“The thing I like most about time is that it’s not real. It’s all in the head. Sure, it’s a useful trick if you wanna meet someone at a specific place in the universe to have tea or coffee. But that’s all it is, a trick. There’s no such thing as the past, it exists only in the memory. There’s no such thing as the future, it exists only in our imagination. If our watches were truly accurate the only thing they would ever say is now.”

— Damien Echols, wrongly accused an imprisoned member of the ‘West Memphis Three’.


There is no such thing as the future, it exists only in our imagination. And our imagination is to a large extent formed collectively, the origin of our imagined future lies in cultural output and our shared social history. We have many futures, many different pictures of what it all might look like down the line and the internet, which comes so heavily laden with expectations and concepts of future and progress, has been largely stylistically, visually and exceptionally been formed by these by these visions of the future.
In the 1980’s popular culture exploded with visions of a future landscape that few had seen before. The ability to imagine this landscape, of smoky urban under-cities pumped with shame and neon, was only possible once these very ideas had been sketched out in the exploding metropolises of the 1980’s, where the populous was being pulled apart by increasing inequality and the socio-economic sacrifices of the increasingly polarised neo-liberal western capitalist societies where this future was born. If we look at the role of neon in this picture of the future, we find interest abounds.


‘The neon of Blade Runner provides a connection between the world of the film and the world of 1982. Many of the products the neon promotes were real to the time of the movies’s release (some, like Atari and Pan-Am, have disappeared since, leading to contemplation of a ‘Blade Runner curse’). The neon of Brazil, on the other hand, is used as a parody of advertising, though it does show the impact of neon on urban existence that is a hallmark of the earlier film.’  Will Brooker ‘The Blade Runner Experience: The Legacy of a Science Fiction Classic’.
Neon light has come to represent both the doom and the delight of our imagined urban futures. As much as the seedy underpass and the neon glow represent a city existence from which the state has long retreated from, where there is danger and poverty and one can so easily fall through the cracks and be forgotten, this world also represents a freedom: a freedom to fall through the cracks, to fade away when you might want to run away, to indulge in sinful desires that the world on the over pass would condemn and exclude you for. The neon glow casts a light on the excluded and condemned, and says anything is allowed. Just not happiness of the kind that sunshine is supposed to bring. These worlds exist in a never ending night, where the old photosynthesis of light and purity is no more. It was only in the city that life gained its new comport of  ‘night life‘. And it is from the same pallet of colours created by the alleyway that we drew our first images of the internet.
The internet glows like the future. It glows like underpass. It glows like the freedom and the sin of a world that no longer attempts to be one and whole but spends its citizens lives casually to gain development and profit. Neon is still a massive stylistic influence on the internet, these colours and motifs still pop up at every turn(Click here if you want to find out more on new neon design).
Which is interesting. The internet has long been and still is, both wrongly and rightly, held up as a utopian vision of our technologically advanced future, one where we are all connected independently to each other. It is held up as utopian, yet it borrows its colours and its  design principles from the very distopian image of a future whose origins are in those neon soaked underpasses.
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A world where you are both forgotten and free. Both alone and independent. Your own master and your only friend. You are an Emperor over a kingdom of one where you live a die freely, under the unnatural glow of neon light.

The internet is open to more now than it has ever been, apple stores are filled with people older in years asking some young tekkie kid with a hole in his ear how to sync their email and their Ipad or how to ring their kids in Australia using ‘facepalm’ or something. Where Amazon was once a revolution in shopping you now can and probably do order almost all of everything online. You’re online, I’m online and, most importantly, your customers are online.

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By it’s very nature the internet is constantly changing. The speed with which new ideas and fads can spread throughout the internet and the fact that it is constantly being edited and added to by billions of contributors means that for those who are not the most plugged in it is hard to keep up. The cutting edge of the internet is a fascinating, exciting and inventive place. It is also, however, not where most internet users reside. Most internet users reside around the middle, they have good knowledge of how familiar websites work and can get things done. Cutting edge website design however may leave them feeling a little confused, and perhaps a bit excluded. Put simply: not to keen (or even able) to open their wallets.



