Design Industry

I’ve found that usually people fall into one of two camps. Camp one: Moodboards are a necessary step in any design process. Camp two: Moodboards use up too much time and can hinder creativity.

A moodboard can mean something different depending on what kind of context you put them in, however a moodboard is generally a combination of colours, typography, images and textures. With the mass of online inspiration such as pinterest and Niice you can now create moodboards quickly without slaving over hundreds of magazines with a pair of scissors in hand.

Are moodboards worth it?

Have you ever jumped straight into a project, spending days on mock ups to then send them to the client to only to hear that the work isn’t them or that it doesn’t have the right look and feel?

These kinds of situations can be avoided by using moodboards earlier on within a project. By using moodboards and communicating with your client you are able to get a better understanding of what their expectations are from the start. By adding in this step you are able to save valuable time, as creating a loose moodboard is a lot less time consuming than creating pixel perfect mock ups.

Moodboards are accessible and a great communication tool — as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. So if you’re a client briefing a designer but struggling to put into words what style you are looking for, creating a simple moodboard may be your answer. Also a moodboard can help with miscommunication as one person’s idea of the word ‘Fun’ may be another person’s idea of ‘Busy’ — getting everyone on the same visual page from the start of a project is probably one of the simplest ways to ensure a project runs smoothly.

Moodboards aren’t the answer to everything

Now i’m not saying every project requires a moodboard, sometimes they aren’t appropriate. For example if you’re a client with a solid brand that has a distinctive look and feel, it might not be right to spend time sourcing visuals to reinforce a well established brand with solid enough guidelines already in place.

Moodboards can also lack purpose when designing the experience of a website. As websites are naturally interactive, and as moodboards are naturally static it can be really difficult to communicate the overall interactive experience with no moving elements.

Moodboards aren’t a replacement for original creative thinking. By no means should a project start with moodboard without solid concepts and ideas. Sourcing images without a concept leads to hours of wasted time and makes it incredibly difficult to justify to a client why you have proposed a visual idea. By taking the style over substance approach could mean that your design becomes based on trends rather than your clients needs.

At Eight Arms we believe that in a digital world, content is key and sometimes the best way to grab attention is with animation or video.

A successful website is engaging, user friendly and most importantly has great content. Content can be well written and interesting but sometimes a static website containing text and image alone may not be enough to tell your story.

Internet users are now often spending less than 15 seconds on a website*. As a result we’ve adjusted our design approach in order to cater to users with shorter attention spans. However, diminishing attention spans aren’t the only reason we’re rethinking our approach. We’ve also noticed that over the years, users have shifted their time spent online towards video content and the dominance of video on the web has increased dramatically. Youtube is now the second largest search engine on the web with 6 billion hours of video content viewed each month**.

As more people engage with video on multiple devices, video content has become far more accessible than ever been before. Therefore designers and developers have begun treating video content differently. More and more websites now use video as the main focus and purpose of the website rather than an additional after thought.

At Eight Arms we embrace video content and use video to successfully promote products, brand and services. This use of video makes it easier for us to communicate businesses thoughts and ideas quickly while taking the users digital experience to a new level.

In our latest campaign with Fairtrade we were challenged to bring to life the themes from a film in a way that audiences could relate to, engage with and share socially. We used snippets of video to create a modular homepage that showed relatable footage of both the western world as well as the farmers lives in Malawi. The results speak for themselves, Fairtrade had the highest number of engagement, traffic and conversions than ever before.

We also brought video to the forefront of the Tinderflint website redesign. By including multiple 5 second edits of their current showreel within the homepage we were able to target those 15 second users, as they would instantly get a taste for the kind of work that Tinderflint produce.

These are just two of many examples where we have integrated video content alongside the more traditional use of text and imagery. At Eight Arms we believe that with ever increasing broadband and mobile internet connection speeds, video is now becoming the standard user expectation as opposed to an additional design enhancement. We predict that this trend will continue to grow over the coming years and feel there is no better time than now to start taking video content more seriously as part of your digital content strategy.

*What you think you know about the web is wrong
**Youtube the 2nd largest search engine infographic

Guest post written for Tinderflint

Do you know your CMS from your SEO? Here we explain a few of the terms that we use throughout website projects.

