I draw pictures, I don’t write stories! (A.K.A. Our New Site)

Mediavandals Website Evolution

I intended our first blog of 2017 (about our new website) to be written by Mediavandals co-founder Brandon, who created the concept for the new design, but when I asked him to write me up his experience during the planning and design, he quickly shot back “I draw pictures, I don’t write stories!”, so it looks like you’ll be stuck reading my thoughts rather than the thoughts of the creative guy..

Owning a Website Design Agency is very much like how the old story of the shoemaker goes, he’s so busy making shoes for everyone else, he never has time to maintain his own.

What do I mean by that? Well, we’re always so busy designing and maintaining the websites & graphics of everyone else, we rarely take a minute to update our own website with any of the new work we’ve rolled out. But every few years, I like to find some time to give us a facelift.

Technology and trends are always changing, and as a “digital” agency, it’s important for us to stay on top of them, failure to do so not only does an enormous disservice to our clients, it does a disservice to ourselves. After all, you can’t paint a Picasso if all you’ve got in your arsenal is a single brown crayon!

But first, let’s go back a bit before we go forward with this story.

Our last facelift was in Fall 2015, it was a good year, the weather was still warm in September, we took a company road trip to the East Coast, and our Creative Lead / Co-Founder Brandon had just won a CCMA Award for Album Design of the Year! We decided that this would be the perfect time to take the site in a completely different design direction from our regular Black & White company branding style.

We stuck with the paint splash Mediavandals theme, but played with the idea of removing the portfolio in favour of a few case studies about some of our favourite projects over the years.

While the site design had turned out to be much more colourful that our previous versions had been, it never really stuck with any of us. After a while, we started to think maybe it was too cluttered, we began removing pieces and adding in other assets. But it just never quite felt right.

Well, that time has come again, a new year, a new facelift. We began by mapping out what pages we would keep, and what would go. We wanted to bring our services down to a few key items so we could really focus on providing our clients with the best service possible. But we also wanted to make it easy to find information on the website without having to search through a ton of pages. Each service provides some information and a few key portfolio pieces that showcase the work we do.

We’ve brought back the portfolio, which our clients always found helpful to use as examples when telling us about their project. We really liked the colourful paint splash from the last version, so decided to continue with it as part of our brand, but instead drastically reduce the size of the header on the website.

Gone are the drop shadows and sliding header images, replaced with solid colours and easy to read fonts. We’ve also removed the ‘boxed in’ feel in favour of a full width website. We wanted to stick with the basics, following Google’s best practices for design and giving the site a clean, modern feel.

I have to say, I’m really feeling this one!  I hope you like what we’ve done as much as we do.. It’s about time we “tended to those holes” in our shoes 😉

Want to chat about how we can help give your site a fresh look? Give us a call: 1-888-983-2192.

Until next time…. Sheila

Resolutions Giving You Trouble?

New Years ResolutionMaking New Year’s Resolutions is easy. Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions is hard.

I should admit that I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions. The last time I made any resolutions was at least 10 years ago, and I found it hard to stick to them. If you made any New Year’s Resolutions for 2015, this is a friendly end-of-January reminder to keep working on them!

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, setting the goals is the easy part – following through is where things get hard. When January 1st rolls around you’re hit by the reality that this is going to be a lot of work.

So many common New Year’s Resolutions are total lifestyle changes, so they end up being overwhelming. It was really easy to say you wanted to exercise more and lose weight, but suddenly you’re halfway through January, you haven’t followed through, and everyone else has given up on their resolutions too. Maybe it’s time to forget about the novelty of “New Year’s Resolutions” and focus on how to reach the goals we set for ourselves.

New Year’s Resolutions seem so strict. If you don’t start them January 1st or you slip up once, it’s easy to give up and say you’ll try again next year. Sometimes you need to start over. Life changes. Goals need to be adjusted. Don’t put off starting over until you’re thinking about next year’s New Year’s Resolutions! You could make some pretty big changes in the months between now and next January.

If you made any New Year’s Resolutions this year, keep focusing on your goals. So what if you started a few days after January 1st or forgot about them for a few days? Start over if you have to, change them when you need to, and don’t give up on them!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” 
― Thomas A. Edison

 

Christmas Elves are Stalking You.

The_Elf_on_the_Shelf_bookElves are everywhere apparently. On your bathroom vanity and beside you creepily when you wake up in the morning.

