity and internet experience

  • Internet marketing
    The ever changing world of Search engine optimization.
  • Logos
    A showcase of our logo design
  • Project Progress
    We multi task big time and this section illustrates the current projects we are working on

  • Random Thoughts
    I think everyblog needs a section like this..a little bit of everything here..and as the title suggests ...random

  • STL Marketing executive
    A category written by our guest writer. He shares perspectives drawn from his experience of branding, global business management and marketing in a B2B environment.
  • Web design Projects
    A showcase of our web design projects

  • Web Site Usability
    Considerations for giving your site visitors the experience you want them to have.


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Monday, April 07, 2008

Another new theme for iGoogle

If you use iGoogle and your search page has a header that looks like this



did you know that Google now offers a directory of themes that allow you to customize the look of their interface?

They have just included a dynamic theme I created, which feature two boffins in a chemistry lab. The theme changes five times thoughout the day and follows the boffins as things go a little awry in their lab.




Click here to use this theme , if you don't have one already you will need a free gmail account

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Graphic Design Project ..and time!

We are currently working on a set of product sheets for Building Porducts Corp


This is my first blog post in over a week...it is sometime difficult to find the time to write but is something commit to doing at least once a week.

Intrestingly I had an email today titled
"What is Your Real Job?: A Performance Principle from Eric Herrenkohl, Clarius"
In it, Eric talked about writing not being something he does addition to his real job – it is an important part of his real job. Got me thinking.

You can sign up for his excellent monthly email Performance Principles at http://www.clariusinc.com/

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Image Optimization: Improve the load time of your web site or blog

For the average web site or blog most of the load time is a result of the images on the page, the bigger the image files, the longer it takes for the page to completely download.

To improve download time, professional web designers will go though an image optimization process where the images on a site are fine tuned via a balance of file size vs image quality.

The following picture of some nice juicy fall apples illustrate the process. The settings used to save the image were adjusted but it is not until you look at image 4 that a noticable degredation appears. In this case Image 3 would be selected having the best combination of low file size and image quality.

Although we use professional graphics software to optimize there are plently of free ulitilies available to do the hard work for you. My favorite is Net Mechanic ..here you can upload your image and it is presented in varous optimized forms. Pick the image that best suits your need, right click and "save picture as".






Image 1 : file size=14.1 Kb

Image 2 : file size=8.66 Kb

Image 3 : file size=4.58 Kb

Image4 : file size=3.02Kb

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Graphic Designer Satisfaction

As a graphic designer one of the most satisfying moments is when you finally see the designs you have been working on in their finished form.
Yesterday a client from Building Products Corp dropped by with a binder and tabs set I designed for then a while back... his comments were "Everything has been printed and looks amazing "
I dont want to appear boastful but I have to agree!


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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Eye of St Louis Web Designer

Designing on the beach is fun ..and not limited to just sand. Seems like I chose a great week to leave the soaring temperatures of St Louis to head for the beautiful Oregon coast.

Check back soon for more beach designs...bit of a change from web projects completed!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Give your brand image a polish with a Favicon

A Favicon is a little custom icon that appears next to a website's URL in the address bar of a web browser. If a site is bookmarked (Internet Explorer ("IE") 5.0 and above) the icon is also associated with the entry in the favorites menu...this makes a site easy to locate in a long favorites list.

See our favicon - it is based on our logo and imprints our brand image just that little bit further



Creating a favicon is quite a design challenge as you are working with a design canvas of 16 pixels sqaure ..which is very small and does not allow for detail. Once the graphic is created it is saved as an ICO format and uplaoded to the server.

A small snippet of HTML is added to your web pages

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />


and you are fully branded with a custom Favicon. If this is something you would like to add to your branding mix contact us here

And now for a little pop quizz

Can you name the organizations behind each of these Favicons? All but one of them are based in St Louis

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Copyright Questions Answered

As a web and graphic design company we often get asked questions about copyright issues. Here are some of our common questions.

If we are hiring you to design a logo who will retain the copyright of the design?
The copyright of any design we create, whether it be a logo or complete web site look/feel will always be owned by the client on final payment of the project.

Do I need to do anything to register the copyright of my design?
No registration is required to secure a copyright. It automatically arises upon the creation of the work in a fixed form. However it is possible to register the copyright of a design and doing so will improve your position if there are ever infringement issues.

Do you offer Copyright Registration services?
We do not offer copyright registration services and recommend you contact an attorney specializing in intellectual property law.

What is a Copyright Notice?
A proper copyright notice includes the symbol ©, the year of first publication and the name of the copyright owner. A copyright notice is not required but can also improve the outcome of any infringement issues.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Imagery ... and its use on web sites.

