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Monthly Archives: March 2012

aiga studio tour

Last night some of my classmates and I attended a networking event organized by the Raleigh chapter of AIGA. The studio tour included 18 of the Raleigh area’s best graphic, web design and advertising agencies. Unfortunately it was impossible to visit all 18, so we focused on visiting three of the agencies recommended by friends and iMedia alum.

We made the long trek from Burlington to Raleigh and visited New Kind, Hesketh, and  Signal. It was really interesting to see each agency’s different work environments. I loved seeing that most of them had an open space with interesting design features. The photo above of the typography decal was at Signal. Everyone on the tour was really helpful and gave us great insight. We got the warmest welcome and most information from Hesketh. It was great to visit after hearing Alice speak just a couple weeks ago on writing for the web.

It was a great event and I only wish I could have visited more agencies in the short time period. The night in Raleigh wouldn’t have been complete without stopping for burgers at one of my favorite local places, Chuck’s.

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Alice Williams

I was able to attend another one of AIGA of Raleigh’s Lunch and Learn events. Writing for the Web is part of their Homegrown series. I find these workshops to be really helpful and the delicious Mediterranean food from Sitti probably doesn’t hurt. Our speaker for the day was Alice Williams of Hesketh – a firm in Raleigh specializing in web design and strategy.

We started the workshop with a six word personal statement, much like the one we did on the iMedia Professional Development Day with Ross Wade. The goal is to be concise, which is exactly what text on a website needs to be. Much of the discussion was based on the harsh reality that people don’t read text on websites. “The web is showing, not telling. If you don’t know who you are authentically, then you have nothing to show,” a quote from Alice’s presentation.

We also learned about establishing PET – persuasion, emotion and trust. A large part of employing these techniques in writing is tone. I learned a lot about tone that I hadn’t even thought about before. Tone can be mirroring mental models, content choice, word choice, connotation, sentence structure, information chunking and the list goes on.

We also talked about some user experience elements like F-patterns and the way that people look at websites. It’s important to make the text scannable – bullets are good for this, front load key information and integrate text and visuals.

My biggest take-away was a reminder to remember the call to action for the website. Sometimes I get so caught up in designing and making it look good that I forget to think about the most important part – what I want people to take away from the site. I enjoyed Alice’s presentation and definitely have some homework to do. She mentioned two books that I think will be worth checking out – The Ad Free Brand by Chris Grams and Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug.