Top 10 most beautiful free stock images on the internet (in my humble opinion)

I thought I’d take some time out today to share some absolutely stunning images from free stock websites pexels.com and unsplash.com (the only 2 websites worth considering for beautiful free stock images)

Seeing as these incredibly talented photographers saw fit to share their work for anyone to use, on the premise that they get coverage – the least I can do is to promote them with a blog post. Some of the photography on display here is, in my humble opinion, stunning – I believe people should be paid for the work but there is a place for free stock sites – especially when it provides you a platform to connect with potential new customers. For example if you add one truly amazing photo which someone wants to use on their campaign, to get a consistent style of photography for the rest of their campaigns in the future they’d need to employ you (or try to replicate your style). Out of the 2 sites, I definitely prefer Unsplash as it insists on linking back to the photographers.

However with the above being said, I still use paid for stock websites such as Adobe and Shutterstock – but for the ultimate in on-brand style and originality nothing beats hiring a professional photographer – you really cannot cut corners where that’s concerned. There has been huge debates going on over how poorly photographers are compensated for their work on the  big stock sites, perhaps it was that feeling of being used that has led to the rise of free stock sites – personally, I think free stock sites devalue the industry, but that doesn’t prevent me from appreciating the work that’s on them.

Anyway, without further ado – here are the photos…

beautiful free stock images

Photo by h heyerlein on Unsplash

free stock images

Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

beautiful free stock images

Photo by journey yang on Unsplash

beautiful free stock images

Photo by Deonny Rantetandung on Unsplash

beautiful free stock images

Blue Butterflies. Photo from Pexels

beautiful free stock images

Endless constellations. Photo from Pexels

beautiful free stock images

Beautiful boardwalk bridge. Photo from Pexels

beautiful free stock images

Photo by Matteo Minelli on Unsplash

Photo by Lukas Budimaier on Unsplash

Photo by Lily Lvnatikk on Unsplash

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Cafe and Restaurant Branding – Graphic Design for Restaurants

I specialise in fast turn-around Graphic Design for Restaurants, Cafés, pop-ups and street food events. This includes point of sale, flyers, menus, packaging and digital marketing collateral – I also work alongside entrepreneurs and start ups to create restaurant and cafe brands from scratch.

The key to effective cafe or restaurant branding is consistency; for example – a good restaurant marketing campaign will use consistent messages and designs in all marketing materials, including the interior and exterior signage and decor.

When creating a Restaurant brand from scratch a number of aspects need to be considered :

Core Values

Is the brand to have an ethical slant? Will the food and drink served be Fairtrade, Organic, locally sourced or 100% Natural and GM/additive free? The design and marketing campaign should clearly define the core values and it’s those values that create brand loyalty.

Target Market

Your design concept should attract your target market. For example – if your target market is catering for weddings then your designs may need to portray sophistication, elegance and use light, airy colour palettes (obviously it’s never that black and white in the design world). Utilising Social Media is a must for all restaurants and cafés and if used correctly can define a personality for the brand and create fierce brand loyalty.

Consistent Image

Ensure that your advertisements, signs, menu, and interior decorating all work together to define and compliment your brand as well as your core values. You could also use scents and music to bolster your branding efforts. Once your brand image is defined your customers will associate the smell of your food, the use of imagery and the sounds they hear with their experience and your company name. In adhering to consistency you limit the  recall issues associated with poor brand recognition – “I had an amazing meal last night, although I forget the restaurants name” – it’s all about linking the brand with the service. Getting the graphic design for restaurants or cafes right first time will massively improve your chances of success as in a world of infinite choices image and food offering go hand in hand.

The below has been taken from www.webstaurantstore.com

10 Elements of a Restaurant Brand

We all have our favorite brand that we choose to support. Usually, it’s because we identify with that brand on some level. The clothes we wear, the car we drive, and the way we decorate our homes are all methods of self-expression. To create a cohesive brand, you have to have all or most of the 10 elements listed below:

1. Concept

This is usually the first thing a restaurant owner decides on. A restaurant concept includes things like: style of food, type of service, and other distinguishing features. Is there a need for another American grill in your town, or is the market saturated? Surprisingly, it’s not impossible to roll out your original concept, but gear it towards an unexpected demographic.

2. Demographics

Think about who your target audience will be. Are you aiming to serve families, romantic couples, businesspeople, or some combination? Are they trendy or traditional? What’s your customers’ price point? These are all important questions to ask when considering your demographic.

3. Mission Statement

This should be one concise paragraph that explains the overall thought behind your business. What is your restaurant aiming to achieve on an emotional level? What are you providing to customers that they can’t find elsewhere? These are the kinds of questions your mission statement should answer. Once you have your mission statement worked out, you can use those words to guide the rest of your choices as you make decisions about all the other elements of your brand.

4. Name

Restaurant names are important. Your name should be unique, yet memorable. Your name should give guests a good sense of what kind of food you serve and what they can expect when they walk through your door.

Color and Font
Logo Image

5. Logo

While symbols can be major components of logos, they’re not always necessary. In fact, a well-chosen font can be just as effective in summing up the feeling of your business on your signage, website, menu, and advertising. Symbols are not essential.