A recent visitor to our blog let us know how much he has enjoyed reading our posts. He said he particularly enjoys our "Eye of a St Louis web designer" photographs which have included everything from garden weeds, shells, acorns and our latest entry an ant habitat!
Thank you Mr. B for your kind comments.

It got me thinking about the use of imagergy in web sites. An image can speak a thousand words. Take this photograph for example.

We use it on the portfolio pages of our web site and team it with the phrase "Stand out from the Crowd" to emphasize the metaphorical message it sends.

Web site visitors are ...and this is not meant to be rude ... inherently lazy. As a web site designer one of my objectives is to get the message of any given page, across as quickly as possible and the use of appropriate imagery is a great way to do this.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

St Louis web designer: New brand image for Indigo Image

We are celebrating our 7th year in business with a fresh new logo for Indigo Image, published for the first time today.

We have maintained color and design elements from the original logo but given them a more contemporary treatment.

The launch of the logo has also be combined with a freshen-up of the web site with the introduction of new page graphics.



www.indigoimage.com

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Our approach to creating a web site is a very phased process : Design, Code, Populate and launch.

During the design phase our objective is to collaborate with our client to create a look/feel design, a suitable navigation system and layout content.

For clients, it is easy to become distracted by readable text rather than focus on the overall design so we populate our sites with the latin text Lorem ipsum. Lorem lipsum has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters as is seen in english so is perfect for achieving a look feel of content.

And what does Lorem Ipsum mean?..... nothing at all!

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Brand Consistency

Do your web site and brochure have a consistent look/feel and convey the same corporate message, are they offering the same customer experince? Do your business cards still have your old logo even though you had a new one designed 6 months ago?

Having a consistent use of brand elements is imperative to the success of a company.

Here is a quick checklist of common areas where your company branding elements can be applied:-

Business card
Letterhead
Envelopes
Fax Forms
Invoices
Folders
Brochures
Web Site
E- newsletter
Advertisments


Here is a recent branded magazine advertisment we produced for Sarah Grus Weddings which carried through the design of the company web site into a print medium.



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Friday, July 14, 2006

Web site Award for Counterfeit detection web site

We have just been awarded a study Spehere award for a site on Counterfeit Detection we designed and wrote. The site was selected as one of best educational resources on the Web.



Visit the site here

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A shape to inspire a St Louis web designer

Is it possible to have a favorite shape? ... as a graphic and web designer I certainly think so!
I have long been drawn ( no pun intended!) to spirals ..from celtic knot work, to the beautiful wrought ironwork seen in such abundance in Brussels where I lived for about a year.

Spirals are everywhere in nature too

...on the beach


..in my garden



Inspiring a st louis web designer!

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Who owns your site code?

The choice of companies to create and develop your company web site is huge. There are many questions to ask to ensure the company you select is the one who is going to deliver the results.

One question that may slip through the cracks is who owns the final code of the site?

Here at Indigo Image ownership of all the work we create is always given to the client on completion of the project. This includes not only comprehensive copyright but also ownership to code of the entire site.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

A web design and coding challenge.

As a web designer an important element of my job is to keep up to date with web technology.

A technology that has been floating around for a few years is the coding of web site without using tables to control the layout but cascading style sheets. This is certainly gaining popularity and has many advantages over the table approach.

I recently came across a challenge at zengarden.com;download the HTML and CSS file and create a unique web site..but by editing only the CSS file. It looked like a great way educate myself on the finer points of cascading style sheet issues and indeed was.

They have just published the design, Purple Haze, I submitted http://www.mezzoblue.com/zengarden/alldesigns/bydate/

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Meaning and associations of color

As a web and graphic designer my world is full of color. Today I thought I would share the positive and negative "meanings" of color.



Red:


Positive: Passion, love, blood, energy, Enthusiasm, Excitement, heat, power
Negative: Aggression, Anger, battle, revolution, cruelty, immortality


Orange:

Positive: Creativity, Invigoration, Uniqueness, Energy,Health
Negative: Crassness, Flashiness


yellow:

Positive: Passion, Love, Intellect, wisdom,joy, Idealism
Negative: Jealously, Cowardice


Green:

Positive: Fertility,Money, Success, Nature, harmony, Honesty, Youth
Negative: Greed, Envy, Poison, Corrosion, Inexperienced

Blue:

Positive:Knowledge, Coolness, Peace, Loyalty, Justice, Intelligence
Negative: Depression, coldness, Detachment, Apathy

Purple:

Positive:Luxury, Wisdom, Rank, Wealth, Imagination, Sopestication, Inspiration, Mysticism
Negative: Exaggeration, Excess, Madness

Black:

Positive:Power, sophestication, weight, formality, dignity, mystery
Negative: Fear, death, evil, remorse

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