Implementing a fully-featured website and CMS with Bolt

Bolt is a PHP-based open-source content management system.  It sets itself apart with its modern design philosophy and use of standard PHP libraries.

We recently launched a new site for Vera Water and Power, and we built it with Bolt. I am so happy with how the site turned out, from a UI, content, and design perspective.

In this post, I’ll explain why we chose Bolt, how it helped the site succeed, and why it was so fun to work with.

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Facebook Page Post Strategy

Facebook organic reach for business pages has been plummeting, it’s true. In fact, probably a whole 3 percent of your Facebook followers are seeing your posts. Let’s face it, in the swelling tide of Facebook content, all status posts’ organic reach will be on the decline.

What’s a business Page to do?  Be solution oriented!

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The Importance of Analyitics

Why are your website’s analytics so important?

The goal of any website is to attract visitors and then show them the information they are looking for and that you want them to see. They want access as quickly and easily as possible.

In order to to do this, programmers and designers follow basic rules and guidelines to remove roadblocks and shepherd users through content in the best possible way. Continue reading

Marketing Theatre: Spokane Civic Theatre

CIVIC THEATRE 2014-15 SEASON ARTWORK UNVEILED

GETTING STARTED:

Early in January, Spokane Civic Theatre chose Design Spike®, Inc. to produce the marketing materials and branding for their 2014-15 season. At the same time, Todd Zyph accepted a position with Design Spike. What better way to start a new relationship than marketing theatre?

Todd reviewed previous theatre marketing materials from Civic and other theatres and worked with Jim Humes at the Spokane Civic Theatre, Chris Wooley at Heads and Tails Photography, and Allyson Shoshana at Design Spike to determine the right “feel” for the new season.

“I’ve got to admit there was a pretty steep learning curve when I first got involved with Civic Theatre. I am not the kind of guy that regularly attends community theatre. I’ll be honest, I have never once seen a live play unless you count the Christmas production I was in back in the sixth grade. I wasn’t going to let that slow me down, so I dove right in,” Todd says.

BREAK OUT THE BRUSHES:

The models were photographed by Chris Wooley, who did a great job pulling emotion (or over-emotion) out of them. The raw images were amazing and worked perfectly with the overall concept Todd had developed to brand for marketing the theatre season. In order to differentiate the new season from the previous season, the overall design aesthetic was intended to represent the artistic nature of theatre.

Todd says, “I brushed up on my Photoshop skills, broke out the digital paint brushes and got to work turning Chris’ images into digital paintings.” Subject matter and backgrounds were added and subtracted as needed.

Artwork for local community theatre, Spokane Civic Theatre, designed by Design Spike

GETTING DOWN WITH TYPOGRAPHY:

Once the “paintings” were completed, the focus turned to typography and the titles of the plays and musicals. While there are a number of “logo packs” available for many theatre productions, to create a consistent look and feel for each show while demonstrating the personality of the production, new vector typography was created.

The shows each had their own identity and typography that fit in with the overall theme of the season.  The following are the vectors Design Spike created for the show titles:

2014-15 Spokane Civic Theatre Season Logos design and created by Design Spike

 

TYING ALL THE THEATRE MARKETING TOGETHER:

The main goal for the overall look and feel of Spokane Civic Theatre’s 2014-15 season theatre marketing was to provide a clean, consistent design aesthetic throughout all of the theatre’s marketing pieces. This was accomplished by choosing a simple two-color palette to represent the season. The color palette ties everything together and allows individual theatre productions to stand on their own.

Below are a couple of the spreads from the new season brochure (which should be printed any day now) and a redesign of the website (which should launch within the next month):

Excerpts from Spokane Civic Theatre brochure and new website by Design Spike

MORE TO COME:

Design Spike has been and continues to be excited about developing the marketing and branding collaterals for the 2014-15 season at Spokane Civic Theatre. Jim Humes, Managing Director of Civic Theatre says,

“I am pleased with the quality of work and design created by Design Spike. Their grasp of a community theatre’s needs helped make this season’s branding a smooth process with beautiful results. Spokane Civic Theatre looks forward to a long-term relationship with Design Spike. They have more than successfully met our needs”.

Yes, there is more art to come. Keep your eyes peeled for additional print and marketing materials over the course of the next year / season!

And don’t forget to go to the theatre!

To see more on the 2014-2015 theatre marketing, check out Civic’s launch blog.

Website Launch: Benefit Aid

Design Spike recently launched a website for a newly developed company, Benefit Aid.

Company Overview

Benefit Aid, a supplemental health insurance company, contracted with Design Spike to create a conversion oriented website. The website, which launched late in April, needed to highlight benefits offered such as “Job Loss Protection” and compel visitors to purchase a supplement plan. Benefit Aid provides health, dental, vision and chiropractic insurance supplements in one package and even offers pet care savings. Their new site needed to:

  • provide coverage information
  • show clear pricing and savings
  • make it easy for website visitors to complete their registration and purchase supplemental coverage

Implementing an Objective Focused Design

Design Spike worked with Benefit Aid’s parent company, DW Van Dyke, to brand the company and create a content managed, responsive website. The website had to be geared towards increasing enrollment. We created the website architecture and design with the following in mind:

  • grab the user’s attention
  • minimize distractions
  • concisely deliver product information

We approached the design with minimalism in mind and stripped down the navigation as much as possible to direct the viewer to the content they were looking for. Straightforward design and a focus on calls to action simplified the overall user experience.

Spokane Website Design and Development Benefit Aid, Client

Website Project Goals

The project goals were to develop a clean, efficient website site with sections that could be populated via an RSS feed. A responsive design ensured the end user an optimized browser experience by adjusting the website layout so the site was viewable across all devices without pinching or horizontal scrolling.

The final product is a clean, modern, functional site that meets both Benefit Aid’s needs and the needs of their current and potential customers.