Posts tagged ‘webdesign’

February 6, 2013

SwissLinked.com is finally live! Everything we have learnt during the process…

We really had a hard time to get our website up and running. We made a few mistakes, read this post to avoid them if you ever plan to build a website!

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Have you ever heard a webiste-building horror story?

I’m sure you have. As I have learnt, they are pretty common. I’m also sure that your story is not even close to ours!

 

 

Consider only 2 facts, 2 very objective dates, nobody can question:

-The deadline for the website was June 2012

-We went online on the 4th of February 2013

Add to this picture the little detail that we are running an on- and offline business networking platform…can you imagine doing this without a website? For more than a year? There you go.

We had the best guys ever for the design, in their portfolio of references they have National Geographic, Ebay..the big ones. How complicated it can be for those guys a simple forum site??? I can tell you: VERY complicated. The designing part proceeded as planned and the designers had a programmer team they usually work with.

This is where our story went wrong. The site is based on vBulletin forum program, which turned out to be the nightmare of programmers. Apparently it is very user-friendly and the users love it, but only very few experts are willing to program it. This first team of ours accepted to job, as we later (much later) realised without knowing this program. Weeks were passing by at first, then weeks became months. We still did not have a website. In June they promised July, in July September. In September October and so on.url-1

Starting from October I was looking for another programmer. I first contacted vBulletin but they do not give out contact of programmers. When I gave up every hope I couldn’t think of any other solution, I simply googled “programming crowdsourcing”. This is how I landed on elance.com. What did I have to loose at that point?

I posted a job “vBulletin developer” and out of thousands of programmers who work through Elance 2 (two) said they were willing to give it a try. That gives you a good idea about the popularity of vBulletin amongst programmers.

I picked the guy with 100% positive feedback and off we started. This boy (26 years old, South Korean, living in China, loving classical music and wine) finished the job in 3 weeks. The same job what an entire team of Russian programmers didn’t manage in 9 months.

This is our happy ending, or rather the real beginning of an adventure. With a good website we’ll be able to give more spotlight to the events we organize, to not mention the safe online networking part.

 

urlThe key points I have learnt are:

Do not trust the programmer when he says that he can do the job. Check his references and make sure that he had already worked with the program you need.

-Delay can happen. ONCE. When he misses the second deadline you need to be firm and change programmer. No matter who recommends this first one.

Crowdsource. Elance.com is not the only crowdsourcing platform, there are many others. Most of them are safe, there is a rating system of contractors, you can check the progress and pay AFTER the work is done. To not mention the prices, which are a fraction of Swiss or European prices. You can crwodsource basically anything; logo or other design, editing, programming.

Share your experience. There are others out there who are in your situation!

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January 22, 2013

Brand Yourself Right

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The Spirit of the Lion

Brand yourself right

 Ilan Dray exposes and reveals his vision, tricks and secrets about design.

 

After years of experience in the advertising and internet business, I finally decided to set up my own studio. This is the story of my brand.

I. The lion is born

Creating a personal visual identity based on your own story and your dreams will make it unique.

I already had over 10 years of experience when I created INKOD back in 2004.

I remember the first day; it felt for me like I’m a new born who wanted to walk on his own (a classic Ilan Dray sentence).

So let’s be creative … Don’t do the obvious instead surprise yourself first!

One thing for sure is that I did not want to call the studio: “Studio Ilan Dray” or “ID Studio”

(Even if the first letters of my name are “I” & “D” = ID = Idea 🙂

One of the original sketches, shown below, was definitively too obvious …

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 07.03.46

If you aspire to be the king of the Jungle, think outside the box when branding yourself.

The motif of the lion came to me very quickly as my zodiac sign is Leo.

Also my experience with my mentor, Publicis Group, which uses the symbol of lion in a shape of sun, also inspired me to use this powerful symbol as my golden crest.

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II. The long history of lion imagery

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_%28heraldry%29

Used for centuries, the lion reign as symbol of power, loyalty and respect but also as an authority icon with calm and coolness.

The different interpretations of this symbol from different cultures make it one of the most popular symbols of all the time. From the lion of Judah holding the bible until nowadays with brands such Peugeot, L&M and also the symbol of Jerusalem itself…

As a trend, this icon is timeless.

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All these qualities emphasize my own story strengthening my feelings to use the lion as part of my logo.

III. Change the Matrix

Déjà vu provides a plot point in The Matrix, a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski. The protagonist, Neo, glances at a black cat and comments that he has just experienced déjà vu. Those with a knowledge of ‘The Matrix’ and its internal workings state that déjà vu means something within the Matrix was altered from its prior state and is referred to as a “glitch”.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_KmNZNT5xw

Related to Inkod branding, my vision was definitively to create something unique, different from any other digital agencies.

