Category Archives: design

NewEmployee_Cody Brown

Meet The Team: Cody Brown

By | design, New Employee | No Comments

2015 has already been a busy year for us at Digital Operative, and we continue to add to the team. We would like to welcome Cody Brown into his new role as Senior Visual Designer, based in our San Diego, CA. office.

Meet Cody Brown:

I’ve always been a very artistic person, and have been working in the advertising/design space for the past 5 years or so. In my early design years I created a ton of custom illustrations and poster designs for bands and gigs. A few of my more notable designs were tour posters for The Lumineers and Imagine Dragons in 2012. I recently worked at BBH LA where I learned a lot about digital advertising, mobile apps, and technology related platforms. Some of my recent passions are lifestyle photography & shooting short films.

Let’s get to know Cody a little better with RAPID FIRE:

  • Website You Visit The Most:

  • iPhone or Android: iPhone

  • Favorite Phone App: Instagram

  • Favorite Industry related Website: dribble

  • If you could only visit one website for the rest of your life, what site would that be?

  • Something you say frequently: Yeah, totally

  • First thing you do when you get to the office: Sip on my delicious coffee

  • If you could have any job in the world, what would it be: Get paid a ridiculous amount of money to travel the world and take amazing photos and videos

  • How Do you take your coffee: Pour over of course, with a splash of almond milk and a pinch of raw sugar. 

  • Fun Fact about yourself: Lobster is all I think about

  • Favorite thing to do on a Saturday: Hang by the beach,  maybe take some photos, and have dinner and drinks with my friends. 

If you’re interested in joining the DO family, check out our job listings here.

Mobilegeddon (1)

#MOBILEgeddon Begins Today and You Need Tips

By | agency life, design, google | No Comments

I picked the best day to start writing again.

As you all are preparing for Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update … you’re too late. It just started today. If your website is not mobile friendly, you’ve either scrambled over the past 2 months to be ready or you missed your launch date and now your boss is reading about the release across all mainstream media outlets like the following:

  • USAToday – ‘Mobilegeddon’ could be bad news for 40% of top websites – link
  • USAToday – 5 things to know about ‘Mobilegeddon’ – link
  • CNN Money – Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ – 5 Fast Facts – link
  • WSJ – Google’s `Mobilegeddon’ Could Affect Major Companies – link
  • SearchEngineLand – Mobilegeddon Is Today: Here’s How It’s Going With Rollout Of Google’s Mobile Friendly Update – link
  • Google (OFFICIAL) – Rolling out the mobile-friendly update – link

Assuming you clicked above and read all the news about Google’s mobile-friendly search algorithm update, here are some quick “What You Need to Knows” to share with your boss so you can get back on the path to greatness.

    1. It’s not a penalty, it’s all about prioritization – Google says, “We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.” That means your competitors’ mobile-friendly websites will get a lift in organic search results over yours.
    2. It’s a global application – Google states, “Affects search results in all languages globally.” That means those often neglected distributor websites or localized microsites you setup to show a “perceived international presence” need some attention now.
    3. It’s page-based so react iteratively if you have to – Google states, “Applies to individual pages, not entire websites.” That could mean rolling out a responsive or mobile-friendly homepage since most of your traffic may end up there. You still have time as Google says it will take a few weeks to roll out.
    4. Test out your website’s mobile-friendliness free – Google offers its own tool to help you here
    5. Get Responsive Web Design (RWD) Tips – Google offers a whole resource on where to start for converting that old website to the new and modern responsive web design methodology

Hopefully these three points help with your internal cause to go mobile-friendly, but again you had two months to prepare for this. This Google search algorithm update is more than just SEO, it touches your entire team across user experience, design and development. If you’re a retailer this change not only will affect your website traffic, but also your ecommerce revenue. Good luck and let’s raise our glasses to #MOBILEgeddon

why of web design

Web Design “Why?” – Explanations & Metrics Behind Ecommerce Best Practices and Tips to Improve Conversion

By | design, infographic | No Comments

In the world of web design, ecommerce specifically, teams often refer to industry best practices to make quick assumptions & design decisions without metrics, testing or even without understanding “why?” In an attempt to both explain certain practices and to validate decisions with statistics, I created an infographic compiling common web design/ecommerce design practices and supporting them with either data or an explanation accompanied by a “pro tip” to facilitate the best future usage. Time to Increase those conversions!

