Using an old browser? Click here to upgrade. Oink!

Blog

gandhi.002
Manifesto |manɪˈfɛstəʊ|

noun ( pl. manifestos )

a public declaration of policy and aims.

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Italian, from manifestare, from Latin, ‘make public’, from manifestus ‘obvious’.

Courtesy (i.e. lovingly stolen from): Dictionary, by Apple Inc. 


For starters, let’s talk about what we don’t believe in.

We don’t believe in meaningless chaos. We don’t believe in pretence. And, we definitely don’t believe in losing.

So, while other agencies and consulting firms are busy polishing their mission and vision statements, we wanted to make this simple manifesto about what we do believe in.

We believe in delivering real value, beyond any and all expectations that our stakeholders set.

We believe in being honest and transparent about our work and the way we go about doing it.

We believe in growing, both as human beings and as a business.

It’s pretty simple, really. We want to make the web a better place for everyone – consumers and brands alike. And, we want to do that using meaningful content. Because we truly and inherently believe that content can never stop disrupting itself.

It’s a scary proposition; betting this high on ‘content’ – we know. But then, we look at what people and companies have achieved with content in the past – how we are contributing today by adding more spokes to the wheel – and it paints a clear picture of what lies ahead. Believe us, it looks remarkable and game changing.

While we’re talking about this, the lines between technology, content and people are blurring. It’s getting harder to tell the difference between ‘what once was’ and ‘what currently is’. That very cusp of convergence – between paid, owned and earned media – has spawned an entire industry, today.

Join us. You’ll live to tell your grandkids about quite a story! That’s a promise.

 

8627113727_00638f1e99_b

In our 3 years as an emerging business, we have designed community websites, Facebook apps, social intranets and pretty much everything in-between. To be honest, not every element we design is created from scratch each time.

Ideally, they don’t need to be either.

Our designers invest a significant amount of time researching what works best for our clients, and once epiphany strikes, well… then there’s no holding them back. Usually, that time is directly invested in designing what we call as the ‘Most Unique Proposition’ (or, MUP for short) of the project. In other words, what is it that differentiates our work for one client from what we may have done for another client, or for that matter, different from what the client’s competitors may have executed already. And believe it or not, the process of identifying the MUP for each project is a very time-consuming affair. So, our boutique team of visual designers & project managers pride themselves in having an eye for that kind of an effort.

Every visual design project that we take on is a mix of identifying the MUP along with customising a set ‘constant elements’ to suit the requirements of the project. Now, constant elements are nothing but UI blocks that you would find commonly across most projects in the same genre on the internet.

For example, if you were re-designing a corporate website, you are bound to see similar looking buttons, icons, fonts, background textures, navigation menus, and even vector illustrations across other corporate websites on the web. By using constant elements across projects, designers are not copying/stealing/re-using anything. They are just saving precious time by not re-inventing the wheel again. In effect, constant elements are customised to the project in question and not designed from the ground up, saving heaps of time.

It’s a practice that is religiously followed by experienced and efficient designers all over the world. If your designers aren’t doing it – maybe they should be.

The ratio of the MUP against constant elements, depending on project specifications, can be as high as 50-50 sometimes. Although, visually speaking, the project output looks fresh and unique each time. Given their many years of experience, our designers know where and how to strike a good balance, and demonstrate fine craftsmanship.

There are many sites out there offering constant elements in the form of free PSD’s, vector graphics and UI kits to give time crunched designers a helping hand. Here’s a curated list of the top 3 ones that get our vote.

 

1. PSDDD - Beautiful Dribbble Freebies For The Creative Professional.

1-1024x407

Psddd is a hot stove, somewhere between heaven and Dribbble. For those who are not familiar with Dribbble, they are by far the most exclusive think tank for the crème de la crème of creative talent across the world. This think tank is full of people who, from time to time, are benevolent enough to post their high-quality design elements as ‘freebies’ for the community to use. Elements are selected manually and fetched via the powerful Dribbble API.

