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5 Reasons Why Landing Pages & Forms are More Valuable than Homepages

A recent post over at Google made an interesting claim: The ROI for improvement is much better for landing pages and forms than it is for homepages. At first this sounds controversial, but it makes sense for many reasons. While the article talks about how to improve forms and landing pages, it doesn’t really explain why they are more valuable than home pages.

Here are five reasons landing pages are more valuable than home pages:

  1. Landing pages & forms are real interaction points.They are the primary way that visitors enter information or communicate back to you, the web site owner. Most pages are simply one-way communication, but forms and landing pages with forms are two-way…they are the conversation. By “listening” to the conversation on these types of pages, you’ll learn a lot more than you will by trying to figure out what home page traffic is telling you.
  2. Landing pages are transactional, and the transactions they enable are the ones crucial to your business. This means they are the most important point in the usage lifecycle of your customers…it’s when visitors are deciding to do business with you or start the process of doing business with you. They contain the most important decision points for your customers.
  3. Landing pages are contextual. When designed well, landing pages address a very specific need of a very specific audience. This makes them high value…they are like the sales closer. They come in after someone has shown interest and are the most powerful way you can close the deal. They might have a lot less traffic than the homepage, but that traffic is much more important.
  4. Home pages are a catch-all. They act to triage all incoming traffic. They have to handle first-time visitors, returning visitors, the press, friends and family, investors, people who want to sign into your web app, everyone who has any reason at all to visit. Therefore, the messages on homepages are necessarily weakened and can’t speak as strongly to any specific user group…they have to handle everything. They serve a completely different purpose than more focused pages like landing pages or forms.
  5. Homepages are notoriously political. Everyone wants a piece of the homepage. The thinking is that because the homepage is the single page with the most traffic, it must be the most important page on the site. But that’s simply not true…the mere fact that it’s the root URL on your domain means that it will inevitably get more traffic. In the end the politics almost always serve to distract…by spending so much time on the homepage design teams often overlook the value of their other, more important pages.

As site visitors we don’t often see landing pages unless we come via a specific pathway, such as clicking on an ad on Google Search or Facebook or some other ad provider. This serves to diminish landing pages in our mind…because we don’t see them as often as the venerable homepage. But there are real reasons why it makes sense to focus much of our design efforts on landing pages and forms…while leaving the homepage for the birds.

Source: Performable

The Principles of Good Logo Design

Logo design is playing an increasingly vital role in the personalisation of companies, products, and services.  As the cornerstone of brand identity, a good logo helps set the stage for the development of a successful and long-lasting brand.

Designing an exceptional logo is time consuming and a lot of hard work.  To be able to interpret a design brief and come up with a design concept that distills the very essence of a company takes a very unique individual.

Aside from having a combination of raw talent, communication skills and a lot of patience (to name a few), it is essential that the designer develops an astute understanding of the basic principles of what makes a good logo design.

A good logo should be; simple, distinctive, relevant, memorable, timeless, and versatile.

Lets take a look at those principles in more detail.

1. Simple

Example: Seven Network (Australia) Logo
Designed by Ken Cato, in 2003

A good logo is simple in its construction, but not in its concept. Quite often to the inexperienced eye, a good logo may look so simple that it looks like it was put together in a matter of minutes.

The vast majority of logo designs that are both simple and successful are backed by many hours of research and unused concepts that never made the cut. It is usually the result of an extensive and exhaustive logo design process.

Another advantage of simplicity in logo design is that a simple logo is much more likely to align with the other five principles of good logo design: distinctive, relevant, memorable, timeless and versatile.

2. Distinctive

Example: Apple Logo
Original Designed by Rob Janoff, in 1977

A distinctive logo stands out from the crowd and will overall be unique in appearance. A logo that is unique will have an essence that somehow distinguishes it from the pack. It should be distinctive while also effectively portraying the clients business requirements.

Given that there are millions of logos currently in existence, and hundreds, if not thousands of new ones being created everyday, it is increasingly difficult to design a logo that is distinctive. The ability to design distinctive logos on a consistent basis makes an exceptional logo designer.

3. Relevant

Amazon.com Logo
Designed by Turner Duckworth, in 2000

A good logo design will be relevant to the industry, the client and the target market.

If you are designing a logo for a kindergarten, it should be fair to say that it shouldn’t look like it was designed for a bank, and vice-versa.

To design a relevant logo the designer should not rely on the design brief alone. All clients and their respective industries are different, no matter how straight-forward they may seem at first glance. By conducting further research, it will help to create a relevant design that speaks directly to the intended audience.

4. Memorable

Nike Logo
Designed by Carolyn Davidson, in 1971

A well designed logo will be committed to memory at a single glance, and will be easily recalled by the viewer. Simplicity goes a long way here.

Recognition breeds familiarity, which assists in building trust and loyalty in a brand.

