business

Web Design Trends for 2019

2019WebDesignTrends-greenapplelane.jpg

Design trends are history in the making, and we’re going to take a closer look a few you’ve likely been seeing lately:

1. Getting “Serious” About Logos

We’re still seeing a rise in brand identities shedding their initial startup quirkiness and turning toward a more modern, sans-serif version. It might be a little bit boring, but perhaps they’ve just matured… or maybe they are just playing into what they know we all feel comfortable and familiar with. Either way, expect to see more brands rock a clean, modern version as 2019 marches on.

2. Outlined Text

Half here… half gone… there’s something intriguing about outlined type, which draws the eye – a smart move for memorable branding!

3. Iconoclast Illustrations

More expressive graphics are popping up all over the web, melding physical & digital landscapes together in an abstract way using photo collages and three-dimensional illustration.

4. Adventurous Fonts

While logo designs are continuing to trend toward sameness, we’re seeing more headlines with vintage, abstract, chubby, and nostalgic fonts. An easy way to break up the monotony without going off the deep end is to use various weights of the same font instead.

5. Massive Type

We’re seeing text blocks so large that they break a word or sentence into fragments, which forces you to focus your full attention in order to read each word in it’s entirety – brilliant!

And to round out the Top 10 design trends of 2019:

  • Overlapping Elements

  • Inclusivity in Design

  • Brutalism

  • Grid-Style Text Blocks

  • Designing for Mobile first

ready to update your website in 2019?

Client Spotlight: The Oakridge School

We have worked with The Oakridge School for nearly 10 years on all kinds of projects from their golf tournament collateral, summer programs brochure, booklets, invitations, flyers, and logo modifications. Then, almost a year ago we were invited to respond to their RFP for an opportunity to become their official Agency of Record, which would make us responsible for their admissions campaign for the entire school year. We jumped at the opportunity, and to our delight, our proposal was accepted. Design is our first love and we are happy to invest our creativity into any project, but putting together a complete campaign is every designer’s dream.

Our Methodology

We wanted to keep the amount of text minimal but include words associated with the cornerstones of an independent education: Academics, Arts, and Athletics. The background is a photo we shot of their iconic fence line – it not only provides a visually dynamic eye-line, but it represents being “inside the fence,” and it also showcases the oak tree line along the edge of campus. The ornate frame at the top holds the call to action, which literally points straight into the word cloud. Or, if your eye lands directly in the word cloud, there’s a good chance your line of sight will be directed upward into the call to action, as it springs from the center like a thought bubble.

“When you really break it down, marketing is just the psychology of getting someone to give you a moment of their focus, with the hope and possibility of something more. The only way they’re going to give you something more, however, is if something about you makes them take a second look. Something that makes them pause,” said Chris O’Neill, the CEO of Evernote, at SXSW 2018 (see our Conference Recap here).

Many private school ads heavily incorporate the school’s colors, but their signature deep navy and hunter green were getting a little bit lost in print publications, as many other schools share at least one of these colors in common with The Oakridge School. So we went in the complete opposite direction and used a sunset colored overlay, including the famed “Millennial pink” and coral (the 2019 Pantone color of the year), which really help the ad pop off the page. “It’s so different from what everyone else was doing, and that’s what we loved most about it,” said Laura Heymann of Green Apple Lane.

The campaign design worked well in print, online, and even fit in seamlessly with the school’s website. We isolated each word and included a photo background to correlate with that word (the art room for “create,” a cheering crowd for “win,” etc.), all accented in a blue overlay to fit right in on the existing home page carousel.

In addition to the campaign graphics, we used hard data from their web analytics to advise and make media placement recommendations for the duration of the campaign term, including a radio broadcast ad on KERA (the Dallas-area PBS and NPR station), for which we also crafted the copy.

Additional design projects

(unrelated to the campaign)

  • 40th Anniversary (“Ruby” anniversary) logo alteration and related signage

  • Assorted social media graphics

  • Athletics marketing piece (select panels shown)

  • Admissions marketing piece (not shown)

  • Infographic marketing pieces (select area shown)

  • Custom “instagram photo frame” signs for various occasions, and more!

Ready to stand out?