Elf on the shelf is one of the most disturbing new holiday traditions and they are slowly taking over one house at a time. Women are lining up and stores are sold out of these creepy little minions and it is all purposed to manipulate young children to behave.

The phenomenon started with a simple children’s book published in 2005 by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda. A Dr. Suess-style picture book to remind children that Santa is watching and knows all of their dirty little secrets, so they better straighten up.

The book has gained a cult following around the holiday season and the strange little creatures have their own line of clothing. Once the elf is named it inherits a magic ability to fly to and from the North Pole and nark on you every chance it gets.

Personally the elf gives me the creeps, so we obviously don’t have one. I am not sure that it sends a really good message to children either. It basically tells them that it is okay to tattle on everyone and that if you’re really good someone is going to give you whatever you want.

Then again I think the whole message of Christmas these days is completely lost. Commercialism has consumed us and parents feel obligated to live beyond their means to please their devil children and give them their hearts desire, even though the other 364 days they are complete jerks.

Did I mention that children are not allowed to touch the elf or all their magic will disappear! Intelligent children do whatever misdeeds they wish and just smother the elf when no one is looking, that way they have all their bases covered. At least that is what my niece would do, but she’s a clever little bugger.

The women who started the story of the elf are laughing. The crazy little doll won a best toy and two best book awards in 2008. It has even gone on to star in its own film, has been in the Macy’s parade and has released a birthday book. Although it has had some not-so-nice reviews.

Prominent publishers have called it a parental crutch and a new way to obsess over the penal code, along with some other negative statements defending the rights of children. All I know is I feel the same way about that elf as I do about gnomes. No thanks and I’ll burn them to ashes before they come in my house.

Even creepier are the people who come up with all different scenarios for the elf so they can wake up doing something new every day. That is an open invitation to some pretty messed up dreams and imagine how your kids must feel when they find out it is all a lie.

Between Frozen and the elf, I’ve had enough marketing for this year and I think part of us all are just counting the minutes until the holidays are over and we can go back to crying about all the snow.

Merry Christmas VS Happy Holidays

Now that it is mid-November Christmas is in full swing! Social media is littered with pictures of family trees and the neighbours are putting up lights-

LETS GET READY TO RUUUUMMMMBBBLLLLEEEEEEE

In the left corner: Merry Christmas

In the right corner: Happy Holidays

MERRY CHRISTMAS VS HAPPY HOLIDAYS annual face off.
Some narrow-minded people get caught up with this insane argument that Christmas is superior than every other holiday in December and begin the constant complaining about their refusal to be politically correct and that it is some big hoopla to tell someone  “Happy Holidays.”

It is just tradition beating us in the heads and people forgetting to realize that there are also over a dozen other days to be celebrated in the month of December other than Christmas Day. It’s ironic how many people who celebrate Christmas are also the ones that trample their neighbours on Black Friday.

Personally, I love Christmas. I love hanging out with my family. My son’s birthday is Christmas Eve, and the whole month is filled with baked goods. Also, after New Years winter tends to be too cold and stretched out to enjoy wholeheartedly. That being said I am not forcing anyone to comply with my celebrations and part of me feels guilty even making my son participate in the insanity. I wish everyone a Happy Holidays.

Majority of Canadians relate the December break directly to the Christmas holiday, an online poll by Angus Reid Global conducted last year found that over 80% of Canadians feel the holiday is far too commercial and less than a third actually attend a religious service.

Holidays

We are more diverse than ever. We have access to all of this information readily at our fingertips, yet we argue over semantics like Happy Holidays. It should come down to common sense. If you know someone celebrates Christmas, feel free to wish them a merry one, but if they obviously celebrate another day, or maybe not one at all, wish them a Happy Holiday or mix it up a bit with a Seasons Greetings.

Can you imagine!? Someone walking up to you in a grocery store with a huge smile telling you “Seasons Greetings?” How unforgivable. How dare they wish cheer upon you without spouting some possible offensive and overused saying.

That is the reason that stores use Happy Holidays and schools don’t focus on Christmas anymore. They want everyone to feel included, regardless of their beliefs.

 

End this #WarOnChristmas insanity. There is no war on any specific holiday, if anything it is a war on narrow mindedness and exclusion. In the iconic words of John Lennon, “War is over if you want it.”

