Archive for the ‘WhiteRhino’ Category

Freelance Opportunity: Flash Developer (overflow work)

Freelance Opportunity: Flash Developer

Okay, so rather than going through Seek, agencies and all of our employment submissions, we are putting the feelers out for some new, young talent to assist with some jobs coming through next week.

We have an overflow requirement and need someone who knows FLASH Action Script 3 (not high-end) who is keen to show us their stuff and get their foot in the door on future projects.

We think there is 2 – 3 days’ work on some digital projects and online advertising elements where the animation is not too tricky – you just need to work your way through it meticulously and provide suggestions.

Yes, you can be at university, just as long as you KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND FLASH & CS5.

So, if you know someone or it’s you – send us a quick email with a day rate and some projects you have done to [email protected] with FLASHER in subject line.

Studio Insights: Which Web Browser Do You Use?

Web browsers

Web Browsers: Which one do you use?

Frank, Edna or Vinnie! A must for every SME business.

Frank has worked with me for as many years as I can remember, but the reality is that not a lot of people who have worked with me would have met him, because to be truthful he doesn’t exist.

But he does have a position in my company, and in actual fact he is one of the longest serving rhinos. Frank is in charge of everything a cold caller may ask about – laser consumables, phone systems and plans, seminar attendances, amazing once in a lifetime opportunities – you name it, he’s in charge of it. Now, I completely understand that such calls are a part of business, and that cold calling can be a very stressful and much maligned occupation, but when a polite employee cannot simply answer, “Sorry we are not interested,” we needed to get creative about it, so we invented Frank to screen these calls.

So as you could imagine, Frank receives lots of calls and is on many, many phone call databases (he even gets weekly mail). Our system of managing this essential part of business has become very streamlined. The obvious starter responses are “Sorry,  Frank is in a meeting – can I take a message?” “Sorry Frank is off-site,” but his personality has grown over the years to more in-depth responses: “Sorry, Frank is in the Bahamas on holidays,” “Sorry, Frank is currently touring with the rhinos in Africa.” The astute cold caller may often try “Well, who else handles…” and the caller is duly told, “No, that’s Frank’s department, no-one goes near his stuff – you HAVE to speak to Frank about this,” and a satisfied cold caller hangs up, happy that they have the right contact within the organisation.

So those who answer the phone don’t need to ask the caller “and where are you calling from” to qualify the call, it just goes directly to Frank.  But we know – and probably some companies will also now know – that Frank will never answer the call, he will never return the call nor will he ever get out of that production meeting.

So perhaps your business could use a Frank, Edna or Vinnie, because Frank has helped us be more productive and efficient and for that he really does deserve a holiday in the Bahamas.

This Is Leeroy

This is Leeroy.

Beautiful, regal and dangerously powerful, he is the Werribee Open Range Zoo’s very own white rhino. Born in September 1980, Leeroy is the oldest white rhino at the zoo and now too old and unsociable to mingle with his fellow rhinos, he roams the back paddocks of Werribee, out of public view and peaceful in his solitude.

Searching for our hero, we felt Leeroy embodied the very essence of what we stand for at WhiteRhino. Strong, fearless, and utterly breathtaking he stands alone as one of a kind. Captured on film by the talented Scott Newett during a memorable day of shooting, Leeroy has become our mascot and icon.

Quick to become moody in the presence of others on the day of filming, it wasn’t long into shooting before Leeroy revealed the antics which earned him his solitude. Snorting wildly and pawing at the ground, Leeroy repeatedly prepared to charge at the quaking camera crew.

Gathering speed and fury with each attempt he hurled himself violently towards the single electric wire separating him from the photographer. A two and a half tonne cannonball flying wildly towards us only to pull up short in a cloud of dust at the last possible second.

Though temperamental in his old age, Leeroy is nothing short of magnificent and the memory of our incredible experience with him still takes our breath away. Native to Africa, white rhinos are believed to be extinct in the north, and thrive only in protected wildlife sanctuaries in the south.

8 Things Not To Do At Work

1. Stand behind people and look at what they’re working on. It’s creepy, don’t do that.

2. Watch videos on YouTube without headphones. Yeah, that guy – the one not doing any work, loudly. Don’t be him. If you’re going to slack off, at least do it quietly.

3. Forward funny viral emails. Just because I know you does not allay the fact you just filled my inbox with spam. I have filters in place for this stuff, don’t abuse your unfettered access.

4. Expect me to bake. I’m all for morning tea, but just because you’re a baker does not mean I am in the least domestically inclined (like, at all), so ease up on the criticism when I bring packet slice again. I’m good at other things, like dishes.

