ActiveConnect

Who do you go to if you have a Rover you want to test before you send it to Mars, You want to film a celebrity and a well know survival expert together in the jungle, or your looking for a place to park the Black Pearl for the weekend. All these things and more are just some the activities that ActiveConnect s.l. handle. Logistics, permits, specialist film equipment, tall ships, everything.

So when managing Director of ActiveConnect Conny Spelbrink approached us to revamp the website and bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, we knew we would have to step up our game to meet her expectations.

One of the main briefs for the design was to really show off the extensive library of images that ActiveConnect have, both of previous work undertaken and the varied and interesting locations of the Canary islands. So using various types of film strip inspired image sliders and pop up light box galleries, we presented the services and experience of ActiveConnect in a clear visual style whilst maintaining a clean professional look to the site.

The site was built using a custom developed WordPress template, incorporating features for Search Engine Optimisation, and easy Content Update.

Site: http://activeconnectlapalma.com/

Dodo Dragon and other stories

When we were approached by a local English writer to produce an anthology collection of her short stories, we started with a little trepidation. We had previously developed software to interface with Adobe Indesign, and used this to produce the html to upload on the Ruido Magazine Website. It should not be a big step to take this software and modify to it to produce the most common eBook formats.

So first we took the stories, and in effect created a book in exactly the same way as we would if we were preparing it ready for print, it this point we could produce a fully print ready PDF. At this stage in the process we extract a lower resolution web PDF for devices that don’t handle the eBook formats.

With the layout completed in Adobe Indesign it was time to take our software and gently massage it to produce the required output for eBooks. Most software solutions for producing eBooks make a vague attempt at creating the elements such as table of contents and navigations. With our software we endeavoured to ensure that all these features were supported and fully functional. We produced both the 2 main supported formats of epub and mobi.

We then check the produced eBook and refine the layout to ensure that the text fits to the required formatting, one aspect that was difficult with this book is that one story is represented as a series of letters and the formatting on the addresses was difficult to achieve within the limitations of the mobi format.

The book is available in all 3 formats from the authors site or in kindle format from Amazon

Taming the dragon – A study in logo design

A local English writer was preparing to start up a small independent Publishing house, mainly to publish her own work in ebook format. She approached us to design a logo for her publishing business “Dragon Tree Publishing”. Our starting brief was to produce a black and white logo featuring a dragon tree.

The Dragon tree is a variety of tree that is indigenous to the canaries and somewhat endangered. They are not strictly trees not having growth rings and only produce branches each time they flower. So a Dragon tree transforms from a thing that resembles an gigantic loo brush when it is young to what looks like an old oak tree from a distance when old, in steps each time it flowers. More information on dragon trees can be found on La Palma Island

I set about gathering reference photos of local Dragon Trees, as well as ones on other islands, in including one on Tenerife that is reported to be over 1000 years old. From these images I produced the following set of silhouette images that were sent to the client.

DragonTree First Client Sheet

The client felt that although silhouette 1(the 1000 year old tree) was probably the most famous Dragon tree in the islands, it’s silhouette was less recognisable as a dragon tree and that the best representation was tree 2. At this point I suggested to the client that the addition of a dragon to the logo would possibly enhance the portrayal, as the dragon tree is restricted to the local area and not known wildly, the combination of dragon and tree would portray her company name better.

I went for two possible styles of dragon – both more stylised than say the typical Chinese or historical dragon. One option used a heraldic design with spread wings, the other was more of a cartoon style dragon. These were placed with several of the dragon trees and again sent to the client for her to chose the variant that she preferred. These variants were not finished items but digital sketches produced to allow the client to decide on the idea that she preferred for her logo. DragonTree second Client sheetThe one shown below was chosen as the final design.

DragonTree Client Choice

The finished logo is shown here.

DragonTree Final Logo

This design was done in adobe Illustrator, which is a vector drawing package. The advantage of this over a raster (pixel) type package like Photoshop is that the resultant illustration/logo can be easily reproduced in almost any size without degradation in the image.

We also provided the client with business cards, a website banner, and a T-shirt design utilising this logo.

Ruido Magazine

Current Ruido Website

Current Ruido Website

We have worked with the editorial staff of Ruido (Spanish for Noise) Fanzine on La Palma since the beginning of 2007. We started by providing the hosting for their web site and then moved into doing the layout for the magazine itself. The magazine and web site provide a voice for the arts on La Palma which are not catered for by the main institutions of the island, this include Music, Art Literature and comic art (graphic novels etc.). The areas coved are both main stream as well as the more esoteric, though I must say that even some main stream music would be classed as esoteric on the island, where the main sponsored music is mostly traditional Canarian music or Salsa.
Ruido Issue 5 cover

Ruido Issue 5 cover

Since we started working with Ruido we have produced 13 editions of the magazine both in print and on the web and have seen it evolve from an A5 format to now full size A4 format. We use Adobe InDesign for print layout and find that this provides a fast, flexible and efficient tool which works well for producing the magazine for its print incarnation. To provide for the web version of the magazine we have produced a method to export the content from Indesign and process it to be ready for upload in HTML to the web with minimum effort. We have also been experimenting with producing a ebook (Kindle) version which we hope may be available soon. We have run the web site now for 5 years. We took over the original site that was hosted on a free (add financed) system under the .tk domain,
Original Ruido Site

Original Ruido Site

providing the original site design and moment of all the articles. In 2011 we worked on a major site redesign Creating the current incarnation of the site. Our brief was to provide a site that reflected the media background of the site and provided a better experience for the site visitors. Although some of the ideas that were incorporated in to the site redesign have not come fully to fruition the current site still works very well and is drawing a steady flow of visitors. Site: http://www.ruidolapalma.com
Ruido Issue 18 Cover

Ruido Issue 18 Cover

Ruido Issue 8 Cover

Ruido Issue 8 Cover

Casa del Riachuelo

We were approached to design a site to advertise the Casa del Riachuelo to overseas visitors, We paid careful attention to the content writing on the site to ensure that it is was search engine friendly. We also were responsible for setting the scene and taking the photos showing the house in it’s best light. The site features a booking calendar which displays availability and allows the selection of the required dates for a booking. As the owner has no internet connection or computer knowledge we handle all the communications up to the point where a booking has been confirmed, then we pass the information on to the owner. The site is available at present in three languages English, Spanish, and German. Site: http://riachuelo.casaslapalma.es