We practice the art of Digital Design
The Oxford dictionary defines the word design as ‘The art or action of conceiving of and producing a plan or drawing of something before it is made.’. It is an open-ended concept and may hold different meanings to different people. Design certainly implies creativity. Digital Design may seem even more vague to some. Here’s why we use Digital Design: We live in a digitally infused world and digital media not only exist all around us but have become an integral part of our existence. Digital Design has to do with designing digital media content, user experiences and the user interface through which we ‘consume’ and interact with digital media.
User Experience (UX) Design is a hot topic these days; As a society, we have become accustomed to getting things done with the help of technology. Digital technology is embedded in nearly every aspect of our lives and we expect a certain standard of usability and more importantly, experience when using these technologies. We are all ‘experts’ when it comes to this. For this reason, UX matters – a lot! At Dotcloud Digital, we design memorable digital experiences. We employ the latest technologies and follow rigorous UX practices to ensure our products exceed user expectations.
At Dotcloud Digital, we design memorable digital experiences
Bill Gates ones said that ‘If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.’. This ‘prophesy’ holds true today more than ever.Your website represents your business in the digital world. It is your digital store front and with everyone online these days, you cannot afford not to have a strong online presence. Your website allows you to connect with your clients any time and anywhere. It offers an opportunity to engage clients and prospective clients in meaningful ways and offer value through useful content or interactions.
WHY IS A WEBSITE IMPORTANT?
Your website is arguably the most important component your digital marketing strategy. All your digital marketing efforts are ultimately set up to direct traffic to your website, mobile APP or both. If your website is not designed to engage visitors and turn page hits into enquiries, sales or loyal brand followers, your entire strategy may have failed. Your website could be one of your smartest investments if you consider the relatively low cost of designing a website and the potential value it could offer your business.
WHAT CAN A WEBSITE DO?
Websites are one of the most versatile and useful digital channels around today. Your website should provide valuable content, which could be any or a combination of textual information, statistics, photos, videos, animations, info-graphics or illustrative graphics. It could also make use of the many interactive tools available such as chat functions for support or CRM, discussion forums, selling online or doing paid subscriptions, online calculators, calendar and booking services, interactive street maps and much more. Whatever need or requirement you may have to engage with your clients online, your website could provide a solution in a very accessible and affordable way.
User Experience Design
User Experience Design (UXD) has become one of the most important aspects of modern digital product design and production. Crafting usable digital products have become essential in today’s digital consumer era. There is no shortage in availability of digital content or products and the digital media world has become very competitive. Providing users with truly unique and significant experience is the only way to ensure success.
User Experience Design is a human-centred design philosophy and process that considers people and technology through research, continues design exploration and user testing to ensure digital products are usable, relevant and memorable. By understanding the user’s needs and requirements when engaging with our digital products, we can influence their behaviour and offer them compelling, lasting experiences.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD WEBSITE?
There are many criteria by which to evaluate a website and the specifics vary from time to time. Staying in line with current trends is certainly important as it is usually dictated by user demand or preferences, like mobile responsiveness. However, there are several measures that remain important independently from these trends like the the usability of your site, aesthetic visual design, useful quality content like clear text copy and other professional media such as videos, illustrations and graphics. Ultimately, providing your visitors with a meaningful and memorable experience should be the ultimate goal. Checking all the boxes on the criteria mentioned above and designing your website with a proper UX proses will ensure your visitors not only enjoy their visit to your site, but may share their experience and return for more.
WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT?
Neglecting a website is one of the most common mistakes business make. Technology and trends change almost daily in the digital world and content usually have a short shelf-life. Visitors are very quick to tell if a website is out of date and tend to think that the site or business, for that matter, is no longer relevant. Maintaining your website should be an active ongoing activity if you your site is to stay relevant and useful.