Click here to view the full-size infographic and let us know what you think. Or, drop us a line if you have questions about how to better design your site to increase those conversions.

w3award silver

LaCantina Doors Site Redesign Receives a Silver W3 Award

By | awards, design | No Comments

Digital Operative is proud to announce our Silver Award distinction in web design for our submissions to the 9th Annual W³ Awards! DO chose to display their work completed on the LaCantina Doors Website. It is certainly no easy task to break through the online clutter. It is humbling to have our work recognized by our peers among so many innovative and creative agencies. Website entrants were judged on factors including creativity, usability, navigation, functionality, visual design and ease of use.

The W³ Awards pay homage to exemplary creative on the web by recognizing the creative and marketing professionals who craft the award winning sites, videos and marketing programs. This major web competition is the first to be made available, by W³, to all agencies, no matter how large or how small they may be. In other words, smaller firms who deliver quality output will not be squashed by Fortune 500 giants or any other larger international agencies, simply because they do not have the previous recognition in their space.

The W³ Awards are judged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, an assembly of leaders in the respective disciplines of advertising, traditional media, interactive media and marketing firms. By merely entering the contest, agencies will be recognized by peers and clients as being among the best in the industry.

Winners of the various award categories are judged based on a set of criteria deemed to be outstanding by the Academy of Interactive Visual Arts. Each category holds a different set of standards to determine who will win. Outstanding entrants who are honored with the Silver Awards are held to a standard of excellence. DO is proud to have worked with a truly outstanding and evolving company like LaCantina Doors on this esteemed project.

If you are the type of person who likes to do things for yourself, you may watch networks like HGTV or the Do It Yourself network. If so, you may have seen LaCantina Doors featured in home improvement, home remodel, and home renovation television shows including House Crashers, Room Crashers, Property Brothers and Vanilla Ice’s show.

LaCantina Doors is an innovative pioneer of multi slide doors designed to open space without compromising quality, performance and value. Not only is LaCantina Doors recognized as one of San Diego’s fastest growing companies for two consecutive years, their innovative multi slide design was honored as one of the 100 best new products for 2014 by Professional Builder.

If you’re looking for an award winning design for your site, drop us a line and let us DO what we DO best!


Design Intern Out….

By | design, Internships | No Comments

In this post, we will recap Margo’s experience with DO. She started 16 weeks ago (she decided to extended her internship) and wrote about what she hoped to achieve in our series, 12 weeks – what it’s really like to intern for a digital agency. But, unfortunately it’s that time of year again and we have to say “see you later”!  We asked Margo to answer a few questions about her experience and this is what she had to say:

Wow, what an adventure these 12 weeks have been being the design intern. It makes me sad that I have to leave, but all good things come to an end eventually. At least I know I can leave with an awesome new logo, and design for the site, Incubagency. It was a privilege and absolute honor to learn from the best (Brad & Evan)  in creating a website from scratch into a final product. Everyone has been so helpful and the dart wars have been awesome.

1. Now that you’ve completed you internship – How would you define Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing to me is family. They work together, battle together, and create awesome work together. I am excited to see how they grow with their new office in Denver, CO. The role of the designer is crucial, they create a visual and usable product of what the client wants.

2. Who were your mentors at DO and how did you like working with them?

Oh Brad and Evan have been awesome. Couldn’t have asked for some better mentors. I appreciate all they have taught me, given me tips, and some very helpful criticism about the work I have done at DO. They have helped me the most in my growth as a designer. (Of course everyone else who allowed me help with projects, a big thanks to them too!)

3. What did you learn from your internship?

That your original idea never sticks. Working on the Incubagency site has taught me that as the weeks progress so does the work. Looking back there are a lot of steps that have to be taken before you get a final project. Also buy a dart gun, it will save your life. (or a cross bow)

4. Do you still want to go down the same career path? Why/Why not?

Yes, being here at DO has even strengthened my drive going into the design field. I loved being able to create a large project and seeing the process and growth.