5. Timeless

Omega Watch Logo
Design by Unknown, in 1894

A good logo design will last for decades without the need for a major redesign. This is something a designer must constantly keep in the back of their minds during the design process.

What is the number one way to help ensure the longevity of a logo?

Avoid trends.

As creative types, it is often very tempting for designers to implement  trendy elements into a logo design. Sometimes a trendy element can even sneak its way into a design without the designer realising.

Logo design is usually about building trust and loyalty in a brand over the long-term. Trendy typefaces, imagery and colours will be out of fashion within a relatively short period of time., therefore their use undermines the ability of the client to build long-term value in their brand.  Not many clients want to have their logo redesigned every few years.

6. Versatile

Royal Dutch Shell Logo
Designed by Raymond Loewy, in 1971

A well designed logo will be usable across a wide range of applications. The logo should look good on a business card, on the side of a billboard, or as a favicon on a clients website.

To ensure versatility, a logo should be designed in vector format. This will ensure that the logo can be scaled to any size without compromising image quality. For designing a logo use Adobe Illustrator, not Photoshop.

Some clients will specify in the design brief that their logo will only be used for one specific medium, e.g. on their website. Be wary of this. Requirements often change so it is usually best to always design a logo to be used across various mediums.

What do you think?

Does your favourite logo adhere to these six principles? We would love to hear your feedback.

Source: LogoBird

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How NOT To Design A Logo

What is A Logo?

To understand what a logo is meant to do, we first must know what a logo is. A logo’s design is for immediate recognition, inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of a company’s commercial brand, or economic entity, and its shapes, colours, fonts, and images usually are different from others in a similar market. Logos are also used to identify organizations and other non-commercial entities.

It makes me wonder why people have no logo or why they would even bother with a cheap logo design if a logo is meant to do all of these things?

Logo Design Contests

The worst deal you could probably go for is a logo design contest. Logo design contests are where you give a brief and then you have multiple designers come back to you with their designs. Although this sounds like a mighty good deal, the quality is usually far from anything you would want to represent your business.

You will be wasting your money and in the long term, in terms of damage done to your business, that amount could be quite considerable.

On another note, design contests & designers who design on a speculative basis are damaging the design industry as designers should not have to invest time and resources with no guarantee of payment.

Too Good To Be True Deals

If you do a search on ‘logo design’ on google you will find many businesses offering logo designs for very cheap and unbelievable prices. Such deals as “6 logos from 5 designers only $100″ – Stay away!

These deals are extremely deceiving and the quality is far from satisfactory. Have you ever wondered how much thought they actually put into your logo design? Professional logo designers have a strict logo design process that can take weeks or in some cases months to complete a logo. They may offer you a result within 24 hours or maybe even less meaning literally no thought was put into your logo design.

Stock Imagery

Some so called “designers” (usually the same people who enter design contests) steal images from stock sites to design your logo… or in some cases business owners download and use the stock images themselves. This is a huge no-no. Did you know that stock imagery gets downloaded by thousands of people? This should be reason enough not to use stock imagery as your logo.

If you do this, other people will have access to your logo design and can and will use it in places that will potentially devalue your business. Ensure your logo design is original.

Do It Yourself Logo Design

Closely linked to the stock imagery scenario above, business owners or those wanting a logo will try to do it themselves. I highly recommend against this and suggest you leave the design to a professional, much as you would leave your dental work to a dentist.

Free Logo Makers

You will find many free online logo makers on the web. Not only do these logos look unprofessional, hundreds of other people could have the same logo as you and what is the point of that? These logos have no thought, concept or memorability about them, they are merely symbols.

They say nothing about your business and do nothing that a logo is supposed to do… I repeat, stay away from free logo makers.

Getting A Design Without Feedback

Before approving and implementing a design, ensure you get feedback from your clients, peers, and stakeholders. Getting feedback on a design is a crucial part of the logo design process as it ensures that your logo is going to be successful.

Take these poor phallic logo designs above. I wonder if they realized their logos had such hidden meaning? Ensure you don’t turn out like this by getting a professionally designed logo.

What is the cost of a professional logo design?

The cost of a professional logo design is a question that cannot be easily answered as every company has different needs, however, the best way to approach this problem is to draw up a customized quote for each individual.

A number of factors have to be taken into consideration when designing a logo, such as how many logo concepts need to be presented, how many revisions are required, how much research is needed, the size of the business and so on.

To wrap up, I’d like to quote a comparison by David Airey: Comparing the design industry to any other is by no means exact, but the, “How much for a logo?” question is kind of like asking an estate agent, “How much for a house?”.

Disclaimer: This article was written exclusively for WDD by Jacob Cass and reflects his personal opinion on logo design. It does not necessarily reflect WDD’s opinion on the subject. Jacob is a professional logo designer who runs the popular blog Just Creative Design

Please share your experiences with logo design below.

