Historic ballroom venue gets the Bluegg treatment
Another week, another website launch, this week for a banqueting venue in Berkshire.
The Olympia Ballroom at Shehnai is the largest banqueting suite anywhere in Berkshire, catering for all manner of events, from spectacular conferences through to elegant weddings, quirky exhibitions and even comedy nights.
The Shehnai Group asked Bluegg to develop a new website. The old site was dated, didn’t showcase the beautiful venue in the best light, offered little advanced functionality and didn’t represent them as a company.
We started the project by spending time with the client at the venue, absorbing the atmosphere and getting a good understanding of the business. As part of the research phase we looked at the business requirements and how a new website could both promote and help Shehnai run the business. The team needed a better way to manage enquiries, bookings, clients and events so we advised a bespoke management system as part of the project.
Once the project and scope were agreed, we started work on the visual side. Using the existing gold logo as a basis, we created a design that was stylish and contemporary. The dark colour scheme reflects the opulent and luxurious look of the venue, whilst working as a backdrop to highlight the custom photography the client had commissioned.
During the design stage, we decided that we wanted to create a different theme for the wedding section using ivory, cream and gold to give a lighter more appropriate feel.
For the main site we used WordPress as a CMS to control the main pages, slideshows, blog and events. The custom built booking system allows the team to add clients and bookings, track payments and suppliers, and have a much better overview of the business. It also allows clients access to their individual bookings to check the status and details.
We’re really pleased with the result and even more pleased to have another satisfied client. Visit the new site at www.shehnaigroup.co.uk and let us know what you think in the comments!
Bluegg launches new Truck Auction website
Over the last five years we’ve designed and launched a number of auction websites for clients all over the UK and in the Middle East. Last week we added to the list by launching Truck Auction World – The UK’s leading online truck auction.
Truck Auction World deal in seriously heavy duty equipment, from HGV cabs and tailors to road going cement trucks and industrial machinery. This means that it’s logistically impossible to transport and store vehicles to a single location, so the company needed an auction system that was entirely online.
The old website and online system was overly complex, yet didn’t offer all the functionality required. The stockists were cluttered and difficult to manage and navigate.
The team at TAW chose our long term partners Kingfisher to operate the backend system and auction software, so we were brought in to work on the front end, user experience and help with the integration.
Since the Truck Auction World brand is very well established within its market the decision was made to stick with their existing logo. Everything else, including typography, colour and layout has had a complete overhaul.
The key focus for the project was to create a website that offered a slick user experience, a huge array of features and functions aimed at regular auction buyers and sellers and to represent the company as leaders in their field.
It’s early days to know what effect the new website has on the business. So far the signs are good! Even if you’re not a massive fan of trucks (and you should be) make sure you check out www.truckauctionworld.com and let us know what you think in the comments.
Bluegg site gets a mini makeover
It’s a little over a year since we launched our new website and throughout the year we’ve made some nips and tucks to smooth off a couple of edges. In the summer we decided that we needed to make some slightly bigger changes, both on the surface and under the hood. Finally, after months of fiddling, tinkering and fine tuning between client work we’re pleased to say that we’ve finished! We’re calling it an early Christmas present to ourselves!
So what’s new?
Under the hood
Even though much of the site looks the same, we’ve done quite a lot of work in the engine room. A lot of time has been spent streamlining the markup and we’ve introduced new semantic HTML 5 elements where possible. We’ve used WordPress as our CMS for a number of years. Constant, regular improvements to this system mean we can now create and use ‘Custom Post Types’ for each major area of the site. This helps both from a maintenance and usability point of view and makes keeping the site regularly updated really simple.
It’s now adaptive
If you’re reading this on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, you will probably have already noticed the biggest change. Our website is now adaptive (or responsive). This means that the layout and form of the site changes depending on what sort of device you’re looking at it on to provide a better user experience. We’ve also made the site adapt its functions to fit the device. For instance, our numerous slideshows throughout the site change from a ‘click to scroll’ function to a ‘swipe to scroll’ function when viewed on a touch screen device. We’ll be writing a lot more about adaptive design on our blog in the coming months, so make sure you check back soon.
The devil’s in the detail
Since we originally launched the site, we’ve had nothing but good feedback so never intended for this to be a redesign. More of a realignment really. That said, virtually every pixel has been looked at, critiqued and polished. The main change (although still pretty subtile) is in the typography. Since the site was first built we’ve been using Typekit to serve up a fine selection of fonts for our websites. We thought was about time we practiced what we preach, so have moved from our old favourite Effra, to our new font Museo Sans. We’ve also added some new content to the ‘meet the team’ part of the About section which gives a bit of an insight into each member of the team.
