Archive for the ‘Processes’ Category

From Sketchbook to Brand

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Typeface has been working with restaurant upstart Billy’s Burgers and Shakes since February. With a diner in Manchester and a larger restaurant opening in Bradford, there’s been lots of room for creative projects which have come together to create a solid, fun brand.

The new retro

Fashion moves in circles, so instead of looking directly to the 50s/60s for influence; Typeface has taken its inspiration from the 90s interpretation of 60s retro. After all, we’re as far away from the 90s as the 90s was from the 60s.

Developing the brand

Once the flow and shape of the letters was decided, they were redrawn in Illustrator and built in to a coherent icon. Because the logo is such a complex shape, Typeface created four variants ranging in simplicity.

Beyond the logo

Typeface created two custom 8x3ft wallpapers to dress a dividing wall in the new Bradford restaurant. The brief was to use modern, recognisable comic book characters, and to create something a little fun.

To emulate that 90s comic book style, pannels were drawn in pen and ink, scanned in and then vectorised and coloured. Very little work was done to clean up the images themselves to keep the hand drawn look.

Over the last 6 months, Typeface has created signage, posters, bags, window graphics and wallpapers. If you want to see the progress on the Bradford store, follow Billys Burgers and Shakes on Instagram.

How much does a website cost?

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There are a few common, measurable costs associated with starting a new business. A logo, as a banner to gather under. Business cards and letterheads to make the company tangible. Livery. Signage. Elements that make your vision physical and inspire confidence in you and your clients. Things are starting to go well, until somebody mentions that maybe you need to think about getting your business online.

And now you need a website. And you’re about to hear a certain question repeated ad nauseam.

When you contact a competent agency for a rough quote, the conversation will probably go something like this:

I’ve been told I need a website, how much does a website cost?

Well firstly, what’s your budget?

Not that question again...

It sounds like a loaded question, and it kind of is.

Knowing where the client wants to be and how much they have to invest to get themselves there helps the studio to tailor their offering. Initially, the studio should be focused on the clients goals. The exciting stuff, the how do you get there; that all comes later. 

Design isn’t one-size-fits-all and there are ideas, techniques and technologies that can be adapted to suit a business’ needs.

Different industries are, well, different. They have different sets of client expectations, different cultures. Different ways of interacting with their clients and different routes to market. 

So why do you keep hearing that question? ‘What is your budget?’

It boils down to the nature of creative work. The bleeding-edge studios and trendsetting agencies are forced to constantly grow with and adapt to an always changing landscape that in some cases is still finding out what it is. Often there can be multiple ways to answer a question. Some are more cost effective, others may provide more value in the long term. It’s not often that the quick fix, get everything done at once approach will give confident results. A project made up of parts that are just good enough will always be mediocre. 

A great studio wants to marry your goals, needs and expectations with your budgets limitations. To do that, the studio needs to know how much time, energy and money you have to spend.

Most quotes will be towards the top end of your budget. If available, Typeface will always try to offer the client a couple of quote options. But in a sea of pitches, you’ll often find yourself reading through multiple similarly worded, similarly priced quotes. Take a look at the proposed deliverables, the suggested focus points, the project goals. Has the studio suggested alternative ideas not in the brief but dismissed ideas that are, and have those ideas bumped the quote up to the top end of your budget? Chances are they’ve found a way to give you more value with fewer steps. If the proposition is unexpected, ask them to elaborate. 

So then. What’s your budget?

Even those of us who communicate ideas for a living can fall in to the trap of assuming that the people we’re talking to understand what we mean. Somewhere along the way, the answer to the very reasonable question ‘can you tell me how much this is going to cost me‘ has been distilled in to a three word answer that feels like a trap. But it’s not all about money. We’re asking you:

  • What do you want? How do we make that happen?
  • What can you afford to spend? But what do you need?
  • How much time, money and effort do you have to invest in the future?
  • What are your expectations? How do we exceed them?

Where do you need to be next month and again in five years, and how much do you have to commit to get yourself there?

Contact Typeface with a rough estimate of your budget. And Typeface will tell you what we can do with it.

Typeface Process: Wireframing

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The wireframe process is something that can seem quite innocuous and throwaway in the grand scheme of a website. It’s not exciting, if anything, it sits there gatekeeping the design process. I’ve played around with ways to make the wireframe process interesting and engaging over the years. All introducing colour does is to introduce unwanted hierarchy. Using text instead of content blocks confuses the purpose of the phase. Over the years I reluctantly accepted that  wireframes, by nature, should probably be grey and boring.

One thing a wireframe does, is to give the client immediate say over the flow and structure of the website. The more touch points there are along the project timeline, the more say a client has, this ultimately leads to a confident final product and, a confident client.

Breaking projects up in to understandable stages is a staple in any design process. Research, planning, design and development fit nicely in their own space during the creative web process. It’s easy to understand where one phase ends and another begins.

The wireframe phase sits nicely between planning and design but it has an important role because it lays out many of the rules used in design and development. It incorporates research and it lets the client feed back on the structure and flow of the website before design and development even begin.

A well planned wireframe accomplishes the following:

  • It presents a working version of the websites thematic sitemap.
  • It allows the client to view the user flow and the most effective way to guide the user around the websites content.
  • The client can see how blocks of content sit within the browser.
  • It provides context and allows for quick changes that later in the process could end up being time consuming or costly.
  • The wireframe process streamlines, frameworks and focuses the entire project.

It’s easy to overlook the the importance of a wireframe; they’re not sexy to look at and they seemingly sit there just before the good stuff. However the knock on effect of a solid wireframe, with solid client feedback and input can not be understated.