Make My logo Bigger!!!

“MAKE MY LOGO BIGGER”, a seemingly harmless sentence, but frustrates web designers to the extent of tearing up their design. Often, a person not from an artistic background might think that by making their logo bigger, it will attract more customers to remember their brand.

ID_Lazy_Artist_by_Neo_Kaiser

By Neo Kaiser (http://neo-kaiser.deviantart.com/)

However, it is never the logo that attracts viewers. It is the content within the web page that satisfies them. It is not about getting your money’s worth or a case of a lazy designers. It’s about keeping the viewers on the page, making them scroll further down, and getting viewers to click on a certain action that the client desires.

To put things plainly, a designer lays down design elements to achieve the desired outcome required by the client. The composition consists of various elements such as lines, shapes, and colors thus boosting the users experience when browsing the web page.


13

Tutplus – Understanding Z-layout in web design (http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/understanding-the-z-layout-in-web-design–webdesign-28)

Let’s look at a very simple line composition above; the line guides the movement of the eye. Designers use this as an advantage to design elements around it to guide the viewer to the desired content. It’s known as giving weight or balancing the content on the web page. Imagine if a very large logo is placed at point 1, this creates a weight that breaks the balance of the composition. Resulting in a miscommunication of information to the viewers.

The next thing we need to understand is color composition. How does a designer mix the color to bring out the content of the pages? An analogous color is the color that is side by side on the color wheel, it is often used to express harmony that is pleasing to the eye. Complementary colors are the colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel. It’s often used to highlight content or something that you want to stand out. However, too much of certain a color, and it becomes very distracting to the eye. Hence, choosing the right color helps your website stand out in the viewer’s eyes.

rg1

Complementary colors (http://designwashere.com/complementary-colors-in-web-design/)

Let’s look at the image above; most of the colors are from Red to Green, which are complementary colors on the color wheel. Even the content (welcome to the table) that has a darker green to lighter orange is a complementary color too. Imagine that the strawberry at the top left is the logo of the company. If the logo is larger, the red will be the dominant color and impose stress on the eyes, this will likely cause the viewer to navigate away from the page.

In the nutshell, making the logo bigger is not something really difficult for designers. However, when a logo is requested to be made bigger, it creates unnecessary trouble for designers to re-analyze the amount of content required to communicate to the viewers. At the end of day, viewers are coming back for the content and not the logo. Unless it is part of a secret propaganda plot for social engineering, there is really no reason to create a very large logo.

Check out more on how to use composition on web (Rule of third and golden ratio!!) :

http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-harmonies.htm

Learn more about colors:

http://www.artistsnetwork.com/medium/watercolor/great-color-composition

Color using explanation: 

http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-harmonies.htm

Check out how to use complementary color to make your page standout:

http://designwashere.com/complementary-colors-in-web-design/

References

Composition (visual arts). (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composition_(visual_arts)

Understanding the Z-Layout in Web Design – Tuts Web Design Article. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/understanding-the-z-layout-in-web-design–webdesign-28

The “make my logo bigger” conundrum. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.purplegoat.com.au/graphic-design/the-make-my-logo-bigger-conundrum/

Make my logo bigger!

Make my logo bigger!

Why bigger?

Every brand seeks to create an impact, to be remembered and one way to do that is through the logo, a means of visual identification. A logo is the first thing the user lays eyes upon, and is usually at the top left corner as convention dictates by the F-Shaped reading pattern. Companies are used to branding their products like how cowboys brand their cattles, and that ideology translates into misguided pursuits of making the logo bigger. As if to shout their name across a noisy fish market, hoping that a prospective customer would patronize them. And the whole driving force behind improving brand awareness, is that companies hope it will translate to increased sales.

What’s wrong with making the logo bigger?

The logo and header are fixed elements for users to orientate themselves with the website. For example, we would expect that clicking on the logo at the top of the site, would take us back to the homepage. Altering the size of the logo will affect the visual balance of the elements and could be a distraction when the user has to waste time processing the logo to move on to the content.

