Is your website mobile friendly?

It would surprise you to know how often I have new clients who have never done the simple test of checking their website on their own iPhone or Android device. However, it’s definitely something that everyone should do. If your site doesn’t look and operate well on a mobile device, you’re losing visitors and need to make some changes…

A great way to test if your site is at least mobile friendly is to use Google’s mobile-friendly test. This gives you an indication if Google thinks your site is fit for displaying on mobile devices. But don’t stop after checking this. The best advice I can give you is to visit your site on your mobile phone. Browse your own site for a while and try to click on every button, image and link to see what happens. Is everything working as expected? Can you actually purchase something on your site while using your mobile phone? Are all pages displayed correctly? You will see that most sites have some work to do this fall.

Source: How to avoid common SEO mistakes • Yoast

Welcome back, serifs

I’m a font nerd. I’m constantly working with (and sometimes against) clients who want a particular “look” for their website or app or presentation and trying to push them to look ahead. One of those conversations typically has to do with fonts.

One client I didn’t have to fight with was Guy Sayles. His new site is one of my favorite designs I’ve done in a long while. Part of that has to do with the font Adamina that was used for headlines. It’s whimsical and full of motion but also conveys wisdom and experience. It reminded me a great deal of Guy’s personality, so I had to use it. I think it looks just beautiful on the new From The Intersection site, and I’m glad he trusted my push to use a serif font for the design. We just launched the redesign this week.

The “design world” has been quickly re-adopting serif fonts for ads, apps, and websites over the last couple of years after they were mostly maligned in the early to mid 2010’s. However, as “mid-century modern” has come back into vogue stylistically for furniture and dress, we’re seeing the resurgence of serifs.

I installed iOS 12 betas on my iPhone and iPad this week for testing, and low-and-behold there are serifs! Apple is famous for its attention to detail and its use of Helvetica and then its own San Francisco font. Apple lead the way on San-serif fonts (such as the body text here), so it’s wonderful to see the serifs returning to apps like the renamed Apple Books (formerly iBooks), which makes sense. Apple has even created a new font titled “SF Serif” to mark the occasion.

So, keep in mind that even though you might think you know what “modern” is, there’s always a corner to turn. Find a good guide. And never ever use Comic Sans or Impact. For anything.

A few images from my Apple Books collection showing the new font:

“What’s a computer?”

There’s this meme that keeps coming back on Twitter. A young person discovers a floppy disk and calls it the save icon. Apple is using the same idea with this ad. When the mum asks her daughter what she is doing on her computer, she answers “what’s a computer?”

via Apple’s new ad shows how iPads are going to replace laptops | TechCrunch

There’s no doubt that “computing” will continue to evolve from the way we interpret that action today (based on conventions that come from machines primarily from the 80’s but also the mainframes and typewriters that preceded them).

I’ve been using a Google Pixelbook for 99% of my “computing” over the last two weeks. I love the integration that this device has with the Android app store and being able to install apps like Microsoft Word or Excel or Powerpoint and use them in full screen as if I was on a Windows laptop. I also love being able to flip this device around into “tablet mode” and play racing games or browse Netflix using what were previously mobile apps. Combined with the Pixel Pen, this device has changed the way I think about my own workflow in a rapid fashion.

The iPad Pro can do that for many people (especially students but also “adults”) as well.

I’m a big fan of the show Westworld. It has incredible visual effects and a captivating story. But the technology used by characters on the show is what really draws me in (I know I know). The handheld “computing” devices they use with foldable screens, touch sensing, AI, and integration of mobile and laptop features is so attractive to me. I hope Apple / Google / Amazon / Microsoft or whatever company that is currently being bootstrapped in a young person’s garage apartment gets us there in the next decade.

We’re almost there with transitional devices like the iPad Pro or the Pixelbook.

 

What Does Your Brand Do?

Longevity and repetition are two of the hardest to use tools in a marketer’s toolbox, but also the most effective.

via Marketing at millennials won’t save your tired brand | The Drum

There are definitely some points in this post that I disagree with (importance of having a “famous” brand and working towards that being a goal for your organization for one), but this sentence did stick out to me as something that I need to emphasize with our clients more often.

We do lots of “strategic consulting” with non-profits and businesses that don’t necessarily have a large budget for branding considerations. It’s something that often gets overlooked in the process of thinking through a marketing plan. That can easily be seen by the poor quality of logos and branding material that most local or regional non-profits have. But these things can be done well on a tight budget.

As the economy has shifted and nonprofits (especially) are facing slimmer traditional sources of donations there, concepts such as “what does your logo tell people about your group, business or non-profit?” become valuable barometers for improvement whether you’re trying to sell a product or solicit a donation.

You don’t need to have a quality Nike swoosh or Apple apple or Coke wordmark to be successful, but thinking through what you’re presenting and what you’re trying to “do” with your logo, fonts, colors, and brand messaging can make a world of difference when done well.

The Way the Stems Meet the Curves

youtube_2017_wordmark_before_after

Technically, this is an absolutely fantastic update. They have taken the blunt shapes of the old letters and improved on all of them to create a beautiful wordmark. At small sizes the change is almost imperceptible but at larger sizes the change is a feast. If the way the stems meet the curves on the bottom of each letter doesn’t give you heart palpitations then you might be in the wrong industry. That is really masterful. Dork-swooning aside, every letter is better — better designed and better suited for every size and screen possible. Play a little game of Spot the Difference and you’ll appreciate what I mean. The wider opening of the “Y”, the rounder sides of the “o” and “e”, the contrast in thicks and thins. So good. Also, the kerning couldn’t be better.

via Brand New: New Logo for YouTube done In-house

Details. And kerning.

Don’t be boring or cheap with your logo or wordmark.

Waiting for the gift of sound and vision

bowie76

“Because now you have designers, who instead of being encouraged to come up with their own, new, crazy ideas, are being encouraged to do the things that have been proven by the data to deliver results. A lot of times, in thriving marketplaces, a lot of ideas come from the bottom up. You see new consumer behaviors, and then you go, “Oh my gosh, look at what these kids are doing.” But as you end up with more predictable, controlled consumers, you end up with a less innovative society.”

Source: Doug Rushkoff Says Companies Should Stop Growing | FiveThirtyEight

Don’t you wonder sometimes, ’bout sound and vision?

Be weird. Be different. Don’t let your own expressions be drowned out by “what has worked in the past” or be restricted by “the data.”

Round pegs, square holes and all that.