5. Would you recommend the internship program to your classmates?

Yes, I would tell any of my classmates to join the internship program. I think DO offers the best experience and opportunity for a someone to grow and get the inside scoop. I mean, I wish I could stay..

6. What were a few of your favorite memories while interning for DO?

Some of my favorite memories would include my weekly meetings for the Incubagency site, hanging out with my fellow interns James and Andrew, and working with Brad and Evan. I have really enjoyed my time here at DO.

7. You’re finished……Now what?

Completing my internship here at DO makes me feel accomplished but sad. I am so use to coming into the office and seeing everyone. But I know I have grown, and I have DO to thank for that. I am so excited to graduate in August and start getting paid for the work that I do. I most definitely I want to go down the same path. I can’t wait to graduate and really get started. Being in the atmosphere I know what I want to do, and I am so excited.

So long Margo, We’ll miss you and your creativity. We know you’re going to be an awesome designer and can’t wait to see what you do after graduating!


Valio Con 2014 – Day 1

By | Conference, design | No Comments

Image is from the website

This week our designers had the opportunity to attend Valio Con 2014 right in our backyard at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego. Valio Con is an annual conference aimed to inspire designers to create and build greatness both in the workplace and out. Exceptional speakers from across the country gather to share their insight and knowledge with others.

Day one at Valio Con was a hit. Everyone from the speakers to the attendees were full of excitement and energy. They became acquainted with the other guests through ‘drink night’ and welcome activities throughout the day. All the speakers blew them away with their messages and gave them tons of information to bring back to our office. Here’s a few highlights.

Geoff Teehan from Teehan + Lax kicked off the speaker series with a powerful presentation about what he’s learned from his successful career in the design field. He stressed the added value of sharing the gift of design with the community and not always working for profit. It’s crucial to discover what’s important and embrace inevitable changes in the job and in life.

Keiran Flannigan, creator of the Heed application, shared her experiences building the app. Her important message about creating a quality product rather than taking shortcuts resonated strongly with the group.

Chuck Longanecker from Digital Telepathy emphasised originality. He talked about the benefits of taking risks in business and the cruciality of putting everything on the line for what you love.

From Pure Fix, Jennet Liaw shared her evolution in the design field and stressed how vital taking the unconventional approach was to her career path. She also conveyed how passion, self-discovery, and standing up for yourself translated into business.

Ryan Hudson-Peralta from Quicken Loans gave an inspiring speech about determination. He implied that you are responsible for your own fate, no matter how large the obstacles are that you must overcome.

Lee Rubenstien focused on his side projects EatSleepDraw and ArtSnacks. Within those two projects he shared his experience discovering the importance of the user experience and how to convert your passion into user passion.

Michael Flarup from Robocat taught attendees the importance of fun. Be detailed oriented, but remember to enjoy the journey of creating a project. He also noted the benefits in letting people hear your ideas to improve them.

All the speakers had a strong message to bring home, and since this was only day one, we know there are a lot more great ideas to come. Follow us and one of our desingers Evan as we tweet our way through Valio Con. And as always, don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your design needs.


7 Diamonds Featured on Econsultancy

By | design, ecommerce | No Comments

Christopher Radcliff, a frequent Econsultancy contributor, featured our web design work for the men’s fashion and lifestyle brand, 7 Diamonds, in one of his posts about “flat design” in ecommerce. Naming 16 Beautiful Examples of Flat Design in Ecommerce, Radcliff chose to feature DO’s work on the 7 Diamonds website, writing “A fantastic, comprehensive and diverse range of images on the product listing pages. The homepage has a great collection of large attractive images linking to various parts of the site.”

After the feature mention in Econsultancy, we reached out to Radcliff to thank him, and he went on to say this:

“With an exquisitely laid out homepage that uses gorgeous photography to hold the user’s attention and a fantastically comprehensive and diverse range of images on the product pages, 7 Diamonds provides a contemporary and highly persuasive ecommerce experience”

Using the Magento platform, we created a site with responsive flat design, advanced product refinements and parallax scrolling effects with layers of information, all of which articulate the brand’s unique features and values. Our work with 7 Diamonds has garnered international notoriety that includes multiple awards and mentions on the Econsultancy* blog. You can find some of the awards below:

If you need help with anything eCommerce, we are your digital agency. Drop us a line and let us know how we can help!

