Category Archives: Graphic Design

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

My Maternity Website

Over the past few months Tidy Design has been working closely with NHS England to design and develop a web based portal for expecting mums. It was great to receive some glowing feedback from the project manager yesterday…

“We chose to work with Tidy Design as they had designed another local maternity app ‘mybirthplace.org’. We have been so impressed with the experience we have had; having regular updates and contact with the team. When we have wanted changes made these have been undertaken in a timely manner and we always experienced a very professional and dedicated team… Thank you so much for your amazing work!” – Donna Evans (NHS NORTH EAST HAMPSHIRE AND FARNHAM)

You can find out more about My Maternity at mymaternity.org.uk. Below I have uploaded a batch of illustrations I created for this project:

Have a great Feb and best wishes from us all here!

Mike

Albatross Paragliding

We are very proud to see the launch of one of our new websites… Albatross Paragliding! This website was commissioned by a client whom we manage a couple of sites for. These include ET Games, and MonkeyPuzzle.

The spec for Albatross Paragliding, was to have something simple and to include a paragliding video as a central element within the site. The video sees Dave (the instructor) paraglide over the stunning scenery of Hampshire.

Overall, the new site and logo took Mike a few days, and we feel the simplistic look gives the site a fun, fresh and exhilarating look. The pictures and video have also provided a great topic of interest within the office….would you or wouldn’t you?!?!

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

Olive Tree – Pen Sketch

Whilst on holiday in Italy this summer I did a lot of drawings, most of these doodles got given to my two boys who coloured them in, however a couple I kept for myself… Below is an olive tree, a quick pen sketch I did following a drive around Umbria, viewing its many olive gardens.

Olive Tree - Pen Sketch

Here are a few photographs I took of an olive garden, some pretty spectacular scenery;

Olive Trees 03

Olive Trees 02

Olive Trees 01

Following my olive tree sketch I started work on an olive tree branch, probably my favourite doodle of the holiday…

Olive Branch Sketch 01

Olives Sketch 02

Olive Branch Illustration

Personally I find illustration, fine art, painting etc a great escape… It really helps me to unwind and switch off from the busy World we live, a World heavily influenced by tech, social media and computer screens. So to conclude; I hope you liked my olive tree / olive branch sketches, please visit our illustration page for more tidy art, doodles and paintings…

Mike

Creating a Mobile Navigation

Today I’m going to give you a short tutorial on how to create a mobile navigation. This mobile navigation will slide in from the left side of the page. Here you will find everything you need to create the nav including how to animate the hamburger icon and the JavaScript needed to open and close the menu.

We will start with the html needed to create the menu:

The first step is to wrap the whole navigation in a ‘nav’ tag, this a new HTML5 tag which represents a section of code with the purpose of providing links. Next is the navigation toggle (the div which will be the trigger for opening and closing the nav), this will have a class of ‘nav-toggle’ and contain the hamburger icon to indicate where the user should click to open the menu. Three span elements will be placed into the ‘nav-toggle’ div, these will be used to create the hamburger bars. The main styling of these bars will be implemented using the ‘bar’ class and the positioning will be done through the ‘id’ assigned to them.

Finally we create a div with the class ‘nav’ that’ll hold the logo of the company as well as the ‘ul’ containing all the links needed. For now we will add a ‘#’ inside the ‘href’ as a placeholder, later this will be swapped for the url you’d like the link to direct to. This code will give you the very basic structure ready to be styled with CSS.

Moving on to the styling will start with the ‘nav toggle’. We want this to be set to ‘position: fixed’ so it follows us as we move down the page, if it wasn’t then the user would have to scroll up the page just to open the menu. Once the position is set to ‘fixed’ we can move the toggle to where we’d like it, I want mine to be sat at the top of the page to the left. Here is how:

If you’d like yours to sit to the right of the page swap ‘left: 10px’ for ‘right: 10px’.

Continuing the styling of the nav toggle we set a height and width of 40px along with a background colour. The colour we’re using in the tutorial is one which matches the clients colour scheme, but you can use any colour you choose. This will leave us with a small green square, we want our toggle to be a circle though so let’s add a border-radius of 50%. Add the following code to the previous block:

To finish of the main styles for the nav we will add a box-shadow to make it stand out from the page and a z-index so it stays above other elements on the page. Finally we need to set cursor to ‘pointer’, this changes the cursor on hover and without it iOS devices won’t trigger a JavaScript click event. Below is the complete css for ‘nav-toggle’ and how it should look in your browser:

Now we have the toggle styled we need to add the hamburger bars. This is a simple process as the ‘bar’ class has been added to all three necessary elements one block of code will style all three. The CSS is relatively straight forward. ‘Position’ needs to be set to ‘absolute’ so we can move them easily into place, and the ‘display’ set to ‘block’ so it can be given a height and width.

