On an Island with Tim Neal
Filed Under: Business, Design, Marketing
This month we are on an island with Tim Neal, owner of The Engagement Party. The Engagement Party is a Design and Advertising studio located in Saskatoon. We first met Tim while we were working for our old agencies in Saskatoon. We have since crossed paths many times, most recently working together on Nutrien Wonderhub. We love the work Tim does and always appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with one of Saskatoon’s finest designers. So, sit back and crack open that can of coca-cola, and learn a little more about The Engagement Party.
On an Island with GirlGang
Filed Under: Business, Design, Development, Launch, Lifestyle, Marketing
This month we met up with Ashley, Danielle, Jess.F., Jes.B., Stephanie and Taylor – the six women behind GirlGang Kindness. GirlGang is an organization based in Lethbridge, AB and they are doing big things for their community. At Island we love working with all types of business and we were happy to be along for the ride with GirlGang. Island worked closely with the team to create a new website, logo design and brand guide. The goal was to create a platform that showcases events, initiatives and general kindness these women are known for. Grab yourself a glass of champagne, sit back and relax and learn a little more about GirlGang Kindness.
Island: Tell us about GirlGang?
GirlGang: GirlGang Kindness is a group of unique women who came together with a shared vision of empowering one another by spreading compassion and love in our own lives and in our community.
Island: What kind of work does your organization do? What kind of programs or events do you run?
GG: We strive to create fun and courageous spaces that foster human connection. We do so through small acts of kindness and by supporting organizations who are already doing great work. We want to encourage all individuals to be kind: to themselves, to one another, and to their community.
Twice a year GirlGang teams up with Hudson’s Canada’s Pub to hold two special events. GirlGang hosts the annual Galentine’s event in support of YWCA Harbour House. YWCA Harbour House is a Women’s Emergency Shelter, a 30-bed crisis unit for women and children who are involved in abusive intimate partner relationships.
We also host an event every August. Get the Fundraiser Outside (GTFO) supports a different charity each year, and each of the GirlGang founders will have an opportunity to choose their charity of choice to be the recipient of our proceeds.
GirlGang also participates in lots of different local community events. Just last week we were out to support the Walk a Mile Event.
Island: Wow, it sounds like you guys are pretty bus. What would you say you are most proud of since starting GirlGang? How has your program improved over time?
GG: We are most proud of creating a culture of kindness. In the past two years, we have been able to grow organically and believe that being a grassroots group helps people feel connected to us, our vision, and this movement.
We’ve seen a steady growth in interest for our events such as Galentine’s Day + Get the Fundraiser Outside (we went from the small back room at Hudson’s Canada’s Pub to the whole bar this year, we had higher online ticket sales, we had more raffle tickets sold, etc…). I think that’s due to our fun and active presence in #YQL. Our presence has created more intrigue for people and they want to know how to get involved, to help, or simply just be apart of something that brings people together.
We receive emails from people in the community that have been impacted by our personal stories, community connections, or events, and believe that we are creating a safe space for people to come together, and inspire others to be kind, not only to themselves but to others and our community.
Island: You talk about having an active presence. Where does your website and digital presence fit within the success of your business?
GG: Organic. We started by existing on social media and found as we grew that we needed a website presence to further spread kindness in our community. By seeing the work and generosity of our community online, we see the progress of work and it gives us so much pride.
Island: What were your goals and vision when developing your new website?
GG: We wanted a website to create a gathering space. (We wanted to improve)The functionality of our website. We were growing and we were in need of an online store, online ticket sales. Our hope was to showcase all of the initiatives we had going on. It’s a way for us to capture the moments we have shared with our community.
Island: If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about creating or revamping their website, what would it be?
GG: Have a vision in your brand and allow the professionals to bring that vision to life.
Island: Ok GirlGang, if you were stranded on an island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without ?
GG: To have the ultimate GirlGang island we’d need each other, and an unlimited champagne and snack bar.
On an Island with Kolten, Linear Design House
Filed Under: Business, Design, Lifestyle, Marketing
This month we met up with Kolten Altrogge of Linear Design House. We first worked with Kolten while building a new website for KSA Group back in 2016. He was employed there as an Architectural Technologist before branching off on his own to start Linear. So sit back, grab a beer (and one for Kolten), and learn a thing or two about 3D renderings.
