Friday, 26 February 2010

Photography Website Mock-ups

I thought I'd compare and black against a white version. To see what background makes the photography stand out. At the moment I like the black background more because it make the photo 'pop' more. I am going to have a word with the client to see where she wants to take it.

No matter what colour scheme I choose I need to change the font and overall logo design. I think It is going to be a very important part of the website to inform people about her photography and who she is. Also I could play on the title and do a little animation so it doesn't take away any emphasis from the banner . Maybe of a camera and tripod chasing each other?

I see her colours being black, white and red for a sophisicated, passionate representation of her.

Monday, 22 February 2010

This YouTube video briefly describes some of the disciplines I will take into consideration whilst designing/creating my photography website. Typography will be a good tool to use at it will enable me to keep the website simple alongside the bold photos.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Flash Inspired Photography Websites

  • I like this site for its smooth use of flash from each section (the dark grey part of the page moves up and down)
  • I like the simple use of black white and grey
  • The white title works well to draw your attention to his name
  • The 'hand made' feel makes it feel personal
  • Also the polaroid shots make the photos look 'real', again emphasising the personal look.
  • Simple yet has a good impact with the flash introduction. Also lets teh viewr know what the website is about whilst offering tehn an interesting form of interaction
  • Simple, clean cut design with a bold edge.
  • My favourite part of the website is the typography for the logo

Social networking
Many photographers have a page on Facebook, or a Flickr or Twitter account.

Flash-based websites can be beautiful and effective, freeing the web designer from the limitations of HTML and CSS. The downside is that they’re expensive to create, can take time to download and aren’t good for SEO. Often used by pro photographers who will send their url to interested parties and need a spectacular showcase for their images.

HUGE photos
Photography websites are naturally dominated by images. A recent trend is to display large photos for maximum impact.

Sophisticated design
Photographers are visual artists and need the design of their websites to reflect this. Good design often works in the background by making websites quick to load, easy to navigate and search engine friendly.

Content over design
No matter how good the design, content is king. It may look pretty, but if it doesn’t inform and entertain, your visitors won’t return. Some of the most popular photography websites are nothing more than a free Blogger blog.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Arts and Organisation website

Some of Saira Macleod's photography.

My second brief entails designing and coding a 5page website, validated against WC3 standards with at least 3 interactive flash pages, widgets and banners of various sizes. I will need to include-
  • Diary/journal page in CSS/XHTML that will draw on a MYSQL database using php.
  • Server side scripting and database
  • CSS and XHTML will work as the frame work for interactivity
  • I need to consider the data that my application needs to store, key operations that the application must perform
  • The client must be able to update their journal
  • Display their art form
  • And finally the site should be a tool for gaining further fans, customers and visitors.
I have chosen Saira Macleod, a documentary (2ND year photographer at Nottingham Trent) to be the client for my website. She currently networks both in person and digitally but wants to take digital networking to the next level with a website that focuses purely on her photography with a minimalist edge to the overall design. She uses facebook, twitter and blogger to network and track her photographic journey. See

At the moment we are discussing design plans, aims for the site, accessiblity and interactity for her site so I will keep you all updated of it's progress.

Design Exercise 14: Social Network Integration

Two uses of Social Network integration (research twitter and rss scripts).

At the end of the day social networking, like most things in this world comes down to money and power. Many people have become 'addicted' to Facebook through the sense of power they get from spying on peoples lives but there is something else deeper to social network integration. The RSS subscriber chooses what they want to see, and what information they wish to receive. Knowing they have full control, and that they do not have to provide any personal information to subscribe, they will be more likely to opt-in therefore social networks can be used for advertising. Advertising can be used through pop-ups or in the form of rss. RSS can be a good for of information based advertising because people are subconsciously taking in the information as a form of news that businesses can select pieces of information to influence their audiences decision whether to buy a product etc.

Also as we all know twitter is a good form of networking with employers for many types of jobs but it is slowly being integrated into everyday use of all websites as widgets are being worked into the design to attract people. Bringing the widgets into the design builds up momentum as more and more people start to talk about your company, product or job etc...