Project Spotlight: Website Redesign for Inspirations Catering

inspirations-catering-gather.png

Business owners are used to wearing a lot of hats and handling everything from the accounting to the janitorial duties around the office. There are tons of companies out there trying to capitalize on this fabulous trait shared by so many entrepreneurs. Business owners are increasingly being told they can quickly, easily, and beautifully build their own websites. And while it’s not exactly untrue, it’s untrue for many. Don’t forget from our Conference Recap: 94% of first impressions are based entirely on design, and 90% of the information people retain is visual in nature.

So how do you want to introduce yourself to your customers?

What information are potential clients going to infer and retain about your business, based on the functionality, professionalism, and the overall look of your website?

These are important questions to ask before you set out to save a few bucks and settle on a DIY website. There is no way to know how much money you might be leaving on the table from customers migrating away from your website because it didn’t feel like an extension of your business. We work with a lot of folks who have started out on their own, and whether we redesign the site from scratch or even spend just a few hours organizing and rearranging things, the site feels completely new.

Working with a professional designer should not be seen as an expense to your business, but an investment in your business.

Here’s a quick case study in the website of Inspirations Catering & Events. We’re not here to call them out, in fact, we love these folks and love their shop even more, but their previous website is a perfect example of a small business owner feeling like they MUST handle everything themselves and doing the best they could. The previous site didn’t include their logo, didn’t make use of their color palette, and some of the pages weren’t very easy to read due to dark type on a dark background or wonky spacing.

Click any photo below to enlarge it.

New Homepage (left) vs. Old Homepage (right):

We were able to take all their existing content and put it into a format that is SO much more user friendly, clean, open, organized, and professional. They are masters at what they do with food, and we’re happy their new website better represents that expertise to their customers. We still have a few new photos to swap in but it’s a huge step up!

New website:

Previous website:

The previous website simply didn’t represent the upscale look and feel of this business. Check out the gorgeous interior of their shop and some of their beautiful charcuterie boards from their grand opening:

*And please note those super-cute cheese-board cookies from Sugar Bee Sweets, too!

So whether you’re …

  • starting a completely new endeavor and need an online presence

  • you designed a website on your own but it doesn’t feel like the best representation of your business

  • you worked with another designer previously and need some help with website updates (due to lack of time or skill - makes no difference to us)

  • you want to switch web platforms (leave Blogger or Wix, for instance)

… we can help! We work on all kinds of websites - Wordpress, Squarespace, you name it. You keep being an expert at what you do, and WE will help you showcase it.

2018 Conference Recap

Over the past year, we took every opportunity to attend conferences and luncheons, hear from the best of the best, and take tons of notes with the intention of learning, growing, and of course sharing all these nuggets of wisdom. Please reach out if you would like to discuss any of these topics in more detail, or brainstorm how we can apply these ideas to your business. Here’s a recap:

SXSW Interactive Conference

March 2018 | Austin, TX | sxsw.com

  • It should be considered best practice to add captions to all social media videos – 85% of videos on facebook are watched without sound on.

  • Snapchat & Instagram are best channels to reach Gen Z.

  • Facebook isn’t dead – it’s like a lifelong photo album/footprint (sometimes started by someone’s parent when they were little) that is undeleteable. Kids who are on it may get on it less, but they won’t completely delete it.

  • It takes 12-14 different pieces of content to get one single point across.

  • Get the point across with micro-narratives – one tagline & one image – super shareable – no stock imagery. These are like billboards, where you have to tell a story in 6 words or less. Make them even more successful by using repeat images across the pieces.

  • Audiences are only reading 20% of content delivered with 600+ words.

  • 91% of consumers prefer visual content over traditional formats.

  • Visual communication graphically represents information to efficiently and effectively create meaning. When necessary, limited text is used to explicate the meaning.

  • Objections you may hear/have to visual storytelling: That “story” is cute, but we need results; Our message isn’t that compelling; People can just check out our website; We are just going to DIY; We don’t have a budget for that; We just need something quick.

  • 90% of the information people retain is visual in nature.

  • 94% of first impressions are based entirely on design.

