Category Archives: Graphic Design

Sea life illustrations

One of my resolutions for this year is to draw more – be it sketching, illustrations or painting, putting pen to paper is a must for 2019! As we approach mid-March I am pretty happy with my progress thus far, I’m probably averaging a few pieces of artwork each weekend.

For anyone in business (or with an entrepreneurial mind-set), I guess personal hobbies and activities naturally evolve into that next big business idea! Truth be told; I never intended my “draw more in 2019” resolution to become more than that, however this “natural evolution” mentioned above has led me towards a sea life art project.

Sea Life Art

My mission over the next nine months is to build up a large collection of sea life illustrations, varying in styles and design. The end goal is not only to sell canvases and prints via a funky looking website, but use this website (my artwork) to help promote “illustration services” to potential clients. I guess you’d call it an extension to the Tidy Design business model and website, a USP (unique selling point).

Anyway, below I have uploaded a small selection of this years “Sea Life Art” – I hope you like them, please stay tuned for more news on this exciting project.

Whale illustration

Treasure chest illustration

Stingray illustration

Conger eel illustration

Dolphin illustration

Baby turtle illustration

Lighthouse illustration

Over the next few days I plan to upload a few more sea life illustrations to this tidy blog post, please check back! Until then, have a good week / weekend and thank you for visiting.

Mike

Her Garden Gym

Check out our latest fitness related website for a personal trainer in Bognor Regis, hergardengym.co.uk.

The customer:

Jacqueline is a fitness tutor and personal trainer, who has developed her own personal training studio at home. Jacqueline provides personal training sessions, and offers support and knowledge to make beneficial choices and optimise health and fitness. The sessions are carried out in the comfort of her own training studio, a peaceful haven where women can train in peace and not feel judged as often can be the case in busy gyms. In 2019, Jacqueline will also offer nutritional advice as part of her training packages.

The Spec:

To create a bespoke CMS (WordPress) site that promotes facilities and services on offer. The feel of the site should be feminine, as the target audience is specifically for women. The logo has already been designed, so implementation of this will be incorporated into the site. Source code including images names and page URLs will be constructed with search results in mind. Keyword analysis and integration will form part of the project development. The blog will form a big part of its online success.  

The result:

We have used soft pastel colours to give the site a feminine and stylish feel. We have also integrated the logo provided into the design of the site, which also adds to the soft, natural, feminine impression. The FAQs page has also been integral to the site, detailing all potential questions for Jacqueline clients. We have made full use of the photos provided, which will be essential for Jacqueline to showcase her studio to potential clients. The blog is to be an important element to the site, where she will be able to pen her knowledge of training and nutrition counselling.

Feedback:

Thanks for your work on this, I am very happy with the way the website is looking…

Halloween Doodles

Having two young boys obsessed with Halloween means I draw a lot of scary stuff around this time of year! When I get home from Tidy Design the demands begin; “daddy will you draw me a pumpkin” or “daddy will you draw me a witch”, having young children certainly keeps us on our toes! This week my halloween doodles have consisted of a pumpkin, snowman, a pretty scary skeleton, Count Dracula and a zombie fish!

Halloween Pumpkin Sketch

Scary Snowman Doodle

Halloween Skeleton

Count Dracula Sketch

Zombie Fish Sketch

On completing a halloween doodle the real fun begins, both my boys get great satisfaction colouring or adding to my artwork, it is nice to watch :)

Forming good memories is important, just like forming good habits, so surround yourself with supporters…

Until next time, keep it tidy!

Mike

Creating a Cut Out Text Effect

Before we start, there’s a couple of small caveats to this incredibly visually pleasing (and simple) CSS trick, but don’t let that put you off!

First of all, there’s only two colours that this trick correctly works with – white on black, and black on white. The second of these caveats is browser support, it’s not available on all browsers, but it’s natural fallback is actually a perfectly suitable mid-ground. The blend mode stops working and you’re left with either black text on a white background, or white text on a black background, still completely legible and not out of the ordinary to see on the web. Check here to see where it will and won’t work – https://caniuse.com/#feat=css-mixblendmode.

Now, on to the trick itself…

This trick relies on mix-blend-mode. Simply put, the mix-blend-mode style describes how an element’s content should blend with the content of the element’s direct parent and the element’s background. There’s many different mix-blend-mode options, but the two we are using today will be ‘multiply’ and ‘screen’.

