Armadillo Studios Inc.

Team Armadillo vs. The Canadian Blog Awards

We hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving (or Columbus Day) long weekend. We know we sure did.

So to start this newly minted shortened week off, Team Armadillo is proud to announce that *three of our blog projects* are now nominated for “Canadian Blog Awards”:http://cdnba.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/blog-awards-round-1-voting-has-begun/.

Yes, *Glutastic.com*, *Mike’s Bloggity Blog*, and *The Review Crew* are all nominated for Canadian blog awards. For those unfamiliar the “Canadian Blog Awards”:http://cdnba.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/blog-awards-round-1-voting-has-begun/, they are a fan driven national award and are a bit of a big deal in the Canadian Blogging world.

As a company, we know that these great sites are driven by some fantastic content, but we also feel a little proud that our aesthetics could be that little something _extra_ that pushes them into the upper echelon of the Canadian Blogosphere.

So congratulations to all three of these great sites and make sure you give them a vote. The first round of voting ends on *October 17th, 2010*. Use the clicks below to jump straight to the polls.

* Glutastic.com – “Best Creative Activities Blog 2010 (Art, Crafts, Cooking, Photography, etc)”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3900688/
* MikesBloggityBlog.com “Best Blog 2010”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3900571/ & “Best Pop Culture Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3901042/
* TheReviewCrew.com “Best Blog 2010”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3900571/ & “Best Science & Tech Blog”:http://polldaddy.com/poll/3901075/

So if you have a moment, please give these great members of the Armadillo Family your support.

The yycApps Makeover

Who doesn’t love a web site makeover? Really, who doesn’t.

So with that, we’re happy to announce the much needed makeover of our beloved pet project – “yycApps”:http://www.yycapps.com.

The *yycApps.com* project started a little over 6 months ago, and since that cold winter evening has grown into a powerful resource for Calgary iPhone/iPad app developers. In conjunction, with the “moreapps”:http://www.yycapps.com/moreapps.php project, yycapps.com draws in about 2,000 viewers a month and is slowly becoming a reliable source for people curious about the growing iPhone development community in Calgary.

As you can see from the old design, pictured above, the site needed a dramatic redesign. The grungy texture and dark colour palette was a great design at the time, but it didn’t encourage a sense of community or professionalism. So with this new design we hope to help grow the community and the site even more.

So please, have a look at the new yycapps. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions to make the site that much better.

The Canadian Legacy Project Launches with Two Great Events

Earlier this month we teamed up with members of the Howard family and “The Event Group”:http://www.theeventgroup.ca to launch the new online home of the “Canadian Legacy Project”:http://www.canadianlegacy.org.

The Canadian Legacy Project is a new non-profit foundation dedicated to _improving the lives of disadvantaged youth, seniors and veterans and mobilize collective action in celebrating the legacy_.

The Canadian Legacy Project is in it’s first year of existence and is already working to help local Calgarians with the “Seniors Day Out this past September”:http://www.canadianlegacy.org/seniors-day-out and also “the 4th annual Veterans Food Drive”:http://www.canadianlegacy.org/events which will take place in November.

To help establish the foundation and build a strong following, we went about designing a unique identity for the web site. One that would invoke a sense of pride and honored tradition. As the main portal for information regarding the foundation, we wanted to create an engaging layout while also making it easy to navigate. We also utilized large colourful buttons to draw the users attention to some of the more important aspects of the site – such as the volunteer, donate and event pages.

We also established a soft and professional colour palette, with a combination of light greys and steel blue. We also created a unique maple leaf medallion logo for the Project as a way to reinforce the project’s commitment to Canadian Veterans, Seniors and our cherished past of servitude.

We are extremely excited to be working with the Canadian Legacy and to help them achieve their online goals. We look forward to seeing the foundation grow over the next months and to see the uplifting change that they plan to bring to our community.

_Sidenote: In November The Canadian Legacy Project will be working with Crown Surplus on the fourth annual Veterans Food Drive. Please check into the site over the next couple of weeks as the foundation begins providing more detailed information regarding the drive_.

Louie Van Amstel’s Ballroom With A Twist Launches

Armadillo Studios is incredibly excited to announce the launch of our latest project – The Canadian tour site for “Dancing with the Stars’ Louie Van Amstel’s production of Ballroom with a Twist”:http://www.ballroomwithatwist.com.

In conjunction with Calgary’s “Event Group”:http://www.eventgroup.ca and “Innovative Events”:http://www.innovativeevents.ca/, we set out to create a unique and exciting one-stop informational site for the upcoming 2010 Canadian tour. Building off the current excitement surrounding ballroom and professional dancing, we wanted to create a design aesthetic which encompasses the passion that Louie Van Amstel brings to all of his projects. Using a combination of bold pastel colors and a variant of glowing light streams, we created a vibrant mosaic to create a sense of excitement.

As a single page site, our next goal was to utilize as much of the screen real-estate as possible to provide users with the maximum amount of information. A dual column layout provides potential concert goers with a simple introduction to Louis Van Amstel’s production with an accompanying list of the 10 Canadian dates.

Then we created three secondary sections to promote the show’s star performers – Evan Lysacek and David Hernandez – while also allowing users to sign-up for email notifications on advanced ticket sales or to share the tour with their facebook friends.

Louise Van Amstel’s Ballroom with a Twist Canadian tour is set to launch this October and we are more than excited to be a part of this unique experience.

So, if you’re a fan of Dancing with the Stars or Louise Van Amstel, now’s your chance “to see both in a city near you”:http://www.ballroomwithatwist.com.

The Lazy H Ranch Project

The second of our big releases this month is a property site for “The Lazy H Ranch”:http://www.ranchforsalevail.com.

