Aesthetics or Function - what is more important?

Aesthetics or Function – what is more important?

You’ve heard the question ‘Is looks or personality more important?’. The truth is, most of us like to think we’re not as shallow as we actually are and that personality trumps looks every time, but that’s often not the case. 

For us to give someone a chance in the first place, there has to be an initial attraction, hence the inclusion of a picture on dating sites. Personality is essentially a secondary filter. Personality is what makes us want to see them again. Personality keeps us engaged…or, what makes us disengage! At this point, it doesn’t matter how much of a fittie they are, if you don’t ‘click’ then it’s probably not going to go any further which is why a lot of first dates never make it to a second.

 

Yeah, but why is this relevant to my business I hear you ask? Well, because there are a lot of similarities between your website and dating. 

 

It’s irrelevant how well your website functions and how seamless the experience is for your users if it doesn’t look great because if it doesn’t look great, your target audience won’t want to engage in the first instance.

 

Likewise, it’s pointless having a great looking website that doesn’t work when potential customers land on it. Clicking on buttons that don’t take you anywhere, filling in a contact form and realising when you get to the end that it won’t send, waiting for what seems like an eternity for a page to load and the list of poor experiences goes on.

 

When designing something, making it look good should be a given. It should be expected. It should never be a question. Something that is beautifully designed will invite initial engagement and great functionality, UX, UI, personality or whatever you want to call it will keep users engaged!

 

But, if the functionality is poor, it doesn’t matter how good something looks, engagement will drop off a cliff edge and no amount of aesthetics will be able to claw it back!

 

There has been a lot of noise recently around the NHS Track & Trace system and none of the outrage seems to stem from the aesthetics of the app but rather its functionality and the government’s slightly adapted Ronseal slogan ‘doesn’t do what it says on the tin’.

 

So, is aesthetics or functionality more important? To be perfectly honest they’re both as important as the other. A website that is aesthetically pleasing will invite engagement and good functionality will keep your users engaged. You don’t need to sacrifice one for the other. That’s why our ethos is to design and build purpose-driven solutions, not just pretty pictures!


Collaboration - why is it so important?

Collaboration

noun

 

; the action of working with someone to produce something.

Collaboration is the joining of forces (individual or organisational) for the purpose of achieving a shared objective.  It can and should happen within teams, departments, cross-departmentally, within organisations and between organisations.

 

Collaboration is so ingrained in the way we work nowadays that we rarely notice that we’re collaborating. Tools like Slack and Trello make it easier than ever to work together on projects. They allow teams to seamlessly share knowledge, even when working remotely and when we’re not on top of our game (which we can’t be 100% of the time) we could all use a helping hand.

 

The Premier League’s top goal scorers thrive when they have a good assist, Dolce would have been nothing without Gabbana, and Ben without Jerry is a thought I never want to have again 🤤

 

There are so many benefits to collaborating of which I’ve expanded on just a handful below.

Benefits of collaborating

 

Strengthens relationships

Collaboration removes the ‘them’ vs ‘us’ mentality that siloed or regional teams often have and it helps create one unified workforce that becomes a driver for your business to achieving a common goal.

 

Enhances your team

Trusted partners act as an extension to your team and vice versa, you will act as an extension to theirs. For smaller organisations especially, this can prove extremely useful when stacking up against larger organisations on pitches and increases the value you provide to your clients.

 

Improves learning

By encouraging collaboration you create a workplace centred around learning and development which in turn allows your team to learn from each other’s mistakes as well as their own.

 

Increases efficiency

I strongly believe in working smarter not harder so if someone has done it before and can teach you in a few minutes what would take hours to learn yourself then that sharing of knowledge isn’t just encouraged but essential to the growth of your organisation.

 

Expands opportunities

Think about music collaborations. Working with another artist opens doors for both parties. It widens your fan base by tapping into the other artist’s fans. From a business perspective, working with businesses that provide complementary services to yours means you both have a trusted source of pre-qualified leads.

Finally, we want to say a massive THANK YOU to the amazing businesses and freelancers we have the pleasure of collaborating with on a regular basis:

Nebula Labs – Native app development

 

50:50 Future – Diversity & Inclusion experts

 

CUBED – Business strategists

Lucy Kyriakidou – Illustrator

 

Jade Gillham – Digital Marketing Freelancer

 

Nicole Dixon – Pattern and Textiles illustrator

“If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.”

African proverb


Tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak

Tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak

Paula DonnellyBy Paula Donnelly|19th March 2020|12 Minutes

As we navigate through these unprecedented times, be aware that although you are having to negotiate unfamiliar, and for some, scary scenarios such as working from home and homeschooling, know that you are not alone!

 

It may not be a cure for Coronavirus but if it helps with your current situation then I’d say it’s worthwhile sharing. So in the spirit of ‘we’ll get through this together’, here are some tips on working from home 👇👇👇

Stick to your routine

 

That means getting up at your normal time. You’ll thank me when it’s time to go back to the office and it’s not like facing the 1st day back at school after the summer holidays! 

 

We’re creatures of habit so if you normally get up and go to the gym in the morning, how about opting for a home workout instead? Our friends at Gym Plan have a free app for those of you on Apple devices with lots of inspo on workouts you can do at home without any equipment. If you normally battle through traffic, line up some toy cars and scream at them for a bit. (I joke 😂 Kinda 😐)

Photo by Henry Becker on Unsplash

Get dressed for work

 

Getting home from work and into my comfies is my way of distinguishing the working day from my home life. So the same reasoning applies to working from home. Dressing for work affirms a commitment to actually working and it translates into being more productive.

