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Welcome to www.andrewa.org
Based in Essen, Germany, Ayrshire born (Bachelor of Arts, Honours) Digital Artist Andrew von der Beck (Ainsworth) works as a Freelance Designer.
Andrew von der Beck offers Web and Print Design, 2D/3D Illustration, 3D Modelling,
Video and Editing, Animation, Power Point Presentations, Digital Retouching, Fine arts & more.
Please feel free to have a look around and sign up to the Newsletter. Upon request I can send a copy of my CV and Portfolio. You can also add me on the social networks Facebook and Twitter! For any enquiries or just to say hello then feel free to get in contact.
wikileaks gets a new Stylesheet!
A Site which has changed journalism and politics on its head. It's content is rich and valuable. Now we've got a CSS design that allows the content to stand out and be informative.The layers of style in the new design have been stripped back. Nothing graphical has been added. Only the elements that were on hand have been used. All with the help of one stylesheet!
Check my redesign http://www.andrewa.org/wikileaks/index.html
Error 404 – Not Found!
Due to the unproffessional image a dead link creates to a company's website, a serious webdesigner should have an Error-404 page setup. The following link is an example of a Error-404 page: www.apple.com/404. As you may or may not know, from time to time the viewer will find a page which is either; missing, moved or was misspelt.
Exactly?Actually it's nothing more than another page with the following "ErrorDocument 404/errorpage.html" in the .htaccess file on the server. This page is subsequently displayed when the desired page is not found.
What's the problem though? - Bad News?These missing, moved or misspelt pages normally go unreported to the administrator. The viewer will instead hit the 'back' button or head 'home'. Either of which means they still don't have the info they were looking for and will consequently go elsewhere. That's very bad news indeed for the company and it's business.
How to help.Let's try and avoid such a scenario ever happening in the first place. Unfortunately not everyone knows the standard error pages and what they mean. In simple terms tell them 1.) what went wrong and 2.) give them an e-mail address and/or homepage link to go back to.
Be refreshingHow annoying can an error page be? Very? – most certainly. This single page should capture the very essence of the company. It should display the very professionalism that the company works to. However that does not mean dull.
The statement "Hmm, the page you're looking for can't be found" is clear, friendly and unambiguous. A certain humour or ounce of character and colour can also lighten the tone too. Get creative and bring in some refreshing graphics that represent the colour and excitement your company wishes to portray.
Here's my example www.andrewa.org/404
The switch to CSS3
Cascading Style Sheets 3 is largely to do with aesthetics. Great things can be achieved such as Text Shadow, Rounded Box Corners, Drop Shadows, Opacity and Animation. Adoption to CSS3 has been relatively poor however generally due to poor browser support.
Aesthetically pleasing?Above I've shown what can be achieved with text shadow in css3. Looks great ehh?! Some may argue that such aesthetical extras should be avoided entirely. I could agree with that given that there are differences right across the browser-board. And of course most of the effects don't even work with Internet Explorer yet - typical IE.
Some thoughtAnother line of thinking however got me into writing this in the first place. It should be taken up by designers. It actually looks good and I would even argue it brings something to the designers palette. Designers should take it up! If the guys at Internet Explorer see that enough folks are taking up the effects and that rival browsers are already using it, then they should quickly endorse it too.
New thinkingMaybe it's time for all of us just to accept that a website is never going to look the same. Browsers for the iphone for example are seemingly small! So what can we do? Graceful Degradation should be a term every web-designer should get to know. And most importantly, as long as the Website looks descent in all browsers - despite the odd shadows or rounded corners ommitted - no-one really misses out!
Why an E-Mail Newsletter?
A HTML Newsletter is thee most important tool at getting your message across in todays internet marketing world. Quite simply put – it's free!
But why do I need one?Either (1.) you have a fantastic new product that everyone should know about. (2.) You want to remind people that your company still exists and is still doing great things. (3.) You've made updates on your Site. (4.) You want to generate more traffic to your website or (5.) all of the above.
Where do I start?By adding a Newsletter-HTML-Form to your website will get people adding their name and email to your E-Mail list.
Is it much work?Use a paragraph from the article you are writing about and use a link to the full article which can be found on your website. That way people can go and and read more if there is enough interest. Then get a designer like me to mix that up nicely with a nice photo or graphic element, then send out the e-mail newsletter via a suitable email newsletter program.
What should I watch out for?Just because you receive a business card from an interested business acquaintance doesn't mean you have the right to add their email address to your list. Ask the person per e-mail for permission first! This saves a lot of problems later.
Spamming your OWN Clients!Adding the e-mail without permission means there is a 99% chance the person does not want the e-mail. That 1% risk is not a risk worth taking! It will therefore get landed in the spam folder. The email program will notice quickly a few of your people are putting all your hard work into the spam folder simply because they didn't want one in the first place.
Your email program will quickly detect that you are a spam e-mailer and none of your new e-mails will be sent to potential new clients or happy customers who would normally be willing to have a look at that shiny new product you're selling.
How to avoid spamming?Do the easy thing and write a simple e-mail to people who gave you their business cards. You'd be surprised to know they'll normally take an interest. After all, it's for FREE. And then for others – they'll be signing up to your newsletter via your website.
Healthy Newsletter equals Healthy WebsiteA healthy newsletter means a healthy website. Your healthy website will get healthy traffic and therefore healthy revenue. Never overlook the power of the newsletter.
Get Below 500,000 in alexa.com Rankings
After building your website, you'll want to know how successful your Site
really is. A great method of doing this is by checking the
www.alexa.com ratings. You'll be able to check where your website
figures amongst all the other websites accumulating the web.
According to wikipedia there are 109.5 Million Websites in operation. That's not to say getting your website into the top 500, 000 is hard. On the contrary!
I downloaded the alexa.com toolbar in December 2010 and found my website's Traffic Rank at a respectable '2,134, 521'. "Nice", I thought. But over the coming weeks, by following a few simple tips, I've got www.andrewa.org under the 500,000 mark – 100,000 is not looking as far off as I first thought. Do the following ...
- - Get a Sitemap of your website and upload it to your server
- - Update your Site on a regular basis with relevant content
- - Contribute to relevant Blog-posts leaving a link to your website
- - Contribute to relevant forums
- - suggest the alexa.com toolbar to others
- - Install one of Alexa site widgets on your website
Halloween 2010 Illustration
Here is my Halloween poster for 2010. Nope, no scarey fonts or typical Halloween gruesomeness here. It's still pretty gruesome however :-)
'Better late than never'
Using Photoshop and some strong use of light and shadow, I've created a night scene. Who would have thought a night scene could be so interesting! 'Better late than never' is the title here.
Bowling Competition Invite
I was asked to draw up a Bowling Competition Invite for some folks at AB's. Königsklasse translates as Champions League. I say no more. Some Illustrator work later, I came up with the following.
Test Version: Day at the Studios
Whilst working for City Update I got the chance to use their Sony PMW-EX3 quite a bit. We had a shoot with Mitsubishi Electric whilst at photographer jensbrueggemann.de studios in Düsseldorf, Germany.
This is just a test version but I'm going to wrap this video up in some nice 3D effects and titles when I get the chance.
30 Best Free Fonts
Found an interesting article at smashingmagazine.com and then decided to play around myself with some new free fonts! I used VAL Stencil, designed by Svetoslav Simov of Fontfabric in the following piece.