Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Keylex launches The Candy Store Online. Sweet!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

We are proud to announce that we have launched a stunning eCommerce store for The Candy Store of Baltimore, MD. Built on the popular Magento eCommerce platform, the website sports a creative and fun design and features a full line of candy gift platters, dried fruit & nuts and a wide range of chocolates. In addition, the website carries specialty lines such as a Jelly Belly department, Sugar Free delights, and an upcoming section for corporate gifts.
thecandystoreonline

As with all projects, we started off by creating a unique design that establishes brand recognition. With the crowded online candy marketplace, it was important to design a website that first and foremost makes a positive and memorable impression. After one visit to the website, it is a website visitors are not likely to forget. Next, we focused on usability. We wanted to have a site that is absent of the clutter found on many websites and allow visitors to easily browse the website. We added many convenient features such as in-store pickup and local delivery. Next, we went to work ensuring that the original design was not changed at all implementing the live catalog and  shopping cart system.

Visit the website at www.thecandystoreonline.com and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Contemporary Navigation Design Ideas

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

That’s right, we’re finally back! We know you’ve been wondering when a new post would pop up for you to breeze through during your down time, and we’re finally getting back to updating. We’re planning to add a lot more content to the blog this year, especially great design techniques and concepts that will act as inspiration for future projects. So we’ll begin with some awesome navigation design.

Navigation (also known as the “menu”) is one of the most important features on a website. It should be functional, but also visually impressive. Because of their importance, navigation menus are usually placed at the top of the page, therefore making a big impact on a user’s first impression of the website.Check these out!

Navs

Highly Recommended to Our Clients!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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You’ve gotta see this! Check out this site: go2web20.net. It’s a great source for inspiration and an excellent example of what contemporary sites are looking like. On the right side of the site there is a menu that you can browse to help you choose a category you’re interested in viewing sites from. The greatest thing about this website is that it showcases sites that target all different types of target audiences. You can also follow them on twitter by clicking HERE. So when you have some downtime, take a look and browse around. Not only are the sites fun to look at, but you may even discover something useful for yourself!

Prius: Behind the Scenes

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

How are you using art as a way to communicate to your target audience?

Design By Committee: A Scary Concept

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

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Design by Committee is a frightening thing to think about when trying to build an online brand. With too many “cooks in the kitchen” a website can turn into a virtual house of mirrors before it even goes live! Of course it is perfectly natural for anyone to enjoy giving their input on what they like/dislike about art. It’s how museums like MOMA and the MET stay open! Everyone’s a critic. However, it’s important to remember that opinions are like navels, everybody has one.

In some cases, the input provided by the member of a review board can be helpful to the design process. More often, however, the comments are self-motivated and will take away from the design instead of adding to it.

Example 1: Wendy (Committee member #5) doesn’t like the color Red. This doesn’t mean that Red is wrong for the design. It’s simply Wendy’s opinion. While Wendy may have been working at the company for 10 years and has plenty of experience in her field, she may not have a background in advertising and design that would tell her that red happens to be the perfect color to attract the target audience and help them relate to her brand.

Example 2: Jack (Committee member #3) doesn’t like cartoons. He stopped watching them when he turned 7 years old as a way of declaring his young adulthood. This doesn’t necessarily mean that an animated mascot is wrong for his target audience. After all, there are plenty of illustrative company representatives that target adults!

The more people reviewing a design-in-process means there will need to be more room for egos and limits. In order to have a truly successful website, you have to push the limits. (We do not recommend actually pushing committee members) In fact, we are recommending having no more than 2 (total) people reviewing a website design. This will keep the motivation of the design team high and the time line moving quickly!

The most imporatnt thing to remember is that when a site is launched, the design will be a part of the user experience. Users will not be interested in critiquing the tiny details of the design. They’re just there to get information and/or make a purchase!

Wikipedia’s Definition of Design By Committee

Skittles: Twirlling the baton

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

It’s easy to see why Skittles would want to divert the attention from Twitter, because it is, as you can see, heavily abused by spammers, and a lot of the jokes are simply to tasteless for…well, anyone. That’s the ugly side of social media: a lot of it is completely uncensored and some users see this as an opportunity to get nasty or even vile.