 

2. PREMIUM PIXELS - Free Stuff For Creative Folk.

3-1024x563

Premium Pixels is a destination well-known among passionate designers for its collection of design elements that are created and curated by eclectic web designer Orman Clark. All elements are offered free of charge with very little restriction. Premium Pixels is renowned for its stringent quality standards and only those UI elements that are a ‘cut-above-the-rest’ make it to its sought after list.

 

3. CREATIVE MARKET - Handcrafted Fonts, Graphics, Themes and More.

2-1024x422

Creative Market is a marketplace for handcrafted, mousemade design content from around the world, and popular among those who are passionate about making beautiful design simple and accessible to everyone. The site carries almost every conceivable UI element including Photoshop brushes and WordPress themes. Creative Market is also the only paid online resource among the three sites in this post, where digital design goods are sold by independent creative professionals to use in personal as well as commercial projects.

Are there other online resources you frequently visit and trust? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Photo credits: © Eldkvast

4844488658_6990179c0d_b

In really simple terms, an online community is a destination on the ‘world wide web’ where people like us tend to hang out and spend a lot of time doing things of interest.

Does that make a Facebook brand page, an online community? Well, no! A Facebook brand page, or for that matter a Twitter brand account, is more like a ‘pit stop’ as opposed to a ‘destination’. People spend endless hours on Facebook, and brand pages get only a tiny fraction of that time. “Fans”, as Facebook would call it, come and go. A vast majority of people come on Facebook to be recognised (read: notifications!), stalk their friends’ wall, admire their own timelines, announce & sell things, compete on games and let’s not forget… spam like hell!

Does that make Facebook.com an online community? Yes, it does. And a very large online community at that. Didn’t someone place it at being the 3rd “most populous country” (if it were one in-fact)? That someone was right. But, for brands, Facebook comes with heavy constraints. For instance, could a brand (if they wanted) create an activity feed of their fans? Could they create document storage for fans? Could they create mood messages of fans for other fans to see?

Believe it or not, Facebook brand pages were created with only 2 objectives in mind:

  1. As a brand, how do we speak to our fans and how could we get them to speak to us?
  2. As a brand, how do we create widespread awareness and get more people to become fans and join our page?

Some marketers take the route of ‘intellectual ignorance’ in saying that the number of fans on a page does not matter to them. That may be true, but it defeats the fundamental premise of creating a brand page to begin with. I would invite those marketers to embrace an ‘online community’ instead, where the big idea is to create passionate users, grow loyalty and increase advocacy — perhaps even hint at cultivating a sense of brand fanaticism.

Think about it — every action that a fan takes on a brand’s Facebook status update or app is visible to only those people in his/her network (maybe everyone or maybe no one). What about those fans who are already on the page? What do they get to see, or are even motivated enough to see? Chances are — nothing. As a Facebook user, when you’re approaching a “popular” status update to comment on it, you proceed knowing the content of the status update and not knowing much (if anything at all) about what others have commented about. Unless you’re a patient person, you are not going to “un-roll” those 800+ comments to see what others have said about this topic of common interest.

Bottom line?

Facebook makes it easy for you & me to interact with our friends & family, but makes it very hard for page fans to interact with other fans.

An online community is all about bonding between members of that community, which manifests into a whole lot of good things, more importantly into a win-win relationship between brands and community members. Here, members win because of the honest recommendation from other members about the brand, and brands win because they get a customer for life. Let’s talk about what I mean by “good things” for a second — sales enablement, talent acquisition, product marketing, customer support, workforce collaboration and much, much more.

By now, you should be wondering what an online community looks like and how would it impact your brand. I’ll demonstrate that in my next post. As a progressive brand marketer, if this doesn’t get you salivating, you are best sticking to Facebook brand pages and loosing the ‘progressive’ tag. Cheers!

 

Photo credits: © luc legay