Armadillo Studios Inc.

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.

The Revamped U of A Ski Club

_Ah! University. Sweet, sweet memories of University_.

The Armadillo Team have some fine memories of our days in University and our time with the University of Calgary’s Ski Club. Many of these memories are fairly blurry, but they are rather fond one.

So when the U of Calgary’s sister club, The “University of Alberta’s Ski Club”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca, came to Armadillo Studios with a predicament we were more than happy to help. (Plus, “we’d already gave their southern cousins a little bit of a makeover earlier this year”:http://www.uofcskiclub.com/)

First and foremost, the new “U of A Ski Club Web Site”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca is not an original Armadillo design; rather we’ve dramatically upgraded the structure and the skeleton of what they were left with.

The U of A Ski Club had a web site built by a third party, but was never given the information on how to update it or maintain it. Instead they were left with a static web site with no real CMS and no way of communicating with their beloved membership. This is unfortunately a common predicament in our industry and many clients in this situation approach us. So in came Armadillo to save the day.

Using the key elements of the original design to the site’s keep continuity, we rebuilt the web site using the WordPress Management system and even incorporated a few key design elements that were missing from the original site. Including links to Social Media elements, ShareThis Functionality, a Contact Us form and even a large beefy footer for simple navigation.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be working with the U of A to further improve their web site and improve their web site’s usability. But more importantly, we hope the new site will help them get more involved with the student body and creating more fond memories for others.

The Cookingwithfire.com Redesign & Recipe E-Books

The average lifespan for a web site design is roughly 1.5 to 2 years. Due to which, we have seen a bit of an influx of returning clients looking for touch-ups to their site. One such client was Linda Matthie of
of “Cookingwithfire.com”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com.

As one of the original roster of web sites launched during Armadillo’s inaugural year, the first cookingwithfire web site was built as a fairly straight-forward promotional site designed to showcase the company’s line of Mexican inspired cookbooks. It was one of our first web sites built with an integrated corporate newsletter and it was the first e-commerce site we built to use the “e-junkie commerce engine”:http://www.e-junkie.com/?r=5350.

Now, queue the redesign.

The new Cookingwith Fire Redesign has shifted the focus of away from a promotional site complimented by a small online market place, into a fully functional e-commerce web site.

By shifting the navigation from the left-hand side of the site to the top, key navigational information is now located in a more intuitive area. In addition, we have removed some of the unnecessary sidebar content and populated it with direct links to the site’s popular “newsletter articles”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/bite-your-tongue-when-sharing-these-hot-sauce-tips/, the “existing hardcover product line”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-fire-n-ice-cookbook/ and the “new E-Book Recipe line-up”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-cooking-with-fire-product-line/.

The second aspect of the redesign was to improve the e-commerce interface to coincide with the release of 11 new “Recipe E-Books”:http://www.cookingwithfire.com/the-cooking-with-fire-product-line/. Using the upgraded *E-junkie* platform we were able to enhance the overal shopping experience, keeping users contained within the cookingwithfire environment and the removing the hassle of additional windows. We have also created easy to find *View Cart* buttons on each page and simple links to the iniduval product desctiptions.

We have been honoured to work with Linda and her popular Cookingwithfire brand for the second time in our short history. We’re currently working on implementing a new newsletter service for the next round of e-book recipes, in the hopes of enhancing the web sites reach and awareness.

Dynasty Auto Glass Goes Live!

Late last year, the new owners of Dynasty Auto Glass approached Armadillo Studios to develop a new web site for the long standing Calgary icon. They wanted to create a unique online identity, which separated them from their competitors and also embraced their long standing independent status within the community.

So today we are happy to add “Dynasty-autoglass.com”:http://www.dynasty-autoglass.com to the growing list of Armadillo Studio Web sites.

Combining Dynasty’s established branding, Armadillo Studios has developed a unique and bold layout for their new web site. The new web site embraces a retro feel by utilizing fonts that mimic a vintage local dealership and by incorporating Polaroid templates to showcase images of the shop. As an added bonus the design also utilizes Veer’s fantastic “Calgary Script”:http://www.veer.com/products/typedetail.aspx?image=UMT0000326 to give a subtle nod to the local community.

Design wise, the site embraces a simple navigation with an enhanced sidebar, which links directly to the “company’s services”:http://www.dynasty-autoglass.com/dynasty-services/#ag and it’s location on Google maps. We have also moved the layout away from the stereotypical boxy feel, associated with most of their competitor’s web sites, to a rounded aesthetic.

And as an added bonus, Dynasty Auto Glass is offering a *$10 discount on Windshield Replacement* to celebrate the launch. (See the new site for more details)

Now that’s a win-win.