9 April 2021
The "Caslon," typeface was designed by William Caslon I (1692–1766,) Britain's first and most celebrated typefounder. Caslon is used to set the quote above.
Ironically, rather than using an American font, the first printed version of the United States Declaration of Independence is set in Caslon. This may have been the influence of Benjamin Franklin. Not only was he a scientist and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America—he was also a printer. He loved the fonts made by William Caslon so much that he hardly used anything else.
Caslon has been revived at various times over the past 300 years, and it continues to be a standard in typography even to this day. Here at MOTHandRUST, it is one of our favourites. It is perfect for something timeless; it will never look dated. It is versatile and can work for most applications. For a more current look, it pairs nicely with modern typefaces. And it’s just beautiful.
Posted in: typography
19 March 2021
There are two ways a Wordpress site can be built, and I am always surprised that many people do not know this. In fact, some people ask why they should even care… As long as they get a site they are happy with, that is all that matters right?
This is a big topic that could easily be covered in more depth and detail, but my answer is below, in a way that is hopefully straightforward and easy to understand.
1) Prebuilt WordPress:
- Rather than hand coding, off-the-shelf Wordpress themes and plugins are installed and configured.
- The No Code Revolution is here!
2) Custom WordPress:
- Using the basic coding and infrastructure of WordPress, custom themes and plugins are built, as per a project’s specific requirements.
- Real sites need real development!
So why should this matter?
- Each site feature usually requires its own plug-in.
- To allow for a one-size-fits-all solution with many optional features, prebuilt sites are often created with many plug-ins.
- Custom sites only have the plug-ins necessary for the particular project’s requirements.
- Plugins need to be updated regularly—the more plugins, the more time required to keep the site up-to-date.
- Myth: Site maintenance is just a matter of hitting the "update" button. This is often the best way to break your site!
- Custom sites require less maintenance.
- Since the code of a ready-made theme is available to anyone, there is always a possibility of the website getting hacked.
- Also, the majority of ready-made themes do not provide security updates on time. And when they do, these updates may not be done right away, especially when there are lots and lots of plugins that need constant updating. This leaves a loophole when certain plugins may not be up-to-date, leading to the site getting hacked.
- Custom sites, built with custom code, can avoid these security loopholes. The code is also not available to all the users, making it tough for the hackers.
- Custom sites are more secure.
- A prebuilt site may require complex features or template types that are tricky (or even impossible) to addressed down the road within the confines of its “canned” theme. If you decide you want to add a new feature or template type to a custom site later, you don’t have to worry about being restricted by a template theme.
- As the site grows and develops with time, these changes can be made to improve user experience more easily with custom themes.
- Custom sites form a stronger foundation for the future.
- Though the owners of some pre-built themes do go above and beyond to provide support, most is very limited, if there at all. The support that is there is often mostly in terms of functionality, not design.
- Myth: All coding is done exactly the same way, so it is easy for one developer to work on another’s code. To do this, the logic behind the code (eg: a pre-built theme or plugin) must be understood. This is not easy, as the logic can be really different from one developer to another. In fact, sometimes it can take much longer to fix a pre-made plug-in, than just coding the feature custom in the first place.
- Custom sites make support easier.
- Custom templates are built with particular goals and objectives in mind.
- Prebuilt templates don't know a business or its audience.
- If the prebuilt route is taken, you may end up with a site that doesn’t have a great RIO, rather a site that is:
Actually pretty expensive
Bogged down with unnecessary plugins
Vulnerable to attack
Not very customisable
Not very easy to fix
Full confession: MOTHandRUST typically choses to build custom WordPress, though of course there are always exceptions. I do hope this article sheds a light on why, and also why you should know how your Wordpress site is built.Posted in: digital
22 January 2021
The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM) is a multi-institutional collaboration headquartered at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT with managing partners at Harvard University. It aims to understand intelligence, how the brain produces intelligence and how we may be able to replicate it in machines—arguably one of the greatest challenges in science and technology.
As a flagship program of American's National Science Foundation, they needed a new identity that was more modern, professional and cutting edge. A particular problem with the existing logo was that many did not recognize that it was in fact a brain.
As is often the case with our science collaborations, complex and often abstract concepts can be a challenge to visualise. One of the tools we use is a series of questions that we have developed over the years that we find essential to get to the heart of a brand.
In this case, it was this question that provided a key: “If one could communicate one single message about the CMBB identity, it would be?”
