Creating a website

websiteWell a happy new year to you all! Let’s hope that 2013 gives us all success and some spare cash for a well deserved break by the time summer comes around 🙂

I realise I’ve not been around for a while I’ve been having my usual ride on the peaks and troughs of the design world and even though it gets a bit ‘troughy’ at the end of the year for me I create my own peaks by tackling my own projects. I thought it was high time to address the lack of my own website…

And herein lies a problem…

I have the photo shoot of my work complete, a design for my definitive website ready (really?! it’s only taken me two years to get it to this stage!!!) and now I’m in a huge quandry about whether to get a programmer to take it from it’s roots and start the long haul of programming – which these days has to include responsive technology (that’s the stuff that allows you to view on computers, tablets and telephones and turn it any which way you choose) and links to social sites and blogs, plus a content management system so that I can update the work.

Or, go with a build-yourself site company who already have code written and caters for responsive viewing and which will also allow me to update my site with it’s ready made content management system. So I’m now stagnating over the pro’s and cons of each which I thought I’d share with everyone – lucky you!

The first route allows me freedom of design as there is no template that I have to fit in with. I can have text where I want, calls to action on every page and enough text for the search engines to find me in cold searches. All well and good, but this has to be programmed from start to finish and have the ability to be seen in the middle of the page on any screen any way we turn it. Of course this translates into lots of hours of programming and a a rather large bill for the hours of work that my programmer will truly deserve by the time he gets through it which will most likely be several weeks.

The second route allows me to use any one of of several pre-designed templates (all of which are very nice and each adaptable to a degree, but us designers DO like to be able to personalise everything to make it more ‘ownable’) It allows me to add content at the drop of a hat which means that I can keep my site updated as soon as I have new work to show, and of course it is readily responsive. I can have my own domain, I don’t have to have the site build company’s name on it (as in powered by Joe Bloggs) it links immediately to all of my other social sites such as this blog, twitter and facebook. And the cost of hosting is very reasonable indeed. I will do all of the work myself which means I don’t need to pay a programmer – but then I do need to find the time to do it.

And just this weekend my very good friend Dave dos Santos who works for some of the biggest names in London (and who knows everything about websites and what rocks) gave me the name of a build-it-yourself web company which does all of the above AND allows my programmer to go and tweak the code to get it personalised for me.

I think I have found a little piece of heaven.

Watch this space – my site will be launched this year, just don’t bug me too much about when…

And since I am trying this on me, it may be that I will be able to use this for other clients on budgets or who don’t need fully blown websites like The Daily Mail for content control or Continente for shopping basket dominion!


Why do you need a logo?

Image  These days every company has a logo. It is the first identifier of the company to the public they will be dealing with and as such (at the risk of repeating myself)  it has to reflect the personality and core values. I came accross this video recently and for me this says everything a client should know about having a logo in just a few minutes.

Designers are frequently commissioned to design a company logo, we take our work very seriously, we pour hours of our time working and reworking the ideas with the client and ensuring that the final mark will live accross all of the many platforms we have to deal with in todays world – from the tiny 16 pixel icon on twitter to the giant 12 metre hoardings – they all need to be legible.

Anyway, enough from me, enjoy the link

Design for small business

Having started my own smaller company in 2010 I have first hand knowledge of what is needed to trade with clients and how to create a good impact on a shoe-string budget. That’s all very well and good for me I hear you say, a designer can design for themselves without creating added expense…

So, to help these small businesses I set about creating a set of vital items that would be needed to trade with – the bare minimum to ensure that when they spoke to their prospects they were always showing a uniformity of image. And all at an affordable price.

The set comprises; logo/identity, business card, digital e-mail signature, digital letterhead. As a second phase I would strongly suggest a brochure, even if small, both digital and printed, plus of course a website.

I have noticed a lot of new start-ups who are sole traders forego the use of any image to present their company and for the most part I’d say this was a big mistake. Human psychology dictates a need to see something visual and read something well written by way of a company presentation in order to trust that the service or product they are buying into is legitimate. There are many rogue traders operating these days and we certainly don’t want to be included in that category.

Plus of course your competition will no doubt already have their ‘credible image’ out on the street and you will need to be able to compete and attract clients from them, so it makes perfect sense to have something from day one which presents you and your company as a viable option in the marketplace.

The images above show a very small identity which I have recently completed for a client who deals with colonic hydrotherapy. With the small brochure and card she has been able to leave her visual presence in clinics and spa’s and when contacted by e-mail her visual signature backs up the items that a potential prospect has already seen. Voila 🙂

What a week!

It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride at the moment. We go from having so much design work one week to just ticking over the next.

I love both times, when I have a lot to do I am at my most creative and most organised. The ideas just seem to roll out of my head one after the other like a fast shooting gun, I run around in meetings, take briefs, see printers, speak with photographers and copywriters, make presentations, book advertising space and try hard to remember to have lunch!

On the slower weeks, I actually get time to concentrate on my own promotion and conjure up ways of spreading the word for designworks! While I was driving to a meeting today I was weighing up the best way to promote designworks!, I considered local radio, with a talk show to explain the merits of what we can do, advertising in specific publications, this blog, my own website, getting more from my facebook page.

There really are so many different types of media that we can choose these days, and it’s imperative that we find the right way to our audience (and the media is different for each of us depending on our type of business). The only objective is getting results – and that goes for my clients and myself.

It’s not good enough to have ‘pretty design’ these days, we are not in a beauty parade, it has to be functional and make sales. That’s not to say that it can be poorly done or look scruffy, that will only reflect badly on the company, there has to be a look of professionalism.

Anyway, that made me think about the essentials and a couple of years back I gave a talk at a network event regarding the importance of your business card. Check out the business cards page – this really is the first impression you make with a client so it had better be good.

I’ll leave you to wade through that for now and carry on adding pages for other areas of my work, I may look at brochures next or maybe even websites – that is probably the most essential tool in your identity box these days.

Have a great weekend and speak soon.


Hello Blogworks!

Of course, this is all Silvia’s doing!

She breezes into my life (quite a while ago actually…) and lands me in a blog, just like that!

Of course I’m eternally grateful as I have been ‘meaning to’ create some information about Designworks! for the last two years but time has just crept away while I wasn’t noticing (I think it snuck under my chair and is glued to the underneath so that I can’t find it – I’ll have a look later and let you know).

So here we are and like all new bloggers I have every intention to keep this post updated with fresh and exciting news on a daily basis. Ahem…

That said, this is what I’ve been working on this week (note not daily…).


I didn’t actually create the logo this week, but did some work on printed literature, billboards and signs. I can’t actually let you see tham though until the client approves one of the design – so watch this space. I think this is enough for my first bloglet anyway.

Speak soon
S x