All posts in Ideas

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Now more than ever, it’s critical to have your finger on the pulse of your brand’s health at all times. This means knowing where your business lies within its life cycle: growth, maturity or decline. If you’re growing, you want to sustain that. If you’re on a plateau, you need to look at reinvigorating so that you don’t decline. And, if you’re in decline, you’re looking at a major kick-start or revamp. Continue Reading →

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The word ‘culture’, which used to strictly apply to things like art galleries, symphonies and cheese, has entered the mainstream workplace. It’s a buzz word that makes even the word ‘content’ look underused. People on trend-watch associate culture with start-up greats like Apple and Google. Today culture is even trickling into the corporate world, with “Chief Culture Officer” as one of the business buzzwords of 2015. Yet just like the culture behind a good brie, culture has always been there in the creative agency world. This doesn’t mean that agency cultures are always good, nor that culture is all about having a kickass espresso machine or lunch-time yoga classes. Yes, creative spaces definitely make creative people more creative, yet that’s not all there is to culture.

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We all want a greener, more sustainable world, yet the process of going green still seems to instil fear in some people. Good designers, on the other hand, embrace the move towards sustainability. Not only does green thinking lead to creativity and innovation, ultimately it’s good for business, which to us means happy clients.

Take annual reports, for instance, which are both a legal requirement and an eco-nightmare. After all the work, money, paper and ink that go into printing them (not to mention all the printing of proof copies prior to the actual print run), they mostly end up in the bin. They have served nobody – neither client nor recipient nor environment. Continue Reading →

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Christo Maritz, the owner of design agency Infestation and founding member of Open Design Festival Cape Town says our country is proving to be a strong contender in the design arena, with Cape Town as the driving hub.

Cape Town has grown from a quaint artsy city to what it is today – an international design Mecca, which now attracts prominent design ambassadors from key design countries around the world. The stage was set 20 years ago with Design Indaba, which first established a place for South Africa on the world design map, introducing the rest of the world to our design talent and waking the talent within. Continue Reading →

Infestation Twitter chat

When: Wednesday, 15 April from 12 noon to 1pm (GMT+2)
Co-hosts: @FriendsofDesign, @CreativeCT and @opendesignct

Through design, we can create solutions to local challenges.
Join us on Wednesday, 15 April as we chat on Twitter about design that really matters.

Q1: What role does #designthatmatters have in your life? #DZNChat

Q2: What can we do as designers, design lovers & supporters to encourage & create #designthatmatters in future? #DZNChat Continue Reading →

New in Cape Town

We are well on our way into 2015, and at Infestation that means quite a few things. New faces, new services, new business… We’ve asked around the office for some of our team’s favourite new things in Cape Town, so here are a few suggestions on new places and things to experience.

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2015 trends

2015 is a big year for us at Infestation. We’re busy with new projects, have new clients that we’re honoured to work with, are welcoming new additions to our Infestation family and are offering extra services, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC). We’re excited to be pushing the disciplines of design and digital even further – and with this in mind, we’d like to share our predictions for 2015, from harnessing human emotions to re-examining the role of branding in big business.

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For a long time we did too. We know how long they take to create, how much effort goes into making sure every page is perfectly designed, every figure excruciatingly accurate and exactly how many rands it costs to produce. But we’ve never really known who actually engages with them.

That is, until we focused our publishing, brand and digital expertise towards the reinvention of the good old annual report from an old bogey printed item, to an online, mobile-friendly experience. Continue Reading →

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For the past three months I have been lucky enough to intern at Infestation Design. Today, one of our art directors asked me what I learned interning abroad in Cape Town. She also wanted to know my thoughts on the differences between working in South Africa and where I’m from in the United States. At first, I didn’t know how to answer her. Now I know why. Continue Reading →

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A phrase thrown around quite commonly when discussing websites, “responsiveness” has come to denote a website or application’s ability to adjust to various devices. For the most part, this translates to a website that scales to different effect with different devices and/or screen sizes.

But is the type of device that you use the only thing that should be determining your web experience? In an article published by Fast Company, titled the Future of Responsive Design, various other considerations are put forward as possible triggers for responsiveness. These include your current location, previous articles or pages that you have viewed, the time of day, the weather, and just about anything else that you can think of. But what do we utilize when designing a unique online experience? What matters to someone when they are browsing the web?

The most common, and admittedly fairly poor, example of this kind of responsiveness, in terms of catering to “individuality”, can be seen with online advertising. The ads that you see on your Facebook feed are specifically targeted at you. A machine somewhere latches on to a scrap of information about you, and suddenly, “oh, you’re a woman! I know! You must want to sell your eggs, right?” No.

For your entertainment, see some equally bad examples of “responsive” advertising below.

facebook advertising

A better example of content responsiveness would be social media sites that cater almost specifically for the individual. You essentially create your own Facebook feed, by deciding who you are friends with, which pages you like, how much information you reveal, etc.

However much you choose to engage with content on a site like Facebook, one thing remains clear: the use of web page templates has become an industry standard. No matter how different your brand, product, or band is, each page looks exactly the same.  Besides for the 80×80 pixel profile picture and the newer cover photo, your page looks just like everyone else’s.

So how do we strike a balance between content and viewer?

At the end of the day, good design is good communication.  If your layout can adjust to the type of content you’re presenting, it will be more effective in communicating. You cannot expect a design to be as effective as it possibly could be when it hasn’t been considered in itself, but rather as an extension of the great big creature simply known as “your website”. A photo essay is not the same as an article about dog costumes, yet because of the nature of their content, you may find that similar elements become important to the viewer. Images, for example, would probably be the most important element of each article. Any other information is secondary, because all initial impressions rely on the imagery.

Doubtless, incorporating these considerations into your design requires time, effort, and money, three notoriously elusive commodities. So what do we do, as a small South African agency without access to a lot of first world tools?

We think.

We sit and carefully consider user experience, content hierarchies, and what it means to effectively communicate. Being in situations where technology or limited resources discourage you from your goal, while challenging and frustrating, also forces you to focus on the most essential aspects. What is the key message? What is the easiest, most effective way of communicating that message? How does that message change depending on who is receiving it?

At the end of the day, we often have to make due with what we have. Although the future of responsiveness as proposed in the original article seems like something that should be fairly obvious, implementing such ideas is often a far-off reality for the majority of the world. It then comes back to the designers and other creative problem solvers to break the mold of what we think we can do, providing solutions instead of problems.

 

By Mea Jordaan