Good website performance is important. Website that perform badly are often quickly abandoned and usually not very successful. Performance is usually measured by many criteria including loading speed, device compatibility and functionality. We use the best technologies, hosting environments and design practices to ensure your website performs very well.
We host your website on our own state-of-the-art servers. Dotcloud Digital is powered by Dotcloud, who have great expertise and experience with hosing through our Cloud Solutions division. Dotcloud have been looking after many happy clients’ cloud hosting solutions for nearly a decade. Performance and security is a high priority for us and we keep regular backups to ensure your data is safe and protected.
COMPLETE MAINTENANCE PLAN
We offer a retainer website service to ensure your website remains current and up to date. Our service includes a complete maintenance plan that provides regular reports on website performance. We continuously develop your site making the necessary changes to improve performance and ensure maximum return on investment. Think of it as a Website-As-A-Service (WaaS) solution, only you maintain ownership of your website and content.
MOBILE APPLICATION (APP) DESIGN
Mobile applications (APPs) play a big role in today’s digital strategy. Mobile APPs provide business with many opportunities that are exclusive to the medium, such as immediate and direct communication through push notifications, location services and reducing costs through eliminating print and other marketing and communication costs. Many of our clients have significantly streamlined their business and reduced operational costs through the mobile APPs we created for them.
We follow a rigorous UX process to ensure your APP is relevant and usable. Through expert user interface (UI) design and interaction design (IxD) we offer you beautiful digital products that are intuitive and user friendly. Working in collaboration with our in-house Software Development division, to ensure the development process aligns 100 percent with design and business goals. This puts us in a unique position to create successful mobile APPs at very competitive prices.
WHY A MOBILE APPLICATION?
Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Mobile devices and applications have become the new go-to tool for nearly all digital communication or media consumption. These devices and APPs offers unique opportunities and advantages not only commercially but also as an internal business tool. You have the ability to provide a personalised experience and more frequent client engagement, or to streamline your business operations by monitoring and engaging products, employees or data in real-time.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF MOBILE APPs
Mobile APPs can be developed as native, device specific, or hybrid APPs that are build with one set of technologies and distributed to many platforms, such as Apples iOS and Google’s Android. Hybrid APPs are more affordable because of the single development approach.
WHAT ABOUT COSTS?
Development costs and the nature of the APP is usually determined by your business requirements and objectives. Content based APPs could be more affordable than APPs that have to perform very specific functions, since it usually requires more time and development. Regardless of the costs, mobile APPs usually provides great ROI making it a great investment for nearly any business.
CORPORATE IDENTITY (CI) DESIGN
Having a well designed corporate identity (CI) is essential for building and maintaining a strong brand. Brand followers and clients recognise your brand through your visual style and identity. Your CI sets the tone for all your visual communication and marketing material. It communicates your ideals and values. People are visually inclined and much of our decision making in is greatly influenced by visual information. A well designed CI have the power to communicate a sense of quality, professionalism or other qualities you hope to portray.
Your style guide is a reference document, or rule book of sorts, that governs the use of your corporate identity across all your design collateral. The style guide should be provided to anyone who undertakes to produce visual communication material that officially, or unofficially, represents your brand or business.
Your logo is the most recognisable element of your CI. It is intrinsically associated with your business, brand and products and endorses an expected quality. We have the necessary experience and creative talent to design a great logo for your brand.
All your daily communications, from business cards and letterheads to email signatures should consistently represent you brand and adhere to your corporate identity. We design your corporate stationary as part of our CI design services.
GRAPHIC DESIGN & VISUAL COMMUNICATION
We can help with all your graphic design and visual communication requirements. The Dotcloud Digital team comes with a wealth of creative talent and the necessary energy and enthusiasm to produce high quality design work.
Just because we are really good at digital media does not mean that we are not good at print. We have many years experience with designing for print and will gladly assist with your print design requirements. To ensure the best quality, we work in partnership with the best print shops in town.