Relevant Social Networks For My Photography Client

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Sudden Inspiration

I am running a bit behind with my flash banner (although we haven't been set a deadline for it). So far I've found flash banner a bit dull and too annoyingly commercial. Do I want to be part of that annoying pop team?! Well anyway whilst looking for inspiration I came back to the studio-output website (that wouldn't load on Friday!) It looks really good I love the simplicity of the mouse over and the text below the title changes and the video is really vibrant and creative with a flowing energy.

The second screen shot above has made me think of interactive animations I could do for my banner as I keep changing my mind about what choice to go for. One of the USP's for the blackberry is it's GPS which fits in with the name storm so I could do a quick miniature adventure that suggests that the phone can get you through any situation.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Exercise 13 Update

Whilst I have been mind-mapping ideas for the Blackberry Storm it has got me thinking about why people will buy the phone and not a cheaper one. Well to start with it has-
  • Touch screen
  • 3GS
  • Loads of applications
  • Camera
  • Sleek design
  • In competition with the iPhone (might attract people who don't like apple but want a product of a similar nature to the iPhone).
Also by buying this product what will it say about them as an individual who has brought it? I think this is a good way of looking at teh product so I want to use peoples faces as interaction tools between the USP's (above) and different people therefore the point being that who ever you are, wherever you are there is a use for the Blackberry Storm.

Apple iPhone Banned By Advertising Over Misleading Internet Claims

The non existence of the iPhone use of flash has started to bite them in the arse! They have been banned by the uk's adverting watchdog for insinuating that you can reach any part of the Internet from the iPhone however as we all know flash is a key part of the Internet that apple has chosen not to integrate into the iPhone.

"You never know which part of the Internet you'll need ... which is why all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone," ran a voice over.

Apple said that none of the advert content was showing Flash or Java (of which it doesn't support) ans that the iPhone use of Safari is built to open Internet standards.

So what does this mean for Apple? Could this open up the market for Flash applications that we take for granted?

Friday, 12 February 2010
Speak Visual is a graphics processor that is designed to make your visuals stand out and advertise peoples individual work.
Glue specialises in production adn post-production for media. They create 3D motion graphics for online environments to interactive virals.
Apart from mono-face being quite entertaining (for a few minutes anyway) is an advertising agency that lives by the moto 'simpler is better'. It has a 'Mr Potato Head' wesbite to attract people to teh interact aspect of the company and how they use it to advertise.

Design Exercise 13: Flash Banner

Scenerio: You work for a web design company that has been comisioned to develop a new campaign for a mobile phone.

The part of teh site that I need to create is a simple FLASH animation that links to a main product website and is to be deployed across a variety of websites.

It should include 6-8 different sections that include animation and interaction.

Research your phone and its current advertisement and build a new campaign banner.

Who will the audience be? By looking at the video advertisement I think the blackberry storm is aimed at men in their early twenties to thirties due to the emphasis on GPS, the PERFECT WI-FI and LOADS OF APPS (as the advert says in a deep, manly voice) with thunder and lighting in the website.
What Is the Message That Needs To Be Communicated? The phone is about the new technology being developed therefore teh advert suggests to be a 'man's man' you need this phone for strength. I could take this phone features from a different angle. It is about the touch screen technology (although it isn't as good as the iPhone).

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Daniel Brown:Fine Art And Digital Design

Daniel Brown: On Growth And Form

I first found out about Brown's work through Jools mentioning his exhibition in the Decode Digital Design.

Daniel Brown is initially a fine artist who uses the Internet as a platform for his inspired work about form and nature. The idea of his work is to use computer-game like technology but for more artistic and aesthetic purposes. Whereas games portray superficial fantasies his work aims to portray emotion, beauty and aesthetics. Another one of Browns goals is to take website design away from the 'brochure like feel' and go beyond the limitations of the technology.

