What I’m doing below is playing with ideas, processing them visually. I scanned a page from my sketchbook of ideas for my Parker Payroll site. There is a thread of ideas, some that don’t work, one that makes me go hmm and one still on the sketchbook page that I think I want to explore visually. There are two here I rather like though translating them to other pages on the web site may be a challenge. I am going to keep at it and see where it ends up. By the way, this is taking so long is because I am doing this around my paying gigs. The process is fun, I have the time to try out the silly, the bad, do some research for inspiration and examine my process in a way I never have before.
So there it is, my web page layout. (See last week’s post.) It’s fine. I like it. But I think I want something a little more well, more. I’ve noticed lately that I can look at web site and tell that they are Word Press sites. There’s beginning to be a format or style about them. It’s very nice, but not what, you, as a client, is going for. I have some thumbnails below (quick little sketches) that I did on the bus. They are a bit shaky but I was kind of musing. The final will likely not look much like any of these or maybe it will. That’s the process, you try lots of things and refine, refine, refine. You, as the client, don’t see all the process and refinement that goes into a design. That’s the reason I decided to step back and move slowly through the process. This project does not have deadline so I can mosey through my process and document it. So how am I going to do this? I’m going to think, draw on the bus, think while I’m running, I will pay attention to posters, book design, web designs, magazine layouts looking for inspiration. I will tear out pages, mark book pages and create a file of ideas. It’s a process. It’s my process. Some designers get instantly inspired after days of agonizing and others have methodology that works for them. I am some place in between. You’ll see how I find my way to the design that will become Parker Payroll Services web site.
Here is the first pass at the web page. This only represents the color scheme and the layout. I think I want to add a photo montage for the top of the page. You know something expected, remember I’m going for strong dependable and yes maybe not predictable certainly not surprising or unpredictable. Notice however, client sign-in. That’s where clients of Parker Payroll can sign-in and enter their payroll data safely and securely. When I really have it ready I will do a couple of pages and provide a link that will go to a mini site within my web site that will have linked pages providing a true user experience.
After consideration I chose to prepare a tear sheet rather than a brochure. The following is why a tear sheet is the best use in this instance and why a brochure would be better in other circumstances. But first, let me explain what a tear sheet and brochure is:
Tear sheet: Tear sheet has several meanings. For our use a tear sheet is a single piece of paper that conveys information or services a business or organization supplies.
Brochure: A brochure can serve the above purposes but it can also be used to convey all sorts of information about just about anything. Brochures are a single sheet of paper that can vary in size and is folded. The folded size is typically 8.5 inches in height and slightly more than 3.5 inches in width.
- Tear sheets can fit nicely into file folders with other papers
- It is often one sided-which depending on how much information you have is a good thing
- Both a brochure and a tear sheet are in danger of getting lost on a desk; I think a tear sheet is easier to find
- It can easily be combined with other papers to make a neat professional package
- Not that a brochure is unprofessional, but it has a broad range of subject and uses; they are very common and can seem too informal
- It is perfect for display and casual distribution
- It is pre-folded, perfect for transport
- It can be laid out to guide the reader through the information
- It is the perfect way to include a short form
I think a tear sheet looks less like a sales tool, though it is, and more as a method to dispense information. There are two versions here. One is shown without a business card attached and he other with a card. The card can be simply clipped to the sheet for easy reference and removal.
This week: Letterhead and Invoice. Things like proposals will follow the style of the invoice. As will the tear sheet for the scope of services. I will have that, I will have to decide whether I need a two fold brochure.
Any excuse to show off and quote Virgil. My other thought was a song from the Sound of Music. Count your blessings.
Last week was the unveiling of the logo design for Parker Payroll Services. This week is the business card. The logo is the hallmark of the company, the business card is the beacon. The business card design sets the tone and the brand of the company. It will be the piece that is printed the most, handed out the most, the most prevalent identifier the company will have. It will set the design for the web site, letterhead, even the invoices and communications. Now the other pieces are mostly done though not refined. I didn’t design the business card then move on to the next items. The logo, the card, all aspects of the designs were all considered together. Not entirely in the physical sense, mind you, but in the sense of message, branding and workability. The colors, type and object elements were considered for all the pieces for the company. Here are the comps for the card and the final version. A few things first though.
1. The final card is vertical. I usually prefer cards be horizontal.
2. I like the logo to be in the upper left corner.
I liked the look of the vertical card best. I think it balances the copy (text) with white space to create a card that has the look and feel I am going for. That look and feel being solid, reliable, dependable, yada, yada, yada. Since the logo is the name of the company and not a symbol that needs to be paired with the company name, placing it at the top of the card and not the upper left is not an issue. It’s still upper just not left, see how the logo at the bottom of the other vertical card option doesn’t work as well.
Flyers are still a good communication vehicle. Really, they are. I like them. You can’t tweet everything. Flyers are good for garage sales but they are good for other things too. Say you want to start lunchtime book club but you don’t want to email everyone in the company. Posting flyers in the cafeteria or lunchroom and in elevators or the company bulletin board is a fine way to pass along information. Any information that needs to be posted will get more attention if it is well designed and compelling. Below is a type only flyer. Think about how you use type, the size and spacing. Think about balance, how will it catch people’s eye? Large look at me type is an excellent way catch the eye. What about putting the title in the middle as in the example below? A little effort in the beginning can have high impact and results. Tear-offs are optional but are a good remember the date or sign-up here reminder.