“Skittles Swaps Homepage from Twitter Search to Facebook Page” by Stan Schroeder

skittles“Ugly side” of Social Media? Is there really such a thing, or are some folks too sensitive for the reality that people with varying opinions and social backgrounds are what makes up our country’s mainstream today? Walk down the street or catch a bus in any major U.S. city in 2009 and try to avoid opinionated banter with a little choice language. Do we take any of this to heart or base our buying decisions on the specifics of what these people say? It would be pretty sad to discover if we were this easily influenced. Instead, perhaps we should focus on why so many people feel it is their responsibility to voice their social and political opinions loud enough for others to hear.

As some of you may know (or not know) Skittles has changed its entire website at Skittles.com to a “social Media Hub” where web-savy surfers can access social outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. Here, they can sound off about their love (or hate) for Skittles. Now, all of us can see where this might cause some controversy, but is controversy really a bad thing? At the very least the stench surrounding the topic (including the stink that we are about to raise) is enough to genereate audience buzz alone!

Something that much of corporate America is still having trouble facing is the intelligence of today’s online audience. Smoke and mirrors no longer work like they used to in marketing and are easier for web savvy consumers to pick up on. Younger generations (like the demographic targeted by Skittles) don’t base their purchasing decisions on negative or positive comments and reviews of a product. They base it on how many people are talking about it. Popularity isn’t always defined by support.

Many of the posts on twitter regarding Skittles aren’t really about the user’s desire to get others to try or avoid the product; They’re about being part of the conversation. That’s the beauty of social media! Raw, uncensored, reality. This is what today’s young consumer responds to, not gobbledygook from the mouths of out-of-touch internal corporate marketing departments. In fact, they laugh at the old-fashioned, being “marketed at” approach. It undermines and insults their intelligence.

Skittles is allowing itself to be associated with its audience. Some people like Skittles, some do not, and some just want to be heard. It’s reality, and young consumers (Skittles’ target audience) understand, respect, and excuse that. While it may be controversial now, it’s the wave of the future in terms of Brand interaction for for the “internet generation”. What’s more powerful than allowing your consumers to represent your brand for you?

Ask yourself this question: Are my brand, products, and services unique and strong enough to stand up to the reality of a market flooded with old-fashioned teqhniques?

If the answer is anything but “100% positively”, consider Skittles the leader of the parade and get in line. A bold move? Yes, but as Apple’s mantra for the 21st century goes, if you want to have a successful brand you’ve got to “Think Different.”

You go, Skittles. Keylex approved!

New Blog: BRAND NEW

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Brand New
Worth a visit if you’re considering a new brand design/re-design, “Brand New” a division of underconsideration.com is a top-notch review of branding, today. It’s a blog strictly devoted to opinions on corporate and brand identity work (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

Visit Brand New

A Highly Recommended Read: ZAG

Friday, February 27th, 2009

zagbookIn an age of me-too products and instant comminications, keeping up with the competition is no longer a winning strategy. Today you have to out-position, out maneuver, and out-design the competition. Author Marty Neumeier illustrates the number one strategy of high-performance brands—radical differentiation.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.com (click here) or check out the official ZAG website by clicking (here)

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Tropicana to scrap new packaging

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Last week, our office was discussing the new Tropicana branding – or lack of it. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to come across the article below.  I wonder if the Stop Sign comedy routine played out between Tropicana executives and Arnell Group Advertising (see here).

Many companies would ignore the writing on the wall and forge ahead with the campaign, so kudos to Pepsi / Tropicana for making the right move.  What is also fascinating about this article is how the consumers’ voice is more powerful today than ever before; no more does the mainstream media decide what is noteworthy. Through Twitter, Facebook and Blogs, the public sets the agenda.

Tropicana

IT took 24 years, but PepsiCo now has its own version of New Coke.

The PepsiCo Americas Beverages division of PepsiCo is bowing to public demand and scrapping the changes made to a flagship product, Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice. Redesigned packaging that was introduced in early January is being discontinued, executives plan to announce on Monday, and the previous version will be brought back in the next month.