As I’m sure you’ll already know the majority of the CSS used to create this set up I won’t bloat out the examples with unnecessary code, but there’s a CodePen you can view which holds all of the CSS used https://codepen.io/TidyDesign.

We will start with black text on a white background. So create a h1 element and let’s give this a background colour of white, and a colour of black.

h1.cutout {
	background: white;
	color: black;
}


With this set up we can add the magic…

h1.cutout {
	background: white;
	color: black;
	mix-blend-mode: screen;
}

How simple is that, 3 lines of code and we’ve got a great cut out text effect!

Now, if you want to switch the colours to be white on black all we have to do is change these three styles. Swap over the colour and background values and change ‘mix-blend-mode: screen;’ to ‘mix-blend-mode: multiply;’.

That’s all, who doesn’t like effects this striking which are so easy to create! CSS is full of little secrets like this, try playing around with the colours and blend modes in the Pen to see what other things you can create…

https://codepen.io/TidyDesign/pen/aamweL/

Thank you for reading

Luke

UX Design Hampshire

UX stands for User Experience, some refer to this as UXD also known as User Experience Design. This process is all about enhancing user satisfaction, be it lowering the bounce rate of a web page or increasing the chance of an online sale through subtle call to actions / offers.

The process of UX design includes reviewing elements of interaction, we’d ask questions such as (1) who is your target audience (2) who is the competition and (3) what is your primary goal for the website / application we develop for you?

Before starting any UX design work we’d need to review and understand above. Some experimentation (visual design work) would follow, these would be concepts only, an idea of how things could look and move forwards. Your feedback on these designs would be taken into consideration, working together (and performing further research) these designs would evolve.

A review of information architecture (the structural design), users / user research, current trends (be it technology or browsing habits) is also advised. A good question to ask is “who is currently doing it well and why?”

In terms of UX this forms part of everything we do as a business, from sales to site development. Reflecting back; some clients had their own UX visions, views, ideas or a direction for us to follow, others simply leave us to it… Sadly “visual candy” is subjective, what works for one individual may not work for another. So with this in mind, a sufficient time allocation (UX development budget) is recommended plus we have to factor in trends. Concept work, competitor analysis and a collaborative approach will work best.

So what should you be looking for in a UX designer? Should you be employing a graphic design agency or a web design agency? Is UX design the same as web design? How much can you learn from the competition? What is a UX deliverable? Who is responsible for usability testing? These are just a few questions that spring to mind what I think “UX designer”.

Personally I would look for the following;

Natural ability

As humans we can learn to do a lot of different things, a simple formula of “time + dedication + hard work”, however natural ability (our genetics) are with us from day one. Before entering this crazy pace world of web dev I studied art at school / college, this evolved into a University degree called “BA Communication Design”. My point is this; an eye for detail and creative flair has been with me since I was little, long before web design. Some folk are natural runners, others great swimmers, my talent has always been art. UX design requires a combination of both technical and creative thinking, I’d suggest you look for someone (or a company) that caters for both. A lot of UX design boils down to common sense and an eye for detail – this is important to remember.


Check out some of my artwork here

Understanding usability

Usability and UX design go hand in hand, an ability to use a system, application or an object correctly without weeks of training is very important (time is money). Personally I think Apple do this so well, you receive a new iPhone, there is no 300 page user manual, simply a card with two or three instructions – boom, job done!

Good usability (and also first impressions) is essential to a positive user experience, but this alone does not guarantee a successful product… Usability testing forms part of this process, we have been involved with many focus groups (MyBirthplace.org and a room full of midwives spring to mind), understanding and working with user feedback is important. When I think of usability and usability testing I think of an object (be it a web page or application) designed with an end-user in mind, however end-users will vary. A good UX designer will want to make an object effective, easy to use (or learn), satisfying and faultless – catering for all (or should I say most) end-users.

As a UX designer, our main goal will be to solve problems, making “the process” as pleasant as possible. UX designers will need to be a jack of all trades or have people around them that bring certain skills to the table. For example; A pretty user interface may look nice (visually pleasing) however if its code base is buggy then application performance (speed and stability) may result in a bad UX. So, it is more than just looking pretty.

Personally I’d suggest you avoid listing out unnecessary product features and think more like Apple, less is more! Simplify your designs and documentation, incorporate your business and its mission statements to build trust. Getting a grasp on the user’s needs and goals is a must, from here we can begin to map out unique selling points or interaction frameworks / wireframes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post on UX design. If you have any questions for Tidy Design then please do not hesitate to contact us, we’d be happy to help.

Mike

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