Welcome to Straydog — We’re an award winning Vancouver Branding, Website Design & Graphic Design agency.
We offer branding, print and digital marketing services that will turn your business and your website into powerful and effective assets.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION


OUR SERVICES

Branding

Unleash your brand!

Brands, like dogs, never stand still and we design innovative branding solutions that grow, evolve and thrive.

Website Design

Embark on Web Design

We craft responsive WordPress & Drupal CMS website's that are on-brand, mobile-friendly and easy-to-use.

Digital Marketing

More traffic, more business

SEO, Social Media Marketing & Website Optimization services will get your website working for you and drive your ROI.

 

Brand Naming

What's your Name?

You only have one chance to make a first impression. A great name can make a great first impression and opens doors.

 

Graphic Design

Great design for all your needs

Conceptual and creative thinking delivers design that is far more than just aesthetically pleasing.

  .

Package Design

Stand out on the shelf

We design product packaging that communicates and connects your unique brand message with the consumer.

 

LATEST DESIGN WORK

Client-logo-grid

LATEST BLOG POSTS

[raw]

Branding is a very important process you should start thinking about from the moment you decide to turn your idea into a business project. In this article I listed some of the principles you should keep in mind when working with a design agency on your branding:

1. Keep it classic

Trends change fast, which is why great brands tend to choose more classic solutions for their logos, brand colors, inscriptions, etc. Remember that classic doesn’t mean boring – it means that designers should use more traditional fonts, shapes, colors and imagery that will stay popular for a longer period of time.

2. Make sure your branding reflects your character

This is usually among the first and the most basic instructions you receive from branding experts. Company mission and statement should reflect on brand design, which means that if you are making a logo for a law firm, you won’t use vivid colors and dynamic shapes. On the other hand if you are designing a logo for a beach bar, making it too plain and square definitely won’t attract people in a need for cocktails and relaxing music.

3. Stand out

The worst thing that could happen to a brand is to get mixed up with another one. Sometimes this happens unintentionally, but in a lot of cases entrepreneurs intentionally copy rival brands in order to imitate them and dig into their customer base. This is never a good idea. Copying trademarks can lead to cease and desist letters and lawsuits. Even if you don’t end up in court, copying other rival’s branding will definitely affect your reputation.

4. Don’t use more than three colors

This is one of the main design rules. Even if you are making a logo for samba dance troupe, don’t use more than three colors. There is also a financial reason for this, because you will need to pay premium prices for additional colors, when printing office and promotional material.

5. Minimalism always does the trick

If you look at some of the best known brands, you will realize that they don’t splash users with huge set of vivid colors and don’t contain dozens of different lines and shapes. Successful brand logos are simple, easy to draw and remember.

6. Don’t write long slogans

A slogan is a very powerful branding tool, especially when it is short and easy to remember. Some of the good examples are: “I’m loving it!” and “Just do it!”. These slogans stay in consumer’s mind for a long time and they characterize the brands they represent. Good slogans are timeless, and they can be repeatedly used in advertising.

7. Choose a memorable name

Company name is very important, which is why the process of choosing the right name tends to be very frustrating. Your name should be memorable and it shouldn’t be inspired by short–lasting trends. Another very important thing to have in mind when choosing a company name is the domain-name availability. Today we can’t imagine a business without an official website, which means that you should try to find a free domain before making a decision.

8. Choose colors wisely

Choosing colors is not easy. You need to select the ones that will create the right psychological response. This is very important for online brands, because if you want to draw traffic to your website, you need to engage visitors from the start. If you want to draw attention you should use high-contrast color-schemes, and if you want to give consumers the feeling of peace and serenity you should choose light and peaceful color combinations.

9. Leave some blank space

Blank space is designer’s best friend. It emphasizes the important parts of websites and it makes your branding breathe.

10. Personalize your branding

Add a little bit of “you” to the mix. Choose something you like and add it to your brand no matter what designing experts and guidebooks say. This will show your audience that your brand is unique and that you personally stand behind it.

Conclusion

Branding is not as easy as everyone thinks. Logos made in online logo-makers, rewritten slogans and poor selection of colors can hurt your company image. Companies that don’t give branding enough attention are not taken seriously and they tend to have a lot of trouble with attracting customers and business partners.

Rob-Barnett-Straydog-Branding-Vancouver-Managing-Director-Brand-StrategistRob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog

What was once taboo in website design has made a complete resurgence as one of the most popular techniques in recent years as users are finding a new love and appreciation for sites where scrolling is a necessity. Shedding its old stigmas, scrolling is reinventing itself as a core interaction design element – that also means designers need to learn the new rules.