Wonder-site for Wonderhub
Filed Under: Business, Design, Development, Launch, Marketing
Part of our favourite thing about working on websites, is the range of businesses we get to learn about. And every now and then a site will come along that makes us feel like kids again.
On An Island with Nathan Hursh, MOTIF
Filed Under: Business, Design, Lifestyle, Marketing
We headed out to the Island with Nathan from MOTIF. We first met way back when we were newbies at Ideas Inc. We love collaborating with these guys and we are so excited to see their continued growth as THE place to go for promotional marketing. So sit back, relax, and learn a little with Nathan from MOTIF.
On an Island with Jess Reimer, Paper Plane Communications
Filed Under: Business, Design, Marketing
For the second instalment we headed out to the Island with Jess Reimer of Paper Plane Communications. We’re often collaborating with Jess on projects when clients are looking for in-depth content strategy and writing for their audience. So sit back, relax, and learn a little about content strategy for websites. And if you notice any grammatical errors…don’t hold that against Jess, that’s on us… 🙄
ISLAND: Tell us about Paper Plane?
Jess Reimer: Paper Plane is a communications consultancy based here in Saskatoon. Last December Paper Plane celebrated its 5th birthday, which was an exciting milestone to hit.
The “fancy” version of what I do is psychology-driven brand and content strategy. What that actually means is I do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and write a lot of words so my clients speak directly to their customers in a way that is honest, authentic, and delivers big impact. “Fluff” and “filler” are my least favourite F-words. I coach companies through the process of finding their voice, understanding their audiences, and communicating what they know and what they’ve learned. And I love it.
My training in developmental psychology, professional writing, and user experience helps me help organizations—particularly those in the arts, culture, and tourism sectors—do well by doing good. And while I work primarily with websites, I also help out with things like white papers, award applications, scripting… you name it, I’ve probably written it.
“A few years ago I was asked to draft letters of authenticity for a collection of didgeridoos in rural Australia, so… there’s that.”
I: Where does your website and digital presence fit within the success of your business?
JR: Confession: for too long I was the shoemaker without shoes. No website, no business cards… nada. Writing about yourself and your business is tough stuff, and I’m saying this as someone whose “thing” is words! But ultimately I had to take my own advice and remember that working without a website can cost you clients, cash, and credibility. No, thank you.
“When it comes to a digital presence, authenticity is a non-negotiable; people can spot a fraud from a mile away. Who I am online is who I am in person—for better or for worse.”
I: Copyediting versus copywriting. What’s the difference and what do you wish people knew?
JR: Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m going to share a homebuilding analogy I’ve heard (and used) many times before. A copywriter is the builder who takes you from an empty lot to a well-designed, well-constructed home. A copyeditor is the interior decorator you hire to apply finishing touches to a space—a place for everything, and everything in its place.
What do I wish people knew? How much time quality copywriting and copyediting take. Just like building a home, it’s not an overnight process. Living in a gig economy has its perks, but the whole “race to the bottom” when it comes to pricing has negatively affected expectations about the investment and effort necessary to produce content that is both usable and useful. You get what you pay for!
I: What is the biggest mistake you see businesses making when it comes to content strategy?
JR: Other than not having a content strategy? Forgetting to invite the most important people to the table: your customers. Designing a website without involving or at least considering the folks who will be accessing whatever it is that you offer is as much a disservice to you as it is to them.
“Your brand might be the bones of your business, but your customers are its heartbeat.”
I: How does a good content strategy set your website apart?
JR: It’s probably worth mentioning here that content is more than words (cue 90s banger ballad). Content is images, videos, and other multimedia, too. Sure, you can grab stock photos or fill your website with the same old, same old copy (please don’t), but with a content strategy you are showing up for yourself, your brand, and—most importantly— your customers by creating, structuring, and publishing with intention. From a psychological standpoint, acting with intention communicates purpose, which is both powerful and memorable.
I: If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about creating or revamping their website, what would it be?
JR: Know thyself well, thy brand better, and thy customers best. To go back to the homebuilding analogy, these three things provide the foundation from which to build or rebuild a home or, in this case, a website.
