design for events, print and web

email us on hello@curiousdesign.ie

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Curious Casa Launch

As well as blogging here about curious news and design tips we have also started another blog – curous casa, a little online scrapbook where we share inspiring and interesting titbits from our online travels as well as our out-of-office projects and adventures.

Pop over and say hello or let us know if you have any suggestions for a post! We’d love to hear from you.

Bulletin Board Launch

Congratulations to the bulletinboard.ie team who are launching their new classifieds site for tutors and second hand books and equipment today.

bulletinboard.ie

We really enjoyed working on this site and branding and are very excited to see it go live.

To celebrate the launch bulletinboard.ie are offering free 3 months listing if you place you ad before the end of the month – just enter the coupon code “pin” when placing your ad.

Click here to check out the site and place your Free ad!

Design A to Z – Printing

One of the highlights of our job is getting a new job back from the printers – it’s very exciting to see your work come to life!

If you are unfamiliar with the print industry however, it can be tricky to know which type of printer and print technique to use. With this in mind, we have put together this simple guide to explain some of the more common printing techniques.

Wooden type – these letters can be used in letterpress printing

Letterpress
Letterpress is the original commercial printing technique.

Letterpress is a relief printing technique, this means that a raised surface has ink applied to it which is then pressed into a sheet of paper. The raised surface could be wood or metal type, an engraved plate or even a woodcut.

Johannes Gutenberg’s famous printing presses, which sparked the Printing Revolution in Europe in the 15th century used the letterpress technique, and letterpress remained the main printing process up until the 20th century.

While it is very labour intensive, Letterpress has enjoyed a revival recently and is often used for wedding invitations and business cards. The impression made by pressing the text and images into the paper is now often exaggerated for extra impact.

Offset Lithography
This is the most common printing process today and is sometimes referred to as Litho printing or Offset for short.

Offset lithography uses different printing plates for different colours. A black and white design would only need one plate while a colour photograph needs four – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – which combine together to create all the colours in the image. Special colours and inks can also be used. These are called spot colours and require an extra plate.

The cost of creating these plates means that this process is usually not suited to small jobs (or runs) but it is usually the most cost effective method if a large quantity of prints is required.

Digital Printing
Digital print presses are essentially very big and very fast colour laser printers.

Digital printing does not offer the same quality, flexibility and colour control as Offset printing. However, a high quality digital printer will still produce good results and as there are no plates to prepare turnaround times are shorter and set up costs lower. This makes digital printing a good choice for small print runs.

Other printing processes include screenprinting, thermography, engraving, gravure, foiling and more.

Not sure which print process is right for your job or want to use one of the processes we’ve mentioned but not sure where to start? Get in touch – we’d love to help!

Design A to Z – Opacity

This is not a term restricted to the ladies out there, opacity in this instance is not related to how see-through your tights are!

It refers instead to the density of a color. The opacity of an image or graphic element can range from totally transparent or see-through (0% opacity) to fully opaque or not see-through (100% opacity). Transparency is the measure of how see-through something is or how much light can pass through an object or image.

These overlapping circles are all yellow but have different levels of opacity applied to them, one is 30%, one is 40% and one is 60%. As they lose opacity they become transparent.

Opacity and transparency offer designers an excellent way of creating depth and texture in their design work. Designers utilise these tools in logo design, to create watermarks on stationery and many other ways, the possibilities are endless! Below is an example of a photograph with text and a graphic element placed on top of the photograph with 50% opacity applied.

Opacity was once limited to print design but recently it has moved into web design. Lots of exciting effects can be created using opacity and transparency in web design.

If you think that opacity would suit a print or web project you have in mind, let us know, we would love to explore the possibilities with you!

Style Serendipity

Congratulations on launching this morning to Ciara from Style Serendipity, a new Irish wedding blog and classifieds site.

As two ladies with weddings on the brain, this was a dream project for us and we really enjoyed working with Ciara on the design and development of the site.

style serendipity

In the lead-up to your big day and looking for some inspiration? Have some bits and pieces from your own wedding you’d like to pass on or sell? Or maybe you’re just a fan of pretty things? Pop over to Style Serendipity!

Design A to Z – Navigation

This week we’ll be looking at navigation, but put away your compass and sat nav, this navigation is online!

When used in relation to websites, the term navigation refers to the menus and links which allow users to move from page to page within the website. Designing a well-structured and user-friendly navigation system is one of the most important stages in the development of a website.

Visitors have come to your site for two main reasons:
1. To find some information – e.g. your phone number, address, opening hours
2. To perform a task – e.g. buy a product, check the status of their order, post a message or contact you.

If your visitor cannot find the part of your site that contains the information they need or the tool to perform the required task, they will become frustrated and may leave very quickly.

This is why having clear, consistent and well-structured navigation is essential. There is no point in having a beautifully designed site with fantastic content if the visitor cannot use it or find the content they are looking for.

In order to be easy to find and use, all navigation links should be clearly labelled. Using an image without text or an obscure/quirky phrase as a link will just confuse and frustrate your users.

There are three main types of navigation.

Primary Navigation
The most important links – e.g. Home, About, Contact etc. should appear in the same place on every page of your site. This is called “primary”, “top-level” or “global” navigation. These links are always visible to your visitors whether they are on your home page, a product page or reading your Terms and Conditions.

On this site, our primary navigation is in the yellow bar at the top of each page. Primary navigation also often appears in the top left of websites.

Secondary Navigation
Secondary navigation refers to menus that do not appear on every page of your site – e.g. a list of product categories in the sidebar of the shop section.

It is important that these are organised logically so that users can easily find the content they are looking for.

A good rule of thumb is that it shouldn’t take more than three clicks to find any piece of information on your site.

Footer Navigation
Extra links to help users move around a website are also often found at the bottom section of a website (the footer). Footer navigation usually repeats some of the primary navigation links as well as containing links to pages such as the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Got a question about navigation? Contact us or leave a comment – we’d love to help.