A logo is very much like our faces, it is the first thing people see when they meet us. But what keeps them interested are our words, personality and character and that is the purpose of having purposeful content on the website, to keep them craving for more. What is the point of a bigger logo when it serves not function other than to identify that the user is on the correct site? Size matters, especially when you have a limited screen real estate to offer the same amount of content.

The call to action is the most important aspect of any website, as it is the purpose of the website, whether it is to purchase something, fill up a contact form or download something. Take a look at Mozilla’s download page, where their call to action is the “Free Download” button for the browser. If you notice, the logo and download button are nearly of equal size and prominence. But if the logo is enlarged, the download button losses its weight in the site’s hierarchy and brings unneeded attention to the abnormally big logo like a mole that you can’t stop staring at.Download Firefox — Free Web Browser — Mozilla

Download Firefox — Free Web Browser — Mozilla bigger logo

Actually, it depends…

There are times when the most appropriate size is BIG, take for example, Google’s logo on the search page, it’s huge because there is nothing else to show except a lonely search bar. But, when we get to the search results page, that’s when Google’s logo humbles itself and takes a step back and lets the results speak for itself.

“Pixel Dreams” a creative design company decided they were going to do off with that whole taboo of having a big logo and placed it right smack centered top on the page. Even so, they managed to place their important content including their work and events in the middle of the page with the huge logo and even had space left over for the red hot chili’s at the bottom. Thankfully, after they had established who they were, what they offered, they respectfully retired the logo at the top right corner on other pages.

Pixel Dreams Digital Agency Toronto

Brand experience   Design   Digital agency

Lastly, let’s check out “Park Tavern”, a restaurant/bar. The call for action is to make a table reservation, and that’s it! And since there is no other significant content, why not use that whitespace and center the logo there? This is a situation where the logo has the opportunity to take center stage and has helped to project a perceived sense of sophistication.

Park Tavern   Severna Park Restaurant  Bar  Nightlife

In conclusion,

There is no hard-fast rule on what size a logo should be, it all depends on what the needs of the web user are and most importantly it should not just be about brand publicity.

Check out this plugin in google chrome to make your logo bigger: http://newrepublique.com/labs/make-the-logo-bigger/

Make my logo bigger cream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgcX0y1Nzhs

Make the logo BIGGER! MV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AxwaszFbDw

References

Nielsen, J. (2006, April 17). Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/

Boag, P. (2009, January 22). 10 techniques for an effective ‘call to action’ Retrieved January 29, 2015, from https://boagworld.com/design/10-techniques-for-an-effective-call-to-action/

Caldwell, A. (2014, April 4). Make the Logo Bigger. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://brolik.com/blog/make-logo-bigger/




Course Content Page

I’ve put up a new “Course Content” page that will carry each week’s readings, in lieu of posting on NTU Learn (for accessibility reasons). You are, in the spirit of how this course is run, encouraged to propose course material that you think would add value to the course. Material that is unmarked (i.e. there are no extraneous comments added on other than reference information) should be considered course material and potential exam fodder. Content that I specifically mark as non-examinable should be considered as such.

RE: Pitch submission next week

RE: Pitch submission next week

Hi guys,

You have your pitch submission coming up next week. I know I said in lecture that you’d have to submit the pitches on Monday, but I realised that I’ve stated in the syllabus that the submission should be due at the end of the week.

As such, you guys should be submitting a digital document that contains your pitch at the end of week 4 (i.e. 6th February 11:59pm) to me via email (check syllabus for it). Submissions that don’t reach me by then are considered non-submissions.

Requirements for this assignment are laid out in Appendix C of the syllabus (as are the requirements for all other assessed components in this course.)

Any questions regarding the pitch submission should be directed to me (Zed).

Also, do remember to update your groups (here: http://bit.ly/1ITAWQA) and pick your post topics (here: http://bit.ly/1ywZ0UX).

What is a protocol?