A nice trick here as they’re positioned absolute it to set the margin to auto and left and right to 0, this automatically centres them inside the nav toggle. Here are all the styles needed to make the hamburger bars.

If you were to refresh your page now you’d the nav toggle with one single bar at the very top, this is due to them currently set to the same position. All three bars are there they’re just sat on top of one another. This is where the ID’s come in, we need to target each bars ID and space them out evenly.

We can leave the nav toggle and return later when it comes to animating the hamburger ‘bars’.

Now for the navigation. We need the nav to stay on the side of page no matter how far the user has scrolled down, for this set the position of ‘.nav’ to fixed. Once the navigation is stuck to our scroll position it’s time to set the height and width. For the height a simple 100% is needed here for it to be the full height of the screen regardless of the device it’s viewed on. Width can be whatever you’d like, for the tutorial we’re going to use 230px. The starting code for the nav should look like this.

The final nav styles for now include a background colour which again is up to you what you choose, we will run with the colour scheme already in use and pick a lighter green that’s slightly transparent. The background colour style will be set to an rgba colour so we can specify the alpha, our is ‘rgba(126, 160, 97, .95)’. To make sure it always sits on top of the page elements a z-index of 5 needs to be set. The complete nav styles so far are:

Next is a very simple setup for the ul, only two styles needed here. First being ‘list-style: none’ this removes the the bullet points next the list items. The second style is for the padding, removing the default padding and adding a slight bit of padding to the right, we will use the shorthand here and set all 4 sides with one line ‘padding: 0 12px 0 0’.

For the list items themselves we only need another two styles, the font styling itself will be placed on the ‘a’ tag within the list items. Here we space out the list items with a margin bottom of .65em and align the text to the right.

On the ‘a’ tag we will set the font size, font colour and the remove the default underline an ‘a’ tag gives. You will see the sizes and colour we use below but you can pick your own to match the project you’re working on.

When it comes to nav logo depending on the size and content you may need to style this differently than us but for the logo the client uses to position it properly we use the following styles.

Now the nav is completely styled we can move on to making it functional. The first part of making it functional is to hide the nav from view, this is done with a transform style. We need to add ‘transform: translateX(-100%)’ to the ‘.nav’, this hides the nav off the page to the left.

We also need to create the class that we will add to the nav later with javascript. We add this class to the containing nav element in CSS and call this class open with the style ‘transform: translateX(0)’. When this class has been added the nav will sit where it did before we added the previous ‘transform: translateX(-100%)’.

The javascript is actually a very simple piece of code which once ‘.nav-toggle’ has been clicked toggles the class ‘open’ on the nav element. It’s the only piece of code needed and looks like this: (Make sure you have jQuery added to your project)

If you test this now you will notice two things, first being that when the nav shows it just jumps into place rather that sliding smoothly. Second, the nav toggle doesn’t indicate in anyway that it’s been clicked. We will change these two things now.

Starting with the animation side of things we will add a transition to a few elements to make sure that the nav slides in and the nav toggle bars will animate properly.

Another quick test and you will see the nav now slides in and out smoothly, you can either speed or slow down this transition by changing the .3s for whatever you’d like.

The very last part of this is to animate to nav toggle and hamburger bars on click. We need to add a few styles to the ‘.nav-toggle’ container, these being the position, background colour and box-shadow colour. We add a transform set to ‘transform: translateX(167px)’, if you changed the width of the nav you may need to adjust this. The background colour change is just to make it slightly more transparent and the box shadow is to change it to completely transparent. The styles for these changes are:

The styles for the hamburger bars are simple but effective, we start by adding a transition delay to ‘.bars’ which applies to all 3 and then move to individually styling each bar. The first bar takes a transform which moves it down 7px and rotates it 45 degrees. The second bar gets hidden by an opacity set to 0. And last but not least the third bar gives given the same styles applied as the first but swapped to negative, it’s moved up by -7px and rotated -45 degrees. All 4 style declarations are below for you to see.

If you’ve followed this tutorial through you should now have a fully functional nav bar that’ll work and look great on both mobile and desktops. We will shortly be adding a demo page where you can interact and dissect it if you curious about anything… Enjoy!

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.

A Recent Testimonial

Working with an array of different clients in different sectors is great, there is never a dull moment. Many thanks to Portsmouth NHS for their glowing testimonial; we look forward to working with you on future projects:

portsmouth-nhs-logo

“We asked Tidy Design to help us to develop an interactive, informative and user-friendly App to help expectant mothers choose where they would prefer to birth their baby. This is what they did. Mike and the team at Tidy Design were invaluable; their passion and expertise helped us achieve our vision.

The project was completed to an exceptional standard whilst maintaining timescales and financial targets. It was a pleasure working with Mike, Rosie and Blayne and we would not hesitate in recommending their services.”

gill-walton

Thanks again to Portsmouth NHS, here is a link to the project MyBirthplace.org

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