Blog, news and social feed

Welcome to our blog.

Here you can find out the latest news from Goggle Studio and hear some of our team’s thoughts on recent developments in the design world.

Disclaimer: here at Goggle, when we’re not working on the next big thing, we try not to take ourselves too seriously. If we did, we’d go mad. The core of what we write here is supposed to be informative but there will be a hint of sarcasm on the periphery that we advise you read with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.

What’s new at Goggle Studio

Greetings and salutations everyone! Firstly, please accept my apologies for the time that has passed since our last post. Needless to say, 2017 has been a very productive year for us so far and I’ve got a lot to update you on.

I should start by telling you what we’ve been spending our time on since the turn of the year. We’ve seen a significant increase in repeat work from our core clients and have managed to add some local businesses to our client roster. As I’ve explained in previous posts, we consider repeat business the foundation of any successful operation and a true reflection on the quality of service being provided, so we’re delighted that our client base is growing.

A substantial percentage of our new work comes from recommendations, which is fantastic – and, whilst we’re on the subject, thank you to all of you who have referred people to us. We really appreciate and value your continued support.

Our goal is to now expand our reach and attract more work from the market nationwide. We feel this is fundamental to growing the business and ensuring longevity. In order to do this, we need to build our online presence and the first stage to achieving this is to upgrade our existing website to make it as accessible and innovative as possible. We will, of course, also be freshening up our branding as part of the process. This is all on the agenda for this year so you should expect to see a new and improved Goggle Studio soon – perhaps to coincide with the start of the new year.

I think that’s pretty much it for now. I could go on for pages but I’m conscious you all have extremely busy lives and less is often more. I hope you found this update interesting and informative.

I suppose that just leaves me to wish you all a happy Easter from everyone here. We hope you enjoy the break and look forward to seeing you soon.

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The definition of an enigma

My inspiration for this blog post came from a conversation between two brothers that I witnessed from my tank on a wet June afternoon a couple of years ago. The premise of this deep, and at times heated, conversation was the quest for success and fulfilment, and what emerged was the foundation of this great company. I’ll leave you to take from this what you will but I think the underlying messages are thought provoking at the very least. Enjoy.

‘Just decide’ was the comment. Sounds easy enough. But what happens if you’ve decided but you find yourself in a position that prohibits you from actioning the decision you’ve made? Is that indicative of your lack of desire to see the decision through? Are you making excuses? Is it because you don’t really want it that much? You’re not reckless enough to go for it, regardless of your responsibilities? Are you scared? Or is that just life? Just the way things are? So get used to it sun beam. You’re no different to the millions of other people in the world stuck in a dead end job they detest.

I often think – too deeply most of the time, no doubt – about what I really want career wise. Most of the time, I come to the conclusion that I don’t really know what I want to do but I know I don’t want to do what I’m doing now. This is challenging because, where there is uncertainty or room for other thoughts, arguments against what you’re proposing speak up. This is known as doubt. You allow yourself to be convinced by these conflicting views (doubt) as they get louder and become more prominent and convincing. Is that your sub-conscious playing games? Are you trying to talk yourself out of it without knowing you are but secretly hoping you do? Remember, you’ve got a nice house, a nice car, holidays every year, eat out, all the usual. But then again what use is all that when over 70% of your week is spent doing something you don’t want to do? And then there is all the added time you spend pondering…

I suppose you are faced with essentially two choices:

1. agree with the arguments against taking a leap and think about the money you earn and the responsibilities you have. You know, get used to your chosen career because it’ll keep you and your family fed for the foreseeable (hopefully). If you do that, you can always attempt to find solace by supplementing your day-to-day slog with part time ventures or ‘hobbies’ to relieve some of the monotony, or at least enough to blur out the frustration you feel and convince you yourself made the right decision.

2. or, on the other hand, you could throw caution to the wind and take a leap of faith. Yes, you don’t know what you want to do career wise – you haven’t got a blueprint written out – but you know that what you’re doing isn’t what you want to do, so isn’t that enough? Yes, you could go down in flames, but at least you tried. At least you made an effort to change the way you feel. Made an effort to change your life for the better. But is that going to be enough if it does all go wrong and you end up worse off than when you started? Are you safe or content in the knowledge you gave it a go? And what about those who rely on you? Where will they stand if you cock things up?

Which one do you choose? One thing is for sure: by swallowing your pride and taking the easier, safer route by attempting to come to terms with your general feeling of discomfort, you will be safe in the knowledge that you are in good company along with the aforementioned millions of other people in the world.

What an enigma. Actually, maybe enigma is too strong a word. Maybe labelling it an ‘enigma’ is giving it too much weight, too much consideration and therefore too much importance. If you think you know what you want, go out and get what want. Stop confusing matters. Make a decision. Just decide.

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How to maximise the effectiveness of your internal meetings

Before I start, I should make it clear that I’m firmly of the view that the sharing of knowledge and information amongst staff and other personnel is fundamentally important to the successful running of the business. That much is obvious. I’m more worried about how that is done and ensuring the method is conducive to effective communication and productive results. That’s what I’ll be focussing on in this post.

