Sweat shirt

Ever came out of a gym in a tshirt, only to realise there is little you can do to hide the swear marks? Predominantly that is visible on a light grey shirt. But have you ever thought that this could also work in a positive way? Just think about it.

  • You didn’t go to the gym or a run around the park, but you look like you did
  • You didn’t do any physical work, but you look like you might have
  • People think you smell and covered in sweat, so they stay away from you in public spaces

Design porridge, or why white space is important.

What is design porridge? In Russian, when someone mixes up too much food on a plate, we say you made “kasha” out of it. Translated, “kasha” means “porridge”. Yes, it’s just a type of a meal which was (and possibly still is) very popular back home.

However, this word can be associated not with just food, but with anything that seems too mixed or cluttered together. And of course in design, when too many elements are close to each other and there is no or very little white space, Russian speakers would usually look at it and say something like — what is this “kasha”?

So here we are, talking about design porridge. You may want to put all of your main messages, images, services and Call to Action buttons in the front of your website page and make sure it’s all “above the fold”. In other words, user sees it all before scrolling down. Our suggestion may be to only have the very important bits at the top, create some room for everything else and have the rest a little lower. Your argument, of course, is that you don’t want your clients to miss any of the important information.

The question is, however, who is the website for? You of course have a say in what needs to be there and what doesn’t, but ultimately, it’s your clients who are the target market. They are the ones who will be looking at the website and trying to get the main message, or see what services you provide. When your client visits your website and sees this “porridge”, what do you think they will do? Do you think they will read each banner, icon, button and message as you would, or do you think they will get stuck in all the mess and simply move on?

Our suggestion — avoid “porridge” in your design. It is a lot more important to prioritise information, than to show it all at once.


[Message clipped] View entire message

Ever had this happen to you? In gmail, this happens all the time. I’ve seen hotmail/outlook, however, let the same email through without issues. In either case, if you are the one getting an email and the following message appears — not much you can do (aside from opening the full message in new window).


But, if you are the one sending this email to your customers — listen up. Firstly, you shouldn’t be sending your customers emails, looking like this and I will explain why. It looks unprofessional, yes. You lose some of the content, that’s also obvious. You annoy anyone who already doesn’t like you even more, since the ‘unsubscribe’ button is no longer there. But that’s not all. Because the footer of the email is cut off, so is the code that comes with it that tells your beloved Mailchimp (or whatever you use) who opened the email and when. And not everyone clicks on “View entire message”. People are lazy, remember? And they also don’t care about you.

Now, how to not let this happen? Cut down your email content. And not just decrease your image size, that won’t do much, as images are just links (as in code). So what you need to lose is some extra code. That means any type-styling that you might have brought across when copying/pasting text. Or, you just have too much crap on that email of yours. Summarise and more importantly — send yourself a test message before sending it to the world and make sure everything is running smoothly.


Social behaviour changes

Smokers are quitting. No-smoking areas are expanding. Mobile phone sales are rising. Batteries in mobile phones are dying. All this could mean only one thing.

smoke break charging mobile

Image sources:

Website loading slow

A client of ours asked to look into their website, that was loading extremely slow. After trying to open the page – I’ve almost given up. Each page loaded for what seemed like a minute. And that’s on a laptop with fast wi-fi, phone and desktop computer with cable. Something was definitely wrong, so I sent an email to our senior developer to take a look.

It only took minutes to get the reply. Apparently, there was a script in the theme that blocked page rendering for about 20 sec. It took another few minutes for the site to load up almost instantly.

Pretty good for a 5 minute job! This was using some tools that we have to perform diagnostics on a website. Without them, and this is from experience — you may get sucked into changing your host, running multiple costly updates or even get told that your WordPress theme is out of date and you need a new site.


What do Sydney and Vladivostok have in common?

Not much, apart from Sydney’s Anzac bridge built in 1995 and Russky bridge (Russian bridge), built in 2012.

anzac bridge vladivostok russky bridge


Let’s be fair though. At the same time as the Russky bridge was built, there was another one built in Vladivostok. Where are the locals deny any familiarity between the two, the second bridge, called Zolotoy bridge (Golden bridge), does look somewhat different to our Anzac. Open up, here we come!


A 10-minute photoshoot

Today was asked to post up a product update on social media. Content was quickly sent to me and I was left with a challenge of adding a photo. One of the issues is that it was a syringe and the medicine in the syringe by default was red in colour. On its own, it’ll look like a syringe filled with blood. But if it’s a few of them together — it will look like medicine.

So, let’s get started. We got about 10min for the whole job.

Step 1 Fill the syringes with food colouring. We could use the actual product – but there is no real need for that and this stuff isn’t cheap.



Step 2 Set up a product display. Something that looks “pretty”. This is where I often ask a girl’s opinion on it.



Step 3 Take a bunch of photos. Our setup included the following:

  • 2 x A3 sheets of paper. One for the “floor” and the other for the back “wall”
  • 1 table lamp with an extra bright white light bulb
  • 1 smart phone. Doesn’t matter which one, as long as the camera is decent

We then added a printed sheet with the company’s logo on it, a nice way to market both the company and product.



Step 4 Pick one photo that looks best. Clean it up a bit in Photoshop or whatever program you use. If you have limited access to editing software or doing everything from your phone — just use something like Snapseed, it’s a free app and does magic.



Step 5 Final step is to upload it to social media. Depending on where it’s going, use hashtags or keywords, but I’ll get into this in another post.