I: If you were stranded on an island, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
JR: This one’s a toss-up between books (I always have at least three on the go) and lip chap (I also always have at least three on the go).
Unplugging from Social Media
Filed Under: Business, Design, Lifestyle
At Island, we like to do things differently. So although we preach the value of social media in the work that we do, we also recognize the impact it has on one’s mental health. Since today kicks off Canadian Mental Health Week we thought we would look a little closer at social media.
There are a ton of benefits of social media:
- it allows us to stay connected with friends and family all over the world
- Business can connect directly with customers and expand their reach in a cost-effective way
- It’s a great way to find a support network for like-minded people
But there are just as many drawbacks:
- Focusing on “likes” can lower one’s self-esteem when likes aren’t received
- Only seeing other people’s social highlights can make people feel depressed that they are missing out or not living their own life so spectacularly
- Social media is designed to be addictive, which can lead to less time spent on things that matter, like work, school, sleep, relationships, etc.
It’s that last point that has motivated us to get creative and design a series we like to call #socialdifferent. Island has partnered with artist Matthew Chrones Scott (@bleedingheartproductions) to create illustrations showing how we at Island intend to “unplug” over the weekend. For those of you who follow us on Instagram, you may have noticed the first illustration last week.
And for those of you not following us, what are you waiting for: https://www.instagram.com/weareisland/
We’ll be posting a new illustration at the end of the day every Friday. This post wraps up our week in the office and kicks us into weekend mode. Our hope is that they can serve as a reminder to put your phone away and connect with people, pets, nature, awesome local events happening in Saskatoon, or just some good old fashioned ME time. Plugging back in on Monday morning will be a whole lot easier when you have a weekend off doing all of the other things you like to do.
Newest addition to Island, Caitlin.
Filed Under: Business, Design, Development, Lifestyle
Hey, I’m Caitlin, I am the newest addition to team Island! I don’t really have a title, because we sort of do a bit of everything, but I guess you could say, developer, designer, photographer?! Or you know, “Floater”.
I grew up playing Steel Tip Darts, but after years of practice and tournaments, I got 3rd in provincials. It wasn’t a high enough placement to go to Nationals, so I decided I better choose a new career path. I started getting an interest for design and photography in 2008 and was hooked! I went to SBC but decided I needed to learn more. I then moved to San Francisco, California with my Aunt and that’s where my interest in development started! There I spent 4 years studying and working as a designer and developer.
I recently moved back to Saskatoon, just in time for this awful winter! To force myself to socialize and step away from my computer, I spend my spare time playing dodgeball and slo-pitch. I am a huge sports fan which includes Hockey, Baseball, and Football but I haven’t cracked the roster on any of those sports yet.
I am excited to be on the Island team and can’t wait to put my skills to use! Hope to create for you soon!
Job Opportunity: Digital Content Producer
Filed Under: Business, Design, Marketing
Deadline: December 14, 2018
Are you a wizard when it comes to making gifs? Are your tweets so elegantly written they’d make 2Pac blush (he’s still alive and in Malaysia)? If so, you’re perfect for the position of Digital Content Producer with Island. We offer a creative work environment, flexible hours, and a job you’ll never want to leave.
WHAT YOU GET OUT OF THE DEAL
- Competitive salary
- Health and Dental benefits
- Health spending account
- Flexible work environment
- Unlimited vacation
- Access to the beer fridge and cappuccino machine
- Create copy for client websites, social media, and other messaging streams
- Work with clients to provide content strategy, editorial calendars, and other guidance as it relates to their content marketing
- Take photographs and edit as required for websites, or other media
- Experience as a copywriter
- Proven photography skills
- Photoshop skills
- Experience with SEO and SEM
- Fluent in social media
- Ability to work independently and make this position their own
WHAT WILL REALLY IMPRESS US
- Demonstrate a good eye for design
- Experience with Videography, 3D, and VR
- Good sense of humour
- A pink dog
Please email a resumé and portfolio to email@example.com. Posting closes December 14, 2018. Apply early, as the position may be filled before the deadline.
New Website Launch! Darkside Donuts
Filed Under: Design, Development, Launch
We’re super pumped to announce our TASTIEST website we have ever designed. Saskatoon is lucky to have the newly opened Darkside Donuts for all your donuts needs.