Also returning will be the longtime Tropicana brand symbol, an orange from which a straw protrudes. The symbol, meant to evoke fresh taste, had been supplanted on the new packages by a glass of orange juice.

The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamored for a return of the original look.

Some of those commenting described the new packaging as “ugly” or “stupid,” and resembling “a generic bargain brand” or a “store brand.”

“Do any of these package-design people actually shop for orange juice?” the writer of one e-mail message asked rhetorically. “Because I do, and the new cartons stink.”
Others described the redesign as making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana or differentiate Tropicana from other orange juices.

Such attention is becoming increasingly common as interactive technologies enable consumers to rapidly convey opinions to marketers.

“You used to wait to go to the water cooler or a cocktail party to talk over something,” said Richard Laermer, chief executive at RLM Public Relations in New York.

“Now, every minute is a cocktail party,” he added. “You write an e-mail and in an hour, you’ve got a fan base agreeing with you.”

That ability to share brickbats or bouquets with other consumers is important because it facilitates the formation of ad hoc groups, more likely to be listened to than individuals.

“There will always be people complaining, and always be people complaining about the complainers,” said Peter Shankman, a public relations executive who specializes in social media. “But this makes it easier to put us together.”

The phenomenon was on display last week when users of Facebook complained about changes to the Web site’s terms of service using methods that included, yes, groups on facebook.com. Facebook yielded to the protests and reverted to its original contract with users.

And in November, many consumers who used Twitter to criticize an ad for Motrin pain reliever received responses within 48 hours from the brand’s maker, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, which apologized for the ad and told them it had been withdrawn.

“Twitter is the ultimate focus group,” Mr. Shankman said. “I can post something and in a minute get feedback from 700 people around the world, giving me their real opinions.”

Neil Campbell, president at Tropicana North America in Chicago, part of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, acknowledged that consumers can communicate with marketers “more readily and more quickly” than ever. “For companies that put consumers at the center of what they do,” he said, “it’s a good thing.”

It was not the volume of the outcries that led to the corporate change of heart, Mr. Campbell said, because “it was a fraction of a percent of the people who buy the product.”

Rather, the criticism is being heeded because it came, Mr. Campbell said in a telephone interview on Friday, from some of “our most loyal consumers.”

“We underestimated the deep emotional bond” they had with the original packaging, he added. “Those consumers are very important to us, so we responded.”

Among those who underestimated that bond was Mr. Campbell himself. In an interview last month to discuss the new packaging, he said, “The straw and orange have been there for a long time, but people have not necessarily had a huge connection to them.”

Reminded of that on Friday, Mr. Campbell said: “What we didn’t get was the passion this very loyal small group of consumers have. That wasn’t something that came out in the research.”

That echoed an explanation offered in 1985 by executives of the Coca-Cola Company in response to the avalanche of complaints when they replaced the original version of Coca-Cola with New Coke: Consumers in focus groups liked the taste of New Coke, but were not told old Coke would disappear. The original version was hastily brought back as Coca-Cola Classic and New Coke eventually fizzed out.

(There are, it should be noted, significant differences between the two corporate flip-flops. For instance, the Tropicana changes involved only packaging, not the formula for or taste of the beverage.)

An ad campaign for Tropicana that helped herald the redesigned cartons, also introduced last month, will continue to run, Mr. Campbell said. Print and outdoor ads that have already appeared will not be changed, he added, but future elements of the campaign — like commercials, due in March — would be updated.

Unlike the packaging, the campaign has drawn praise, particularly for including in its family imagery several photographs of fathers and children hugging. Such dad-centric images are rare in food ads.

The campaign, which carries the theme “Squeeze it’s a natural,” was created by Arnell in New York, part of the Omnicom Group. Arnell also created the new version of the Tropicana packaging.

“Tropicana is doing exactly what they should be doing,” Peter Arnell, chairman and chief creative officer at Arnell, said in a separate telephone interview on Friday.

“I’m incredibly surprised by the reaction,” he added, referring to the complaints about his agency’s design work, but “I’m glad Tropicana is getting this kind of attention.”

In fact, Tropicana plans to contact “everyone who called or wrote us” to express opinions, Mr. Campbell said, “and explain to them we’re making the change.”

