Category Archives: Branding

Art Doodles

They say that your biggest critic (apart from yourself) is your children. As an adult, we shy aware from confrontation, criticism and candidness. Our children however are blunt, brutal and bullish. Not that this is a bad thing. To hear both of my sons say that Mummy’s macaroni cheese is the best in the world, is a compliment like no other. To hear however, that they would prefer Daddy to draw them a picture because Mummy’s not very good at it, well its a good job that I’m thick skinned. At least they are honest!

alien sketch colour in

It is no surprise that Mike is a great illustrator. As well as doing doodles at home, he has also illustrated for clients including NHS MyMaternity, and illustrated his own childrens books. Not a day goes by without either of our children asking him to draw something for them. Latest themes include Ghostbusters, aliens and scary clowns. Mike refused to draw the latter! I am proud to say that my eldest son Isaac, is following in Mike’s footsteps and is great at drawing. Where at the age of 30, I still draw stick men, Isaac, aged 6, can draw hugely detailed sea creatures, rockets, monsters, aliens… the list goes on. He even won the schools colouring in competition for his year group at Christmas time.

isaac ward portsmouth

Drawing is a massive part of both our business and family life. Had Mike not have been so creative, I doubt Tidy Design would be where it is today. His creativeness has influenced most projects that we have been fortunate to have been involved in. And with Isaac following in his footsteps, we need not worry about his future either. A mini member, is just what Tidy is looking for!

Here are some recent examples of Mike’s sketches for the kids;

alien head sketch

cartoon frog sketch

ghostbuster logo sketch

monster head sketch

ghostbuster man sketch

zombie cartoon swketch

Gandalf the wizard sketch illustration

Rosie

Company Branding

Let’s face it, company branding is a pretty important part of business; we need to get it right! So many of us neglect it, not allocating time to that important question; what does my brand/business stand for?

When I think of branding and brand development I think of a company logo (or name), a website (its images and content), social media activity, the people behind the products or services on offer, company values and end-goals. Branding is combination of these important elements – add them all together and this is how a customer perceives you.

I believe a strong brand identity will provide a company value beyond physical assets. Its worth a time investment, something us business folk should step back & review every so often…

Our Mission

Here at Tidy Design our mission is simple; to deliver a return on investment, be it for our customers or the staff we employ, working together we will do better. Each day we set out to offer our customers a quality service, the goal being to leave a long lasting and positive impression. Happy customers result in repeat business.

Thanks for stopping by, if you have any questions or feedback then please post them below.

Mike

Twitter & SEO

Twitter is an incredibly useful tool which can be used to help boost your business to higher levels, but if you aren’t aware of the best practices then you won’t be able to unlock the full marketing potential available to you.

Twitter Marketing

As with anything that’s as lucrative as Twitter is, people like to figure out the way it works and how to gain the most benefit from using the platform. This leads to research which you can take advantage of to help your numbers soar, using the Twitter machine correctly to increase the amount of interaction on your posts. It’s all about boxing clever – if there’s statistics out there which identify the best times for you to send out your tweets doing the opposite isn’t going to help you get the level of interaction that you’d like to see in return for you efforts.

So let’s crack into the numbers and find out how you can be efficient in the way you tweet.

Hashtags

Twitter Hashtag

When it comes to hashtags the most important aspect is research, there isn’t any point in using a hashtag that’s had no traction over the past 12 months. Make sure people will see it and it’s worth your time placing it into your tweet. On top of making your own searches to find out information there are tools such as http://hashtagify.me/ which gives data on specific hashtags and those relating to it.

If you’re creating your own hashtags there are a few must do’s to make sure they work. Make you hashtag short and concise, being straight to the point is a necessity here. It should also be recognisable and easy to follow.

Hashtags can either work for or against you. They’re great for getting your tweets found through searches and hook you into conversation topics but becoming hashtag happy can actually have an adverse effect to your tweet. One or two hashtags can significantly boost your user tweet, tweets with hashtags see twice the amount of engagement than those without but engagement in tweets that use more than two hashtags actually drop by 17%. #dontgetgreedy

Timing

Twitter Timing

Time can play a big factor in the engagement your tweets see. “Busy times” are the best times for you to put out your content, between 8AM and 7PM is where the largest engagement of tweets is to be found. This time period sees an increase of 30% than between 8PM and 7AM. Statistics show that the weekend is also a good time to send tweets, people are obviously using their downtime to browse Twitter as a spike in engagement of 17% is found over weekdays.

Another timing factor is frequency, over tweeting can become harmful to your brand. Putting out too many tweets in a short period of time can turn off users from your feed and even lose you followers. To make sure you keep on top of this it may be use for you to create a schedule for your tweets, knowing when to send out a tweet and what content it’ll include in advance can be a great time saver and make sure you don’t fall into the traps of over or under tweeting.

