Ombré: The 2016 comeback of CSS gradients has arrived

History has a funny way of repeating itself. We see this in fashion (we’re still wondering why flared pants keep coming back in style), in politics and history, and in design trends. This year, CSS gradients are making a comeback. But this time around, we’re calling it ombré, and doing it using css gradient code, and giving Photoshop a rest. The results transform this 90’s-style splash trend into a sleek, modern accent tool that surprises viewers without overpowering other design elements.

CSS GRADIENTS ELEVATE FLAT DESIGN:

The flat design trend took the creative world by storm and helped cut through the mounting visual clutter of hyper-realistic, hyper-saturated, hyper-detailed design made capable by today’s powerful digital tools. But, like many trends, once flat design reached an extreme, tastes have begun to slowly swing in the other direction. We still love the clean simplicity of flat color palettes and how minimal design focuses the eye; but we also crave a few dynamic elements that bring just the right amount of depth and interest into the picture. Layering a subtle ombré wash onto a flat background or using graduated color to denote shadow adds elements of realism onto flat design principles without departing from the essential simplicity of this trend. 

YOUR DEVELOPERS AND DESIGNERS WILL LOVE YOU:

Despite the complex visual intrigue ombré delivers, it’s surprisingly simple to implement. In some ways, we credit technology for this design comeback. Today’s website coding language allows developers to create a consistent set of rules, called a CSS, that dictates how certain elements (such as your hero image or tile modules) are treated across the site. Designers and developers can work together to define these rules in accordance with your brand style guide so that your designs and the finished website product are more closely aligned with each other, and with your guiding creative principles, than ever before. CSS gradients are a perfect example of how technology can make your designs more consistent. Instead of using Photoshop to add a gradient onto every single photo where you want this style to appear, CSS gradients use a simple snippet of code that deliver radial, horizontal and vertical linear fades almost anywhere on your site. They can be layered on top of each other to combine two or more colors for truly remarkable – and replicable – effects. These gradients can be seamlessly duplicated anywhere you want them to appear. This frees your designers from the tedious process formerly needed to create web-ready striking ombré images on your site, while making implementation more consistent and clean across the board. Trust us, your perfectionist of a developer will thank you later.

WHERE YOU CAN USE CSS GRADIENTS:  

Spotify made ombré backgrounds popular with their jewel-tone color overlays and bold fading. But you can also use CSS gradients on individual elements. Consider adding a gradient to a button to draw attention to that element without beating viewers over the head. Use gradient in your font to create beachy, laid back text elements. Add ombré to your borders and shading for a surprising twist on tried and tested visual cues. Or layer colors on top of each other to change the tone and feel of your site (think: muted nudes for an ethereal vibe or punchy primaries for a more jovial energy). CSS gradients can be applied almost anywhere due to the flexibility of the code used to implement them. Because this effect is easy to implement and edit, don’t be afraid to experiment how it looks around your site.

Our team is in love with this new trend and wants to hear how you have been celebrating the ombré comeback on your site. Share your design ideas here or reach out to our team to learn how you can incorporate CSS gradients onto your next paid ad, website, or email campaign for creative elements that are truly on point.

The four things you should never, ever do in business card design

Business card design is not what it used to be. With so many printing options, DIY business card companies, paper thicknesses, foiling, glossing, photography overlays, shapes and sizes, it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to create the most creative or luxurious business card design for your business. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Once you strip away all the bells and whistles, we believe that business card design should fall into one of two categories: simple, sleek and professional or radically creative. In either case, your card needs to clearly display your logo, your contact information, and provide a relevant call to action about your business or brand.

While those three things are all given, there are four business card design trends you should never, ever fall prey to. Below, we share our hit list of business card faux pas and why they are bad for your business.

1. Forget all the text you want to include on your business card design:

Your business card is not the place to teach prospects about your product or services. Overloading your business card design with cramped text or too much information can overwhelm the viewer and detract from the contact information on the card. The primary goal of your business card should be to encourage customers to reach out, surf your website, or give you a call. Leave them wanting more by including a simple catch phrase or invitation for a free consultation. Everything else you should save for your website, blog, or customer brochure.