Make use of our excellent design and visual communication skills to design your next advertisement. Whether you need a billboard or banner ad for a website, we have the necessary skills and expertise to design advertisements that deliver.
SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHIC DESIGN
Designing your social media graphics or creating compelling illustrations for your next post is no challenge for us. We will make sure your social media graphics tie in with your CI and digital campaign while communicating the correct message.
A commissioned illustration is bespoke in the true sense of the word – especially custom made for a particular person or purpose. An Illustrator is an artist who specialises in combining art, design, and creative skills to create unique visual images that are suited to a specific brief. Contemporary illustrations may be hand drawn, digital illustrations, or a combination of both. Illustrators draw on a wide range of styles and techniques including, drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, montage, and digital design. The style of the illustrations depend on the message or mood which you wish to convey – it may be expressive, stylised, minimal, realistic, or technical. The only limit is your imagination. Once the brief has been discussed with you, the style of the illustrations will be adapted to suit the brief. For example, your brand may be best suited to sophisticated minimalistic line drawings, while another may best be expressed with bold bright colours and a gestural style.
The word illustrate comes from the Latin word, illu’stro , which means to enlighten or irradiate. The purpose of illustrations is not just to make things look pretty, but to clarify and to beautify. Illustrations complement a text or narrative and are able to simplify very complex ideas and capture the essence of a concept. Illustration in design is an age old practise with the oldest documented Rock Art dating back 28,000 years -through the ages, we have been relied on imagery to convey meaning and purpose and nothing has changed – we still love and respond to eye-candy!
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
A picture is worth a thousand words. When I was a little girl I came home every day from nursery school with a pitch-black drawing. The family was worried, and my aunt thought I may be depressed. Mother eventually nervously broached the subject. As it turned out I was terribly shy and hung back when the crayons were dished out – so the other children got all of the beautiful rainbow-coloUred crayons. My point is that you need to think about the message that you wish to project – It takes us about 1/10th of a second to form a first impression and the human brain grasps visual information much easier than written and holds onto it for much longer.
Illustrations complement written content, give deliberate meaning and evoke an emotional response. They will make you stand out from the crowd, but it is important that a thorough thought process is applied as the images should be relevant to your brand and resonate with your audience. Be authentic, nobody likes a faker – there is no point in being different, just for the sake of being different. If applied correctly illustrations add invaluable authenticity to a brand, especially in a world swamped with technology-driven content. We are longing for something that feels real and trustworthy, and illustrations feel natural. Giving meaning to a brand and triggering an emotional response is very important to any business – if people feel that a brand is genuine and feel an emotional connection, they are far more likely to trust and feel loyal towards that brand. I think Sunday Adelaja’s quote,” To stand out is to be known for something outstanding,” says it all.
WHERE CAN I USE IT?
So you want a ring-tailed Lemur against a graffiti background painted on your office wall – no problem – illustration is an extremely versatile discipline and can be applied in about any manner imaginable. Imagery that cannot be realised in any other medium can be brought to life with an Illustration – the only limitation is your imagination. Illustrations can be executed across a myriad of mediums – books, magazines, animations, clothing and accessories, websites, sales brochures, charts, diagrams and maps to name but a few.
An illustration is a powerful tool that can be used to inject personality into a brand and prevent it from becoming stale. A good example of this is the Coke campaigns that have used very different styles of illustration through the years, but still, reflect the brand ethos and the times.
Photography and illustration combined can create something a little offbeat and engaging. Stock photography can easily become a bit jaded and often comes with exhausting terms and conditions, whereas original illustrations are one of a kind and are yours to keep at the end of the day.
Illustrations can also prove very handy when you need to explain complicated concepts – infographics are an excellent way to display data for example. Infographics or illustrations can also be used to communicate a serious topic in a more light-hearted manner.
The perception is that Illustration is very expensive, and although not dirt-cheap, they are often less expensive than photography and video. Illustrations can also be worked around a budget.