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    Sarah is co-director of Malvolio. She brings her creative skills to the business, and loves concept development in commercial projects, illustration, and working on various self-initiated paper craft projects in her spare time.

  • So You Need a Typeface?

    This gem is from Inspiration Lab, and even though it’s from 2010 (8 years ago!), it is as relevant today as any other day or year.

    Yes it’s tongue-in-cheek, but there’s also a lot of truth in this for someone who isn’t familiar with fonts (typefaces). To us, it really highlights how our brains work in an infographic when it comes to narrowing down a font for a project. There are a heck of a lot of options, but not all are suitable for each project, each client or each product. And you might think we’re nuts when we ask a lot of questions about fonts, styles or what you want your text to look like – this is why. Sometimes, the decisions can be as complex as this chart.

    There is a little joke about Comic Sans in there. I’ll leave that for you to discover across a journey of lines 🙂

     


    Brochure design in 2018

    We design brochures every week of the year. But brochures aren’t always the standard “3 fold DL” style that come to mind for most people. There’s a lot more to brochure design than that.

    The standard A4 folded to DL brochure is popular, mostly because it fits most brochure stands and is very easy to get printed (it’s a common print run). But often, the content a client needs to share in a brochure doesn’t always fit to an A4 sheet. So what do you do?

    …you think sideways! Not literally sideways, but think of other options. So is going to A5 a suitable option? Or perhaps, keep it DL but turn it into a stapled booklet? One example we did this year was the DL brochure for Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. We ran out of space in a standard DL brochure, but it had to be DL. They still wanted it to fold out so it could be put on a wall like a poster. So the other option? Add more panels! The final brochure had 5 panels, instead of the standard 3 panels. This is not common, but completely achievable.

    We have also designed large brochures of up to 24 pages for various clients, in both A5 and A4 formats. Brochures of this size require more planning than most. Is the brochure going to have sections to make it easier for a reader, or is it to read like a book? Is the brochure going to have a contents page, or get straight into the content? Will there be more than just text and images, such as tables, graphs and quotes to make it more engaging?

    All of this is planned before we begin designing. It speeds up the development process, and creates a more engaging final brochure. After all, the whole point is for someone to pick it up and read it. You want to capture people, not just print on paper.


    Website design in 2018

    Website design is a large part of Malvolio, and it’s probably the most changed. Website design feels “new” to us every year – there is always something new to learn, something new to add.

    I remember when I started designing websites back in 2001, and was simply in awe with what is very basic code today. I saw that the possibilities were endless then, and I still look at website design the same way today – with fresh eyes every year.

    So what has 2018 brought us in website design?

    Websites on Mobile Devices

    The move to mobile devices is done, it’s here. If you’re not already accessible on mobile, you’ve missed the boat and need to get onto it ASAP. It’s not even an option anymore (which strangely, was the case only a few short years ago). The expectation is that your full website will be available on mobile, not an abridged version. This includes forms and online stores working the same on desktop as on mobile.

    Ecommerce/Online Stores

    Businesses are taking online stores far more seriously. While they did become accessible budget-wise in recent years – especially with the rise of DIY services such as Shopify – online stores were still being treated as a sideline to a business. There was expectation that “you build it and they will come” in the ecommerce space, which it’s now that people realise this is not the case. Marketing your online store is just as important as marketing every other aspect of your business. We have seen a huge move towards businesses really taking the reigns of their online stores and making them successful.

    AfterPay has become very popular to add into online stores this year, too.

    Security, SSL Certificates and SEO

    Although it was all the way back in 2014 that Google mentioned security on websites was beginning to be used as a ranking signal, it hasn’t been until this year where it’s had a marked affect. When Google announced that they would begin marking all HTTP websites as non-secure in Chrome from July, this seemed to set off a worry for a lot of website owners and the SEO industry.

    For our own clients, we offer a basic SSL certificate automatically on all hosting accounts/websites, which means your website will show as secure on all browsers.

    Multi-section Website Layouts

    Multi-sections on pages has had a steep rise. In previous years, at a very basic level, each page would generally have a header, a block of text and photos, and a footer. Now this “block of text and photos” regularly includes blocks of text, all sectioned and describing different things. Each section often links to another more detailed page. These sections are much more designed than previous, making websites far more aesthetically pleasing from top to bottom. This trend started with single-page websites, but is now across even the largest of websites with clever navigation planning.

    What will 2019 bring in website design? We are looking forward to finding out!

     


    Event Branding Design in 2018

    We have been very fortunate to work with a number of exciting events in 2018.

    Design projects for events are often quite extensive. Every little detail from the initial branding and logos, through to posters, advertising, websites, programs, maps, banners, signage and flags…and that’s by no means a complete list.

    We really enjoy working on graphic design for events. Giving an identity to an event that is carried on for years into the future feels quite special. For each event, getting the communications right for a successful event is pivotal to us. It’s not just about a poster “looking good”. It has to tell people the important information straight away: date, time, place. A program needs to be easy to follow – not just a keepsake book. A map needs to be a useful navigation tool – not just a pretty picture.

    The timelines are tight but we seem to have a knack of working within amazingly short schedules. Events are unique in design, as businesses regularly have flexible timelines. Events have a deadline: the date of the event. And there’s no moving that!