Wording

Twitter Wording

Keep your tweets conversational, the best type of tweet is one which is professional but not overly formal, making sure to exclude business jargon from you posts. This kind of tweet is something a user would be more likely to interactive with by replying, retweeting or favouriting.

The type of words used can also have a large impact on the viewer of the tweet, for instance imperative words telling the user to do something like ‘look’, ‘see’ or ‘make’ work very well. Including superlatives is also a good way of ‘bigging up’ your content and drawing eyes towards your tweet and helping push people towards clicking the containing links, try adding phrases like ‘the best’, ‘the most’ or ‘blow your mind’.

When it comes to the amount of words you may have 140 characters to use but it’s been found that using 100 characters is actually the optimal number for a tweet. As with your hashtags, keep your tweets direct, concise and to the point.

Content

Twitter Content

Images are extremely useful in boosting engagement on your tweets, including an image to a tweet can draw in 2 times the amount of engagement than those without. In a sample of 100 tweets the tweets with images saw 18% more click-throughs, 89% more favourites, and 150% more retweets. Those numbers speak for themselves.

It’s also worth directly asking for retweet, it may go against you initial thought but the numbers show that asking a user for a retweet does in fact work. Asking for a ‘RT’ can see your retweets increase 12 times, if you spell out ‘retweet’ you could reach up to a mammoth 23 times your normal retweets! For such a large boost this tactic is only used by 1% of Twitter users. Give it a shot and see how much on a increase you see.

Connections

Twitter Connections

If you’ve got a large Twitter following you can use this to help create connections with bloggers, if you see a blogger writing articles about the field you are in you can create a partnership where in return for solid backlinks from a reputable blog you can share their feature with your twitter base. It’s also a well you can return to because both parties are happy with the results they see, more exposure for them, better SEO rankings from the backlinks for you! A real win-win scenario.

Here is a base for you to work on for making tweets that are well received and return great engagement. Test these initial pointers on your upcoming tweets and see what improvements you can gain, add in your own research down the line and you can become a tweeting great.

Luke

New Southern HR Website

“A big thankyou to Mike and the team for giving me a brand new website www.southernhr.co.uk with a minimum of fuss but great care and attention to detail. From a very vague and short brief they have more than met my needs. Thanks David Miles”

southern-hr-website-portsmouth

As part of the package we included a free logo design and some branding, all in all this was a fun site to develop – thanks for choosing Tidy Design.

New Solent Fire Website

A few weeks ago Solent Fire contact us to discuss their website, it was pretty dated and required a complete re-design. Working with Solent Fire we put together a couple of design concepts, these soon evolved into the new website, please see below:

solent-fire-services

solent-fire-services-02

We hope you like the look and feel of SolentFire.co.uk, Tidy Design is delighted with the end result. We are now discussing the next phase of website development, please stay tuned…

solent-fire-services-03

Finally, it was great to receive such positive feedback from Solent Fire on this project, thank you so much for choosing Tidy Design.

4 Modern Website Layout Examples

Layouts have not changed an awful lot since the release of CSS3 and HTML5. The days of using tables to layout a website are long gone yet websites still feel table like. There are benefits of having an unorthodox layout. No matter your trade you will always have competitors and I bet a lot of those competitors have similar websites (table like). Will a user remember one hundred similar layouts or the one that was different?

Diamonds

CSS3 has really changed the way we can style elements on a page. Using transform we can alter the appearance of nearly any element. Giving us the power to create some really unique layouts. Rotating squares into diamonds is one of the more basic examples; nonetheless very unique compared to its square cousin.

diamond-layout

The layout I have created can be used in a number of ways. An e-commerce store may use the two side diamonds as links for either men or women. They could be used as image placeholders to accompany the text in the centre. Whatever you choose this is a sure fired way to ensure a memorable site.

Box Overlay

Overlaying boxes on a traditional looking website can really impact its appearance and break the mould. Using shadows you can effectively turn the content inside into high priority areas for your call to actions (cta). Users are more likely to scan those areas of the page before anywhere else. Overlapping the boundaries of the layout beneath can also add to the effect.

overlaying-blocks

This layout would be great for a personal blog, the longer box to the left can act as an effective side bar while the posts can be placed to the right. The featured post can occupy the top of the page, its image being inside of the overlaying square.

Masonry

There are a couple of ways to achieving this effect. The easiest is to use a Javascript grid layout library called Masonry, it sorts all of the boxes into optimal positions to prevent huge vertical spaces. As quoted from their website “sort of like a mason fitting stones into a wall”. This means you can have many different shapes and sizes all fitting nicely next to and beneath one another.

