LanguageRoutes.com

Posted by Travis @ Kung Pow Studios
February 22, 2009

We recently finished the new ecommerce site: LanguageRoutes.com Take a look!

Category: KPS News · Web Design

Rebekah Norgaard Website

Posted by Andrew @ Kung Pow Studios
November 17, 2008

KPS just finished the website of a local musician named Rebekah Norgaard. Specializing in guitar, piano, and singing, she wanted her website to reflect her unique creativity. KPS also shot all of the photographs displayed on the website.

Rebekah Norgaard

Frankendesign

Posted by Travis @ Kung Pow Studios
October 25, 2008

Given that it's nearly Halloween, we would like to introduce a new word into your vocabulary, frankendesign. It's a word that can strike fear and terror into any designer and it is rooted in the old 1818 story of the modern Prometheus (i.e. Frankenstein).

So what does it mean? Design companies like Kung Pow Studios will be contracted to do a project and often we will provide our clients with multiple different design prototypes which they can choose from. Just how the scientist Victor Frankenstein attempted to create a beautiful creature by using parts from different bodies, clients wanting a heavy hand in the design process will want to cut out different parts of each design prototype in an attempt to make something beautiful of their own. And this is what we call frankendesign.

For designers this can be very frustrating as many of the elements we use to create designs are really not meant to go together with each other – it's like fitting a round peg in a square hole. And what is created from frankendesign is often something that can look just as scary as the original Frankenstein.

We understand that frankendesign is often part of life as a designer. But we have a couple words of advice to both designers and their clients:

First for designers, remember that many people like to create things, want to be creative, and enjoy being part of the design process. Keep this in mind as you deal with your customers. Maybe find ways which they can contribute throughout the process so that they feel like their ideas are taken into consideration but allows you to avoid their frankendesigning.

For clients, remember that good designers are creating designs that are both visually appealing and functional and it is not an easy job. A lot time and thought and training goes in to it. Most designers have your best interests in mind because they want the work you paid for to succeed just as much as you do. Your success is their success. So we encourage clients to have trust in the work of their designer. If you don't like how it looks, be honest but avoid the temptation of trying to cobble together your own work from all of the prototypes because more often than not it never turns out very well.

Happy Halloween from the entire staff at Kung Pow Studios.

Spicy Awards - FARM website

Posted by Andrew @ Kung Pow Studios
October 23, 2008

FARM

Designed by Seagulls Fly

why we like it:
crazy design with tons of stuff going on! it also showcases some nice grooves to keep you at the site a little longer. while you wait for the main page to load, you can play around with a fun interactive ball that a small dog will chase. they also offer some sweet desktop downloads. it features a nice piece of technology called swfaddress. overall a nice multimedia experience.

what we don’t like:
great design and fun animation come at a price. be prepared to wait 30 seconds on average for a page to load. with nice music and great design it was easy for me to stick around and wait but others might not be so eager. the ‘lookbook’ page, which seems to be the point of the site, is also a slow loader taking about 10 seconds to load each model picture.

Category: Spicy Awards

Spicy Awards - Marc Eckó website

Posted by Andrew @ Kung Pow Studios
October 6, 2008

Marc Eckó

why we like it:
quick load times and fluid dynamic motion engage the user into the website. a great example of using video, animation, and photography efficiently. the main page organizes lots of information into a sleek and user friendly interface. the consistent menu at the top always lets you know where you are.

what we don’t like:
with so many pages and content, the look and feel is hard to pin down. some pages give a feel of hand done (tattoo page), while some are sleek and clean (sneakers page), and others don’t seem to have much of a style at all (ecko community) other than the navigation. with content so varied this can be understandable. however, a theme that could be carried across the entire site would pull it all together and make it feel more connected.

Category: Spicy Awards

A Flash of Accessibility

Posted by Travis @ Kung Pow Studios
September 29, 2008

As a flash developer I do know that Flash is often a double-edged sword. Flash is both loved and hated by the web community. It can be used to create some phenomenal visuals and interactivity which many people appreciate and love. However, there is a large community of people who detest Flash for its perceived annoyance, performance faults, and accessibility issues. I would venture a guess that much of the negative views of Flash are the result of so many web designers adding intro animations to their sites when Flash first came out and due to the rather late emergence of accessibility features in Flash.

As both the co-owner of Kung Pow Studios (KPS) and also as a person who has had to deal a lot with accessibility issues and Section 508 compliance for my work in the higher education and government sectors, I feel that these two areas are often in direct conflict with one another. Certainly there is a way to make a fully accessible web interface that is visually aesthetic but this often requires compromises. For example, we strive to make our customer say "Wow!" when they see our work but in producing something like this, it is often knowingly far from being accessible.

I have often felt like we can be hypocritical in our web design work because we make some of our websites fully accessible and for others we don't. We do try to persuade some clients one way or the other but it usually comes down to what our clients want and their expected audience. But for the record, we do make sure that this issue is well thought out in the design process.

~Travis
Category: Usability · Web Design

The Vue Website

Posted by Travis @ Kung Pow Studios
September 27, 2008

KPS was recently contracted to completely redesign a website for a new client. The new flash-based website that Andrew (Co-owner and Senior Designer) designed has recently been debuted and the client was extremely pleased with the results and the cost.

The Vue Website

First Post

Posted by Travis @ Kung Pow Studios
September 27, 2008

Hi,

I am Travis the founder and co-owner of Kung Pow Studios. We are a growing graphic design, 3D graphics, and technology consultancy located in Ames, Iowa. Part of the CyberInnovation Institute located at the Iowa State University Research Park, we have customers from around the midwest and now overseas.

We have been fortunate to see the company grow over the past few years. We have recently brought on a new staff member Abbey, our new Marketing Specialist, who is charged with all of our customer relations. We are all very excited to see what opportunities the future holds in store for us.

We hope to use this blog to keep in touch with all of our current and prospective clients, post some helpful information, and just have our own little soapbox we can write our thoughts on.

Thanks for reading and drop Kung Pow Studios a line with your questions and comments.

~Travis
Category: KPS News