What I think makes his work unique is the fact he takes his inspiration from non web based items such as: art, fashion, film, photography and nature therefore I think that this allows his work to expand. It is injected with life to make the website a more enjoyable, free flowing experience.

As well as using all of those inspirations he works on the basis that code is a forever changing tool that can be used to produce art that is constantly changing. In my opinion I think this outlook in career has allowed him to broaden his horizons and not be 'pigeon holed' as he looks to fashion and music based websites of a more commercial appeal to bring in the money. See This leaves us with the question is he an artist, interactive/website designer, engineer?

Also how does this relate to me? What do I want to become in the design world since fine art is such a passion? How am I going to be able to build a career and life out of a mixture of fine art, illustration and website design/coding?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

PHP: The Facts

What is PHP?
PHP stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, which means that it is a powerful tool for creating dynamic and interactive webpages. It is widely used, free and efficient (alternative to Microsoft's ASP).
What Is A PHP File?
It is a file that contains text, HTML tags and scripts that can be returned to the browser as plain HTML.
What Is MySQL?
It is a database server that is ideal for small and large applications and is free to download and use.
PHP combined with MySQL are cross-platform (you can develop in Windows and serve on a Unix platform
Why PHP?
PHP runs on different platforms including windows,Linux and Unix etc. It is also compatible with almost all the servers (Apache,IIS etc).

.Nets Hidden Gems for 2010

Since taking that step from my first to second year of my multimedia BA I have defiantly noticed a changed. To achieve my goal I am going to sleep, eat and dream multimedia, in particular interactive and website design. So as part of gaining extra knowledge of the area I have subscribed to .Net Magazine for the last few months. February has been a hidden gem of tips and exciting artists/ web developers that have really interested me.

2010 is foreseen (by .Net) as a year to take advantage of the webs efficiency and modularity. It will become a bigger part of "critical part of advertising and content delivery". The webs has shifted from number two in the advertising stakes to number one. This means that there is more opportunity, with more niches to specialise in for us (as newcomers to website design).

Visual Trends:Bigger influences from print are becoming more popular due to the new wave of application based design. Large, bold type faces are also predicted to be the new centre piece of many designs. Craig Grannell, a writer and website designer predicts that their will be a move away from Web 2.0 cliches and a surge towards a fresher approach with plenty of white space to enhance visuals.

Print design resurfacing as a main influence will mean designers will take inspiration from retro designs and use more colour, for example The site is a new trends heading towards bright, simple, colourful interfaces that I think look slightly application based if you look at the logos that represent the different sections of the site. This will also attract people around my age and older that will be attracted to the way it looks like touch screen technology. On the other hand the simplicity of the website could head towards flash based websites that could add some more 'fun' to the simple layout.

  • Javascript libraries will become increasingly more popular
  • Safari, FireFox, chrome and opera will be continued to be developed. Safari especially due to the positive feedback from iPhone and android. The iPhone and safari used on a laptop browser will become richer

"A 2010 designer must become more expressive and rekindle their passion for creativity, to make the web more beautiful and intuitive...However if you're a designer who doesn't know code you better learn NOW" -Craig Grannell

Backgrounds: So far during my designing experience with website I have found the background a very important aspect of the website design. Seems an obvious statement to make but their have been many websites I have been on where I have been plain boooorrrrreeeeeed! .NET have made some really good points about making the background, foreground and main content work in harmony.
  • The background should be tightly integrated with the foreground to work as one
  • It makes the background work more functionally but visually it gives the scene a greater sensation of depth
  • Does your background do it all? Or is it an afterthought? Could that solid white background be transformed into something else? (don't make it too cramped though).

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Redesign, Re-Imagine and Re-build

The ipad is hitting the world with mixed reviews. It could be the next big thing for web developers or it could be just a bigger iphone as the BBC are quick to point out. However at the end of the day didn't we all feel a bit sceptical about the iphone? It sold 700,000 in it's first weekend of unveiling.