  • Line art/icon style is effective – combines well with photography as a backdrop; original photography – feels more sincere and real than stock imagery. Black & white adds to the urgency/mood. Use colors that resonate with your intended audience. Use ambiguous characters – avoids stereotypes and allows viewers to have a more open mind on the topic.

  • Motion rules – keep it around 90 seconds (first 30 seconds should make up the problem statement; next 30-45 seconds should explain why your product is the solution; final 15-30 seconds should provide a call to action for the viewer); make it original & custom!

  • Emerging Tech Trends Report from Future Today Institute - download here: www.bitly.com/FTITechTrends2018

  • Learn to distinguish between a trend and “trendy”

  • It is the beginning of the end for smartphones

  • Non-visual UI will be at least 50% by 2021

  • AI is not a trend, it is the next era of computing

  • 78% of consumers will trust you/your brand if you create customized content

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

  • Step 1: know who you’re creating content for

Age/gender/location
What activities interest them?
Topics they love talking about?
What motivates them? Convenience? Quality? Affordability? Belief System?
What are their pain points/challenges?

  • Step 2: Let your audience inform your content

Utility (useful/helpful)
Relatability (make them go “ha – that’s so true!”)

  • Keep it entertaining/funny – people love content they can personally relate to. Brands often run the risk of becoming detached from their audience and presenting content that serves the brand, rather than presenting content that serves the people.

  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

8 Elements of Visual Storytelling

  1. Show, don’t tell: Don’t tell your audience something if you can make them see it. Use vivid text or images.

  2. Remember First Impressions: The human brain is programmed to make quick impressions followed by fast decisions Make the first impression one that sticks for all the best reasons.

  3. Make it Move: This doesn’t necessarily just mean video or animation, although it can. A photograph can also be made to portray dynamic movement.

  4. Build an Arc: Remember that a story must have exactly that – a story arc. This means having a clear beginning, middle, and end. In other words, it must take us on a journey.

  5. Conflict: Without some form of conflict, there is no story.

  6. Use Effective Images: These are the meat and potatoes of your visual story. Use images that complement the story well and help it to flow.

  7. Hold their Focus: Don’t get lost in providing details, details, details. Some are important, of course, but remember to keep the intended message out in front.

  8. Remember the Hitchcock Rule: basically states that the size of any object in your frame should be proportional to its importance to the story at that moment.

  • When you tell yourself you can’t do something, this is the “fallacy of uniqueness”

  • Go back to basics – Get the right people the right message and the right time

B2B & B2C are Dead: Now What (Evernote) Read/Listen to this session here

  • People are overloaded with information

  • 64% feel “very or somewhat” stressed/overwhelmed.

  • We're feeling overwhelmed. The avalanche of stuff that we're expected to keep up with absolutely sucks. We surveyed our users and almost two-thirds of them say they're feeling somewhat, or very, stressed out in life. 

Organization is personal

Teams are the future of work

Getting Things Done

  1. Capture. We need to capture ideas big and small, and we need to park them somewhere. That allows you to free your mind of the obligation to carry your ideas. The notion of an idea can be the most inconsequential thing in the world or it could be game changing. You never know if you don't capture those ideas.

  2. Clarify. Once you capture it in a trusted way, you have to go back and clarify what that was. So is that idea a project? Is it a bucket list type of thing versus something you need to act upon right away?

  3. Organize. Organize these different things in terms of context. So you know when you should go back and find it. What is the context in which that information would be useful?

  4. Reflect. Probably the most important, and one that people do the worst at. Spend the time to understand what matters to you in your life and really be diligent about clarifying the stuff that you're doing in your life that goes against the higher order and your 'North Star' objectives.

  5. Engage. Take the time to determine "What should I be focused on in this moment? What is the highest and best use of my time at this point in time?"

Millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025

What this notion of productivity and organization really has to do with is the rise of the millennials. The Wall Street Journal estimates that, every year, knowledge workers spend about six weeks just looking for stuff. That translates into multiple hours per day. Millennials are already the largest force in the segment in the workforce population. Forbes has estimated that by the year 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. Why should we care about that? Because this is the group of digital natives, and they demand that every aspect of software and technology be really, really good.