The sidebar is also a less common feature and takes up a fraction of the space compared to more traditional versions. Using icons and single words allows the sidebar to become less of a prominent feature but remaining just as useful.

masonry-layout

This layout again can be used for blogs but also for dashboards. The boxes can contain important information for the website owner such as statistics or quick actions etc.

Marginless

This final concept is the most traditional looking of them all but it still has its unique qualities. The majority of websites use CSS to include margin between their sections. A marginless layout throws that out of the window and uses padding instead to create its white space. If you can get the correct colours and images then these layouts can look amazing.

no-margin-layout

These types of sites are great if your trying to sell a single product or advertise your business online.

Hopefully by now you have a few ideas you can take away with you to start building some truly unique looking layouts. It does however take more then just a great layout to build a memorable website but its the foundation on which everything else will be placed. Have a favourite layout? let us know in the comments.

Blayne Phillips

A Surprisingly Busy Summer!

Summer is generally a quiet time for us all. The kids are off for the holidays, most of us are holidaying abroad somewhere to catch some sun, and for those people who did see the sun in the UK, were making the most of it sitting in their garden or trying desperately to top up their tans on Southsea beach. But for those in the vicinity of the Royal Naval Club in Old Portsmouth, they would have heard the faint but fast tapping of keyboards from within Tidy Design HQ.

Throughout the summer, Tidy Design has been busy with a handful of new and exciting projects. As well as the Royal Beach Hotel mentioned in another blog post, the summer months also saw the launch of local opticians Cameron Davies and saw the development of total helicopter solutions company, Heli Operations.

cameron-davies

Cameron Davies brief was simple, to develop a modern, fresh and simple website to showcase their services and glasses. We were provided with some brilliant photos of glasses that had been taken in front of Portsmouth landmarks, and it was without hesitation that we put these straight onto the homepage. A lot of website tennis was going on, with us and Cameron Davies going back and forth with ideas and edits to make this website as best as it could be. The result being exactly what they had asked for, modern, fresh and simple!

heli-operations-2015

Although Heli Operations was not launched till September, for the last couple of months Team Tidy have been exceptionally busy with the development of this site. The finish result was always in our mind, to build a site that was slick, corporate and exciting. With the team of Heli Operations exhibiting at the Monaco Yacht Show later this month, it was extremely important to get this site launched on time and looking first class. We say it each time we launch a new site that ‘it’s the best site we have done’, and with this site we feel no different and are truly very proud of it!

Rosie Ward

Helideck Agency

Last month we attended a meeting with Helideck Agency, a new company looking to modernise the helideck inspection, auditing and compliance services offered to offshore vessels.

Helideck Agency

We started by creating a couple of logo designs and branding concepts, following this we got stuck into the frontend design and development of their website. We are all very excited about this new venture; phase one is being uploaded to the web as I type so please visit Helideck Agency to find out more about this web project…

Link Building in 2015

The Penguin algorithm (an update to Google search in April 2012) transformed link building and SEO. Google Penguin targeted spammy links, punishing sites looking to manipulate organic search results with poor quality links alone…

google-penguin

Sadly Google Penguin can’t identify every bad link or bad site on the web, big “G” is however rolling out more updates to tackle this. Google’s ability to detect spam and link manipulation is only going to get better so box clever! When it comes to SEO and backlinks Google has a dream, to wipe out any manipulative linking practices. Quality links are key, they are harder to obtain, and they are the way forward.

I have listed a few links below you may find interesting, these covering the topic of backlinks, Penguin and link building:

The Future of Backlinks in SEO
How to Find Quality Backlinks
Poor Quality Links and Penguin
What are Backlinks?

So what about link building in 2015, what kind of links should we all be looking for? Well, Google wants to see genuine links, relevant links, links that add value to the web and its users. Think an original source of content or resource, further information, people or business. You should create something of value and then get people to link or talk about it – Post comments on multiple blogs / forums / social sites referencing this content you created.

The days of link manipulation have long gone; there is no quick fix. Link building is now about marketing your business online correctly, building links for people and not web crawlers.

I hope the above info on link building has helped; please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, we’d be happy to help. Thank you for reading, your comments / feedback on this article would be much appreciated…

Mapping out a website

There are many ways to start developing a new website; you could start writing the code, create a couple of mock-ups in Photoshop, map out page layouts on a whiteboard or in a notepad…

mapping-out-a-website

Information architecture (IA) is an important part of web design however it can often get overlooked. This could be the result of a small development budget or an “ASAP” deadline. How developers allocate their time will certainly impact the overall cost and ETA of a project.

A lot of thought/planning should go into a new website, be it a single page site or full-blown web application – Structural design and information is very important. If you require assistance mapping out a website then please visit our Web Design Process page. Good luck and thanks for visiting…