Archive | June, 2010

Inhouse vs outsourced web designer – The rise and fall

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

Well, OK, maybe not that long ago or far away, but 15 years ago any company wanting to setup their own website would have probably purchased a copy of Frontpage and given it to their IT department. The website would have been largely static, and often designed by someone more used to dealing with spreadsheets.

This was reflected in the general standard of websites at that time, chock full of landing pages, nasty gif animations, and the spinning or flaming logos were all learnt to live with for some time!

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Colour management for Web Designers

Or in other words – why don’t my page elements match my CSS background colours!

Following on from my recent article exploring the basics of Colour Management, I am going to explain the reasons why getting consistent colour throughout your website design can sometimes seem troublesome. From the previous article, we can see why colour profiles are important. They provide information on how the colours contained within an image file should be rendered – not just on your monitor, but on anyone’s monitor.

Remember the sequence of Target Profile > Conversion > Destination Profile. In terms of the world wide web, this usually means

Target profile – This is usually, but not confined to:

  • Un-tagged (un-managed) RGB – the sort of JPEG output you get from Adobe Fireworks. Also, GIF and PNG files are by nature, un-tagged.
  • sRGB Images – most often the result of working in a colour managed application, such as Photoshop. sRGB is actually the standard for the web, but we will soon see how this can cause problems in Safari.
  • Adobe 1998 RGB – usually confined to situations where photographs have been included which have been tagged with the Adobe 1998 RGB profile.

Conversion – whichever default colour engine is being used by the operating system. The differences between the output from these engines, for the purposes of rendering web content is negligible, so don’t worry too much about which engine is doing the work.

Destination profile – This will be the default monitor profile on the end-user’s machine. Most uncalibrated systems just use a standard monitor profile that ships with the operating system. Often wholly inaccurate, but for the purpose of consistency, this isn’t really important. We are just trying to demonstrate how the colour shifts occur within the end-user’s system. Read More…

Colour Management for Beginners – Profiles Explained

Color Management for beginnersIf you are frustrated by Photoshop nagging with an Embedded Profile Mismatch every time you open an image, this document is primarily for you. If you have worked it out by trial and error, but still don’t know what on earth is going on behind the scenes, then this is still for you!

Computers don’t understand colour. A colour, to a computer, is nothing more than a collection of numbers – without soul, subjectivity or emotion. Humans on the other hand perceive colour in so many ways you would need to be a chemist, biologist, neurologist, psychologist and philosopher all rolled into one to appreciate the impact it has on our daily lives.

We most generally encounter man made colour in two fundamentally differing ways:

  • On electronic display screens (computers, phones, TVs, cinema etc) where the colour is the result of projected or emitted light
  • In printed forms, where the colour is a result of pigments, dyes or whatever else is placed on the printing surface (substrate)

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Protecting websites from hackers – 9 pillars of wisdom

Sheild yourself from the hacker's toolsIt’s the most awful feeling in the world (I imagine). It’s a new morning, and you settle down at your desk with your favourite drink, fire up your web browser, and before long you have a sinking feeling… Your website – or worse – your clients’ websites have been hacked, and since the wee small hours have been peddling poker, spam, porn and god knows what else to the world via your IP address.

The work involved in recovering the sites, the confidence your customers lose in you and the loss of business really aren’t worth risking, are they? Yet countless millions of websites are run in environments that make it easy for hackers to get a foothold.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the things you should be doing as a website owner to mitigate as far as is practicable, the risks posed by the hacking community, and avoid being hacked! Read More…

WordPress blogroll link order – Change widget behaviour

Another quickie here. Although people use various blogroll plugins, sometimes the standard widget has it’s place (some themes don’t allow custom code to be used in some areas of your blog, for example). The problem is that the standard widget only displays links in alphabetical order based on the link name. There are two ways you can correct this.

1.) Change the default behaviour of the script that produces the blogroll lists

No problem, just go along to /wp-includes/bookmark-template.php – and find the code around line 198 Read More…

How much should a logo design cost?

I’m sure I’m not the first, nor will I be the last designer to write about this topic. It’s probably a reflection of the world we now live in that the first question often asked is “how much will a logo cost”, or “can you do it for £50 because company xyz can.” – my answer to the latter statement, albeit qualified and polite, has often resulted in the end of the phone call – but that’s OK.

It’s a bit like asking a builder – how much does it cost to design a building, or a lawyer – how much is my divorce going to cost. You can’t guarantee the best outcome on a fixed price. Fixed price logos are always a compromise, just like anything in life which is sold at a fixed low price. If you truly want to develop something unique that is going to project your brand, then it comes back to time and money. Ultimately, you always (unless you are incredibly lucky) get what you pay for. Read More…