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Published by Abby Spung, April 3rd, 2014
Abby SpungResponsive design is everywhere and comes up almost daily in our environment here at OffWhite. Nearly every one of our clients is asking about it, or for it, and we just applied it to our own website. We all interface with it daily on one of our multiple devices, but what exactly is the "responsive" in responsive design?
 
Responsive design is broadly defined as a programming technique which allows optimal display of a website on all types and sizes of device, be it a 21” iMac or the latest smart phone, from a single URL. In other words, the site responds to the device, not the user.

Responding to Audience
While from a technical standpoint, responding to a device is accurate, it is more important for your site to respond to accommodate your brand. The brand is not a logo, or a mark, it’s the opinion formed by your audience based on the collective of elements like the logo, collateral pieces, and language that make up your identity. Knowing what your audience prefers and uses most under what conditions and for what purpose should define how the site needs to respond in terms of brand presence.
 
Most developers focus on getting their site to scale down or up to fit either of two extreme viewing areas, sacrificing the integrity of the brand. As a result, there are a number of responsive design templates that do "cool" tricks to adapt to the device, with little consideration for truly adapting the content or message to the experience that brought about the need for responsive design to start with.  By focusing on the one site fits all, the temptation is to target the least common denominator or in this case the device with the smallest view space.  Currently, accommodating the smaller viewing platform is meeting the needs of the few and not the majority.  
 
The user experience at a desktop is exponentially different than the experience on a phone. Many sites that are responsive work really well on one platform but deliver only a mediocre experience on another. The mindset of the user when at their desktop computer is not the same as it is when they surf  or search from their phone, so the desktop interface experience of your site should not feel or act like the interface for the mobile site. In other words, developers and designers need to do a better job of accommodating the users, not just the device.
 
At OffWhite designing responsively means responding to our audience's desired experiences, not just their devices. It is important for sites to function properly on multiple devices from a single URL, but it is equally if not more important to deliver the experience that is optimized to the user and their mindset.
 
 
 
Published by Jane Cirigliano, January 2nd, 2014
Designing, developing and maintaining websites is a large portion of what we do here at OffWhite, because we know that having a quality website is directly connected to the success of our life science and technology-based clients. Yes, marketing has to be holistic, and it’s necessary to invest in advertisements, promotions, campaigns, developing corporate literature, search marketing, etc., but when it comes down to it all of those efforts are pointing potential customers to a single place where they can find out more, contact you or even make a purchase – your website.
 
If a strong website isn’t at the forefront of your marketing strategy, you’re setting yourself up for failure, and here are three reasons why:
 
1) Your Website Represents Your Brand
Those in the life science and technology business sectors need to be very conscious of what their websites are saying about them. In this digital age, it’s where consumers go to get acquainted with your brand. This is where they learn about who your company is and how your products and services can meet their needs. Having a website that isn’t as clear and compelling as the trade publication ad or direct mail piece that led your prospective customer there to begin with is a sure way to negatively impact the perception of your brand and deter potential customers from converting into a lead or sale.
 
2) Prospective Customers Interact With Your Website
Not only is your website a place for prospective customers to learn more about your brand, but it’s where they engage with it. Interaction is key to building relationships. The easier it is and the more opportunities there are for prospective customers to interact with your brand increases the likelihood of conversion. This is achieved by equipping your website with a professionally designed user-interface and well-written content with plenty of calls-to-action.
 
3) Your Website Facilitates Conversions
As you can see, the ultimate goal of your website, and all your marketing efforts driving traffic to it, is to increase your sales and leads. This is why having a website-first marketing strategy is so important. If your website isn’t enhancing your brand, building value in your products or services, and enhancing user experience by providing visitors with relevant and useful content that will facilitate conversions, you’re working against yourself and your time and money invested in traffic-driving marketing efforts are for naught.
 
If you’d like to find out how OffWhite can increase your leads and sales by working with your current website or helping you create a new one, contact us today.
 
 
 
Published by Steven Hollis, Graphic Designer , November 19th, 2013
PowerPoint vs. PDF
PowerPoint has become the standard presentation tool in the professional and educational worlds, but this period of dominance is coming to an end… or it would be, if I got my way. Interactive PDFs do everything PowerPoint does, except for the quick presenter editing. Most consider this a disadvantage. For designers and brand consultants like us, it’s a luxury. It puts control back in our hands. PDFs don’t restrict design to the least common denominator like PowerPoint often does. Is the presentation computer (or tablet, or phone) equipped with Adobe Acrobat Reader? Good, that’s all we need. There's no need to worry about selecting web-safe fonts or how the presentation will be affected by a switch from Mac to Windows or Office 2013 to 2007.
 