The biggest visual and content change is in our services page. We were never 100% happy with the old one and really wanted to, not only bring more vibrancy to the page, but to also offer much more information about what we actually do. We decided to split our services in to two types each containing 6 parts. For each of these parts we wrote a small bite size piece of copy and created custom illustrations and graphics. Take a look >
There’s also been a couple of other tweaks, but we’ll let you discover those for yourself. Why not have a look around the (mostly) new (and hopefully improved) site and let us know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!
New website for Christchurch Newport
One of the many reasons that we love what we do is the variety, which as they say, is the spice of life! One day we might be creating a responsive website for a networking club, then it’ll be illustrating for a printed brochure for a housing association or creating bespoke Facebook pages for a logistics group.
In the summer of 2011 we were delighted to be commissioned by a church! A whole new sector for us.
Christchurch Newport approached us to redesign their website, a site which by their own admission had become out dated, too dark, no longer reflective of their personality and didn’t offer the functionality they needed.
At Bluegg our approach to design is all about personality, so we accepted this challenge with great enthusiasm and the result has been a brilliant new (and long term) relationship with a client that fully understands the importance of user experience.
As with all projects, we started with a research phase. This included looking at websites for other churches from all over the world and spending time with the client talking about their problems and needs. Perhaps the best time spent of all the research was to actually attend the church on a Sunday to experience in person what they were hoping to communicate via their new website. It just so happened that the day we went along they were having a hog roast!
The original brand and website was dominated by shades of red and black, dark tones that tell a different story to the new version that was refreshed by our own fair hands. We started by refining the logo mark and used that as the basis moving forward. We introduced varying shades of blue as the predominant brand colour and white space which lightened the website, making it welcoming and more user friendly.
As well as standard information such as about us and contact, the site also needed several blogs, one for each of the core groups within the church (teens, students, everyone). To make the different types of users feel a part of the site, we created custom designs for each blog.
One of the main areas of the site was the Media section. The church film each of their Sunday meetings and create films based on the teaching of the bible. Over the last few years this added up to hundreds of hours of video, audio and message information. The whole site is managed using WordPress and we built a custom area that could manage all this different media. We also incorporated a bible API (who would have thought!) which allows the media section to pull text from the books into the media section.
Christchurch is much more than a Sunday service. They have events happening every week throughout the year and these all needed to be represented on an easy to view calendar. We implemented the Event Espresso plugin to manage events. Linking this up with the WordPress membership manager we enabled the Church to create events that could be registered for and some that are reoccurring.
Beyond the information architecture and initial design, Christchurch wanted around 50 bespoke illustrations/graphics to be used throughout the site. We created each of these to ensure a consistent style throughout the website, they also added an extra layer to the Christchurch personality.
We hit it off with the guys at Christchurch immediately and they’ve very much become friends as well as a client. They trusted our professional opinion and expertise, which helps of course but they also had another string to their bow – a freelance designer at the Church who is an advocate for good user experience! We worked closely with Richard, particularly during the build and testing phases and his contribution was paramount to the final site turning out the way it has, a site we are very proud of.
The guys from Christchurch not only spoilt us with Krispy Kreme doughnuts throughout the project and a voucher for Game at the end, but Dan also had these kind words to say:
“Our site is designed primarily for the people who come to Christchurch week in, week out but we also have to ensure that it’s friendly and easily navigable for new visitors. These may be Christians from other parts of the country or world, or people who have no idea who Jesus is who live nearby. Bluegg did a great job of creating an easy to use site that incorporated great imagary to get across the different aspects of the church.
“Over the course of the site development different challenges appeared but it was great to work with a bunch of people who stayed level headed, adapted easily, received critique well, offered great suggestions and were most importantly great to get on with and great at what they all did.
“We’re really grateful for our new site and grateful for all of the hard work of the Bluegg team.”
We’re equally grateful for having clients that are passionate about their brand, website and personality. It really shows that from a client side, you get out what you put in – client involvement and enthusiasm has had a key impact on the outcome of this project.
You can check out the site at www.christchurchnewport.org and we’re planning to add the project to our work area and create a case study for it – make sure you follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook or join our mailing list to be the first to know when it’s added. We’d love to know what you think, so please let us know in the comments below.
