Armadillo Studios Inc.

SXSW10: Links For Your Enjoyment

As previously mentioned SXSW is long over and the overviews are starting to roll in. As usual, I’m a little late with my final blog posts. So instead of waxing poetically about the conference, here is a run down of some of the links that you should have a gander at. They cover the entire spectrum of the conference, from influential thinkers to upcoming design techniques to new tools for business:

Social Media Thinkers & Shakers

  • Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, the two brains behind the exceptional book Trust Agents. If you are involved with building an online brand or personal brand, invest in this book.
  • Washington DC Visual Information collective JESS3.
  • Uber-entrepreneur Gary Vanyerchuk, who is an amazing inspiration for people looking to build a Company brand.

Web Typography

  • Samantha Warren a fantastic designer who is pushing the World of Web Typography, with some great poster based design.
  • Jason Cranford Teague wrote a book called Fluid Web Typography, which is a fantastic and straight forward break down of the up coming shift towards Web Typography.

Interesting Takes On SXSW and Design Culture

New Tools For Everyone:

SXSW10: The Big Trend is Web Typography

Without question the big stir in the design world at SXSW 2010 is the emergence of Web Typography.

For those unfamiliar, the web design world has been stuck in a conundrum for the past 10 years, as the only typography options universally available for web sites has been incredibly limited. In truth, Web Designers have only been able to use five very basic fonts to build web sites. Which is akin to forcing a painter to paint a portrait with three colors. So without question it has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the design community.

But 2010 has changed all of that

At least four of the sessions at SXSW have dealt with this topic and the emergence of new technologies, ranging from dealing with the legalities of embedding web fonts to the the variety of tools which are emerging.

Two of the panels, that I’ve attended at SXSW have been incredibly informative. The first panel from Samantha Warren, entitled Getting Stoked on Web Typography was an incredibly inspiring session. It dealt with various new techniques and sources of inspiration that designers can leverage to kick their design into the next level. The second was from Jason Cranford Teague of Fluid Typography, which was a brilliant crash course in the logistics and theory of Web Typography.

This is definitely a trend that is going to improve the beauty of the web. So keep an eye out for Team Armadillo and our upcoming projects, as we’ll be working to incorporate Web Typography in the next few projects releases.

yycPhotobook.com

With the advent of online collaboration, it’s amazing at how fast a simple idea can go from a random thought to online collaboration to web site launch. Take our newly launched yycPhotobook web site as an example.

After being approached by Duncan Kinney, of yycBlogs fame, to take on the task of designing the layout for the new collaborative/crowsourcing photobook project – yycPhotobook we quickly went to work on establishing a home base for the project. Utilizing a simple black, pink, and white color scheme and inspiration from Italian outfit loveleft’s stunning use of typography, we have created a simple informational site to spread the word to calgary’s growing photography community.

Armadillo Studios will continue to post entries on the progression of the project, from the initial meeting to the development and publication of the project. So check back shortly.

The Enermatix Inc. Redesign

In 2007, Armadillo Studios was approached by the Enermatix consulting firm to develop an online identity and corporate brand. Within a couple of months we had provided a functional web site, a unique logo and the company’s promotional products.

Fast forward to 2009 and Armadillo Studios is happy to continue our relationship with Enermatix Inc. with the release of their new redesign.

The initial branding and corporate web site for Enermatix Inc. embraced a vibrant color scheme and a simple navigation, but after a few years it became apparent that the identity needed a small tweak; something to improve the web site’s usability and overall feel.

By inverting the color scheme of the initial web site, the new Enermatix Inc. site embraces a softer and more open feel. By enlarging the text and removing the boxy layout, this new design showcases a more approachable Enermatix Inc.

In addition, we have improved the navigation and placed key informational elements (recent articles, team profiles and contact information) on each page to allow potential clients easier access to the company. Elements of the Enermatix philosophy have also been showcased with graphical blurbs to grab the readers attention. Armadillo Studios has also improved the Search Engine Optimization to garnish a stronger audience for the company.

Armadillo Studios is once again proud to team-up with Enermatix Inc. to help improve the company’s image and to help enhance their bottom line.

SXSW09: Pictures and Diagrams in Thoughts – Monday Wrap-up

Monday’s panels took on a very visual tint.

Opening the day was the arrival of the Texas Sun and a panel called Shift Happens: Moving from Pictures to Words. The panel featured some of the core brains behind the great CommonCraft explanation videos and VizTalk , two companies that are transforming how we explain complex issues and concepts by utilizing our basic need for visualization.

The entire talk resided around how corporations can utilize simple drawings and images to covey the complexity of ideas. Whether it is a brainstorming session on a company vision or to define a complex set of corporate strategies, the companies featured in this panel are aligning themselves with corporate companies to produce visual elements that make it easier for their customers or employees to understand.

A great example of this concept from the work that Sunni Brown is doing via VizTalk. I’ve embedded a couple pieces of her work to give an example.

The second panel of note was the final panel of the day called Color Angels: It’s Not Just Black & White featuring three of the top Women Designers in the world. Of note was Veerle one of the most brilliant designers in the industry and an inspiration to Armadillo Studios.

This panel discussed the use of Color in Web Design to help usability, resolve culture color difference and to enhance a corporation’s branding. The discussion touched upon ideas regarding the cultural differences in colour recognition and techniques to allow color blind users to read your web site.

As a designer these colour issues are sometimes forgotten. An example that was given was the difference in color layouts for a Chinese Wedding web site where Red means fortune, while the color white tends to represent death. Which is counter intuitive to North American tradition. Then the panel wrapped up by examining some case studies in colour design and the latest trends in the industry.

And with that the third day of panels was closed. With the sun shinning and the annual Big British Meet-up and the NXNW SXSW really kicked off.