Comfort ≠ Productivity

Create a workspace

 

Although it’s tempting to work from your bed or recline on the sofa, best practice is to set up a work station preferably in a home office but if you don’t have this, your dining room table will do the trick. You’re less likely to get distracted by Frasier, Home & Away or The Chase (Personal fave 🤓) when you have a designated work station and it’s much better for your posture too.

Get away from your work station

 

It’s not good to be sat all day in front of a screen. You’ve probably gained an hour or 2 by only having to commute from your bedroom to your dining room so use them wisely. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, have a stretch and actively remove yourself from your workstation. We can only concentrate intensely on a given task for short periods of time so break up your day.

Stay in touch with your colleagues

 

Tools such as Slack, Zoom and Whereby make it easier than ever to keep in touch with your team. 

 

Don’t just leave it until you have a question though. Keep in touch throughout the day like you normally would in the office. 

 

Check-in with everyone and see what they got up to last night (Likely not a lot considering the current situation), get Netflix recommendations, find out if they have any tips for staying focused etc.

 

Stop for team (virtual) coffee breaks:

Female and male colleague having a cuppa over a video call

Separate ‘home jobs’ and ‘work jobs’

 

Yes, you could very well just put a load of laundry on and get it out on the line. It’s a nice day after all with great drying (God, I sound like my Mum!). Maybe just wash the bed sheets and give the bathroom a quick clean while you’re there. Maybe just run the duster over the living room. 

 

See where I’m going here? It’s never just one thing. 

 

Leave the laundry for after work hours. Make your bed when you get up as normal. Stick to your routine otherwise you’ll end up working at 10pm and seriously blurring the lines between your work and home life.

Stay safe and much love from Layers 😘


Top 7 reasons for rebranding

Top 7 reasons for rebranding

Paula DonnellyBy Paula Donnelly|4th March 2020|12 Minutes

On average, businesses rebrand every 7-10 years. Sometimes, a rebrand is compulsory however more often than not the company, product offering, or audience has evolved and so the brand too must evolve in line with this.

 

There are sometimes multiple contributing factors that motivate a rebrand but commonly there is one main motivator. Below are the top 7 main reasons for rebranding 👇 👇 👇

Bad reputation ❌ 🙅 🛑

 

If a brand has a bad rep and business is suffering as a result, rebranding can ensure the negative connotations with the brand are dissipated.

 

A prime example of this is the new CEO for RBS Group, Alison Rose announcing a rebrand of RBS Group to Natwest Group later this year (2020). Alison said her focus is on making sure they’re a ‘safe, smart bank for the future’ and considering the association of ‘government bailout’ every time you hear ‘RBS’, a rebrand makes complete sense.

 

Topically, with the spread of Covid-19 a.k.a Coronavirus, 38% of beer-drinking Americans cited they would under no circumstances drink Corona beer (according to Uber Facts). With their worst quarter in over a decade and no signs of Coronavirus spread slowing, it begs the question, should Corona be considering a rebrand?

Internationalisation 🌍 🌎 🌎

 

Sometimes rebranding is necessary so your product can be sold internationally.

 

Do you remember Jif? In Spain, this would be pronounced ‘Hif’ so the company rebranded to ‘Cif’.

 

Or the Vauxhall Nova which, accordingly to myth, didn’t sell particularly well in Spain or Latin America because ‘no va’ in Spanish means ‘doesn’t go’.

A German company introduced a brand of beer called Fucking Hell in 2010. The brand name was a deliberate choice which referred to the village of Fucking in Austria, combined with the German word Hell which refers to pale lager. The European Union Intellectual Property Office initially refused to grant a trademark for the beer on the grounds that it contained an English expletive but relented on appeal.

 

Personally, I think this beer would sell particularly well around Newcastle. C’mon, send it over!

Copyright Fucking Hell Beer

Changing Markets 💱 💱 💱

 

Companies can face a serious threat of closure if they don’t ‘move with the times’. Changes to requirements may mean offering an additional product/service or pivoting completely in a sense of ‘out with the old and in with the new’.

 

HMV was forced into administration twice in the space of 6 years because they failed to evolve to meet the needs and wants of their audience and the move to entertainment being consumed digitally. Although adding a new product may not have been enough. A simultaneous rebrand would certainly help convey their diversification into other markets and aid their survival.

Outdated image 🧓 👉 🆕

 

What was trendy 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago, may not be so trendy now. We see it with fashion when we look back at pictures of our parents growing up but brands too can come across as old-fashioned if they have not been updated. Guinness does an impeccable job of keeping their brand fresh and this transfers to their adverts with them being released seasonally and topically. The Six Nations adverts are some of their best but the ‘Shane’ advert is my personal favourite:

Aligning Brand Portfolio 📏 📐 🖇️

 

When a business has many brands in their portfolio it often leads to high costs when it comes to maintaining and promoting the brand. Rebrand­ing can ensure that the entire brand portfolio is aligned and details a clear narrative about the organisation. Virgin does this well, with its companies (Money, Media, Mobile, Atlantic, Holidays and Trains) all being similarly identified. Positive association with one will translate to all categories; however the same is true of negative publicity.

Mergers and Acquisitions 👬 👫 👭

 

Generally, any change in business ownership will lead to a rebrand, not only to make the change apparent but to comply with legal and regulatory requirements as well. In the case of spin-offs, the new company is required to develop its own brand. This expresses that it is no longer part of the larger organization.

 

The merger of T-Mobile and Orange to EE wasn’t a quick rebranding exercise, rather a careful co-branding exercise that took over 5 years to execute. Their success was due in part to the long-term strategic approach with which they tackled this merger rather than rushing it through.

New CEO 🚀 🔝 👑

 

A new CEO normally equates to a new lease of life within a business. Oftentimes this can lead to major changes that influence the course the company takes. I mentioned the Alison Rose/RBS example under ‘Bad reputation’ however it is equally applicable in the context of a new CEO shaking things up.