2. Don’t create something that won’t fit easily into a wallet:

We know that creating a business card that looks like a pack of matches, or going crazy with the die cutter might seem like a cutting edge way to set your business card apart from the competition. The reality is, if you want your prospective customers to remember to give you a call, your business card needs to fit easily inside their wallets. During networking events or daily exchanges, you may trade any number of business cards. While quirky or oddly shaped cards may stand out in the moment, those that don’t easily fit into your prospects’ business folios will likely end up in a pocket (and subsequently the washing machine), at the bottom of a purse, or inside a trash can.

3. Never use QR codes in business card design:

There once was a time when marketers like our Orlando marketing agency team tried to socialize QR codes. The idea was a good one. Simply scan the code to reveal promotions or contact information. The reality is, no matter what anyone tells you, this trend has never (and will never) catch on. Save space on your business card and skip the QR code. No one will use it anyway, so you’re missing an opportunity to put that same information or promotion on the card. The QR code itself is also distracting and can be a major detraction from your design.

4. Avoid generic fonts:

If you have seen and can easily recognize the font on your business card before (think: Comic Sans, Papyrus, or Copperplate) you shouldn’t be using it. There are tons of free fonts available for download if you choose to create your own business card design, and any good marketing agency has access to paid and free options they can incorporate on your behalf. Using overplayed or highly exposed fonts makes your business card look less professional or may create an unintentionally negative association between your business and another business using the same font. The same goes for generic images in lieu of a customized logo. The small investment in a new font or personalized logo will go a long way in building a lasting, meaningful brand identity that will help customers associate your products and services with your unique value proposition rather than someone else’s.

For more inspiration on how to design a perfect business card or how to use creative elements to build your brand, visit our creative services page.

Stunning renditions of the Game of Thrones cover art

At BIGEYE, we pride ourselves on the opportunity to promote personal development and growth through curiosity. In particular, we love to give our creatives around here a lot of wiggle room when working with us. For that reason, whenever we have graphic design interns, we encourage them to take on a semester project, in addition to all of the awesome client work they get to dig their teeth in to. The semester project allows for interns to express themselves through a visual medium of choice. They’re asked to reinterpret something known to pop or local culture in a way that speaks to their creative abilities. Through mentorship with our awesome Creative Director and other members of the design team, they learn to shape and sharpen their creative approach. After about a few months and plenty of hard work – BAM! We get superb renderings of staples in popular culture.
Last semester a particularly savvy intern, Candace Hoeckley, decided to take on a redesign of the Game of Thrones book cover series. Unless you’ve been living in a yurt or have recently awoken from a decade-long coma, you’re probably familiar with the multi-million dollar franchise. George R. R. Martin’s five (soon to be six) book storyline chronicles the fictitious contention amongst the houses of Westeros for the Iron Throne. Hence the namesake Game of Thrones. View Candace’s striking design scheme below:

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Simplistic, intelligent design intermingled with the element of gore in this recreation of the book covers, each one reflects the content and title of every installment. The common themes of blood and snow are called upon to represent the forthcoming storyline. As many Game of Thrones fans know, the fight for the kingdom of Westeros is a cold, bloody one. As you go through each image, you will see the sparse grass disappearing under the cover of snow. This parallels the storyline’s dark, growing ominous character and the longstanding civil war.

The newly envisioned covers serve as an incredible testament to George R. R. Martin’s genius and that of our stellar intern. And, if you think can’t get enough  – trust us, we feel the same way. We’ll all just have to wait for that last two installments to round out the entire series.

Check out more of our work here. Happy scrolling!

3 ways to keep your company culture in a growing business

Growing advertising agencies, tech companies, and startups build and maintain great talent by creating a company culture that entices and engages the best employees. If you’re a forward-thinking creative marketing agency, employees may enjoy a relaxed dress code and flexible hours. Tech savvy millennials may enjoy the freedom to work remotely, collaborate in a communal space, and spend time exploring their professional passions. Giving team members individual attention and shifting policies and procedures to sustain your culture is easy when there are only a handful of passionate, dedicated employees to please. But what happens when your company begins to grow? As we’ve flexed and adapted to our growing company size, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks to keep the culture alive along the way. Here are our top three recommendations on how to stay true to your roots while growing.

1. Understand what values your brand embodies:

As your company grows, take time to step back and evaluate the type of values your organization embraces most naturally. Growing advertising agencies often put a premium on creativity and results; but push this notion farther. What inspires your employees? What types of clients do you gravitate toward? Whether your ideals center around collaboration, pushing boundaries, helping others, or flexibility, knowing what your company represents at its core will help you craft policies around those ideals to sustain the culture that attracted your first employees.