New brand, website and nifty quotation tool for Eupal
A few months ago Bluegg were approached by logistics company Eupal to help them with their business. The company needed our whole range of expertise, including logo design, brand development, website design and a custom backend quoting and account management system.
As you can see here the old branding was outdated and clichéd. Eupal had lost its personality and wanted it back. Although they’re a B2B company, they wanted to show that they are a professional and personal organisation. They enjoy a close working relationship with a long standing client base so were keen not to keep the design too serious.
The logo is made up of an arrow based icon and a simple wordmark in lowercase. We used a customised version of Neo Sans, which, with its tightly rounded edges offers a modern and approachable look.
For the icon part of the logo we created an two interlinked arrows representing items being sent to and from the UK. Linking the arrows also represents the relationship between Eupal and their clients.
The new website is fairly simple containing only a few main information pages. In order to introduce a burst of personality we created custom illustrations to illustrate the services on offer. These illustrations were built into a slideshow to create movement and a focal point for the main pages.
One of the main problems that Eupal were experiencing when we first met them was a lack of business, quoting and consignment organisation. The organisation was run using traditional paper and pen, and email, whilst quotations were given via email or over the phone.
We advised that an account, consignment and quoting system could be introduced to help organise and streamline the running of the business.
The backend system now tracks all new accounts and consignments whilst the quoting engine uses current market data to produce instant and accurate quotes for hundreds of thousands of variants.
The final result of this project is a totally new identity and personality for Eupal that has already been getting favourable feedback from their customers. It was also fun for us to immerse ourselves in a relatively new sector and have the opportunity to learn new skills when it came to the quoting system. It’s good to learn new things and now we know where to go if we have a parcel to send!
New branding and CMS website for Fairlake Living
One of the best parts of running a design agency is building relationships with clients. It’s what our business is all about. One great partnership we’ve built over the last few years is with the Seren Group, a care and support provider based in Newport.
We’ve worked will all parts of the group on branding, print and web projects, and one of our most recent tasks was to create a brand for fairlakeliving a house builder and provider of affordable homes to people in many parts of Wales.
The company’s developments include highly eco-friendly developments and piggy bank friendly properties as part of shared ownership and shared equity schemes. It was our job to help take the fairlakeliving brand forward to help them promote the consumer part of the business in order to attract new customers.
Deliverables we needed to supply included a design style that would work across a variety of marketing materials including posters, brochures, site hoarding, banners and a website which we designed and built.
We started by introducing a range of graphic elements and colours to make the brand stand apart from the more business to business parent organisation. We needed to create a design style that would attract both a younger first time buyer market as well as people that are eligible for schemes designed for the over 50′s.
The website is built using WordPress as the CMS to allow fairlakeliving to update most areas themselves, including adding new properties for sale and news & events. We also created a bespoke filtering system to help users search for properties by location.
The website also includes property galleries, downloadable property spec sheets and floor plans. It’s the beginning of a fully focused resource for anyone interested in the schemes available.
Bluegg launches blue.gg – Our URL shortener
A few weeks ago we bought the domain blue.gg and started thinking about what we could do with it. After a couple of no-goers we decided to build our very own URL (Uniform Resource Locator) (website address, for the less nerdy among us!) shortener.
What’s a URL shortener we hear you ask?
Over the last couple of years Twitter, along with a couple of other tools, has become an increasingly popular way of communicating. One of the best things about Twitter is the fact that the user is limited to 140 characters per tweet. This is great because, in a world saturated by information, it allows people to read and write communications quickly whilst keeping details to a minimum.
The problem with this is, if you wanted to tell everyone about this lovely new mug you found on Amazon you’d need to give out this link – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pantone-Mug-Duck-Blue-337C/dp/B002S0NSYA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1295389510&sr=8-2 – bang goes 105 of those oh so precious little letters.
To solve this problem a number of websites popped up offering to shorten this link for you. All you have to do is paste in your long link and the site would produce a much smaller one for you.
Why build our own?
Sure, there’s a number of URL shorteners around, one of which we have used before now so we could have just continued using that for our tweets and messages. Why didn’t we? Well it’s simple – branding. After all, it’s what we do!
By building our own shortener, we can now use much smaller URL’s whilst reinforcing our name and brand. So instead of that super long link to those lovely mugs, we can just use this – blue.gg/T (only 9 little characters!)