Within the digital world it is really easy to throw acronyms and techy terms around without a second thought. These terms might make sense to us as a studio but what about a client who may not be so tech savvy? Below we’ve created a list of words that we use frequently here at Eight Arms.

1. API

An API or Application Program Interface can be considered as an alternative user interface that makes requests for or use of information from another computer, operating system, or another application.

Many websites these days are huge databases of information. We can use APIs to “get the information out”, for example automatically displaying tweets on your website without the need to upload each one manually.


A content Management System is the system that you can use to manage the content of your website. There are hundreds of Content Management Systems available for your use at a range of prices. Many of the most popular ones are open source, such as WordPress or Drupal.


Search Engine Optimisation is a process of upgrading the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s organic (or un-paid) search results.


A website wireframe is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website. Wireframes will typically contain no designed elements of a website such as branding or imagery, but will show how the proposed content and other website elements will be arranged on a page.


A sitemap is a list of pages that online users have access to on a website. Sitemaps can be used as a planning process when designing a website. They are usually organised in a hierarchy with the top navigation first and then pages sitting below each relevant category.


Most websites essentially consist of a number of files. These files need to be accessible over the internet, so for that to happen we need computers that are attached to the internet with a high speed connection. These computers are known as servers, and hosting is an agreement between a company who owns these servers to let space and resources on them.


The template refers to the design of a page that can be used multiple times across a content managed website.


When you visit a website your browser downloads the web page, the data is “cached,” meaning that the website is temporarily stored on your computer. Therefor the next time you wish to access the webpage, your browser will access it from the cache so that the website will load quicker.


All the servers in the world have addresses to find them. These aren’t geographic addresses with street names, but something called an IP address which looks something like this —

IP addresses aren’t the catchiest or most rememberable website address, so what usually happens is you register a domain name from a service provider like “”, and the provider will ‘point’ the domain name to the IP address, so everyone who types in the name will unwittingly end up on your server.


A Unique Resource Locator or web address is what you can type into an internet browser to access a website or other resource on the Internet.


Guest post written for Eight Arms

Last night I went to D&AD’s second home to hear David McCandless talk about his latest book, Knowledge is Beautiful.

Information design is getting bigger, and so is David McCandless in the design world. While at university nearly everyone I knew had a copy of Information is Beautiful, so I was excited to see tickets pop up for his latest talk.

The talk took place in D&AD’s second home, with a really good turn out. David spoke briefly about his work and focused on the strange, funny and interesting relationships that would appear in the data he investigated. As David explained, information design allows us to make numbers and data relatable.

‘Information is Beautiful’ was a great book when it first arrived on designers bookshelves — seeing data as fun and shown in a visually stimulating way wasn’t as prominent as it is today. It’s great to see that information design has developed, and I think David does this well with ‘Knowledge is Beautiful‘ as he has looked at data in comprehensive way, in more detail and placed it in context. Naturally this deeper investigation of data allows us to understand information and gain knowledge from the facts rather than assumptions.


After 9 wonderful months I have left the LoveKnitting team and ventured back into the studio world. To welcome me back in is a studio called Eight Arms.

Over the last 9 Months I have had a lot of fun, learnt a hell of a lot about knitting, met some truly interesting people, as well as worked on a lengthy digital project – seeing it through from wireframes to launch.

After my internship I had the plan of relaxing over Christmas then I would decide what direction I should take. This all changed when I was approached by Loveknitting as, I jumped right into a freelance role. I never intended to work freelance, nor did I attend to work in-house. I couldn’t say no due to being a knitting fanatic! This was a scary (due to being out of university 6 months) yet fantastic opportunity and meant I would get experience in a totally new design situation.

I really enjoyed working at LoveKnitting and making the decision to move from a comfortable 10-6pm, well paid, in-house position may seem odd to some, but I was ready to feel uncomfortable – ready for a challenge.

I’ve finally become comfortable with being uncomfortable – new projects, new people, new clients, and the expectations of me. I’m now accepting to the fact that it’s okay to feel unsure about starting a new project. Instead of letting this uncertainty cripple me like it did many a time at university, I embrace it.

Uncertainty has become possibility.