Evernote staff attended many of the SXSW sessions and did what Evernote is best known for - they took notes. You can access loads of course info here: Evernote SXSW 2018 Notes


Lunch & Learn: Emotional Intelligence

August 2018 | Arlington, TX | arlingtontx.com


Organized by the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, featuring Orange Compass Founder & CEO Dr. Stevie Dawn Blakely

The definition of emotional intelligence is “the learned ability to manage emotions effectively AND interpret messages correctly.”

The 3 Cornerstones of Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Awareness (The takeaway: Your thoughts trigger your emotions, so be careful what you think about.)

  2. Understanding (The takeaway: Give people conversational grace and forgiveness.)

  3. Influence (The takeaway: It doesn’t matter what you say. It only matters what they hear.)

  • Instead of saying “does that make sense?” ask, “What obstacles do you foresee that I haven’t considered?”

  • Silent expectations kill relationships!! (personal & professional)


Inspired Women Luncheon

October 2018 | Arlington, TX | arlingtontx.com

Organized by the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, featuring Keynote Speaker Kelli Finglass of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who offered inspirational and humorous stories, and let us in on how she organizes her week:

  • Make a Dent Monday (start a project or make headway on a long-term project!)

  • Teamwork Tuesday

  • World Class Wednesday (use this time to work on your DREAM project and make it come to fruition)

  • Thankful Thursday (send your thank you notes, gifts, emails of gratitude)

  • Finish It Friday (tie up loose ends)

  • Selfish Saturday

  • Spirit & Soul Sunday


The Texas Conference for Women

November 2018 | Austin, TX | txconferenceforwomen.org

Enjoyed the morning keynote with Nina Shaw, entertainment attorney & co-founder, Time’s Up; Renata Quintini, venture capitalist and partner, Lux Capital; Marjorie Clifton, principal, Clifton Consulting, LLC; and Tyler Haney, founder & CEO, Outdoor Voices. Afternoon keynotes included Dr. Brené Brown, research professor and #1 New York Times best-selling author; and Reese Witherspoon, actor, producer, entrepreneur and advocate.

Keynote nuggets:

  • From Dr. Brené Brown, on having the hard conversation…

    • “Choose discomfort over resentment.”

    • “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind.”

    • “Courageous leaders are never silent about hard things.”

  • Re: Venture capital, men are thinking of world domination and women are thinking of survival - we have to change this (men tend to ask for more money than they need and factor in structural growth plans with it; women tend to ask for just enough to get by)

  • We have the unique struggle of balancing confidence & warmth… if you have confidence without warmth, you’re a “bitch” and if you have warmth without confidence you’re a “pushover.”

Breakout session: Why Simple Wins by Lisa Bodell

Emails are for information, meetings are for decisions!

Simplification Code of Conduct

I PLEDGE TO:

  1. Eliminate redundancies & unnecessary work.

  2. Not create false urgency.

  3. Use clear jargon-free language when I communicate.

  4. Keep my emails, documents, meetings, and conversations short.

  5. Limit the amount of information I need to make a decision.

  6. Empower others to make decisions without me.

  7. Make information available to others (unless illegal to do so).

  8. Say NO whenever possible.

Kill stupid rules (if you could kill or change any 2 rules at work, what would they be, and why?)

Start Simplifying… ask yourself:

  1. If I had to eliminate 25% of what I do every day, what would I eliminate and why?

  2. What can I start saying no to?

  3. If a new CEO started at our company tomorrow, what processes would s/he immediately observe as the biggest time-wasters?

  4. What zombie meetings serve no purpose and should be stopped?

Tips & Tricks:

  • Want less email? NNTR (include in subject line - stands for No Need to Reply)

  • Want more decision making? Who’s the ‘D’? (D for “decision maker”)

  • Want fewer zombie meetings? Change the frequency & see if you can do without.

  • Want more accountability? Create a “cut the crap” committee

Non-Profit Spotlight: BRIDGE Fort Worth and Junior League of Arlington

webdesign_BRIDGEFW.png
bridge-memberships.jpg

We designed a website for BRIDGE Fort Worth a few years back and the board has been doing a stellar job operating the site independently ever since! BRIDGE is an organization for young black professionals in the Fort Worth area, focused on community involvement, education, and professional development. Green Apple Lane proudly supports diversity and inclusion and it is our hope that leadership positions in every type of organization continue to become more reflective of the communities they serve, and the population as a whole.