The answer was: “The CBMM brings together computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists to create a new field—the Science and Engineering of Intelligence.”
This is also what makes the CBMM different.
During our design phase, we discovered that dotted circles create new patterns where they intersect. The three circles in the new logo represent the three types of science mentioned above, that come together to create the new field of the Science and Engineering of Intelligence. Where the types of science come together and intersect, new patterns of understanding are created.
See more here.
24 December 2020
This morning we launched a special Christmas video pop up on the Actors' Benevolent Fund site!Conceived by HRH The Prince of Wales in an effort to support the work of the ABF, "'Twas the night before Christmas," was recorded at Clarence House in December 2020 by an ensemble cast featuring the ABF's patron HRH The Prince of Wales, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, ABF President Dame Penelope Keith, Daniel Craig, Dame Judy Dench, Ncuti Gatwa, Tom Hardy CBE, Joanna Lumley OBE, and Dame Maggie Smith.MOTHandRUST has been working with this incredible 135-year-old charity on their site and other design work for a few years and today their work has never been so important.Happy happy holidays!
20 November 2020
We've come a long way in the past 10 years since we launched the LIBD site… It was right around this time in particular, 2010/11, that the digital sphere went through a rapid growth spurt, testing everyone’s ability to adapt!
Partly because we are about to enter another new decade, and partly because we are (still) going through the archive of our work to finally update our site, we’ve been thinking a lot about how web design has evolved over the past decade.
One cannot think back about the good old days without thinking about Adobe Flash right? In the ‘00s, it was The Technology that allowed developers to incorporate animation and interactive content to sites.
In early 2010, MOTHandRUST launched our last Flash site. Shortly before that, all designers at the branding agency I was working at were enrolled on a rather lengthy Flash course. No one wanted to see that its demise was coming. But in April 2010, Steve Jobs wrote his “Thoughts on Flash,” a moment many have defined as “The Death of Flash.” Suddenly it was on the way out and everyone had to (sooner or later) accept this and adapt.
The LIBD site used interactive HTML5 Canvas animations that were just as sophisticated as Flash, but these could be viewed without having to install it (a major downside of Flash). This meant that it worked across most devices, even mobile. Of course today, everything can work pretty seamlessly across all devices, but this was quite amazing at the time.
Just over a decade ago, Nokia’s Symbian and RIM’s Blackberry were ranked as the top 2 mobile operating systems at the time. Things changed quickly, so by about 2010/11Android and iOS were quickly taking the lead. The iPhone was first unveiled in 2007, and its Android competitors showed up in 2010. Apple released the iPad in 2010.
With the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets, everyone had to adapt yet again, this time to designing for various screen sizes and devices: enter responsive web design. Today, the thought of a site not adapting to work on a tablet or mobile is unthinkable, but this was just not really done much before about 2010/11.
The LIBD site was responsive, which really made it stand out at the time. In fact, it did not only resize to tablets, but if you used it on a tablet and you tilted the tablet up and down, or left and right, you would move around the animation accordingly. Pretty cool!
One of the decade’s biggest graphic design trends, flat design, was born out of a need to make digital apps clean and accessible. It was developed to ensure that responsive designs work well and load fast (especially important since mobile devices have slower internet speeds). Designers had to adapt their work for easy readability and sparse interfaces. Nowadays, it’s hard not to open a web page (or a brochure or a magazine) without being greeted by flat design (flat colors, minimal vectors and geometric sans serif fonts, etc).
As you can see in the image above, the LIBD site also used flat design. For example, all buttons are large, solid bright colours. Again, today this is not unusual, but in 2010/11 3D buttons where still not that unusual.
By the middle of the decade, websites were moving away from being The Way to engage audiences, and were becoming more like informational portals. We began to see a rise in single page scrolling websites, and a rise in more and more cookie cutter sites. Even today, it seems sites are still becoming purely informational and less experiential. Cookie cutter sites are more prevalent than ever, due in part to availability of off-the-shelf design templates.
But really, the internet is still young and it definitely still has so much potential. This is still the beginning. We love the internet. We keep seeing amazing developments for those who are able to resist the cookie cutter approach. Just as websites never did completely kill print, such things as Instagram and AR haven’t completely killed websites—they simply exist alongside them. We have so many ways to communicate now, often it is more a matter choosing many ways, not one, depending on the audience. We look forward to doing what we always have done, focusing on the result, not the medium used.
The link to the LIBD site is still live, at least until our upcoming site update.