5. Jam the photocopier. If you can’t work out how to print without causing the paper jam equivalent of Punt Rd at peak hour then you really need to sort it out. Or be prepared to make friends with a notepad again.

6. Stick post-its to people’s monitors. So you know that thing about not touching your computer screen? That extends to sticking post-its on it. In fact it becomes exponentially worse when there’s adhesive involved.

7. Hoard pens. Once a month check the pen-to-employee ratio around the office and if you’re coming off like the Imelda Marcos of stationery, it might be time to redistribute.

8. Climb on the roof. Enough said.

Learn To Be Smart

Smart kids do their homework. Not because it’s easier for them (though it’s true sometimes it is), but because that’s how they get smart. Newsflash: that doesn’t end at school.

It’s a shocking and somewhat overlooked truth that the more you work at something, the better you become. For some reason though, too many of us think this is an optional extra once the clock strikes five and let the habit fall off quicker than you can throw a mortar board in the air after graduation.

This is not to say you don’t learn while you work. This can be the very best way to learn and many a professional will confess they learnt more in their first year of work than their entire uni degree. However, when you’re at work you have a job to do, and oftentimes this doesn’t involve stopping to check what’s going on around you.

Some industries, heavily regulated and highly accountable, require this without question. Unfortunately however, many do not and most creative industries fall into this category. Along with the freedom to build, design, write and create whatever we like, comes a gaping void in any kind of universal standard. It’s a very hard thing to qualify (borderline impossible), which is why it isn’t done, however as a result we aren’t required to do anything to keep up save turn up to work.

This is where the problem lies. I’d venture to say there’s not a job in the world you couldn’t get better at with a little extra effort out side of work. Moreover, those in creative professions should know that theirs is a fast moving industry and digital developments redefine the boundaries every single day. It’s for this reason that the harder a job is to define, the more you need to know about the landscape in order to keep your footing.

It’s not that you need to know everything. That’s about as useful as having ten arms to drive a mouse, but it is important to know what’s going on. What are your peers and colleagues doing? Where is your industry heading? Who are the ones leaping ahead and who trails behind? What conversation is taking place around you? This is the information you don’t accrue sitting at your desk eight hours a day.

This is the information you have to hunt for, and when you start to collect enough, it’s the information that starts to give you a look at the bigger picture. Information sourcing is no longer restricted or difficult for anyone with Internet access, so reading the news, compiling blogs, asking questions and finding social forums should be routine practice for most of us. More than that, if you love what you do, it should be what drives you.

The need to know more, to understand and to seek is fundamental to being good at what you do. Smart people may be born smart, but clever people learn how to be. So next time you can’t muster the motivation to read the industry newsletters piling up in your inbox, consider learning how to try it and give one a go. You might be surprised what a little extra insight does when you hit the desk the next day.

Introducing Student Spotlight

Hey there, as part of our ongoing commitment to fostering young talent in our community and contributing to the training and development of the next generation of graphic designers, we’re pleased to be introducing STUDENT SPOTLIGHT. Each month, we’ll be featuring one exciting up and coming designer here on our blog whose work we think shows talent and potential. We’ll also promote you through our social media channels, giving you maximum exposure and a leg up in the industry.

The invitation is open to all students and recent graduates (must have finished study no more than a year ago), and all you have to do is post a link to a piece of your work or portfolio via the comment box below and make sure you Like WhiteRhino on Facebook so we can share the love.

We’ll be launching other mentoring initiatives throughout the year including studio Q&As and work experience opportunities so make sure you check back to see what we’ve got going on in the studio and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Entries for August spotlight close Friday 31 August.

Industry Misconceptions: Why we should strive to correct them …

Industry misconceptions: Why we should strive to correct them

There is a perception or as I prefer to think of it, a misconception that graphic designers have only an innate artistic talent and that our job has little to do with intellect. However, this is not the case; a truly brilliant graphic designer will be an intelligent thinker armed with a suite of other skills.

So why should we, as designers, find this misconception offensive and strive to correct how the public perceives us? Here are my top 3 reasons:

  1. It undersells what we do and validates the notion that we design only for fun. It makes design seem less like a service that should be valued, which people ought to pay good money for and more like a hobby we’re indulging in. Design delivers real results to businesses, so the professionals who do the good work should be taken seriously as experts in their trade.
  2. “My friend has a daughter in year 8 who has Photoshop.” Almost all designers are qualified professionals; bright people who have chosen a profession that constantly provides new opportunities to learn and engage. Being exposed to such an array of work from a wide range of sources gives designers a unique perspective, not only on their own industry, but on the industries of the clients they service.
  3. It’s just plain insulting. Clients’ expectations are high and most of us working in small (or even large) studios are jacks-of-all-trades. For some of us that means taking on writing, coding, administration or sometimes the mundane task of stuffing envelopes. On a daily basis we stretch the boundaries of our job titles in the name of ensuring the job gets done and done well. Don’t we deserve a little bit of credit for that?