6. Tagline

A tagline is a brief statement (typically no more than 5 words) that sums up the defining feature of a brand. You’ll often hear taglines on radio ads or see them below a logo. Taglines should be a catchy interpretation of the mission statement.

7. Website

While a website has never been a traditional “necessity” for the success of restaurants, it deserves all the time and care you put into the rest of your brand elements. Your website will likely be the very first impression guests will have of your business, so designing a website that’s easy to understand and visually appealing is worth it.

8. Ambiance

Restaurant ambiance is extremely important. While it’s true that some people seek out the best greasy spoons (and there are plenty of examples of seemingly unassuming establishments that somehow become renowned as “the best” fried chicken in the country), most restaurants do need to rely on creating a distinct and pleasant ambiance.

  • Lighting
  • Interior Design Elements
  • Serveware, Barware, and Other Details
  • Color scheme
  • Music
  • Server clothing
  • Even server attitude!

9. Branded Merchandise

Even though you may think of branded merchandise (like tee shirts and beer glasses with logos on them) as being mostly found in breweries, there are some opportunities to offer keepsake products in other styles of restaurant as well. Back in the day, nearly every restaurant and hotel used to provide free matchbooks with their logo and contact info on them. And while matchbooks may be a thing of the past, the same concept applies to other inexpensive items that you can either give away (like pens and stationary) or sell (like tote bags and Christmas ornaments). Especially if your restaurant hosts weddings or parties, customers may love to purchase a memento of their time there. And the more your customers share your logo, the better brand recognition you’ll get.

10. Food

Menu planning is a huge component of your restaurant brand. From the ingredients you use to the name of each dish, try to check every decision against your mission statement to make sure it fits. If you advertise your restaurant as a farm-to-table establishment, make sure you focus on how and where your food is sourced. If you want to be the best burger joint in your town, take extra time to find the perfect bakery that can provide your signature brioche burger buns.

Client announcements

Honeywell_&_Partners_Logo

We’re happy to announce that we’ve been working alongside Leadership and Communication consulting specialists Honeywell & Partners. We’ve been busy working on internal communication collateral, conceptual internal branding design, literature, web interfaces, dynamic animated presentations and more for some well know international brands.

We look forward to sharing some of our collaborations with you and working with Honeywell & Partners on future projects.

Amazing insight into Hand Crafted Animation

We thought we’d share this amazing insight into hand crafted animation (and a rather philosophical one from the perspective of the characters)
THE BOXTROLLS by Laika Studio

A vision of the future: Wanderers – a short film by Erik Wernquist

We’re a bunch of Sci-Fi geeks here at Exist Creative and we couldn’t resist sharing this absolutely stunning creation by Erik Wernquist. To appreciate this in all it’s glory, we suggest you watch this in HD with some decent headphones!

Wanderers – a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo

Social Media Management – Facebook & Twitter targeted ads

Do you sell a product or service? We can create targeted social media advertisements that reach the people most likely to engage and want what you have to offer.

Social Media Management

We’ve recently been working on targeted Facebook and Twitter adverts and Social Media Management for a retail client and through researching the business’ key demographic we have tailored adverts targeted to key Facebook groups and interests whose profiles are most likely to engage. The results have been excellent with increased click-through rates which have resulted in a marked increase in sales – so much so that the client has invested more heavily into advertisement through Facebook and our social media management package.

In terms of raw figures – the latest advert which has been running for just 2 days has resulted in 124 new Facebook page likes with a reach of 9,670 and an amazing CTR (click through rate) of 4.206% now 11.4%!
(to put this into perspective, current average is 0.5-1.8%)

To learn more about how we can help you reach your key demographic or to enquire about our social media management, graphic design and web design services please get in touch today.

The amazing light field camera – refocus images after you’ve taken them

Yep you read that correctly – the Lytro camera allows you to refocus and even shift the perspective of an image after you’ve taken it! The Lytro Camera is the first consumer camera that records the entire light field instead of a 2D image.

Lytro - Light Field Camera

Lytro – Light Field Camera

We love gadgets, especially new and innovative ones and they don’t get more newer or innovative (-er?) than this. We think this could potentially be as big a revolution as the move to digital from film – imagine never having to focus an image with a “shoot first, focus later” method you can forget worrying about blurry/unfocussed images and just concentrate on capturing the moment. From what we’ve seen the images it creates are stunning, it’s almost like a slice of real time has been captured, enabling you to refocus and pick up extra details as if you were physically there looking at it with your own eyes!

Perspective Shift allows you to interactively change your point of view in a picture after you’ve taken the picture. On a computer or mobile device, you can shift the living picture in any direction; left, right, up, down and all around.

Perspective Shift works on light field pictures you’ve previously taken and with any new pictures you take. Change your perspective and see the moment come alive.

