Island will be giving a talk titled Function vs. Form: Building a Website with Purpose. With so many tools out there such as Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, it’s actually quite easy these days to build a nice looking website, without needing know how to code. This is great, cost-effective solution for startups and small businesses when done right. In this talk we’ll cover some common pitfalls people make, which turn their website from a useful sales and lead generation tool, into just a piece of eye-candy.
Employee side projects have always been a bit of a contentious issue for business owners as the inherent worry is that employees will be drawn away from focusing on their regular tasks. This worry makes sense on the surface, but we (and many more before us) think this is the wrong way to approach it, especially while working in a creative field.
So why do we encourage side projects? To be honest they just serve as an outlet that so many creative people need to have, it gives them freedom to explore ideas that may be too “out there” for clients, and above all else it helps good employees realize you care about their life and interests, not just how they can make you more money. And even then, by allowing your employees to explore their own unique ideas we believe they can learn and leverage these new skills when working on in-house projects. This helps everyone, boosts office morale, and helps fight off burnout.
So now it’s time to see what encouraging employees to pursue side projects looks like in action, not just theory.
Meet Howard & Lloyd
Our designer, Cody Schumacher, has been working on a Made-in-Canada clothing company, and it’s launching at the end of the month. His idea is to deliver the best products he can, while keeping the company simple from the get-go:
design what he wants – no one providing direction
how he wants – no rules, remember it’s not putting food on the table
work with as many other creatives/artists – learn from peers
while working with manufacturers across Canada – Why not? No financial pressure to reduce costs by ordering from overseas
If you are interested in learning more about Howard and Lloyd, visit them online at howardandlloyd.ca. Also for you YXE folk, we are sponsoring the launch party, and it is set for September 28th & 29th at our favourite neighbourhood brewery 9 Mile. Check out his event on Facebook.
Island is looking for a web developer to join our team. If you’re a self-starter with experience in both front-end and back-end website development, then you’re the perfect fit for this position. We offer a creative work environment, flexible hours, and a job you’ll never want to leave.
It’s not every day that a hobby we share in the office comes knocking at our door* with an idea for a cool website project, so we were super excited about this one from the get go! *metaphorically knocking at our door, there wasn’t like a 9mile growler knocking at our door, although I have had an eerily similar dream.
Sask Drinks was created to help those interested learn a bit more about Saskatchewan’s growing craft alcohol industry through an online interactive map that showcases many of our province’s finest beer, wine, and spirits (of the roughly 20 makers initially featured, we’ve tried 14 so far ourselves). Everything is organized geographically so sit down at the table, find your favourite new spot, and don’t forget to click around to find out a bit more about everyone who helped make the map a reality (psssst….click on the matches).
We really hope you all enjoy Sask Drinks as much as we did creating it.
Last month we launched our Season of Giving winner’s website. We’re pumped to see that Naomi, and her website This Is My Self, are front page news! Read the article below, check out the website at thisismyself.ca, and be sure to share her stories of self-love.
We don’t always get asked to do Spec Work, but when we do it reminds of us this video from a few years ago.
In nearly every case we’ve experienced, it is never the client’s intent to receive free work, they are simply not aware of what they are requesting. There is just something about design that makes people think we can just whip it together, and they can pick their favourite. Maybe it’s because good design is typically made to look simple and effortless. However good design requires strategy, and consultation with the client and target audience, and also relies on years of education and experience.
“There must be collaboration between the client and the designer, for design to be an effective business asset.”
We don’t do spec work because it leads to subpar results. It also has a negative impact on the design industry as a whole, leading to work being undervalued, and promoting unethical practices. If you want to learn more, check out nospec.com or watch the video below.
We were approached to design a website for Bloom, an annual event dedicated to raising funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This will be the sixth year the event has been put on by Amy Novakovski and Tina Searcy, two mom’s with a special place in their heart for the NICU. In previous years they relied on a Wix website, but felt it was time for their online presence to match the elegance of their event.
We’re happy to sponsor a website that not only promotes Bloom’s annual “Evening of Love” dinner, but also provides a place for other parents to share their gratitude. Bloom has raised over $142,000 for the NICU in Saskatoon, and we feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to such a great cause in our own way.
“The website is amazing!! Thank you so very much for Island’s hard work on it and for taking our vision and turning it into something so magnificent!”
This past December Island ran a contest to give a deserving company or individual in Saskatoon a new website. It was our way to give back to the community, the best way we knew how. We are super excited with the winner we chose: Naomi Zurevinski.
Naomi has been working on a project called “This is My Self”, which is dedicated to sharing stories of self-love and to inspire people to embrace who they truly are. The project was born out of her own desire to create a space where she would be able to share her story, and the stories of others, while promoting better self-confidence, self-respect, and self-love for everyone.
For me, choosing Naomi as the winner was a no-brainer. As a father of a nine year-old girl, I already see the importance of self-love and confidence. I know her best defense against bullies, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, or anyone else who tries to put her down is to be proud of herself for who she is. If there is anything I can do to help promote the message of self-love and recognizing every individual as special, then I feel I owe it to her to do that.
Naomi’s hope for the project is that it can be “…an outlet for people to share their struggles, and how they learned to accept themselves as they are”. Island is thrilled to have the opportunity to design a website that will have a profound impact on so many people. It seems like a dauntless endeavor, but working with Naomi, we’re hoping to deliver amazing results. We officially kicked off the project last week and can’t wait to share the progress as the This Is My Self website begins to take shape!