We were more than happy to create a site that better served BRIDGE's needs. The board wanted to have an online home for the organization to showcase event photos (with easy access to update with new photos and self-created event graphics often), promote upcoming events and professional opportunities, as well as the capability to sell memberships online, and the ability to host separate content for different membership levels, accessible by only members of that level. We were excited to jump in and find a solution to these challenges. As part of the design process, we also created some graphics to break up large text areas and to organize their information most efficiently, like the graphic shown above reflecting the difference in benefits between their two membership levels. BRIDGE has been very happy with the functionality of the site – they were able to take the reins and they've done a fantastic job ever since!


juniorleaguearlington_logodesign.jpg
2017-09-10 19.33.08.jpg

Most folks are familiar with the historic Junior League organization, one of the oldest women's clubs in the country (active since 1901)!

The 2017-2018 President of the Junior League of Arlington, April Pettitt, approached us prior to officially taking office to help develop a look for her theme for the year, "Heart is Key." We were proud to create a logo for JLA, and we love seeing it pop up continually on everything from social media graphics to members' T-shirts on the field at Dallas Cowboys stadium. These ladies are doing a ton of good in our community!

For the logo, we created a key graphic with a heart bow, and if you look closely, you'll notice the key cuts are edges of a heart, alternating between the point and the curved edge. Thanks for all you do, ladies!


We are blogging with a "Non-Profit November" theme this month to spotlight some of our favorite design projects for non-profit corporations. Be sure to keep up here and follow along each week to see what these amazing companies have been up to!

Non-Profit Spotlight: SHHS Alumni Association

Sam Houston High School is the second oldest high school in Arlington and one of the largest public high schools in the entire state of Texas, with a student body of well over 3,000. In 2013, the year of the school's 50th anniversary, a small group of alumni came together and quickly formed a full-fledged 501c3 non-profit organization. Since then, members have raised tens of thousands of dollars to support their alma mater and its recent graduates in the form of scholarships. Green Apple Lane is proud to have developed the branding for the association, as well as its website, which the current board members operate all on their own now (and they do quite a fantastic job). We still provide design services for their business cards, stationery, and social media graphics for a few of their ongoing drives and fundraising projects throughout the year, a favorite of which is the "Texans Helping Texans" program, shown below:

SHHSAA_BCs_2017.jpg
shhs_brandmark_fb2017.png

This organization does so much good for SHHS students, faculty, and staff, as well as the surrounding community and all of East Arlington!


We are blogging with a "Non-Profit November" theme this month to spotlight some of our favorite design projects for non-profit corporations. Be sure to keep up here and follow along each week to see what these amazing companies have been up to!

Non-Profit Spotlight: Inspired Women Luncheon

The Inspired Women Luncheon is an annual event organized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Women's Alliance to celebrate women, recognize community leaders, and award college scholarships. This was our fourth year to serve on the IWL committee and also as design sponsor for the event! The growth of this luncheon has been astonishing, and for 2017, we were excited to create a logo, branding the event for years to come. Our designs for this year's IWL event included:

  • Social media square graphics & Facebook page cover images
  • Logo design & branding guide
  • Flyer design to promote sponsorship throughout the year
  • Event signage
  • Event program
  • Print ads in Arlington Today magazine
The 2017 Inspired Women Luncheon Committee |  Alexander Portrait Designers

The 2017 Inspired Women Luncheon Committee | Alexander Portrait Designers

Below are a some select images of our work for this year's event as well as a few photos from the event itself, including the phenomenal speaker, Carrie Wilkerson, and sweet centerpieces by Sugar Bee Sweets (that's right; who needs flowers when you can have cakes, cookies, and cupcakes for centerpieces?!).

Green Apple Lane is a proud member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and we have loved participating in this wonderful event and helping it grow from around 300 attendees four years ago to over 650 this year! Save the date for 2018 – one thing's for certain, it will be FABULOUS.


We are blogging with a "Non-Profit November" theme this month to spotlight some of our favorite design projects for non-profit corporations. Be sure to keep up here and follow along each week to see what these amazing companies have been up to!