Why Scrolling is Reborn

The simple answer is mobile devices.

Ever since mobile users have surpassed desktop users, UI designers everywhere have adjusted accordingly. And with so many users on smaller screens, scrolling is becoming more of a necessity: the smaller the screen, the longer the scroll.

But there are other factors. Access to high speed internet is available in more places, making the scroll a quicker way to access information than clicking from page to page. The growing strength of social media sites also feeds the technique: scrolling naturally accommodates their wealth of user-generated content.

The scrolling technique lets you provide users an endless stream of bite-sized content (which is perfect for web and especially mobile experiences. Plus, the above-the-fold doctrine that was holding scrolling back is now being recognized as the myth it really is. The truth, according to actual studies, is that users really don’t mind scrolling. The practice of jamming everything above the fold is losing out to spacing everything out along a even and smooth scroll.

Part of the reason the myth became popular, of course, was that scrolling was only seriously considered as an intentional design pattern after advances in Javascript and CSS. Before that, it was much more difficult to make scrolling “sexy” through visual storytelling. As you might imagine, a long page full of text (interrupted by occasional images) isn’t a very engaging UI layout.

But once you start approaching the long scroll as a canvas for illustrating a beginning, middle, and end (through graphics, animations, icons, etc.), then you start to see it’s film-like power in capturing user attention.

In fact, some hybrid patterns are emerging as the latest trend in scrolling. For example, check out the “fixed-in-place scroll” on UXPin’s  tour page…it creates the same interactive experience of a traditional long-scroll site without stretching the site vertically.

Is Scrolling Right for You?

With every design technique and tool, there are those who love the concept and those who hate it. In most cases, neither side is intrinsically right or wrong; that’s why it’s important to weigh all considerations before tackling such a project.

Advantages of Scrolling:
  • Encourages interaction – With the ever constant stimulation of changing element, it can be an interesting storytelling method that encourages user interaction – especially with tastefully-executed parallax scrolling.
  • Faster – Long scrolling is faster than clicking through a complex navigation path and does not slow down or limit the user experience. As described in UXPin’s Interaction Design Best Practices, the perception of time is often more important than the actual passing of time.
  • Entices users – The ease of use promotes interactivity and increase time on site. This is especially true for infinite scrolling sites, where you can help users discover relevant content that they may not have even thought of.
  • Responsive design – Page designing can get complicated across devices with different screen sizes and capabilities, but scrolling helps simplify the differences.
  • Gesture controls – Scrolling seems organically linked with touch, since swiping downwards is much easier than repeated taps on different areas of the screen. Users (especially mobile) are commonly accepting this as a way to display information.
    Delightful design – Few clicks can result in quicker interactions for a more app- or game-like user experience.
Disadvantages of Scrolling:
  • Stubborn users – Nevermind why, some users always resist change. Nonetheless, the technique is so widespread now (especially during mobile experiences) that it’s probably safe to say that the majority of users are accustomed to the technique.
  • SEO drawbacks – Having only one page may have a negative effect on the site’s SEO.
  • Disorienting – The disconnection between scrolling and content may leave users confused or disjointed.
  • Navigational difficulties – It can be awkward to “go back” to previous content on the page.
    To counter this, you could create a persistent top navigation where each item is anchored to a page section
  • Site Speed – Large pieces of content such as video or image galleries may slow down the site speed, especially for parallax-scrolling sites, which rely upon Javascript and jQuery (check out this tutorial to learn how to create parallax sites without slow site speed).
  • No footers – With infinite-scrolling sites, we’d recommend a lean “sticky” footer so you don’t sacrifice navigability. Otherwise, users may be confused by a lack of further navigation at the bottom of the page.

Advantages and disadvantages aside, the long scroll is a technique that suits some types of sites more than others. Longer scrolling websites and best suited for content and design plans that…

  • … are going to include a significant portion of mobile traffic (most users)
  • … include frequent updates or new content (such as a blog)
  • … have a lot of information presented in a singular way for comprehension (such as an infographic)
  • … do not contain rich media because of the drain this can cause in terms of load times

Social media sites, with constant and extensive user-generated content, do well with long scrolling (in fact, Facebook and Twitter helped popularize the technique years ago). On the other hand, goal-oriented sites like e-commerce – which require coherent navigation – tend more towards conservative page lengths.The middle ground would be a site like Etsy, an online store for user-generated products, which uses a hybrid solution: several pages of so-called “infinite” scrolling, ending with a call-to-action of “Show Me More.”

