New Name, New Blog

June 17, 2010

I have a brief announcement to make that has big implications:

D&A Design is changing its name to Brand Shepherd
(effective immediately).

We have put a lot of time, thought, and energy into renaming and rebranding our little corner of the design and branding world, and we feel that now is the right time for this change. With the name change comes an all-new web site, too. We invite you to take a look:

For those who want a detailed explanation we’ve tried to answer any and all questions here.

Probably the most practical information to share concerning this blog is that our new web site will also be home to our new blog. Please update your RSS feed and bookmark.

We do plan on keeping this blog up – it still attracts a lot of visitors for the content we’ve posted.

We are very excited about having a new name for our business that more accurately communicates what we’ve been doing all along.




Big News On The Horizon

May 30, 2010

This year is shaping up to be a year of significant changes for us. In the coming weeks we’ll have news regarding our business that we believe is going to help us better serve the businesses we work with.

I don’t mean to be cryptic here, but here’s a video that is fun and relates (conceptually) to the big news to come. 🙂   Stay tuned!

Cincinnati Enquirer Writes About Frankie’s Furry Friends

April 23, 2010

Just received word that the Cincinnati Enquirer published a nice story about Frankie’s Furry Friends. Take a look!

Dog Rescue Gets A New Web Site

April 16, 2010

Dog Rescue

We’re happy to announce the launch of Frankie’s Furry Friends, a small dog rescue here in the Cincinnati area! Frankie’s Furry Friends is a dog rescue that helps small dogs find forever homes.

About the site: This site was built on the WordPress platform, which is an open-source Content Management System (CMS). A site built on such a platform allows the site’s owner(s) to maintain it with great ease. If you can use MS Word, you can use a CMS web site.

Also… once a year we will be taking on one pro bono project where we donate all of our design and branding time/expertise to an organization that we support. Our dog, Jake the border collie, is a rescue dog, and we are strong supporters of no-kill shelters and rescues in general. Frankie’s Furry Friends is 2010’s recipient of our time, design, and expertise. We couldn’t be happier for them.

It has been our pleasure and honor to contribute our time and expertise to Frankie’s Furry Friends. We know they will be a place where little doggies find forever homes. 🙂

Take a look and if you’re so inclined please consider adopting one of Frankie’s Furry Friends.

Talking about web design with the Glendale, Ohio Chamber of Commerce

March 30, 2010

A quick post this lovely spring day to say thanks to the Glendale (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce. I just returned from speaking about web design at the Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly training session (lunch & learn) about the “Basics of Web Site Design,” and had a great time.

What’s more, I was thrilled by all the engaging questions afterward! I love when a group of small business people get together and talk about design. I’ve yet to be in a group where the questions weren’t very specific, and the conversations afterward are always energized as well. I love being a small business guy.

No new dates are on the calendar just yet for a future speaking engagement, but when one comes up we’ll try and do a better job of making it known.



Website Refresher: Half Day Cafe

March 22, 2010

We are really happy to write that the little café that serves wonderful and interesting food here in Wyoming, Ohio has a refreshed website: Half Day Cafe.

Several months ago we began talking with Half Day Café about their goal to refresh their web presence, and since both our businesses operate from the Cincinnati area village of Wyoming, it seemed like a logical fit. For the past 2 years D&A Design has been taking clients to Half Day Café for meetings when we can, and so refreshing their website was a joy to do.

The new site includes a Contact box on every page, updated photography, imagery, and their new Sunday Brunch menu.

Go take a look at the site, and please also put Half Day Café on the radar to grab breakfast, brunch or lunch. You will thank us later 🙂

3 Big Picture Phases of a Web Site

March 15, 2010

I get 3 questions about web design more than any other: What is the process? How is a site maintained? and When is it time for a redesign? These questions sum up the 3 Big Picture phases of a web site’s life.

Here are my answers to the questions above about web design from a Big Picture point of view:

Phase 1. Design, Development, Deployment
The web Design phase consists of creating how it looks, Development is the code behind a good site, Deployment is when we officially launch the site.

Web design begins with fleshing out a concept for your business’ website. Through various rounds of revisions the sites user interface (UI) – the graphics that make navigating your site intuitive – become final, and once you’re satisfied with how it looks we focus more on Development, or how it operates. Development often has periods of silent time where the developer is working on code to make sure that the site is going to work perfectly once deployed. The code also plays into how the site is found by search engines. Once Design and Development are complete we sometimes launch a beta version of the site for live testing. After bugs have been worked out we encourage businesses to make a formal announcement through various media (traditional and social).

Keep in mind: Your branding partner or designer should either have a strategic partnership with development resources, or be able to do it themselves. Make sure this is covered in writing in your agreement. Know the costs for URL reservation, hosting, email, etc. before moving forward.

Phase 2. Maintenance: DIY or Tune-ups?
Free and open CMS resources like WordPress and Joomla allow business owners to update their content the DIY way. Some business owners prefer to contract their designer for regular website tune-ups such as quarterly or monthly updates to the site.

Before you head into a website design project you should talk with your designer about how the site will be built. If you want to maintain it yourself make sure your designer knows. If you want to leave maintenance to someone in-house or your designer, make sure they know that, too. There are cost-saving measures that can be taken advantage of no matter how you want to keep your site up to date. Point being, a site can no longer be deployed and left standing. It must be maintained, or it becomes stale.

Phase 3. Redesign: When Is It Time?
If your website was designed more than 3 years ago, there’s a good chance it’s due for a redesign. Aside from style changes to how sites are created, the back-end technology has changed too, and that is impacting how your site is being found via search engines.

A redesign is not starting over. There are myriad ways to refresh your site using existing branding. It’s like holding a box in your hands. You can look at it head-on for a while and after a while that perspective gets old and boring. Simply turn the box to a different angle and now your experience of the same box (your brand) is different, refreshing.

If any or all of these resonate with you, and you’d like to talk further about how any or all of these impact your specific business, we can set a time to talk.