For instance, the picture above is from the beautiful and innovative website of (as you can probably read) Mahedine Yahia, a 20 year old designer from Paris. The website is quite incredible and acts as a portfolio and resume for this young designer. The website rolls of the mouse as you slip through a picture of paris and into the work of the man himself. It is a truly cutting edge piece of design. Now this is perfect for Mahedine’s target audience who will be young design industry workers who are in touch with front line innovation in web design. The design also (very cleverly) acts as an advert for his work and his creativity, style and skill as he is a designer. So all very good. His audience though is not the average audience, and for business who have a perhaps more ‘average’ audience may often find themselves in the predicament of not knowing how cool to go.

The other end of the spectrum


This is a predicament that business owners commissioning a new website must be mindful of and web design companies have to admit. Many web designers will have studied exciting web design and be in touch with the cutting edge of design on the internet and as the internet is all about contributing they will want to contribute to that cutting edge. But the cutting edge is not always whats best for the the customer and the customers business. If you’r selling water cooler’s to nursing homes in the Humberside region you don’t want some cosmic wonderland website design like our friend Mr Yahia up there. You maybe just want a simple, standard, easy to use and slightly boring website.

The point is this: sometimes ‘innovation’ is just ‘ineffective’.

Franchising is a technique that many companies have adopted to expand their business and increase their profitability. However, not every business can be franchised as there are many aspects to look into before you determine whether this is a suitable business opportunity for you. The first thing to consider is your reasons for franchising. If your main goal is to expand your business rapidly and achieve global recognition and popularity, franchising is the way to go. Products and services that can be franchised are those that are established and have shown significant growth and success over the years for them to have a substantial market niche. For you to successfully franchise your business, you should first assess the following issues.

Evaluating The Readiness Of Your Business

Readiness goes beyond looking at sales records and profitability. What matters is having a good business concept that can easily be emulated by others and operated successfully. The financial record of your business is also important as it is not practical to franchise a business that is struggling to breakeven or one that is reporting losses. You must also do extensive market research to confirm that your product or service has significant demand across the country.

Understand The Legal Requirements

The state requires that you submit a comprehensive Franchise Disclosure Agreement, which provides detailed information about your business. The information disclosed include; audited financial statements, outlay of the management structure and the intended strategy to be applied in franchising.

Vet the Franchisees

Just because someone wishes to open a franchise using your brand does not mean that you should trust them immediately and give them the go ahead. A franchisee will be a representative of your company; meaning that, any mistakes made will reflect negatively on the parent company as well. You should therefore assess their credibility, professionalism, reliability and commitment to making the franchise reputable and successful.

Be Clear On The Restrictions

You must have proper and specific requirements for hiring, firing, training, freedoms allowed and other practices to be carried out. As much as the franchisee decides how to manage the business, there must be clear guidelines on how you expect operations to be handled.

Always Provide Support

As the franchisor, your franchisees need your help and support, especially during the initial stages of operation. It takes time to understand the production process, distribution and marketing strategies. To ensure that they run a profitable venture that you will also benefit from, provide all the financial, technical and strategic support needed.

Source: The Franchise Company

When your company starts looking into a web designer to build your company website, you need to know that whomever you trust with your business’s reputation and appearance is worthy – and perhaps more importantly, worth the cost. For a great web designer is worth so much, while a poor one can be ruinous for a small company.


There are a few factors that can help you to find web designers and to reach a decision  the first is their portfolio, which should be online and contain active links to their clients’ sites. It’s easy to be thrown off by promises of high rankings and usability, but by exploring the type and number of works on display, you can discover a lot about the company.


Having a Portfolio


Okay, this may seem rather obvious, but if a web design company is unwilling to show its previous jobs it either hasn’t had any, or hasn’t done a good job on them. If there’s no portfolio at all then they probably aren’t worth spending time on. If they only link to websites they’ve worked on, check the footer text of the site to check if they are actually attributed.