*Econsultancy is an online community where digital marketing and ecommerce professionals gather to sharpen their strategy, get quick answers, acquire content, and discover how to achieve online greatness.


By | agency life, design, Digital Operative | No Comments

It’s that time of year again and last Friday we had to say “see you later” to one of our interns. Krista was the design intern for DO over the last 12 weeks and she is going into her last few months of college. We are so glad we had the opportunity to work with her and hope she learned a few things while working here. We asked Krista to answer a few questions about her experience and this is what she had to say:

Interning at Digital Operative has been a very good experience. I have had the opportunity to work with designers that have a great understanding of simple and clean design. Interning at DO has taught me that you can never have enough research and that there is always opportunity to push design further.

1. How would you define Digital Marketing? and how was your role crucial to the success of the Agency?

From a design perspective, digital marketing is all about creating an aesthetically pleasing look that excites the user into wanting to know more and also is about creating a good user experience. Designers pull all the research together of the company to create a good-looking finished product that works.

2. Who were your mentors at DO and how did you like working with them?

Brad and Evan were my mentors while at DO. Both were very willing to give me advice and help on projects. They provided good insight on what it means to design at a digital agency. They work hard and are good at what they do!

3. What did you learn from your internship?

Like I said above, the biggest thing I will take away from my time at DO is the idea that you can never have enough research or layout options. The more ideas there are the easier it is to come up with a finished product that makes sense, works well for the client, and looks good.

4. You’re finished……how do you feel about completing your internship?

I can’t believe my time at DO is already ending. I am so thankful that I have this experience to take with me into my future as a designer and as a new college graduate. I am excited to use what I have learned here in my last semester of college and wherever I end up in the design world.

5. Do you still want to go down the same career path after you graduate? Why/Why not?

I would still love the opportunity to design for youth camps or non-profits. Affecting kids lives for the better and helping people in general has always been something I have been passionate about. However, recently I have been interested in magazine and print design so I may explore that option as well.

6. What was your favorite part about working with DO?

My favorite part about working for DO was the fun yet hard working passionate environment. That excites me in looking for a job after graduation in that I really could enjoy where I work! It was also exciting to know that design on the web is changing to be something that can operate well but also be good design. Before working here I wasn’t sure how fun and exciting web design could be. Now I think it’s great.

7. Would you recommend the internship program to your classmates?

I would definitely recommend this internship to my classmates. Interning here has given me a good foundation of what it is like to work with a group of people (strategy, marketing, and other designers) to make a website. There are many things that I have learned here that you do not learn in the classroom and the only way to learn those things is to get the experience in a real digital agency.

8. What were a few of your favorite memories while interning for DO?

Being able to be involved in the celebration of DO’s five years was exciting. Even though I have only been interning here for a few months it has been obvious to me that there has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get this agency to where it is today and I loved being a part of the celebration.

Good Luck Krista! Your DO family wishes you nothing but the best – we are here for you and know you will kick butt in whatever you set your mind to!!!

Dear Google Plus, Your Videos Are Borked!

By | design | No Comments

Hats off to the YouTube team. They get it. They realize that people want to watch and listen to video while seeking the next piece of content they’d like to consume. It makes sense… Afterall, you could be listening to a TED talk and then discover a short Instagram clip you want to watch simultaneously. Or you could be listening to a music video while searching out your next jam to play. Use case after use case, there’s reason to allow the user to explore the stream, without stopping the video.

Unfortunately, this U/X revelation hasn’t made it over to the Google Plus product team. At least not yet.

You’ll notice that consuming video in your stream is a linear and rigid  process; one action overrides another. That is, once you start watching a video you can’t do anything else without interrupting that experience. And that needs to change.

We love watching video and we love our infinite streams of content. But the two together present some challenges if you ever want to do the internet equivalent of walking and chewing bubble gum.

