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Insights into the Online World

The Learning Never Stops

POSTED BY Sean Savoie


Being a Web Designer is so much more to me than just a career choice. I’ve begun to understand over the years of learning that it takes more than just showing up at 8am to be the best Designer I wish to be. This is an industry where I need to not only know how to design, but how to code to make those designs. It is almost like being an architect for the newest skyscraper in downtown Winnipeg and then also being the person to screw in the nuts and bolts to make sure it does not fall over. The web has evolved immensely over the years, and this requirement for a Web Designer to be a jack-of-all-trades is in demand more than ever right now.

This is one of the many reasons why I feel it's incredibly important to keep up to date with all the latest pieces of code or new design trends so that I can properly fulfill my job as Web Designer/Jack-Of-All-Trades. At the end of the day, I might find myself reading an article on new ways to organize my code or latest update for WordPress (Website Management System) before heading to bed. Doing research to improve your self-being as a designer is the single best practise you can do for yourself.

Over the years, I’ve mostly been in school learning Web Design, and a plethora of other media related skills but that has really let me hone down my skills of problems-solving, researching, and developing websites. I’ve learned how to keep up with latest web news and I wish to share some resources that I believe can really help people who wish to be more knowledgeable in this area whether you’re a student just starting out or a business owner who wants to know how to really utilize their website. I think it also important to note that it’s not the act of reading an article a day that I’m trying to showcase, it’s scanning these sites for new relevant information that you can apply to existing problems or even future problems. One of the coolest things that I can have happen to me in the day is implementing a new technology (Like a new innovative dropdown menu) that I discovered only a few weeks ago. This is a prime example of fulfilling my responsibility as a Web Designer. Not only does the new code work, it solves the problem that was at hand, and it also won’t be outdated anytime soon which is a common problem in this industry.

My Favourite Resources

Because of how important I believe it is to stay updated as a Web Designer I’ve compiled a couple of my most favourite resources for research and the latest features coming out in the web world.

Smashing Magazine is one of my favorite sites for media related to Web Design.  This site to me is a great way for me to not only improve my coding and designing skills but also on how to better my work process and use specific tools to create the best website for clients. The content they publish is so diverse that I learn something new every time I visit them.

CSS-Tricks is another one of those great sites however I usually find myself accessing it more while working than at home. They primarily publish content on how to improve your CSS (A common coding language used with Web Designers) and have a podcast called ‘ShopTalk’ which features other Designers from around the continent. Whether I mean to or not, I find myself at CSS-Tricks every day. This site is the reason my code is up to date. Without it, I might be stuck coding like it was 2010 (4 years can make quite the difference).

For the Novice Web Designer, I cannot recommend sources like this enough. Being a Web Designer takes determination and resources like Smashing Magazine & CSS-Tricks to make things easier. Luckily I’ve found a website that gathers all of my favourite new-media related sites into one place. Visit the Web Design Repo and explore. You might learn something.

Re-thinking The Brand

POSTED BY Stacey Wiebe


It can be hard to notice with Google exchanging their logo for doodles most days, but on September 1, 2015 they unveiled their new design.  This comes following their rebrand as a company to Alphabet – a new holding company whose largest subsidiary will be Google.  Their new look is simple, colourful, and friendly and ‘not just for the Google of today, but the Google of the future’.  Evolving and adapting with your company as it grows is important - your landscaping business is far more advanced than when you started it as a teenager mowing lawns. Google recognizes this need to readjust, having updated their logo 7 times in the last 17 years.

Google Logos

Re-branding can be great and clearly it’s worked well for Google, but sometimes there isn’t any need for it when you have a timeless design. Do you remember the short-lived Gap re-design? They tried to change something that was working for them and wound up over-complicating everything. I’m sure whoever gave the go ahead for the new logo wishes they had a time machine so they could avoid that fiasco. 

Gap Logos

Your logo and other aspects of your brand should work for you and help to attract the customers you’re looking for while maintaining those you already have. So what should you do if it’s time for your business to re-think their brand? We’re here to help with that. Here are five important steps you should consider when it comes to your brand.

Establish Goals
Making plans for your branding can help you to envision what you want your company to be in the future. If you don’t already have one, create a mission statement that encompasses those goals so you can make branding decisions based off of those 1-2 sentences.

Define Your Audience
Knowing your target audience can help you define where your time and money should go in order to capture the ideal customer. Creating personas to help establish your current and prospective clients is an excellent tool we use at Modern Earth. There’s no need to design a smartphone app for a business aimed at people who don’t use a lot of technology!

Refine or Create Your Logo
As a designer, this is one of my favourite parts of the branding process. Expressing a business idea and mission using different fonts and colours can be difficult. Whether you come to us with an idea or an existing logo, our team of creatives can help you to streamline your logo so it’s working for you.