The new ipad has a 9.7 inch LED blacklit IPs display designed for web browsing, watching movies, viewing photos and reading books. The ipad is new technology that could start a new revolution for web developers. In a years time we could be forgetting website design as we know it and designing applications instead.

Personally, as a fan of apple products I can't wait to see what the ipad turns into and what the competition have in store because lets face it, at the moment to me it's just a big ipod touch that you can watch movies on and enjoy the odd book and I just cant see it beating the macbook. Despite this I think the ipad had huge potential as it is a ready changing the relationship between consumer and provider as safari will be the only browser able to run on it. This could be good news for us website designers as there may be the possibility of not having to design for multiple browsers.

Also how am will it affect how we can earn money? At the moment the website is a gem for hacking, downloading at whim but the ipad is thinking of the creative industries future as application turns towards the iapp store, the itunes store and the ibook store. This idea of istores could be the start of a replication of print design, where we purchase and look at everything on our one device, interacting with it on a personal level.

At the moment I predict that the ipad is going to be a hit for apple fans and people looking for a more interactive personal experience than sitting at your desktop or placing your hefty laptop with not very much battery life on your lap.

The competition...

The iPhone

  • The has a 3-mega-pixel camera that has auto web cam for the ipad as yet
  • You have to pay extra for 3GS
  • Simple fact that it can fit in your pocket
  • Amazing HD
  • large flat screen
  • Good for advertising and targeting all areas
  • Can be interactive (sky TV etc)
  • Works well with other devices, such as PlayStation, xbox etc
  • However you can't interact with a TV as personally as an ipad as you can maneuver the page by tuning the ipad and use your fingers to navigate

Friday, 5 February 2010

Finished Ye Old Trip!

I have finished my little project for ye Old trip. On the whole it has been a good design exercise that I have gained confidence from with CSS and learnt new techniques about creating clean, simple design. To be honest after a while I didn't enjoy creating this website as I think it became a bit stale. Even though I have redesigned this website twice there is still something not quite right about it. I like the white space I have used but I am not sure whether the illustration would attract people even though they give the pub a rustic, rich sense of heritage. In the second website I like the colours I have used green, red and white to give a 'royal' feel.

Web 2.0: Viget Inspire



Close-up example of Viget's work

My first reaction to this website is really positive. As everyone has guessed I do love my art and mixing it with digital technology. This website is a prime example of this but doesn't over do it so it becomes a 'busy' website. My favourite part of the website is that it is subtle in it's use of colour and texture.

So far I have found out that Viget are based in Durham, North Carolina. It is a very big agency that is hiding the name of their staff (maybe to come across as one, united unit?) Although their names are generally hidden due to high staff turn over a few names have popped up through blog posts about projects, such as Samantha Warren who has done a site redesign for Choice Hotels Scandinavia. Comparing her designs against the rest of the companies work they work well together. The design is very fresh, minimalistic with simple, complimentary colours. She seems to have been thinking not for her own development but thinking through the mind of what the consumer will want. She is designing for a Scandinavian company so she is looking at practical, Ikea-esque design that is practical.

It is clear that they work tightly as a unit. One of her team members (Jim Basio) has been researching into Nordic design, especially product design. I think this is a good sign. The company uses inspiration from other disciplines so the design doesn't become flat and purely web based.

Additionally I have learnt that their site is expression engine based, which means that flexible, feature-rich content management system is easier to update.

What elements could I bring into my own work?

  • Simplicity/ cleanness of design
  • Bold, fresh colours
  • Take inspiration for other disciplines out side of website design so it doesn't become stagnant
  • Research into what the client needs. Design it from their point of view and not go too crazy with my fine art to make it too personal.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Second Time Round

My second set of mock ups. I think they make more of an impact than the first mock ups as I have drastically changed the colour,cleaned up the layout, changed the navigation text but KEPT the illustrations. Looking at them now i might reconsider the shade of green I have used. I need to view it in a larger browser. I have designed this set of mock up to eliminate the issue of too much white space but I need to work on my coding to create fluid website designs etc.