What can we do with Interactive PDFs?
  • Use vector illustrations that allow for crisper images on high-definition displays
  • Have greater control over colors and fonts that fit your company branding and identity guidelines
  • Build interactive jump indexes to skip to and from pages/slides
  • Embed HTML5 and CSS3
  • Create spreadsheets and form input boxes with automatic formulas
  • Better control file sizes and image quality
 
Of course PowerPoint isn’t going away, and I’m not telling you to ditch it. PowerPoint puts editing power in the hands of the presenter, and that’s often a necessity (although I would recommend Apple’s PowerPoint alternative, Keynote). Interactive PDFs require a designer, and that's not always a requirement. But for your company presentation materials that don’t require several changes - like stock presentations and sales tools - an interactive PDF is likely the best option. Here at OffWhite, we currently use Interactive PDFs to create operating manuals with jump-link indexes, sales brochures with built-in quote calculators and presentations with indexes and transitions. And we do all this with the control provided through Adobe Creative Cloud software, rather than relying on Microsoft’s word processing and archaic drawing tools. 
 
To learn more about interactive documents and how they can be used to advance your presentation and sales efforts, contact Bill White.
 
 
 
Published by Bill White, CEO , August 5th, 2013
Cloud Part Two
 
You could say we have our head in the "cloud" here at OffWhite. As discussed in our last blog, there are real benefits in using cloud-based technology. Adobe’s Creative Cloud lets us work from anywhere, with anyone, at virtually any time, because everything we need can be stored and accessed online. But keep in mind that the cloud isn’t exclusive to us "creatives." In fact, in response to the needs of our clients, we developed our very own digital marketing platform, Ed.it™2, to operate in the cloud.
 
Our platform reflects our investments in digital innovations and the creation of tools that help our clients manage their email marketing, social media, websites and more. Our Ed.it™2 modules are displayed in an elegant interface that acts as a digital marketing dashboard. The power of these intuitive tools and the fact they can be accessed all in one place allows our clients to launch, control and monitor their digital marketing communications— whenever, from wherever— without any programming knowledge.
 
To learn how Ed.it2 can simplify your digital marketing efforts, contact us today.
 
 
 
Published by Abby Spung, Creative Director, July 26th, 2013
Cloud Part One
 
So, the debates have begun. Adobe Creative Cloud, for better or worse? Every designer has an opinion. Here’s what we have to say about it.
 
What’s the big deal?
Creative Cloud is a subscriber based “rental” solution to creative software platforms. In the past, companies like OffWhite – those that thrive on providing creative services coupled with integrated strategic marketing plans to clients around the globe – relied heavily on access to the best software for delivering the very best tactile components of our service. This was often a painfully expensive investment that became an inevitable confrontation at the turn of every two years (three years maximum). Naturally, as any responsible business does, we would anticipate the upgrades, plan and budget for them accordingly, and take our medicine. The bitterness of it depended in large part on how many licenses we needed and how many creative staffers we had on board. To make matters more complicated, at the time, there was a hard line in the sand between those on a PC and those on the Mac operating platforms, systems that required different software. Well, times, they are a-changin’ — and so is OffWhite. Not only has the great PC vs. Mac divide fallen to the wayside, our team is now united and “synced” for the most efficient workflow we’ve seen in OffWhite’s history.
 
Embracing CC means embracing change, constant change, and we’re learning to like change around here. The investment isn’t just in real time updates to software, it’s in ourselves as professionals. In keeping pace with the ever evolving collection of programs that make up Adobe Creative Cloud, we find ourselves dedicated to professional development as well, keeping our staff engaged and fresh. The outcome of investing in the “landed cost of labor” as we see it here at OffWhite— a team that’s happy to go the distance.
 
We invest in our team, so they can invest in themselves and that is the reward of a great job and a great place to work. Who wouldn’t buy into that? Thanks to Creative Cloud, clients get what they pay for, the expertise of our staff— not hours of troubleshooting, saving files back, converting from one platform to the next, or management of technology. When our team arrives at work, they can get to work doing what they do best—and that IS “the big deal.”
 
To learn more about our creative services, contact us today.
 
 
 
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
 
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