When you think of the word “protocol”, what comes to mind? The dictionary defines protocol as “the official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.” Diplomats follow protocols when it comes to communicating with others, to ensure that conflicts do not arise. The same applies to computers, and in this case, a “protocol” is a set of rules that governs how data is connected and transmitted between two devices, how the two devices will communicate with each other. Protocols play an important part because they ensure compatibility among all the different software or documents out there in the World Wide Web.

 

Protocols are necessary for file-distribution, and the introduction of the BitTorrent protocol has revolutionized the world of file sharing with its efficiency and tit-for-tat approach.

 

The traditional client-server downloading method involves your web browser that views the information, the central server that holds the data or file you want to download, and the protocol (FTP, HTTP) that connects the two. However, the download speed is affected by the fact that the file comes from only one server, and if there is a large number of clients attempting to download the file on top of the limited bandwidth the server has, there will be a great toll on the server and file transfer would tend to be slow.

 

As such, peer-to-peer file sharing is a more efficient method because it uses software (such as Napster, Gnutella, Kazaa) that locates the file you want on other peers’ hard drives. Similarly, other users using that file-sharing software can retrieve files from your computer’s hard drive. Hence, every peer is a client as well as a server. Being directly connected to another user eliminates the need for a central server and makes downloading much faster. However, the problem of leeching could arise in instances where some selfish users would disconnect immediately after obtaining the files they need from other users, denying others a chance to obtain files from their hard drives.

 

BitTorrent combatted the problem by implementing a tit-for-tat system whereby users must share files in order to receive files, and this system of equality prevents leeching from happening.

 

BitTorrent functions similarly to other peer file sharing softwares in the sense that the central main server is not required and peers are all clients and servers themselves. BitTorrent however, has a tracker, which keeps track of other clients in the BitTorrent software that have pieces of the file you need, and is an important tool in the torrent protocol and acts as a communicator between peers.

 

In BitTorrent, a seeder is a user that has the complete file and if a seeder is connected, you could download the entire file from him. However, if the seeder is disconnected, there are still other ways to obtain the full copy of the file, which is an advantage BitTorrent has over other peer file sharing softwares. In this case, leechers are users who have varying pieces of the file, and in order to obtain the full file, you would need to obtain the various pieces from the leechers in the system. The tit-for-tat system comes in place as leechers would trade various pieces of the file with each other in order to obtain a full copy of the file. This segmented file transfer system is particularly useful for the transfer of large, popular files as when there are more clients involved in the swarm, file transfer speed increases because there are more pieces of the file available.

 

In a nutshell, how BitTorrent works:

  1. Search for the file you want on your web browser and open it with the BitTorrent client.
  2. The BitTorrent client uses the tracker to search for other computers running the BitTorrent client that contain pieces of the file you need.
  3. After your download is complete and the full copy of the file is obtained, you become a seeder yourself and can provide the file to other clients that want to download them.
Retrieved from http://www.quora.com/How-would-one-explain-torrents-to-someone-who-doesnt-understand-anything-about-computers.
Retrieved from http://www.quora.com/How-would-one-explain-torrents-to-someone-who-doesnt-understand-anything-about-computers.

Something extra:

Here is a visualization of BitTorrent I found on the web! It’s quite fun and random hahaha

http://www.mg8.org/processing/bt.html

 

References:

Carmack, C. (n.d.). How BitTorrent Works. Retrieved from http://computer.howstuffworks.com/bittorrent.htm

BitTorrent (Wikipedia). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent.

Pillai, S. (2012, November 21). What is bittorrent protocol and how does bittorrent protocol work. Retrieved from http://www.slashroot.in/what-bittorrent-protocol-and-how-does-bittorrent-protocol-work.

Kozierok, C. (2005, September 20). Protocols: What are they, anyway? Retrieved from http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/t_ProtocolsWhatAreTheyAnyway.htm.

 

Ian Bogost on The Design of Fun

This is Ian Bogost who writes extensively on videogames and — more importantly — on the nature of videogames. Watch the video above and you’ll get the sense of how this is related to our upcoming lecture on UX design.