Outline Fonts, Colours & Brand Elements
Producing a similar feel throughout your website, social media, and print materials helps to create customer loyalty and brand recognition. Without brand consistency, customers can lose sight of the message you are trying to portray and vital trust in your business link.

Set and Maintain Brand Standards
Setting guidelines for your brand is important when you’re working with other people so your brand can be consistent. Defining how your logo, fonts and colours should be used will help to create a similar feel throughout all platforms.

When you look at these aspects of branding, it can be seem quite daunting for one person to achieve by themselves. Having a team of people who are highly skilled in their fields can help to break down the process and make things run smoothly. Our unique team at Modern Earth brings together their expertise to execute any project or challenge we're given.

Labour Day Weekend

POSTED BY Modern Earth


The Modern Earth Web Design office will be closed Monday, September 7th, 2015 for the Labour Day long weekend.  If you have an urgent issue please contact our emergency support line at 204-885-2469 extension 155.  Regular office hours will resume Tuesday, September 8th, 2015.  Our regular office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Enjoy the long weekend!


Web designer or developer working in office on a computer

One of the aspects of my job as Creative Director at Modern Earth is to hire talented individuals to become part of our team. Throughout the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet with high school students, recent college graduates, people with no experience, and some whose career in design or development spans longer than mine – and while the talent of these individuals is important, there are a number of other skills which factor into the decision to bring a new employee aboard.

Ability to communicate

This may be the single most important skill of any person and particularly important for a designer or developer – this career is about communicating with an audience to present a message or solve a pain point – but the kind of communication I’m referring to goes beyond this. Communication is entwined with all facets of working in the industry – communication with a client; communication with other team members, peers, mentors, and managers; communication over the phone or as an email; communication during an in-person meeting. How you are able to communicate during any of these examples will greatly impact your success in this industry.

Problem solving

Working in the industry as a web designer or developer and problem solving go hand-in-hand – a client or company will come to you with a particular set of problems or “pain points” they are encountering with their business, and as a designer or developer, you will be tasked to solve these problems. There are a number of ways to approach any problem – jumping in head first, working through it backwards, identifying and breaking it into parts, iteratively, creating a strategy, using research methods, etc. Problem solving is something you’ll encounter on a daily basis – with the nature of the problem being the variable. We are constantly looking for candidates who bring their own unique format to problem solving – whether they have applied it within this industry or others.

Confidence in your craftsmanship

For both designers and developers there needs to be a level of confidence in the work you produce; the way you present information to the client and the rest of the world. You will be judged, you will need reasons why you made the choices you did, you will need to be convincing when demonstrating your thought process that led to the decisions you’ve made – having confidence in yourself and abilities you possess will give you a leg up and help you be successful in relaying your ideas.

Self-directed initiative

Self-directed initiative can be the ability to work on projects and tasks with periods of time where no one is directly responsible for your productivity. Another aspect to this is to push your own self to keep up with the constant change that occurs within this industry. Having the drive to learn new technologies, to work independently on the problem your facing, and to research your given work is something all employers value from potential candidates.
These are a few of the things we value most and look for when a candidate applies to join our team – if you are a web designer or developer that excels on these fronts, we’d love to meet you. Visit our Careers page and apply by emailing your cover letter, resume and relevant portfolio samples to [email protected].

SEO: A Summary

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere


SEO Source Code - Modern Earth Web Design - Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg ManitobaWhen asked “so, what do you do?” I find myself responding with something along the lines of “I help clients make it easier for Google to find their website”.  I've tried saying "I do Search Engine Optimization" which is often met with a puzzled look or a blank stare.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is a complex process that involves several small pieces of one larger machine.  Starting from the code up, almost every part of a website can be search engine optimized.  Good SEO tells a search engine what your website as a whole is about, and what each individual page of your website is about.    

While there are a large number of elements to optimizing your website, here are some very quick, easy wins for your SEO strategy.


Page Titles

Specifying a unique title for each page of your website lets Google, and other search engines, know what the page is about.  This helps them achieve their end goal of providing users with the most accurate search results possible.  Make sure titles are concise and informative.

Meta Descriptions

This is the area where you can expand further on the information contained in the web page itself.  While there is no set character limit for page meta descriptions at this time, making sure users can see the description in its entirety from the search results page helps them make the decision to click on your website.  Write descriptions that are compelling and attention grabbing.

Image Alternative Text

Alternative text on images is important for all users; tags that accurately describe their corresponding image are regarded highly by search engines.  If an image does not load on a page, or a user is using a screen reader, they will still have an idea of what the image is and how it relates to the rest of the content on the page.  

Link Title Text

Title tags on links, both in website navigation and in page content, can help users navigate your site.  These tags can also potentially help improve click through rates within your website - keeping users on your site longer and encouraging them to view more pages.

This is a very high-level summary of just a few of the elements of website SEO, much like my “what do you do?” answer.  For more information, or if you would like to discuss how Modern Earth Web Design can help implement search engine optimization on your website, we are just a click or a call away.