Blog

  1. Getting a design placement

    Finding a placement is always a troublesome task, and, like many students I began this process with only a vague understanding of what a ‘successful process’ was. Now it’s that time of year again I thought I’d share my experience with those currently embarking on their search, and hopefully offer some insight into the route that I took.

    tracks

    At the beginning of my second year of study I was given a list of design agencies — kindly provided by my tutor — and began Googling each one. After thoroughly looking through their portfolios and location, and trying to understand their size, I was only left with two that actually inspired me.

    I still wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted to gain from the work experience, so I decided to widen my selection and typed numerous search queries into Google such as “design agencies in…” and appended them with as many different countries as I could possibly think of. Financial implications weren’t taken into consideration at this point and I found myself thinking long and hard about the opportunity of working in places such as New York or Vancouver. I was so excited my mind had already rented out a studio apartment.
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  2. Case Study: OTE Sports

    We recently launched one of the most interesting, exciting, and complex websites we’ve ever built… If you’d like to know more about the process from start to finish, read on.

    ote-logo-hero

    Overview

    On the Edge (OTE) Sports is a British start-up specialising in the manufacture and sales of sports nutrition products. We were recommended by Elmwood, (a global design consultancy who were working on the brand and packaging design), to develop the OTE online presence, including the design and development of an eCommerce store.

    The OTE product range boasts a number of specific ‘features’ that we had to communicate effectively. The relatively small number allowed us to explore a more unique approach to the design, and OTE were keen to push boundaries to reflect their innovative range. As a new company with an unknown brand in a highly competitive market they also needed to stand head and shoulders above the competition, grab the attention of potential new customers and emphasise the benefits of each individual product.
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  3. Twenty Twelve — A year in review

    Sometimes you forget to sit back and take a look at what you’ve achieved. We’re forever travelling at 100mph; there’s always something to do, someone to see, some place to be. So, although it’s a little late coming (considering it’s now mid-February) I thought that it would be nice to document a few of the things that have happened over the past 12 months.

    January

    This time last year we didn’t have any employees, nor did we have a permanent address (were running the business out of two home offices). Chris Kemm was in Leeds, having left Brass just 3 months prior, and I was still in Sheffield. Sometimes we worked from Leeds, sometimes from Sheffield, and sometimes from both — it wasn’t the best, but it worked for us at the time.

    The year got off to a flying start. We were building an installation for the National Media Museum, designing our first financial services website and branding a new international mechanical and electrical engineering company. We spoke at the University of Huddersfield Barnsley Campus on ‘An Introduction to Digital Marketing’ for the third year running, and of course we attended New Adventures in Web Design, which was brilliant.

    Life Online

    February

    February brought us the opportunity to work on the re-branding of an online property management system, Property Prefect. This was a great project as we played a part in everything from naming the company to redeveloping their sales website and redesigning the management system interface. After several weeks of really hard work TES Foundation was born. (It was also the first time we used a high-resolution logo for the Apple retina display!).
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  4. New Adventures in Web Design 2013

    Last week we attended New Adventures for the second time in two years, and we loved it. Here are a few of our thoughts following the conference:

    New Adventures Conference

    - Adam Murray

    What’s more warming than listening to thoughts on designing for the digital? Being in conference with hundreds of geeks representing the same fashion taste in numerous variations of colour. Yet, all sharing a love for the same industry and eager to discuss any topic that comes their way. It’s a thing of beauty.
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  5. Webkit Input Placeholder Overflow Bug Fix

    We’ve done a couple of responsive sites lately that use 100% width input fields throughout all viewport sizes and we’ve come across a very strange bug that until now had us stumped.

    Initially we thought it only occurred in Mobile Safari, but we’ve since realised that it might be a wider Webkit issue. We found that the page displayed perfectly until the viewport was resized twice. On a mobile this might be switching from portrait orientation, to landscape, to portrait again, or on a desktop it might be sizing down your browser window, and then sizing it up again.

    When you do the second ‘resize’ the page randomly appears to be really wide, showing a lot of whitespace on the right hand side and displaying scrollbars in whatever browser you’re using, which is really annoying. We trawled the internet for answers and eventually found only one article that helped us find the issue.
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  6. Starting out in mobile development – what testing devices should you buy?

    I’ve just finished listening to the first episode of Unfinished Business, a podcast by Andy Clark and Anna Debenham that tackles topics on the business side of being a freelancer / running a design agency. It was an interesting first show, but one discussion in particular caught my attention. It was about what mobile devices you should aim to have on hand for testing, and it got me thinking…

    They both agreed that it was important to have a range of devices that offered different user experiences. You can therefore get a much better idea of how people might be interacting with the things you make – this could be a desktop computer, a mobile phone, and a games console such as a Wii U, which would give you a nice broad spectrum over just 3 devices. And considering that most people now have a smart phone and desktop / laptop it only means one extra purchase – great for anyone running a small business!
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  7. Our new (hopefully temporary) online home

    We thought that it was about time we made an effort to update our portfolio and get something different online, so we whipped up this design and got it built just before the Christmas break.

    We designed and built the previous version of whatcreative.co.uk back in mid-2010 and have barely changed anything since! We’ve also been promising a revamp for some time and the delays are just getting silly now – so here we are.
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  8. Create Super Crisp Vector Web Graphics with SVG Images

    We always strive to use the latest technologies and techniques in all our work, especially on digital projects. Technology changes and moves so quickly keeping up to date can be difficult, but it’s essential in the web industry, and luckily I love experimenting with new code.

    We were ahead of the game with responsive web design and we’re now developing this further with responsive e-commerce solutions. A common issue with responsive web design is serving the correct images to relevant devices. To try and get around this we approach our web builds “mobile first”, so this avoids the issue of loading large core images on smaller devices, but with more and more devices having high dpi screens such as the new Apple MacBook Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S3 we now find ourselves in need of four image types: mobile, mobile retina, desktop and desktop retina.

    Up until recently high dpi displays were only a major concern on mobile devices, but Apple’s MBP has now brought it to a desktop device, and it’s only a matter of time before other manufacturers follow. We need to be ready.
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  9. Rework Book Review

    Rework by 37signals is a book telling you how to run your business. More specifically, it’s a book about how they got started in business and the choices they made that resulted in them becoming extremely successful. It’s around fours years old now, so I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now and have only just had the opportunity.

    Photo of rework book

    37signals make online products, the most famous of which is Basecamp. Most people in the design industry will have heard of Basecamp, but if you haven’t it’s one of the best project management tools out there, used by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world.
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  10. University of Huddersfield Reactive Light Installation

    It’s been three years since we left the University of Huddersfield, got our hard earned degrees and set up What Creative. It doesn’t seem that long, but I’m happy to say that we’re still very much in touch with one or two of our favourite tutors.

    A couple of months ago the University asked if we were interested in a commission to build an installation for the Digital Media Design and Graphic Design courses’ final year show, and we jumped at the opportunity.

    We’re always on the look out for installation commissions – we recently created a piece for the Life Online exhibition at the National Media Museum in Bradford. (A piece that’s been unashamedly copied by EDF for the 2012 Olympics, boo). Ours is going to be there for 10 years though, which is pretty cool.
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