Number of Projects


There is no right or wrong answer for the number of their projects. A company could have done fifty websites, but to a poor quality; or five that they spend months painstakingly working on. Compare the number with how long they’ve been active, working out how many they’ve done per month or year.


This is also a personal matter as the number of projects and how long they can take will affect different companies in different ways. If you’re after a well-designed but low budget website to be built fast, don’t waste your time with a company that makes one website every six months – they probably charge a lot for it, or are doing it in their spare time.


Type of Projects


Check out each of the works in their portfolio, and see how close to your desired website they are, in terms of the kind of technology and usability. Just because you can’t see one like you want, that doesn’t mean they haven’t done one, so if you like the look of their sites you can get in touch to ask if they’ve done anything similar previously.


If you require a particular technology or type of website, you will want to see their experience with it. If it’s a fairly mainstream technology they will hopefully have examples, but again you can ask to see what they’ve done for other businesses. Some web design companies have demo packages, or have done mock-ups for certain details like e-commerce sites.


Quality of Work


Once you’ve identified some relevant sites out of their portfolio, carefully study each of them. The first thing is to see what the load time of the home page is – a long load time can have a very negative affect on your site’s conversion rates. If the website is done in Flash it’s likely to take a little longer.


If you notice slow loading times for a number of their websites (and no others that you usually go on, to eliminate the chance of your bandwidth skewing the results) they likely aren’t very professional, and host their sites on a cheap server.


Check these websites to see how user friendly they are, to see whether you like the design and whether the website design would make you want to work with the business. If there are a couple of bad looking ones don’t worry too much, as the web design company won’t always have control over what the client wants.


Happy Customers

There are, unfortunately, some unscrupulous people out there, and they like to take advantage of these kinds of highly competitive businesses. Some cheaters out there might copy portfolios from other people, or claim websites that they had nothing to do with.


The web designer’s website should have client information somewhere, so go ahead and get in touch with them to ensure the legitimacy of their claims. You could find out quite a lot this way, and get some honest opinions.


Their Own Website


Decide what you think about their own company’s website. If you’ve searched for something like “web design and seo in Liverpool” make sure they really are from Liverpool, and aren’t trying to appear in rankings for all locations. If their website isn’t to your liking but their portfolio sites are, they probably just spend more time on client sites than their own. However if their website is much, much better than their client sites they have either had their site done by another web design company, or they aren’t as interested in making their clients look good as themselves, which is a big red flag.


With these six considerations, you will hopefully be able to find a web design company who can do the right job for your business, and crucially for the right price!

Effective web design is a productive online marketing tool that helps you increase your customer base easily. For every company, a website is an extension of your business that communicates about your brand meaning that it should be treated as a priority. Therefore, it should engage the users in an informative manner for it to be effective. Some of the benefits that a decent website brings to your business include the following.

Consistency In Brand Identity

A professional web designer will know better to look at the big picture when designing a website for you. Having a decent website means that it speaks well about your brand across all contexts. Your business logo, business cards, social media profiles and everything about your website must express the unique brand that is your business.

Attracting Visitors To Your Page

At your website, you should not be targeting clicks; rather you should be targeting people to visit your website, go through it and find out who you are and what your business is all about. Getting people interested in your website is a task, let alone convincing them to purchase your product or service. As a result, you need a web designer who will build something captivating and exciting that will increase your customer base.


Staying Ahead Of Competitors

In each industry, you will find that almost all the sites look alike. Therefore, creating a good-enough website does not do it for you. This does not mean that you have to be too aggressive and have a sparkling design; rather, quality entails having something unique. If your website shows the high quality of your product or service, your brand will stand out from that of competitors. This is what the market is looking for.

Expressing Your Expertise

Objective perspective is very important. You should understand that you are not a web design expert but, you are an expert in your own field. It is important that you strike a balance between the two to have content that works for your website. With a decent website, you get to showcase what it is that you do best. If you get it right, you will attract people to your website and eventually to your business.


A good web design gives a good website that communicates about your company and brand. You will enjoy high engine search visibility, which will put your company up there in the ranks. In this digital world, a good website goes a long way in expanding the client base for a company.