So don’t take it on the nose next time someone belittles you and your chosen profession (accidentally or otherwise). Stand up and proudly spell out what it is that makes us special and why design is the domain of smart people with sharp minds.

Penguin: Who’s out in the cold?

It’s pretty well documented that Google updated their algorithm last month leaving users in a frenzy as they scrambled to recover rankings. As with all Google updates, spokespeople for the search engine giant have stayed tight lipped on the specific details of the update to protect its integrity but that hasn’t stopped speculation from industry experts who claim to have the answers.

Headlines preaching ‘how to recover’ have filled online news channels over the past few weeks but as with all algorithm overhauls, the real results will take time to appear and few are in a position to guarantee immediately improved rankings.

What Google has made public is the intended effect of Penguin on link farms and disingenuous inbound linking. Link farms have proved fairly successful in skewing organic search engine results, raising site rankings through the use of outbound links which Google views as authentic. Penguin has been designed at least partially to combat this mercenary tactic and evidence to date seems to suggest it’s working.

In the same vein Penguin is meant to significantly reduce the rating achieved by Pingbacks (links that send readers straight back to the original source), which has seen blogs in particular rank higher than usual due to the publication of links to credible outbound sources. It has also be revealed that sites with too many ads above the fold will be penalised, reducing their ranking and overriding the effects of any permissible SEO strategy.

While no one is denying there have been some negative effects with legitimate sites losing rankings, Penguin is yet to fully take flight and organic ratings will return to normal eventually. What else is hidden in the new algorithm will only surface over time, so hold tight and beware the promise of a quick fix – the truth is we’re all out in the cold on this one for now.

Facebook Timeline – Maximising Business Potential

Having introduced their new timeline format to business pages just over a month ago in a soft launch, Facebook has now officially made the switch to all pages in a mandatory update. Similar to the new format for personal profiles, the timeline for pages offers a host of new features and ditches a few of the old, in some cases dividing opinion. To help point the way, WhiteRhino’s web developer and resident wizard Jason sat down to give us the rundown on the pros and cons of the social media giant’s latest facelift, providing a few useful hints along the way on how to optimise the benefits for social savvy businesses.

As with previous Facebook revamps, improvements in functionality, accessibility and user interactivity have been driving factors in the redesign. To this means, several major changes including the introduction of the cover photo (banner image) and larger photo display have been introduced.

“The cover photo is one of the biggest benefits to businesses as that banner space provides much bigger promo capacity than previously available,” says Jason. In addition, the ability to highlight specific stories allows businesses to control what gets priority on their page, pointing visitors to important news and positive feedback over other news.

The improved accessibility of the data and analysis information is also a major bonus for businesses wanting to track customer engagement through their page. The analysis tool is much more akin to that of a blog, says Jason, adding that “while it’s not much different to before in terms of actual tools, it’s much easier to find and use now, saving time and effort when collecting this data.”

Next the newly introduced capacity to direct message (DM) business pages serves to further encourage customer feedback and interactivity between consumers and businesses. In terms of using social media as a tool for genuine feedback and interaction says Jason, this is a big step but one that requires proper handling. “It’s important to acknowledge messages from clients or consumers, whether positive or negative as it can both cut down formal correspondences to help lines and encourage more genial resolutions to potential problems.

Businesses and consumers alike however should be aware of the cons of the new design as there are potential pitfalls for both parties. “The loss of the conversation tracking or wall-to-wall feature is a big one,” says Jason, highlighting how it is now virtually impossible to track interactions between two parties chronologically anymore. This means all wall-to-wall conversation history has been virtually eradicated so there is no paper trail to track interactions that have taken place publicly.

As well as this, apps (e.g. pages like forms or booking info etc.) have now been limited on the home page, making them harder to find and access and in some cases reducing the functionality of the page for some business interactions. Posts in the no longer static timeline design are also now subject to moving around the page, meaning posts not highlighted (including negative comments or feedback) are quickly lost. It’s also now harder to follow a page’s interactions as events are categorised under ‘Activity’ and ‘Likes’ boxes rather than chronologically. This is not necessarily a bad thing for businesses but consumers should be aware of this when posting complaints or feedback.

“Basically, businesses will need to adapt their approach to using Facebook as a tool,” says Jason of the update, recommending all businesses take the time to learn their way around the new features and design, familiarising themselves to avoid unnecessary gaffes and improve the usability of their page.