It is always nice to start a new year with the launch of a new website It is especially pleasant when it is for such a prestigious client as the North British Distillery Company Ltd, one of Edinburgh’s most illustrious distilling institutions. This is a replacement website for the North British, the new site is fully responsive design so that it reformats for tablets and mobile devices as well as desktop PC’s to enhance the site visitors experience and meeting the expectations of new technology.
The design brief for the new website was; to present the full company story, from early beginnings in 1885 through the traditional production process and quality of the Scotch Grain Whisky in a contemporary presentation brought fully up to date, imbued with heritage. As well as the highest standards of quality, the actual quantities of grain whisky distilled in west Edinburgh are quite staggering. Using their four Coffey Stills, the 2.5 billionth litre of alcohol was produced in late 2015.
By visiting the site to learn about the process from malting and mashing to fermentation and distillation. The website also tells the story of how this Edinburgh company grew and established itself as a fundamental part of the Scotch Whisky industry as it became global.
The new site is WordPress allowing the Client to update the sites text and image content as well as the site architecture. We also added Google Analytics for the first time to provide user information for evaluation purposes.
How did this obscure character become such contemporary design icon and why do designers love & so much? This character does have a past but is so familiar in today’s world of design and ubiquitous keyboards where the Ampersand = &
Our own designers love to have the option of using an ampersand when creating a new logo, the identity of a company and Brooks & Lyndhurst is a prime example. Part of the reason for the success is that although it has an instant understanding of what it means, this character has the ability to be adapted to a huge degree but yet we still understand its connotations in an unconscious split second. There are no other text characters that are so versatile and can be changed and personalised so much yet remains instantly recognisable. Here you can see that we have adapted the character to contain a reversed B and also an L, so it is a character and an icon in one go, quite an achievement in logo design giving our client a unique icon as a distinctive piece of intellectual property.
The chart below shows the vast array of versions all instantly recognisable as an ampersand when in situ. The word ampersand is a corruption of the phrase “and per se &” It was also common practice to add the “&” sign at the end of the alphabet as if it were the 27th letter, pronounced as the Latin et or later in English as and. As a result, the recitation of the alphabet would end in “X, Y, Z, and per se and”. This last phrase was slurred to “ampersand” and the term had entered common English usage by 1837. The full etymology is available here but it is cumbersomely written. We are more interested in its ubiquitous use today in logo design and typography. Today ampersands are most commonly visible in between business names often originally formed from partnership of two or more people, such as Johnson & Johnson, Dolce & Gabbana, Marks & Spencer, and Tiffany & Co., as well as some abbreviations containing the word and, such as R&D (research and development), R&B (rhythm and blues), B&B (bed and breakfast) and P&L (profit and loss). It add strength to a name and a sense of long establishment, more of a connection that the word ‘and’ alone does. It adds a lot of design value from what is basically a short cut found above the number 7 on your qwerty keyboard.
In 2010 over 400 Designers collaborated on a typography project “Coming Together” to create a font based entirely on the ampersand visit FontAid to view their creation Font Aid IV. There is no other typographical character with that versatility.
Designers and Illustrators can have a lot of fun with ‘&’ to the point where it becomes a character in the non-typographical sense. Sometimes the Ampersand symbol is created by mirroring the Latin word ‘et’ meaning ‘and’. Here we can see the modern font Trebuchet MS, employ ampersand characters that reveal its origin but are still an ampersand at heart. If you follow Tumblr you can see a different ampersand every day at the ampersandampersand.tumblr.com project.
Although is is a space saving character, what is the biggest drawback of the ampersand in a brand? Well that would be the inability to use & in a domain name so the famous D&G/Dolce & Gabanna becomes dolcegabbana.com where they have taken out the and entirely as it does not translate to every language. Will it one day become useable in future domain names? I’m sure it will as it would be guaranteed to be bought with many permutations by companies as part of their domain portfolio, how could they afford to not buy it? Surprising that the money obsessed domain registrars have not already made it happen.
By Neale Gilhooley, posted on 29th February 2016
Fast Co – Why designers love the ampersands article
Wikipedia.org post on the Ampersand
There is a small independent Scottish charity that has been working away quietly for years try to help people with a very specialised medical condition, which surprisingly little is known about. Alopecia Help and Advice Scotland was formed by sufferers and their families as a support network when little other support seemed to be available in Scotland.
Now with the assistance of a grant from the Weir Charitable Trust foundation they have raised funds to have a brand new WordPress website designed and built, one that they can use to really make contact with people along with News and Blog sections. We have designed the site to be far more visually interesting and to feature real people and their own often poignant words, and to present the information in a clear and logical way with information being easy to find by visitors. The old site did not allow for real time updates by the committee but the new site does and the amount of content on the site has more than doubled, offering far more information and news on treatments and research as well as local meetings and events. The new site has opened up the door to the possibility of receiving online donations and that is being worked on by the committee at present.
Director Rosemary Gierthy said “We are delighted with our new look website that Evolution Design created for us. It is much more interesting to look at and much more useful for our charity. Neale Gilhooley was extremely supportive throughout the whole process. He quickly grasped what we needed and helped at every stage. We really appreciated his patience and support, particularly at the training stage. We are thrilled with the finished product and have received some very nice feedback from people already”. One supporter wrote immediately to Rosemary saying “What a fantastically informative site – for me seeing pictures of others with the condition looking good is really helpful. Well done!”
Alopecia Help and Advice Scotland are now starting to use social media with Facebook page. Do feel free to visit and Like, or if you know any sufferers do make them aware of the website and the support and advice available.