I’ve taken the liberty to transcribe what he says in the video and have included the transcription below. Of course, it would be more fun to listen to him tell you his thesis than just read it.

These days it seems like we want to have fun all the time. Everyone has a plan for making work fun, learning fun, making laundry fun. It’s become so common and so cloying it’s almost enough to make you want to make you swear off fun forever. Games are perhaps the only medium daft enough to measure their aesthetic value with a nebulous concept like this — like fun — and as a result, games tend to be seen as a form of black magic: you know that they have a power over people but you can’t quite characterize that power, which makes us desperate to control it.

You know, educators are wondering: “What’re my students doing inMinecraft™ all day?” And parents wonder, “Why can my kid lead a World of Warcraft™ guild but can’t finish his homework?” And all of us wonder why [we are] so addicted to Candy Crush™. And we tend to think that games are this powerful becaues they deliver this payload of FUN. We think we want to have fun everywhere. But what does it mean to make something fun? Do we even know what it means?

If we want to design a fun toaster, or a fun tasting menu, or a fun conference talk, how would you go about it? [A slide displaying a tag cloud of words, with the word “gamification” highlighted in orange, while “game,” “experience,” and “design,” also feature prominently.] We’ve mis-understood fun to mean something like “enjoyment without effort”. And that’s why every activity now has someone trying to “gamify” it (as the consultants keep saying), to make it fun — to turn it into a delightful morsel of sugar in your mouth.

And in fact it’s with that “morsel of sugar” that many of us first learn about how games supposedly make games fun thanks to that great philosopher of fun Mary Poppins. So if you remember how that mystical Vicatorian nanny assures the Banks’ children; she says, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

This song rehearses our understanding of fun as enjoyment as opposed to misery. Essentially, what Mary Poppins is suggesting is covering over drudgery, just as the robins’ songs supposedly hide the boredom of nestbuilding (or something in the Poppins’ song hides the boredom of cleanup). But, actually, “a spoonful of sugar” tells us so little. It’s kind of embarassing we kind of let this song get away with it for so long. [Quoting Poppins] “In ev’ry job that must be done/ There is an element of fun/ You find the fun, and snap!/ The job’s a game.” (It just sounds great, right?) Just try to follow this advice, I dare you. If an element of fun is hidden in every job, then how do you find it? Where do you look? By what process does a job become a game? Do I just snap? Is that it? Do I need to hire my own supernatural nanny? “A spoonful of sugar” turns out to tell us what we already know. It’s just a tautology. “A job seems more fun if it seems more fun.” Mary Poppins is selling snake oil.

Games and fun are connected not because games are intrinsically enjoyable, but games are fun because they are experiences that we encounter through play. And play is manipulating something that doesn’t dictate all of its capacities, but it does limit many of them. So Minecraft™ asks you to survive in a world made of these inhospitable cubes that you can use as resources, and Candy Crush™ asks you to solve puzzles given a limited supply of powers. And play, it turns out, isn’t limited to games at all. It’s everywhere. It’s in anything we can operate. A mechanism like a steering wheel has some play built in: room through which the steering shaft moves to turn the pinion. Play isn’t an act of diversion, but a name for making something work — for interacting with its materials. And that it why we also say that we play an instrument, or a sport. There’s an old aphorism about golf that calls it “a good walk spoiled.” And, it’s meant as a joke for us, but it underscores something fundamental: games make no sense, and yet we take them seriously preceisely because they make no sense. The philospher Bernard Suits calls it “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” There’s something unreasonable, something foolish about playing games. And as it happens, this is where the word “fun” actually finds its origin — in “foolishness”.