Tropicana is among several PepsiCo brands whose packaging and logos have been recently redesigned by Arnell. The new logo the agency produced for Pepsi-Cola has been the subject of comments by ad bloggers who perceive a resemblance to the logo for the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

The bloggers have also buzzed about a document outlining the creation of the Pepsi-Cola logo, which appears to have been written by Arnell for PepsiCo executives; Mr. Arnell has declined to comment on the authenticity of the document, which is titled “Breathtaking Design Strategy” and is written in grandiose language.

One aspect of the new Tropicana packaging is being salvaged: plastic caps for the cartons, also designed by Arnell, that are shaped and colored like oranges.

Those caps will be used, Mr. Campbell said, for cartons of Trop 50, a variety of Tropicana with less sugar and calories that is to be introduced soon.

During the interview last month, Mr. Campbell said that Tropicana would spend more than $35 million on the “Squeeze” campaign. Although he declined on Friday to discuss how much it would cost to scrap the new packaging and bring back the previous design, he said the amount “isn’t significant.”

Asked if he was chagrined that consumers rejected the changes he believed they wanted, Mr. Campbell replied: “I feel it’s the right thing to do, to innovate as a company. I wouldn’t want to stop innovating as a result of this. At the same time, if consumers are speaking, you have to listen.”

Source: NYTIMES.COM

Great Clients: A handful of senior creatives talk about what the best clients do, and don’t do, to help inspire their best work.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

To truly inspire great work, what can great clients do and avoid doing?

“Great clients are full of enthusiasm. They don’t hesitate to share it and to infect you with this passion. They are demanding, they are fair, but they always make it apparent that we are all on the same side. – Alex Martinez, Executive Creative Director (Spain)

“Design is a simple game. A client should have a simple brief that is a springboard for ideas, not a setof instructions or mandatory inclusions. They should keep an open mind o what the creative work will be like, not a fixed idea of what they’re expecting. They should never change the brief, especialy when they have seen the creative work. If they have used research, they shouldn’t over react to the results. Small Changes can make a big difference. And remember: To do great work, you have to do something “wrong.” If you follo to “rule book” you will never end up with something new.” – R. Ramsy, Executive Creative Director (London)

“To inspire great work, clients can tell creatives to do one thing. The can choose the one major message that they would like the creative team to communicate about their product and have them communicate that message. They should never be swayed by fear. Actually, they more afraid a client is, chances are, the better the work will be.” – F. Romano, Creative Director (London)

“There need to be an honest collaboration between the client and the Creative Director. It’s best for a client to be open and honest about their objective upfront. The collaboration needs to set realistic and clear goals in he creative brief. Great work isn’t about winning awards, but is about working together through a very clear objective. It’s important for a client to have a trust in the partnership. With a clear and honest objective a professional creative is capable of delivering beyond what a client can expect.” – G. Tay, Regional Creative Director (Asia)

“I think it’s all about trust and faith. Great clients intuitively understand a great idea, and help it to grow by supporting it. They do this because they trust the creative person and the agency to deliver only the best. I think good clients are as hungry and passionate about good ideas that are both original and different. However sometimes I feel that clients hinder the process by providing stumbling blocks instead of stepping stones. This can easily be avoided.” – R. Deshpande Executive Creative Director (Mumbai)

“Great clients try not to swing from one spectrum to the other. If a client attempts to change the brief once the creative process has begun, it will most likely eat up the energy and passion of the creative. It’s important to inspire the creative through encouragement and passion for the project at hand.” – S. Lo, Executive Director (N.E. Asia)

“Great clients are great at what they’re in business for. They have a strong understanding of the product or service and they know how to communicate this to their clients. The same goes for Creatives. A good client understands that by requesting the service of an agency, they have put their trust into the hands of professionals who know their business best. Creatives know how to take the clients main objective and communicate that message through design that will inspire and motivate the consumer to take action, and therefore increase the client’s revenue. A great client is an expert in their field and recognizes that the creative is an expert in theirs, and in turn, takes their advice and allows the creative to communicate to the consumer through the design.” – S. Carnes (U.S.A)