Plus, when we build things, we don’t mess around. We had one mission – “To make the slickest URL shortener around”. And we think we did. We’ve kept it to the bare minimum, with just a text field to paste your long link into and a ‘Shrink’ button. No page reloads, no complicated options, just a pixel perfect and sexy user interface.
Who can use it?
Absolutely anyone and everyone! It’s completely free and we’re happy for anyone to use it to shorten their links. We keep no personal data, so we’re not planning to ring you up to sell you stuff. So if you’ve never used one before, or you just want to use the prettiest on the web just visit www.blue.gg and get shrinking!
New branding and website for Amanda Bolt Associates
In late 2010 Bluegg were approached by investor relations expert Amanda Bolt to help create a logo, brand style and CMS website for her new venture Amanda Bolt Associates (ABA).
Amanda has over 15 years experience of working for multinational companies in London, and during the last 11 years has worked in the specialist area of investor relations within UK corporate broking at Schroder Securities, Citigroup and most recently Evolution Securities.
Bluegg were asked to create a fresh and contemporary design style to reflect Amanda’s professional background whilst avoiding the clichés often used by big corporate companies.
We started by creating a bold logo for the abbreviation ABA, which is strong, stable and easily recognisable. The colour scheme of cool greens and blues was developed to symbolise balance, calmness and honesty; three qualities needed in an investor relations officer. Once the logo was finalised, the design style was applied to corporate stationery, report and document templates, and customised powerpoint slides.
The next stage of the project was the website. Amanda required a small but beautifully crafted site that she had complete control of. ABA offers services to large Plc organisations and SMEs so we suggested incorporating two separate blogs that could provide up-to-date information and news to both.
For the Content Management System (CMS) we opted for WordPress, a favourite of ours. WordPress is the world’s leading blogging platform and is easy to use whilst offering a range of powerful features.
The final part of the project was to set up and brand two Twitter accounts as a conversation platform for both target audiences. We provided training on social media and how best to use it and set up live feeds into the website.
Here’s what Amanda had to say – “As a small business, getting our brand and messaging right was very important. We were impressed that the team at Bluegg understood our business and translated it very quickly into the branding, the design of our website and use of social media. We would recommend Bluegg to anyone requiring a brand (new or refresh) and other communications materials.”
Although this was a small project, we had a blast working on it (we think Amanda did too!) It just goes to show – size isn’t always everything.
Visit the website at www.amandabolt.com
Bluegg gets a new website (finally!)
Well, it’s taken a while, but following months of designs, redesigns and re-redesigns we’ve finally finished our brand spanking new website (almost!). Like a plumber with a dripping tap, design agencies own design requirements always seems to be at the bottom of the list, so it’s taken around 6 months to get it all done, but now it’s here so we hope you like it!
Why the change?
We built our last site in 2008 and while it’s served us well, things have moved on. The old site was designed to work at a screen resolution of 800 x 600px which was still the standard back then. Thankfully that’s changed and the norm is now much bigger (1024 x 768px). That’s allowed us to show more content, with more space and most importantly for us – bigger pictures!
So what’s new?
Well, pretty much everything really. Starting with the homepage we now have some featured projects which will change as we add new work and a live feed from our twitter account, so there’s always something new to see. We have a new about us page which includes some snazzy new photos of the studio and new doodles of the team. We’ve simplified our services section and added some of the lovely things our clients have said about us.
The biggest change to the site is the introduction of a blog. We’ll be writing an article about this at some point, but the blog seems to have replaced the latest news section for most clients. It’s going to be the part of our site that changes the most as we add posts about our work, design topics, studio happenings and things we like. Join our mailing list and we’ll let you know when we add new stuff.
There’s still a few things to finish off over the next couple of weeks, so check back soon. We hope you like the new site! Enjoy.
New e-commerce website for Atkin Grant & Lang
Bluegg have just launched a new website for gun makers Atkin Grant & Lang. The company, which started up back in 1821 is world renowned for making the finest breech loading guns & rifles. We’ve added the project to our work section. Take a look ›
A new design style was introduced for the redesign. A modern layout mixed with classic typefaces and imagery of the finely detailed guns gives a look of quality and sophistication.
We built a custom content management system (CMS) to enable the client to control areas of the site including a stock list, news blog and calendar events.
The site features a fully functional e-commerce shopping cart and online store which is controlled via an admin area. View project details and more images here ›