Inside the Lytro

Inside the Lytro

We also love the product design, it’s very unique with a focus on ease of use and reasonably priced considering the cutting-edge technology used. From a digital design perspective it’d make any web gallery come alive with a unique level of interactivity. Currently it appears to be a basic point and shoot consumer focussed product so more of a toy than a serious piece of photographic hardware, but high-end DSLR light field add-ons are in development (click here for a technical video discussing the feasibility and the work current being undertaken for a product currently dubbed the KaleidoCamera) which propose installing the light field sensor between the camera body and the lens. It’s all very exciting stuff and we can’t wait for this to become more mainstream and the technology to be more accessible to the public.
Check out their website and see a review below:


Also, Nokia have invested in a company called Pelican imaging to develop the first light field camera for smart phones – see the promo video below:


The Pelican system differs from the Lytro in that it uses 25 micro-cameras to capture each image, recording depth information and using the 25 exposures to create a single higher-quality photograph (source).

Is this the most important question a designer can ask a client?

We like to take a more conscientious and methodical approach when talking to a client about their design requirements. Today we’re sharing what we consider to be THE key question to ask when speaking to a new client for the first time:

What are your goals?

This is (in our humble opinion) on of the most important questions a designer can ask in the early stages of any design project – for both print and digital. It’s all about learning the business/person, their mission, their personality and help develop a deeper understanding of what they expect from you and your creations.

business-man-steps_brief-concept-goal

To do well at this stage you need to listen, take notes and try not to tell the client what they need to do but listen to their needs and use those as the foundation for whatever design direction you agree upon. We always offer advice to help steer a brief if feasibility ever becomes an issue (the 3 big ones for us are cramming too many messages on packaging/POS, being too copy heavy and over complicating a concept – all of which can lead to form over function and an incoherent message).

When working on a branding project – once you’ve ascertained the businesses’ core values, USPs and ethical stance you can create a brand that will enhance and define the driving work ethic of the business, giving it a coherent personality that both fits the profile and attracts key demographic.

Briefs should never be brief…

Once the above has been discussed at length you can then move on to a checklist of essentials you’ll need to address before starting any project:

  • Project goals
  • Target market
  • Budget
  • Deadline

and, if applicable:

  • Brand guidelines (including design assets such as key imagery, logos and fonts)

The above is a gross generalisation and most certainly will not apply to all projects, however we feel it’s fundamentally good practice to have a pre-determined process ready to build upon throughout the briefing. With that being said, if you feel we’ve missed anything or if you have a different method you’d like to share with us let us know (either in the comments or email [email protected]) – we learn new things in this industry on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Vonzeti Motorcycle Products –
E-commerce Website and Branding

We have recently been commissioned by Vonzeti to design an e-commerce website for their range of quality handmade vintage motorcycle parts and accessories as well as recreating their distinctive signature logo into a more consistent and compatible format.

VonZeti is a family run business based on the English Riviera. Specialising in fibreglass tanks and seats, they tailor build products to suit, and all of their products are designed and individually hand-crafted to order. All of our products are built to the highest standards, and quality and customer service always comes first!

Our Creative Director actually owns a 1983 BMW R100RS cafe racer which is fitted out with their iconic seat and subframe conversion so as you can imagine he jumped at the chance to work with Vonzeti!

www.vonzeti.com

Ubuntu and Firefox OS for Mobile Phones – Cloud based, HTML 5 & Ubuntu Edge not meeting targets

Ubuntu2

Firefox OS

Mozilla have been working aggressively to get the final touches to their new FireFox OS for mobile ready for production. Initially it will be released by T-Mobile in Poland with the view to expand.
Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, is hiring a team of several thousand software engineers to work on the platform and support customers, it said recently. Next for Mozilla is to get their OS on a tablet. Mozilla is “moving aggressively and you’ll see things soon,” CTO Brendan Eich said when asked about a tablet.

The main attraction of this OS is the fact it will be built on HTML 5, so all the apps will be web based which will take away the need to create apps for multiple platforms. HTML5 is a markup language used for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web and a core technology of the Internet – this will ensure a thriving community of app developers will be ready to hit the ground running when this OS hits the mainstream.

Ubuntu OS

Ubuntu has always been my OS of choice on my lightweight netbooks and embedded ITX systems and at one point I managed to get the desktop version running on my HTC Desire HD as well as working on an Ubuntu/OSX/Windows multi boot experimental system. I love how it’s completely open, free to download and is also well supported by a dedicated community of users from across the globe.

Verizon (a network provider in the United States) will be the first to get onboard with the project:
Samir Vaidya, member of Verizon’s Device Technology team states, “Verizon Wireless is joining Ubuntu’s CAG to participate in technology discussions around this new platform, which has the ability to bring new and exciting features to developers and ultimately, customers.” Canonical stated that they would like to have the first Ubuntu-based smartphones in two global markets by this October, with more markets following in 2014.

ubuntu-edge-main-3

Ubuntu Edge

The above leads me on to the announcement that the Ubuntu Edge failed to meet it’s IndieGoGo fundraiser investments of $32 million but still managed to raise an impressive $12.6m (a record for that site), this is a shame as both the specifications and the premise of it being the first true handheld desktop replacement system sounded very promising. Should Adobe ever bring Creative Cloud to the Linux OS I will be the first to make the jump!

Source 1

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