That’s why our team set out to show our readers how we would solve this problem. Our first challenge, how do you get back to a video that’s playing in the infinite stream to play, pause, or adjust the volume. In order to solve this issue, we took a page out of the “New Posts” playbook. When you’re watching a video and scroll away from it, you’ll notice an overlay in the left corner that will easily jump you back to this content. Handy!

What’s more, what if you wanted to queue this video to play after the one you’re watching… a la iTunes. Well, we’ve solved for that too. Just add a simple Play Now, Play Next button to the videos and voilà, a better stream experience for movies.

Better UX for G+

We know Google is probably working on this exact issue as we post this… heck, they’ve already solved this challenge for YouTube.

We want our readers to know that, like Google, we’re thinking about how to solve big user interaction challenges too. Our experts aim to reduce the friction that’s inherent to new web experiences. We do this for companies we respect, like Google, and we do it for family of clients month in and month out.

We love what we do here at DO and it’s our ambition to make the web an easier place to do the things you love. If you’re interested in us solving a web headache your team has been grappling with, please don’t be hesitant to reach out to us.

7 CSS Web-safe Fonts for Anything and Everything

By | design | 3 Comments

After excruciating contemplation and individual critique of current web-safe fonts – fonts that are found on most operating systems like Windows, Mac, etc. and are therefore available to most tech users – I managed to whip up a short list of 7 of my own personal favorite typefaces, each paired along with a brief description and common font combinations in CSS that you will hopefully find helpful or meaningful in some way. Let’s get to the grit of it:


Century Gothic – A wide, light font. It shares several similarities with Avant Garde, another web-safe font, save for the lack of a descender on the lowercase u, and larger, rounder tittles (the dots above lowers i’s and j’s). Century Gothic is a practical font for display work, headers, and sometimes even subheaders, but I’d suggest steering clear away from it when writing out large blocks of text.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: “Century Gothic”, CenturyGothic, AppleGothic, sans-serif;

Futura – A family favorite sans serif typeface. Futura boasts geometrically balanced proportions, crisp and clean forms, and razor-sharp apexes. It’s a versatile font that draws the viewer in due to its rather unrestrained sense of forwardness, and is oftentimes used for both design and commercial purposes.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: Futura, “Trebuchet MS”, Arial, sans-serif;

Helvetica – The designer’s go-to. It’s somewhat more refined than the ubiquitous Arial, using mostly horizontal/vertical strokes as opposed to the diagonals frequently found in Arial. Another couple solid features are its legibility and neutrality, two traits which render Helvetica a font adaptable for use on projects modern or classic, up-and-coming or traditional.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: “Helvetica Neue”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;


Rockwell – Typically, we might associate this font with a certain image: something extending from the western cowboy universe, or some other iconic variant. Rockwell, however, should not be underestimated (or stereotyped in such a way) – its robust slab “square” serif design sets the typeface apart as an honest display font ideal for poster text and bold headliners.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: Rockwell, “Courier Bold”, Courier, Georgia, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif;


Baskerville – A transitional font that stems from classic typefaces and at the same time, uses the high contrast, vertical stress, and sharp finishes found in more modern fonts. Serifs are generally more horizontal and tapered than those of its old style predecessors. Baskerville is a solid choice if you want to convey something more serious and refined/something that seeks agreement and respect.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: Baskerville, “Baskerville Old Face”, “Hoefler Text”, Garamond, “Times New Roman”, serif;

Didot – A modern serif font that takes the contrasts of transitional fonts like Baskerville to the extreme. Didot features abrupt, unbracketed, thin serifs, and high contrasts between thick and thin strokes, creating an overall appearance that is in control and unmistakably elegant. Use it with generous margins and lots of white space for the best results.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: Didot, “Didot LT STD”, “Hoefler Text”, Garamond, “Times New Roman”, serif;

Garamond – A serif font that is easily recognizable by its excellent readability and dignified appearance. It’s well-suited for a range of applications probably in part to its large family of faces/interpretations. In general, Garamond is great for newsletters, business forms and cards, and anything official in between. Feel free to use it for blocks of text.

.classname {
color: #000000;
font-family: Garamond, Baskerville, “Baskerville Old Face”, “Hoefler Text”, “Times New Roman”, serif;

Ingrid Chen is DO’s current Design Intern and is our most stylish intern to date.

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