Source: Web Designer Depot

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Selecting A Graphic Designer ? Choose or Lose!

Selecting the right man for the right job at the right time is an extremely difficult task. Clients, who are looking for graphic designers to do their work, often do not know how to select the appropriate graphic designer. Since the selection of a graphic designer is a very daunting and tiring process, clients tend to get frustrated and select the graphic designer they can easily locate.
There are several ways that clients go about searching for a graphic designer. Some of these include:

Checking design companies and freelance graphic designers.
Contacting established companies and their hired graphic designers.
Asking your business associates and relatives who have previously hired a graphic designer.
Posting free classified ads on online design forums.
Selecting a graphic designer through a design contest.

Criteria for selecting the graphic designer:

While there are numerous people who are offering their services as graphic designers, they differ in the level of experience, skill and professionalism. Searching for a suitable graphic designer can be quite a cumbersome process and cause an awful confusion for clients. Therefore, look out for the basic attributes of a graphic designer before selection. I have listed some of them below

A Strong and Dynamic Design Portfolio:
A strong portfolio is the foremost attribute that you should look for while choosing a graphic designer. An experienced and talented graphic designer can be judged by their design portfolio. Graphic designers who have a weak design portfolio or simply don’t have one are signifying their low level of experience. The more dynamic the portfolio will be, the more versatile the graphic designer will be.

Good Interpersonal Skills:
A very important quality of an experienced and adroit graphic designer is the ability to interact with their clients. Good interpersonal skills include listening intently to the clients and then suggesting ideas to spell out that they understand what is required from them. Graphic designers who cannot place their ideas clearly to their clients demonstrate their lack of experience.
Strong Marketing Skills:
While it is not necessary for a graphic designer to possess a degree in Marketing, but to be able to market the clients’ products and service efficiently is important. While choosing a graphic designer, always ask for the ways in which the graphic designer will promote your products and services through his design work.
Say No to Nepotism:
One of the most common practices prevalent in corporate hiring process is the nepotism. Many a times, designers are hired on the basis of favoritism, which is bad for the corporations. Selection of graphic designers should be made purely on merit basis. Hence, when you are hiring a graphic designer, you should set aside personal issues. It doesn’t matter to which ethnic, religious or political orientation the graphic designer belongs to as long as he/she is talented and qualified.
Professional Approach:
An expert and experienced graphic designer can be identified by the way they talk, the way they walk and the way they deal with their clients. An able graphic designer will work with professionalism. They will work with contracts to safeguard the clients’ and their own interests.
Impressive testimonials and referrals:
Another factor that is crucial in determining the ability of a graphic designer is the testimonials and reviews from previous clients. If majority of his previous clients are happy and content with his design work, you can rest assure that you will also get a similar treatment.

In the end, I would recommend that no matter how you choose a graphic designer make sure that both you and the graphic designer are on the same wavelength. Choose wisely or you will lose badly!

Source: Graphic Design Blog

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Design Essentials: Attention to detail

In defense of simplicity: Detail vs. Clutter

Now, in promotion of minimalistic and simplistic design, there is a huge difference between attention to detail in design and simply cluttering a design with unnecessary details. Paying attention to the detail of a design means you consciously examine and polish every element of your design–whether simple or complicated. It means you only include what is necessary, and you make necessary elements beautiful. Many designers confuse creativity with clutter . Even cluttered designs can be created without attention to detail. Simplicity is a great way to focus on what is important in your design and then really make it shine.

Beauty is in the details

Many times designers wonder what they can do to make their designs look more professional. Probably 9 times out of the 10 that I get asked “What would make this look better?”, my answer involves a reference to the details. This one of the primary differences between beginning designers and experienced ones. Beginning designers hastily finish a project when it looks good while experienced designers aren’t finished until it looks great.

A few tips

Lastly, I’d like to suggest a few tips that will help any designer learn to more effectively pay attention to the small details of his design.

•                Thoroughly analyze designs you think are impressive. Make a list of what makes them so great. Study them, talk to the designer, and learn all you can about the process, the motivation, and more.

•                Zoom. A one word solution that will help you identify flaws or mediocre design lapses. After you have finished your design, zoom in–and I mean close. Look at all the spacing, colors, shapes, vector graphics, etc. Get really close and inspect all the details.

•                Leave it alone, then return to it. After you have designed something that you think is wonderful, leave it for a few days. Allow time in your scheduling to do this and you are sure to catch any small details you overlooked the first time.

•                Get feedback from others. Many times we cannot see something because we simply have been looking at it for a long time. If we bring someone else on the scene and ask for feedback, most likely they will spot errors or have suggestions that we otherwise would have overlooked.

What do you think?

Is attention to detail really that important or should I step down from my soapbox? Please share with us any thoughts or experiences you might have regarding this essential part of design: attention to detail.

Source: Graphic Design Blender