2. Put policies in place that make your company culture a procedure:

Once you clearly understand your organizational values, you can begin putting policies in place that protect your culture. Ensure these policies are enforceable and measurable (i.e., employees can spend 10% of their time on their creative portfolios). It’s also crucial that your employees have the authority to act on these policies across the board. For example, if your culture embraces a flat decision structure, team members at all levels of the organization need to be able to make changes within their sphere of influence.

3.  Know the market:

Lastly, pressure test the policies you’ve put in place against the market. Although your company culture may be unique to you, other growing advertising agencies or startups may share similar values. Consider how they foster a positive culture, even if it isn’t identical to the environment you’re trying to create. Understanding how other companies are treating their employees will help you understand what your top talent is looking for in terms of culture, benefits, compensation, and lifestyle. This will help you protect and retain talent, as well as encourage longer tenure within your organization that will strengthen and build on the culture that already exists.

Get a feel for our BIGEYE culture by clicking here. We promise only the best of vibes.

Market the rainbow: The science of colors in branding

The science of colors in branding has long been up for debate. Many academics insist color affinity is born from personal experience, background, and individual preference rather than proven branding or marketing psychology. Yet, according to ColorCom, up to 92.6% of peoples’ perception about a brand relates to their feelings about that logo’s colors. And 80% of brand recognition relies on color association according to the blog Color Matters. Although the reason “why,” may be unclear, it is clear that brand color schemes can profoundly influence your target audience’s ability to remember and relate to your product. Our breakdown of the rainbow reveals what your brand color schemes say about you and your organization.

Red

Netflix. Target. CNN. EXXON. Coca-Cola. Time. These brands’ logos are dominated by a bold, bright red. At the very top of the rainbow and one of three primary colors, red channels a vivacious energy, and frank, action-oriented vibe. Many branding psychologists believe the color red inspires action by creating a sense of urgency and importance. For lifestyle brands such as Target or Coca-Cola, red translates to a desire to consume, while media channels such as Time, Netflix or CNN, benefit from the color’s bias toward action.

Orange

Orange is one of the less popular colors in branding and brand design. The color is more frequently used as a highlight rather than a dominant marketing campaign color. We most often see orange on “try,” or “buy,” buttons, and other calls to action thanks to the color’s warm, inviting tone (just begging to be clicked). However, many psychologists believe orange carries some of the anxiety-laden undertones found in yellow, and may serve as a better caution or warning sign than as a conversion catalyst. Organizations associated with a degree of ruggedness, such as Harley Davidson or Home Depot, benefit most from this duel psychological profile. However, more cheerful brands, such as Blogger and Nickelodeon, can also leverage the sunny hue’s tendency to inspire happiness and warmth.

Yellow

Because yellow is one of the easiest colors for the eye to distinguish (which is why many fire trucks and ambulances are yellow), brands use this color to grab consumers’ attention. The color itself has duel associations: some schools of thought align yellow with feelings of warmth and happiness, while other brand design experts associate yellow with anxiety and stress, due to the strain it puts on the eye. A wide variety of brands – from Hertz and Yellow Pages to Best Buy and IKEA – rely on the color’s bright “look at me” vibe to drive an unforgettable, top-of-mind reference in their respective industries.

Green

Depending on the tone, green works as a jack-of-all-trades. It’s one of the few colors in branding that carries a wide variety of connotations. Emotions associated with green range from jealousy, money and lust, to zen, environmental consciousness, and good health. The psychology behind green-dominated brand design leverages the color’s versatility. As a non-primary color, green can skew more yellow, more blue, or even more red (in an earthy translation of this refreshing, leafy color). The result gives green more flexibility and personal association potential than many other colors, so it’s no surprise that a variety of brands from contradicting industries have latched onto this color. Think: Starbucks, GREEN Certification, Whole Foods, BP Mobile, XBOX, and Holiday Inn.

Blue

Blue is the most popular color among both men and women, making it a popular, tried and tested choice within brand color schemes (hello Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype, Ford, Dell, Walmart, and GE). Blue’s cool undertones are often associated with peace, stability, and serenity, which reduces some of the hard sales associations that colors such as yellow or red may inspire. Because blue’s sense of peace and stability easily translate to security, many corporate and financial institutions rely on the earnest attitude conveyed through a blue logo.