Holidays

Respecting Veterans on Remembrance Day

Remembrance DayIt seems like the second Halloween is over the commercial world is throwing up Christmas on everyone, but many people forget that there is an actual <em><strong>important and meaningful</strong> </em>holiday in between them. Every year I see fewer people supporting the poppy, something that in light of recent event should spark support easily.

Remembrance day is the time where we as the free people of Canada can give respect and properly thank the who have fought for our freedom.

This year the NDP is pushing forward a bill that will make Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday. Currently six provinces and three territories have November 11th as a paid holiday, except Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia don’t recognize it as one.

Remembrance Day celebrations will be on the forefront, as it falls only a few weeks after two attacks on soldiers in Ottawa, including the death of soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was only a young 24, as he stood guard of the War Memorial. Attacks like these are hard for Canadians because that type of action rarely happens here.

Some Americans, such as <em>The View </em>host Rosie O’Donnell, have spoken out that the amount of media coverage and outcry over the Ottawa shootings is outrageous and hyperbolic, because “86 people a day are killed in America with guns, and you know what? That is terrorism here,” according to O’Donnell.

These types of statements do nothing for anybody, and the fact that Americans can live with this as their day-to-day living only makes it easier to see thy they constantly try to justify their right to bare arms and the constant conflicts overseas. Lets make a vow to see all violence for what it really is no matter the ethnicity behind it and stop constantly naming people terrorists when we ourselves commit the same unneeded acts.

Regardless, Remembrance day, Veterans Day, whatever you call it in whatever country you celebrate it, it all comes down to putting down the electronics, putting problems on the back burner, taking those two minutes of silence and remembering those who gave their lives for your freedom.

So keep Christmas at bay for another couple weeks. Refrain from the consumer Hallmark holiday and mark November 11th with national pride, because your house might just get egged if you put up you Christmas decorations this week. Seriously, everyone, despite their nationality, should be sporting a poppy for the next couple weeks, <strong>at least. </strong>

Then we can get on to the whole <em>whose festive celebrations are better </em>debate that goes along with the numerous religious holidays in December.

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#RespectVeterans

#ImagineWorldPeace

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Gas Prices Lowest In Years

gaspricesI am driving down the street, I look to my left at a bright digital sign and I cannot believe my eyes. I must be dreaming! There is no way that I just saw gas prices at barely over a dollar!

Last week gas was is the lowest it has been in FIVE YEARS and I was not hearing any complaints, only more good rumours of it dropping even more. It is hard to believe that just a few short months ago we were swimming just under 150 a litre.

Although the last couple days it has been fluctuating at on average 5-8 cents higher, so what is going on? Are the big rig oil companies messing with us again, itching to get our hopes up only to drag us back down to reality. Some cities in Ontario, especially the GTA, watched gas prices jump 11 cents in 24 hours.

Gas is expected to continue to drop and hit its lowest between mid-November to mid-January, and comparatively gas prices are still much lower than usual even after a price increase, the public is befuddled at the continuous game that is the global gas market.

First we are being told that gas is high because of conflicts overseas and low supplies, now we’re told that Iraq and Russia are not effecting our supply and because of some wonderful deal with another country that probably has been manipulated, we are seeing the results at the pump.

Blah, blah, blah…

“Gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2012.”

“Gas expected to continue to plummet.”

Wait for it…

Gas skyrockets after…”

“Gas too expensive, Americans learn to commute.”

“Non-Work Trucks OUTLAWED”

 

… Well, maybe not those last ones, but we can dream right.

Fat Cats want their money, and the weather is crappy and getting cold, so oil production is up but the market is down because people aren’t interested in road trips in the winter time. Some are attributing it all to a wonderful combination of a strong dollar, and too large of a reserve.

This all adds up to a reduction in the prices we see, because at the end of the day the money still needs to be made and smart businessmen would rather drop the prices a few cents and still see those profit margins with everyone running to the pumps to fill up, than gouging pockets even more by sucking up those extra dollars and risk further enraging consumers.

I say let them drop! Just like a strippers panties, who wants to see them stay up. Even if only until after the holiday season, commuters will be more than grateful for the few extra dollars they get to keep at the end of every week and that influx will result in a stronger financial system. Sounds too good to be true.

So if I wake up to an increase I’m staging a coup d’etat! I know there will be some crazy Canucks out there praying for these prices to stay down, hopeful to enjoy a winter full of snowmobiling and maybe making some chainsaw ice sculptures. If they continue to rise over the winter were all going to need to work on our igloo building skills, because we’re going to be living in them.