I was new in the jungle but wanted to create a “déjà vu” effect. When you look at the lion logo, it makes you feel secure and respectful towards my work experience as a company and not regard me as just another freelance studio.

The similarity of this popular icon and the use of gold from day one (it cost me my last penny 🙂 made the logo very unique and full of contrast for a digital studio and also very respectful as a corporate international company even when we were only a team of two and considered newbies.

IV. Eye catcher

My daring vision was to create something disturbing and catchy by using this old traditional gold lion symbol with a contrast edgy name: INKOD.

Do not try to understand its meaning … that’s the point, there is no meaning … It’s open for interpretation by your imagination …. The name was based on my first initial and that of my partner Nir. That gave us I + N = IN 🙂

“In” is definitively not “Out”… but all the domain names starting with this prefix were not available but “KOD” just came naturally and gave it the dramatic tone. It sounds like “Code” and at that time movies like “The Secret” and “The Da-Vinci Code” really inspired me. The fact I wrote it with a “K” like a hacker’s term for it makes it even cooler 🙂

That’s how the name “INKOD” was born.

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I personally love to catch the attention of my public and play with it.

I call this technique “The small hair in my soup” and it is definitively one of my best tricks. If you want to focus someone’s attention at a specific area … like a magician, create a diversion 🙂 Just the fact it catches your eye makes your subconscious remember it.

This small point will be discussed further in a future post along with case studies to show you exactly how to use it wisely in when designing UX / GUI. The secret is to not make everything perfect on purpose 🙂

Do not forget, perfection does not exist in nature … except maybe in wine.

V. The lion maturities

As a wine lover, I really recommend a great Israeli boutique vineyard called Ella Valley.

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A long time ago I had the privilege to work on the Ella Valley brand with Yoni from “Armoni Bates” advertising agency that created their amazing visual identity.

Yoni explained to me about the challenges and his vision when he created the label and inspired the way I branded myself.

Ella Valley vineyard effectively combined the best wines experts with high-end technology process but one point was problematic … they were new in the market.

Yoni’s solution was smart and impressed me as he succeeded in balancing an old-school style with digital and daring graphics. He used black and gold with a classic serif font in addition to a sexy shape for the label. The iconography was used to explain the values of the process and to top it all he each bottle had its own unique URL on the back to complete the ultimate effect of a classic yet edgy wine.

This challenge was exactly what I felt when I created INKOD’s brand and that’s why I used the most royal and traditional of symbols, the gold lion, and combined it with a classic serif font for the company’s name.

The contrast it creates was unexpected, daring, unique but also classic and with this ensured the feeling of “déjà vu”.

VI. INKOD meets HYPERA

Roni Nizri Geva joined me after less than 3 months and has since successfully managed and marketed INKOD with our sharp vision and common purpose of doing business and fun 🙂

After 2 years, we wanted to add a technological aspect to INKOD so we could provide a one stop shop solution to our clients. We thought we could better understand and control the whole process of development as well as get better budgeting.

We met HYPERA which was managed by Assaf Priel, and had a team of experts focused on achieving the same result.

The evolution of the logo came to its second step as the name changed to INKOD HYPERA.

The vision of the company was sharpened and I decided that it’s time to get rid of all the excess ornamentation of the lion and have something that’s more up to date.

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This version of the logo combined the two brands with their separate slogans to explain each department’s values: INKOD – Exclusive Designs and HYPERA -Innovative Technology.

The merging of the two companies was successful and formed a team with the methodology needed to develop and work in synergy.

The technology revolution in the digital world was really quick and from a business standpoint we realized that the competition was getting stiff with the time. Roni is very talented when it comes to self-assessment and pretty soon he and Assaf understood that the real need of the market was User Interfaces Expertise and not just technology at a better price.

INKOD HYPERA. It’s all about the concept.

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This version of the logo shows the evolution of the lion into something more mature and stylish, the combination of our two names created something even stronger and more powerful as one identity and our final new slogan: “It’s all about the concept”.

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VII. INKOD HYPERA 2012 

Leading the market in Israel with our expertise as a UX & GUI Design Company for Web, Mobile and Tablet products, we finally matured enough to get our own personality and explore a new concept showing the process and team work values.

In the presentation below you get a full introduction to the new brand concept.

I’m proud and happy to introduce it to the world.

Coming soon – our new website

www.inkod.com

My first lion sketch

Origami

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