Earlier this month we were approached by Howlyn Properties to help them create a new site to showcase a “vacation ranch property for sale near beautiful Vail, Colorado”:http://www.ranchforsalevail.com. They wanted to keep with the structure of a previous property site, but build upon the structure to make it more appealing to their selling demographic and to provide key information to potential investors.

We set out to create a rustic western colour palette with dark browns and tarnished yellows for the new site. Then we imposed some _lumography photoshop elements_ on selected photos to give them a vibrant nostalgic feel – with a goal of showcasing the down-home western comfort and livability which exudes out of The Lazy H Ranch property.

The next step was to build upon the chosen site structure, by incorporating a simple jquery image slider and a fancybox gallery for the photos of the property. Each of these enhancements was developed to showcasing the lush qualities of this stunning property.

The final major enhancement to the site was to build customized Google maps which would give users a true understanding of the location of the property in relationship to amazing wealth of winter and summer activities in the Vail Valley. We built custom maps to showcase “the world class ski hills”:http://www.ranchforsalevail.com/enjoy-vails-world-class-ski-hills/ and “top notch golf courses”:http://www.ranchforsalevail.com/vail-valley-golfing/ in the area.

Over the next few weeks we will be working with Howlyn Properties and their Realtor “Team Black Bear”:http://www.teamblackbear.com, to tailor the SEO components of the new site and to help promote the property to potential investors.

It was a pleasure to work with both companies and we wish them all the best with the project.

Taylor Made Events Catering Launches For The 2010 Stampede

A few days before the 2010 Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, Karjsa Taylor of “Taylor Made Events Catering”:http://www.taylormade-events.com came to Armadillo Studios with a small conundrum. She was showcasing her new catering talents at “The ATCO Kitchen Theatre”:http://cs.calgarystampede.com/planner/event/149-taylor-made-events-catering-ftkajsa-taylor.html and needed a quick online presence to connect with potential online customers.

So cue Team Armadillo to help a new friend in need.

Within such a quick turn around time, Armadillo Studios went about creating a unique and professional branding concept for Karjsa, while developing a simple and informational splash page to promote her unique catering services. Using a soft red, rosa and brown colour palette we developed a branding for TMEC which would appeal directly to her target market. We also leveraged a couple of interesting photos of her exquisite Lamb Burgers and Karjsa herself, to connect potential customers to the catering services.

After a successful Stampede Showcase, we wish Karjsa and Taylor Made Events Catering all the best during the busy summer BBQ season.

Facebook Fan Page Fan-tastic

It is with great pleasure that Armadillo Studios announces our new “Facebook Fan Page”:http://www.facebook.com/armadillostudios.

As you can see our new Facebook Fan Page is a fully customized site, which aims to show the *playful* side of Armadillo Studios and to also demonstrate the potential power of the *Facebook Fan Page*. We built all the elements of the Armadillo Studios landing page using FBML (Facebook Meta Language), a new cannon of design code which allows page owners to dramatically enhance the Facebook experience for their fans.

But Why Launch a Fan Page Now?

Some of you may be asking, _why is a Web Design and Social Media outfit only jumping on the Facebook Fan Page bandwagon now_?

To answer that, let’s look quickly at the Facebook platform.

When Facebook first started gaining some traction with the college crowd, it created a unique subsection for people to organize called *Groups*. As everyone now knows, Groups allow up to 5,000 users to band together to show their admiration for a wealth of topics. But the major flaw, with Groups, is that it was quite difficult to connect with your followers. Without a constant level of interaction between groups and their followers, most groups faded into the distance.

Now fast forward to the beginning of 2009 and Facebook is set to launch a new system called “Fan Pages”:http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/02/16/facebook-to-launch-redesigned-pages-for-businesses-tour-first-impressions/.

*Fan Pages are Group pages on steroids* – no limits on membership, the ability to post new content directly into your fan’s activity stream and the ability to customize the layout. When they first launched many organizations made the switch instantaneously, but one of the hidden elements of the new customizable elements was the ability to create new pages using *FBML* (Facebook Meta Language).

In recent months, FMBL has undergone a series of dramatic enhancements to the point where those who are familiar with the language, can now utilize this new tool to fully customize the Fan Page experience.

FMBL and The Future of Fan Pages

It’s because of the evolution of FBML that we felt it was time to create a new identity for the company on Facebook.

With FBML, organizations can now build a unique identity on Facebook which is akin to their own goals – something that will standout from the competition. These tools now allow users to create their own mini-web sites within Facebook. And with the unprecedented growth of Facebook in certain demographics, it is now more important than ever to make a great first impression.

Because of these developments, we believe that *Facebook Fan Pages are going to be a powerful new tool for companies and community organizations*. And while we think our own page is pretty darn fan-tastic, here are some examples of what can be done with Facebook Fan Pages:

* “The New England Patriots”:http://www.facebook.com/newenglandpatriots
* “Bullfrog Power’s – Pay More For Energy Campaign”:http://www.facebook.com/BullfrogPower
* “Gerry Loves Records – An indie record label out of Edinburgh”:http://www.facebook.com/gerrylovesrecords
* “Victoria Secret”:http://www.facebook.com/victoriassecret

So don’t just take our word on it, some of the biggest players in the internet industry are already taking note.

Fan Pages & Your Company

The beauty of Facebook fan pages is that they can built for a fraction of the cost of a regular web site and they also allow you a direct connection to your fans (via streaming your updates directly in to your fan’s stream). So if you like what you see with our own “Facebook Fan Page”:http://www.facebook.com/armadillostudios, send us a note at *info@armadillostudios.ca*.

If you get in contact with us to develop a Fan Page by July 15th, we’ll give you an introductory discount of 20% on our development rate.