Violet

Purple’s swirling blend of red and blue stimulate feelings of royalty, mysticism, and elegance. Although many brands shy away from this color because of the heavy female to male bias, purple bridges the gap between “quirky” and “regal” with ease. As a result, it’s often used on female-centric branding campaigns (such as Revlon and Hallmark) or whimsical, child-friendly brands (such as Willy Wonka Chocolate or the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization). The color’s difficulty to classify makes it a popular choice among brands intentionally shying away from the mainstream bias, such as the LGBT community, and many yoga companies or holistic wellness centers.

Psychology of colors in branding

Whether your customers respond to the marketing psychology behind colors in branding, or they simply react to the socially constructed responses that growing-up in the U.S. has conditioned them to feel, doesn’t matter. As Greg Ciotti, from Help Scout, explains: “it’s far more important for your brand’s colors to support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align with stereotypical color associations.” The proof is there. People respond to colors. It’s your job to choose a color that resonates with your brand, as well as the message you hope to convey. Whether you call it psychological brand design or simply good taste, colors can have a profound impact on your bottom line – and your brand’s recognition in the consumer marketplace.

In need of some colorful, thought-provoking and creative inspiration? Contact our team of creative design professionals to help you select the perfect palette, with a host of services to compel your target audience to engage with your brand.

Instagram in the OR: Using social media to bring comfort to others

I never thought when making the switch from nursing school student to an advertising major in college that I would have the opportunity to witness an open-heart surgery on a small child. But that is exactly the experience I had last month. BIGEYE had the honor to be asked by our client, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, to produce a video about their cardiology program. As part of that video, our crew was graciously allowed in the operating room to witness an amazing surgical team, lead by Dr. William DeCampli, repair little 3-year-old Emily Stone’s heart.
We literally got to participate in history being made. The hospital broke ground by trying something relatively unheard of in healthcare: using social media to share a live surgical operation with the entire world. The hospital posted images and updates of the surgery every 10 minutes through the photo sharing application Instagram, pushing the updates out via their Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well as their blog. For me, it definitely brought new meaning to a photo app that I primarily use to apply artistic filters to pictures of my food.

The response was overwhelming as the world watched and cheered on little Emily with amazing words of encouragement. It was awesome, in the truest sense of the word, to be so openly allowed into a world that is usually very closed off to the public. Pushing the envelope will always bring on a slew of questions: Why did they do this? Does social media go too far? What role can social media play in healthcare? The very nature of social media encourages debate and provides a portal for honest discussions.

Mike Schmidt, director of digital media at Arnold Palmer Hospital, said it best: “Healthcare is behind the rest of the world in being able to tell stories well through social media. There are thousands of amazing things that happen here at the hospital each and every day, and we want to share that with our community.”

Advertising, taglines, slogans and pictures of happy patients all have their place in healthcare. They play a role in communicating to the public a hospital’s message: who they are and what they stand for. But what about showing, not just telling, what really goes on? There may not be anything “pretty” about surgical procedures, but they are real, raw, and honest. We’re talking about humans saving other human’s lives. Arnold Palmer Hospital and Emily’s family were ready to take that leap by sharing this life-saving procedure with the world. The fact is, surgeons and healthcare professionals alike live and breathe this every day, and that’s what has a true impact on their patient’s lives.

Social media is here to stay and will continue to evolve and change. Yes, seeing pictures of a beating heart on your Facebook timeline may not be for everyone, but I do commend the hospital on using a tool that we are all familiar with in a new and interesting way in order to keep people informed of what’s going on behind the curtain. It breaks down barriers and can remove the mystery of the “unknown” for families that may be going through something very scary, hearing their child has  congenital heart disease.

On a very important side note, Emily is doing well. It was a joy to get to know her and her family throughout this process. She’s a brave little girl!

You can see how the story unfolded on the hospitals blog, Illuminate.  Warning: some of the pictures are graphic in nature.

Content Hub – Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

We have appointment times available as soon as the next day. Click to submit an appointment request. Request An Appointment At Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, we want to help parents raise healthier kids. Our e-newsletter provides useful health tips, best practices from pediatricians and parents, patient stories, news and spotlights on upcoming community events.

Written by, Laura Adams, BIGEYE Creative Account Manager