The Middle English word that would become “fun” means “a fool” or “to make a fool of.” Like you might say, “don’t poke fun at me.” And the medieval fool — the jester, or the trickster — was not reckless [beg to differ, but in this sense the jester probably inhabited a state of intense and intentional “recklessness”]. It was a honest-to-god job. Being a fool was a commitment. The fool was expected to see life differently. In fact Queen Elizabeth [which one?] was even said to have rejoined [in the Middle English sense] her fools for not being critical enough of her reign. What the fool does is ask, “What else is possible?” And then carries out [enacts] even the most outlandish answer. That takes a kind of shrewdness; it’s not a witless practice. It requires this painstaking attention to detail to find something new in a familiar situation. Not this “anything goes” carelessness that we usually think of when we think of fun. In fact the fool teaches us that fun requires a greater commitment to everyday life. Not — not a lesser one at all. And “fun” isn’t a “feeling,” it turns out. It doesn’t involve making somethig easier by rewarding it with points, as if life is some blatant version of space invaders. Instead, fun means deliberately manipulating a familiar situation in a new way. We can only have fun once we’ve accepted the truth of that situation — treated it for what it is. Golf isn’t a good walk spoiled; it’s a way to transform landscapes into a centuries-long hobby. And like golf, the things that we tend to find the most fun are not easy and sweet like the Banks’ cleanup routine. I mean, manual transmissions and knitting are fun because they make driving and fashion hard, rather than easy. They expose the materials of vehicles and fabrics and they do not apologize for doing so. There’s a kind of terror in real fun — the terror of facing a world as it really is, rather than covering it up (it shouldn’t). And this is where Mary Poppins leads us astray: “a spoonful of sugar,” it hides something, it turns it into a lie. It assumes that the subject of our attention can never be sufficient on its own. When you think about it, a job is made fun by not turning it into a game, but bydeeply and deliberately pursuing it as a job.

Jobs are fun when their work is meaningful, when their activities matter the act of conducting them can be done over and over again with increased adeptness. So fun can’t be added to something no more than chocolate turns brocolli to dessert, but you can design and use things with enough resistance to allow this capacity for play. And every now and then they reward you for doing so.

In 2010, at Wimbeldon 2010, for example. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut played a match of tennis for three days. Neither one was able to break the other’s service to tip the match out of equilibrium, and both of the players served over a hundred aces. Isner finally bested Mahut with a 70–68 final set (it was so ridiculous). They found something in tennis — the two of them — that nobody had found before, as if they were unearthing a fossil. Two well-matched players could make tennis go on almost forever. They coaxed the sport to give up its secret because they treated it with such absurd respect that the game couldn’t help but release it. And this is what fun looks like at its best. You don’t need to be a tennis pro to access it.

Anyone can play anything with the deliberateness that produces fun. For example, each morning you grind your expresso beans, and you unclump and tamp them to the right weight and density which you’ve discovered over many other mornings, and then you time temperature-regulated hot water through the group-head to produce this 27-second pull that you’ve timed and it balances sour-ness and bitterness in a particular roast you’ve chosen, but then next week you choose a new grind or a new tamp to work with a new blend. On Tuesdays you go out with your friends. And even with the same company at the same bar, with the same hot wings, the same complaints about the same co-workers, each evening results in some new discovery: in the way a sense-of-humour responds to a particular story; the way a face blankets worry with a familiar gentleness. On Sunday you mow the law, and you use a manual reel mower to reduce noise, to connect yourself physically to the act of mowing. But the blades catch short on your uneven plot, and so over many Sundays you discover the momentum to keep pace between the switchbacks. While struggling to maintain that control, you refine the straightness of your stripes over the months, over the seasons.

Fun comes from the attention and care you bring to something that offers enough freedom of movement, enough play, that such attention matters. And even seemingly stupid, boring activities can be fun as a process (maybe especially stupd and boring activities can be). Feeling that you are having fun at something is a sign that you’ve given it respect. When we fail to have fun, we fail to design for it too because we don’t take things seriously enough. Not because we take them too seriously.Minecraft™ is fun because it is not trying to be anything but Minecraft™. It’s not trying to be Minecraft™ for physics education, or Minecraft™ for laundry [or lingerie?]. But imagine if physics and laundry took their practices as seriously as Minecraft™ takes Minecrafting. Imagine if all the people trying to add fun to their products and services redoubled their commitment to the experience of using them instead. And that’s how you design fun — by treating the thing you’re doing or making as exactly what it is. Fun isn’t a kind of pleasure (at least not a kind of direct pleasure).