    Many events we have worked on have been in our own backyard this year: Frankston/Mornington Peninsula. However, we’ve had a few further afield: major events include the Melbourne Jewish Book Week and the Perfect Light Film Festival.


    Logo Design in 2018

    For the month of December, I thought I’d do a re-hash of projects we’ve completed this year. I’m only touching a few categories: logo design, website design, event branding and brochure design.

    I’ll start with logo design. This is only a small snippet of a much bigger pool of work, but it will be good to reflect on in years to come. There was definitely a nudge towards brush script writing in logos for 2018 – text looking more natural and casual than a few years back.

    Single colour logos have been popular, moving away from very detailed and overly colourful logo design. Obviously not in all cases – some (such as Friends of Coolart), colour was hugely important in the design. However, I have a feeling that single colour logos have been making a comeback because people like to have more options than just a “full colour print”. We’ve designed logos that have been produced in foil finishes, spot varnish, embroidery and even screenprinted in 2018. Single colour logos make this easy to achieve.

    For those logos which include images, they have been very icon-based in 2018. A bit of a retro feel. Bold, bright and strong enough to stand on their own.

     


    Swing Tag Design

    Swing tags (or price tags) are a necessary for clothing and other merchandise. Sometimes they can be really plain – simply a card with stickers on it. But sometimes, if the budget permits, you can have a lot of fun with designing swing tags.

    Two examples we’ve designed are for Wild Warriors and Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. Rectangle is a very popular shape for swing tags, and while SMAPS went for rectangle, it was the design that’s different. Generally, the back is left plain for a price sticker, but in this situation we were able to design it. So no matter what side the tag flips to, it catches your eye.

    Wild Warriors went for a fancy option: not only are the tags round, but they have spot varnish on them to highlight the second W in the logo, instead of using colour. It gives the tags a different tactile feel too.

    When you have swing tags to get designed, don’t be shy to think outside the standard expectation. You have the possibility to make them memorable in simple but clever ways.


    Interactive location search for No Lights No Lycra

    New section launched on No Lights No Lycra’s website for their locations. They have over 50 sessions running worldwide (most are weekly), and outgrew the list they used to use.

    It is now an interactive map showing all locations. Users can search for their own location by postcode, a list of locations or navigating through the map. It’s such a big change from what they had before!

     


    Mobile-responsive case study: Emma Tomlinson

    We designed and built Emma’s website all the way back in 2012, before mobile responsive websites were a common thing. The website design hasn’t changed (it’s standing the test of time!), but the lack of mobile responsiveness was becoming a problem. So we’ve now upgraded it to be the same design and mobile responsive.

    Mobile users always prefer a website that fits on their screen with no effort – make sure your own website is easy to view on mobiles. Search engines are also known for ranking mobile responsive websites above non-mobile friendly websites. In some cases, a non-mobile website will not even appear in mobile search results.

    If you have a website you still love, but doesn’t fit on mobile devices, get in touch – we might be able to convert it for you!


    Flashy foil finish!

    Want your business stationery to be a little more fancy? There’s a lot of paper options out there, but you can also have extra touches, like spot UV (glossy finish), letterpress (embossing) or foil detail.

    We’ve had a lot of requests for foil and glitter lately, and it’s been super fun. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving glitter and shiny things. A lot of people seem to think foil is limited to gold and silver – but we’ve got over 20 colours of foil and glitter to choose from that we can add to print orders. There’s even black for a really subtle but classy look.

    These finishes can be added to business cards, letterheads, stickers, packaging, brochures, swing tags and more. We can also add a bit of glam to signage for your shop, market stall or vehicle in the same way. Sparkle and shine everywhere!


    Brochures beyond the standard design

    We find that clients get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to brochures: they supply content and say it *has* to fit into a particular sized brochure. Sometimes this is to do with budget, but a lot of the time it’s that they just didn’t realise there’s other options.

    Everyone is familiar with a piece of A4 paper. Most brochures we all see are just folded pieces of A4 paper. 1 fold, 2 folds, 3 folds…but it’s the same size paper in the end.

    The thing is: a simple piece of paper can be so much more! Maybe this is my love of origami shining through. A brochure doesn’t need to “only” be A4. We can get paper in all kinds of sizes, and cut it to all kinds of lengths.

    So our advice? Write up the information for your brochure first, and then work out how much paper you need to put it all onto (we can help with this). It can feel like a game of Tetris, but we love the challenge.

    So what if your information takes up more than one piece of A4 paper? It might work better as a booklet, or it might just need a few more panels.

    A recent example is the brochure we designed for Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. Instead of the standard 6-panel DL brochure (A4 folded into three), we did 10 panels. The panels are folded in a zig-zag (concertina) which works best for the information presented. One side of the brochure features pilates, the opposite side features myotherapy.

    It was a similar story to the usual: the information wouldn’t fit on an A4 sheet, but they couldn’t cut anything out. Two brochures wasn’t suitable – they needed everything together. A booklet also wasn’t suitable – they wanted to be able to stick the brochure up on a wall when desired, like a poster.

    So for all of your brochure challenges, call us. We love a little bit of an origami and information Tetris challenge – and it will help your business stand out.