Like all web design trends, don’t use longer scrolls just because you’ve seen other sites follow the pattern. Make sure your website fits the criteria we’ve discussed, otherwise you might actually experience worse performance.

Scrolling Best Practices

Long scrolling, parallax effects and similar mechanisms are still relatively new to the realm of design (~4 years) , but still some rudimentary trial-and-error has produced some fundamental best practices.

Summarized from Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016, here are some everyday tips for successfully implementing long scrolling.

  1. Don’t be afraid to alternate long with short scroll. Let the content dictate the scroll length, not the other way around. It’s totally fine (and quite popular) to use a short-scroll homepage and long-scroll landing pages (like Products, Tour, etc.).
  1. Consider sticky navigation, such as that used by Free Range Designs, so that users can always “get back” quickly or bounce from element to element in the scroll.
  1. Suggest scrolling with design elements or tools so that every user can quickly see how the site works. Arrows, animated buttons or similar user interface tools are fun and easy ways to help the user determine what to do next. Some sites even include a small button with instructions like “Scroll for More” or “Get Started” to help navigate a site with unconventional techniques.
  1. Make clear distinctions between scrolling clicks or taps and other calls-to-action so that your website gets the desired interaction.
  1. Do some research and look at how users are interacting with the scroll. In Google Analytics, for example, you can open the “In Page Analytics” tab to see how many people click below the fold. Based on the data, you can then tweak the design as necessary.
  1. Don’t go overboard. Long scrolling does not mean 500 pages of continuous content – a long scroll can also be simple. Tell your story and then stop. Don’t force it.
  1. Focus on your user goals and accept that even infinite scrolling sites are not truly endless. When creating longer-scrolling sites, understand that users still require a sense of orientation (their current location) and navigation (other possible paths).
  1. Include visual cues that help orient users in the scroll.

Scrolling can be a double-edged sword, so stick to its recommended usage to avoid it doing more harm than good.

Pageless Designs of the Future

Long scrolling sites are not going anywhere. While we’ve seen ebbs and flows (or increases and decreases) in the sizes of screens on popular devices, small is here for the foreseeable future. And small screens require more scrolling.

Actually, the transition from long-scrolling to “pageless” design has already started, and some designers (like those at Digital Telepathy) even believe it is the future of the web. As websites continue to shed some of the constraints of how users think about and consume information, designers must think more radically about the best ways to create content in different environments.

Interaction design is the foundation of long scrolling website design. If users like the interface and find it intuitive and fun to use, then they won’t really mind the length of the scroll (as long as it’s not atrociously long).

You don’t always need to shorten the line – you could just make the wait far more entertaining.

If you found this post helpful, check out UPX’s free e-book Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016.

Rob-Barnett-Straydog-Branding-Vancouver-Managing-Director-Brand-StrategistRob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog

The Press Room

Straydog has just completed the design and launch of The Press Room Bakery & Cafe brand. The Press Room will be opening in North Vancouver, BC in the Spring of 2019.

The Press Room Bakery & Cafe serves high quality, fresh coffee & wholesome, delicious baked goods in a cosy, relaxed environment. It will be a place to reconnect, form communities and celebrate life’s simple pleasures. With a warm, cosy, urban feel, The Press Room brand and coffee house evokes feelings of relaxation and comfort. The Press Room experience will be memorable, bringing the exquisite into the everyday and providing an environment for nurturing community and celebrating the human condition.

The Press Room logo is a classic serif font, reminiscent of newspaper headlines. Quotation marks, linked together to symbolize, news, conversation, authenticity and connection. The first shape is also a latte finished with artwork that reinforces the message of connection, community, health and love. As well as really good coffee!

Help us celebrate the grand opening of The Press Room Bakery & Cafe, in North Vancouver, BC in Spring 2019…more details to come!

Rob-Barnett-Straydog-Branding-Vancouver-Managing-Director-Brand-StrategistArticle by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog

 

Request a Free Quote

The Design Studio

Straydog Vancouver Branding Graphic Design Web Design Firm

We're a rare breed. Straydog is a Vancouver branding firm that strives for big unique ideas and has a healthy obsession for the finer details of typography & design. Our disposition is not the kind that'll settle for mediocrity.

Need website support? Act now!

Straydog

Recent Posts

We're Bark Approved!

Straydog Branding