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New portfolio website

Ben Crothers portfolio website

It’s been ages since I’ve shown anything I’ve been working on. Plus, there’s a growing amount of stuff like sketchnotes, storyboards and bits and pieces that don’t really have a home on this website. So I’ve done up a new portfolio site at bencrothers.com.

It was also a great opportunity to get my hands dirty with some HTML5/CSS/CSS3/responsive design coding. I’m a big believer in having a decent working knowledge of the platforms, frameworks and code that ultimately bring to life the digital experiences I design, so it made sense for my latest code project to include HTML5 and responsive design.

Take a look, see what you think. I’d also be interested to know what it’s like on your mobile device – feel free to let me know if anything looks kinda wrong…!

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Voting for the Government 2.0 Taskforce banner competition is on

I recently submitted four designs for the Government 2.0 Taskforce logo/banner competition. This competition has already generated a bit of heat from the design community, but I’m taking this competition in the spirit in which it’s intended: open community involvement, and encouraging government to get into online collaboration a bit more.

And now you can vote on which ones you like! Just go to their voting page here. My entries are numbers 10, 11, 12 and 13 (below).

My entries for the Government 2.0 Taskforce banner competition

My entries for the Government 2.0 Taskforce banner competition

As the Government 2.0 Taskforce website says: “Your votes will be influential, but we will make the final decision largely because it is too difficult for us to be confident that the result of a popular poll represents the views of a representative sample of participants on our blog and the ease with which such competitions can be influenced by campaigning and multiple voting”.

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Create Conference 2008 website

Screenshot of the Create Conference home page

Screenshot of the Create Conference home page

Create Conference is a day-long ideas fest run by FEVA for churches and other ministries to tackle communication issues, covering everything from improving death-by-PowerPoint sermon presentations, to promoting church in particular, and Jesus and Christianity in general, to the world around us.

This website was a huge departure from the usual corporate flavour I’m used to designing for, and I went at the brief with a vengeance. Once I had soaked in the existing brand and vision of FEVA and the conference, I brought two themes — an airship and a clockwork-slightly-steampunky feel — together to evoke an image of broadcasting in a playful, graceful way to the world around us.

The pressure was also on, not only with a very tight deadline, but also to produce a website that would demonstrate all the best-practice things that they were going to be talking about at the conference, about what a website should be and do.

I did some concept sketches that the client liked so much, they ended up running with the ‘sketch’ theme in the downloadable conference information brochure (done by Andrew Nobbs at Barton Design). These were then transormed into what you see online.

Go to: createconference.org.au

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Workforce Guardian website

Screenshot of the Workforce Guardian home page

Screenshot of the Workforce Guardian home page

Workforce Guardian is an online application to help businesses hire, manage and exit employees. The production of this website was by-the-book in terms of audience analysis (carried out by PTG Global), stakeholder consultation, rigorous information architecture, website optimisation and content strategy. The visual design and W3C standards-compliant XHTML was outsourced to Reactive, who really knew what they were doing. The website has also been tuned for best search engine tastiness by another external partner, who also perform ongoing search optimisation.

Update: after the website was first launched, I re-did the Products/product options index page with an accordion-style product comparison feature, which opened up the details of the features much more efficiently for people to view and decide which edition was best for them.

Another note: the website – especially the home page – has changed quite a lot since it was first launched.

Go to: workforceguardian.com.au

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Workforce Guardian identity

The Workforce Guardian identity

The Workforce Guardian identity

The Workforce Guardian logo features a double-shield design in blue-and-green freshness with a contemporary approachable typeface.

Workforce Guardian is an online application to help businesses hire, manage and exit employees. It’s geared towards small businesses who usually don’t have the time or the legal expertise to confidently produce legally bullet-proof employment contracts and to deal with many HR-related issues that larger companies with an HR department can deal with.

The design of this logo involved distilling a brand exploration exercise with the key business stakeholders and a marketing consultant into a pure statement of Workforce Guardian’s brand: employment relations expertise when you need it. Since the Workforce Guardian product is an online application, it was tempting to follow the path of many Web 2.0-ish design trends, but the company character and its target audiences were very different from, say, YouTube and Facebook.

The double-shield represents Workforce Guardian working with their customers, protecting the rights of both employer and employee. The green colour moves the tone away from being too conservative and – with employment relations legislation being a hot topic in the news at the time – too political.

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World’s Greatest Shave website

Screenshot of the World's Greatest Shave home page (2007)

Screenshot of the World

Update: World’s Greatest Shave has (to date) raised over $12 million – and they were hoping for 9! All up the campaign this year had over 15,000 online registrations, nearly 14,000 uploaded photos, over 5,000 blog posts and over 11,000 online comments.

Background: the 2007 design is by Known, and Catch Media looked after the development. It includes some new features, like a blog (with comments) and photo gallery for every registered participant, and even easier online sponsorship.

Go to: worldsgreatestshave.com