Fun is giving respect to something that doesn’t deserve it — becoming infatuated with something for which infatuation seems impossible [the idea of excess]. Just by working it carefully and deliberately over time in the hopes that it will someday blush before you, and reveal its secrets.1

  1. Ian Bogost in “WIRED by Design: A Game Designer Explains the Counterintuitive Secret to Fun,” YouTube video, 10:42, published by “WIRED,” 5 Dec 2014, accessed 24 Jan 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78rPt0RsosQ . Comments in “[” brackets and emphasis mine.

BITCOIN and On Posting Here

Since you guys are still (presumably) stewing over what article to write and how to take on the posting assignment, I’ll post one up as a primer to how it should look like and how this entire thing works1.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a Crypto-currency, which depends on the Bitcoin protocol that regulates how it is transferred and generated across a network of computers. Being a crypto-currency means that it is virtual money that depends on an encryption algorithm for its transactional value2. The problem that it tries to solve is that of the centralized authority on which most currencies on the FOREX depend on for their value. Bitcoin advocates say that it is the only currency in the world that is without a central controlling authority, since it depends on a peer-to-peer3 network of computers to not only generate but to validate its value and transactions. Picture it something like this:

In a humongous room, there’s an endless jigsaw puzzle being put together. Everybody in the room is sifting through a pile of jigsaw pieces in the center of the room. These people will each pick up a piece of the jigsaw and try to fit it into the puzzle. Each time someone finds a puzzle piece that fits, a picture is taken of the whole jigsaw puzzle thus far, and is given to the person who finds the piece as a unit of currency, a Bitpuzzle (for example). The value of the Bitpuzzle is determined by supply and demand, i.e. the amount in “real” money someone is willing and able to pay for a Bitpuzzle pitted against how many are available for trade. Every Bitpuzzle is also tracked by a radio chip so that no duplicates can be created, and every expenditure is tracked by a central record that the Bitpuzzle has to be returned to in every transaction so it cannot be double-spent. As more Bitpuzzles are created (by finding fitting puzzle pieces), its value may initially deflate quickly. But its deflation is arrested because it gets harder and harder to find fitting puzzle pieces and so the creation of new Bitpuzzles slows down and stabilizes after a period. Everybody is able to verify that the Bitpuzzle that they own is a valid Bitpuzzle by comparing it to the existing jigsaw puzzle that everybody is adding to.4

That’s basically how Bitcoins and the Bitcoin protocol works, just that the Bitcoin protocol is what regulates this process of generating block-chains5and recording transactions across the entire peer-to-peer network on which it is run.

While the protocol has a solid crypotographic algorithm that is completely open and (because of its open-format) is very secure6, it is still open to what the official Bitcoin FAQ calls “user error”. This means that while the Bitcoin protocol and encryption itself is secure, you are still not safe from your Bitcoin wallet or the exchange itself being hacked, or being robbed at knife-point at a Bitcoin ATM. While being heralded as a mile-stone in digital security practices, it still has its flaws.

The most important thing to come out of the creation of the Bitcoin, hence, it’s not that it can potentially create a true crypto-currency, but that it has huge potential applications outside of virtual currencies7.

  1. Just so you know (and someone was eventually going to ask this), the specific workings of the Bitcoin is not tested as it is not within the scope of this course.
  2. https://bitcoin.org/en/faq#who-created-bitcoin
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer-to-peer
  4. Disclaimer: This is a highly reduced account of how Bitcoin works. I take no responsibility for any of your Bitcoin mishaps based on this article.
  5. https://bitcoin.org/en/faq#how-does-bitcoin-work
  6. https://bitcoin.org/en/faq#security and https://bitcoin.org/en/faq#why-do-i-have-to-wait-10-minutes
  7. http://www.wired.com/2014/03/decentralized-applications-built-bitcoin-great-except-whos-responsible-outcomes/