I’m aware that there are a number of articles out there written by people far wiser and better informed than me that give the reader a very comprehensive guide on how to conduct internal meetings. I’ve heard people talk about standing meetings, as opposed to seated ones, to stimulate the body and mind and create an overall more productive environment. I don’t dispute that – it actually sounds pretty sensible – but I’m not a psychologist and I do not protest to be some entrepreneur supremo with Sir Alan Sugar on speed dial so I can’t and won’t delve that deep, I’m afraid. I am merely here to share my thoughts and experiences with you as the average man in the street whose sat in his fair share of pointless meetings in the hope you won’t have to endure the same after reading this post. I apologise in advance if what I’m about to offer has already been written in said articles by the aforementioned experts. If that’s the case, do let me know because I might be wiser than I thought.

Anyway, moving swiftly on, in the various roles I’ve filled throughout my working life, I’ve been fortunate enough to be subjected to a number of internal meetings attended by a multitude of different personalities concerning a range of topics. Some of them were effective, some were utterly pointless, but they’ve all contributed to this post so, for that, I’m grateful.

The term: firstly, from now on, I’d like to do away with the term ‘meeting’. For me, the word conjures up an image of a group of people sitting around a table in a stuffy room, surrounded by hot air, lukewarm coffee and stale croissants wishing they were still in bed or on the beach or anywhere but the meeting they are in. They’re boring, often non-eventful, unproductive and serve only to irritate and waste time. Let’s use the term ‘gathering’ instead.

Have a clear purpose: ensure there is a purpose to the gathering and everyone knows what the purpose is. I appreciate this may not be appropriate in some contexts but, generally, you’ll get far more out of people if they know what the gathering is for and why they are there.

Be structured: draft up and circulate an agenda in advance listing the topics that are to be discussed. This may not be doable or appropriate in every circumstance but try to do it when possible. Not everyone will relish the prospect of sitting in a room without an end in sight. An agenda helps to combat that by reassuring people there’s a structure in place.

See light at the end of the tunnel: if possible, specify a time limit. When I organise gatherings, I always try to specify a length beforehand so everyone knows how long they can expect to be engaged for and can plan accordingly.

Lead the way and get to the point: if you’re leading the gathering, do so. Don’t allow people to take over and dominate. If you’re going round the houses on a particular issue, cut the conversation and get to the point: what are we going to do, when by and who is going to take responsibility to ensure that it’s done. Next.

Encourage debate: ensure your gatherings are interactive and inclusive. Encourage discussion and input. If someone has something to say on the subject, let them know that you want to hear it. You never know, it could be the most sensible thing you’ve heard all day. In order to allow room for this, you must not let anyone be put off by the domineering loud mouth, who, given the opportunity, will not come up for breath. You know who they are. Don’t worry, every organisation has one. Combatting them requires strong leadership and a clever hand to guide proceedings in the right direction (see ‘Lead the way and get to the point’ above).

Do what you came to do: make sure you either resolve or put in place a plan to resolve the issue/s you’ve discussed. I’ve lost count of the amount of occasions a particular issue has been discussed and dissected in great detail all for proceedings to end and no one be any the wiser on how it’s going to be resolved and/or who is going to resolve it. Allocate responsibility accordingly and ensure a deadline is agreed. Tasks with no set deadlines inevitably get stood over until they become irrelevant. This is a waste of time.

Keep a record: ensure the gatherings are minuted and delegate that responsibility to an appropriate person. I find the person who’s the most efficient and diligent member of the team is good for this. You know who they are.

Accountability is key: if a regular gathering, ensure you find out what has and what hasn’t been done when going through previous minutes. If someone hasn’t dealt with something they were supposed to, find out why. Nothing irritates more than someone not being held accountable for something they’ve failed to do for 5 gatherings in a row. Again, this is a complete waste of time. Doing this also stops people making promises they can’t/won’t keep.

Timing is everything: try not to hold your gatherings at the end of the day. I appreciate everyone will have a preference on the time of day they would like a gathering to be held and it’s extremely unlikely everyone will agree but I would say organising one towards the end of the working day will be a kick in the nether regions for the majority. Don’t do it. Breakfast gatherings can be good. I always find they can be more productive and the majority of people prefer to get them out of the way. Here at Goggle, we tend to hold our gatherings in the morning because we found enthusiasm for them was far greater than later in the day. I’ll leave you to decide what’s best but give it some thought. It really does make a difference.

I’m conscious that what I have written could be perceived to be aimed towards management level but I sincerely hope everyone can take something from it. I’m also conscious that every business is different and not everything I’ve suggested will be relevant to everyone but I think it is certainly a good starting point for anyone who is looking to fine tune their approach.

Take from it what you will.

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Colour psychology: how we interpret different colours

Colours influence the way we think and the decisions we make every day – and most of the time their effect is subliminal.

From what we wear in the morning to what we chose to eat for lunch, colour plays a huge part in our cognitive process. The decision therefore on which colour/s to use for your brand, logo and website is an extremely important one.

But there’s so much choice that, at times, deciding on which colour/s to use can often be a daunting task, so here’s our quick guide to the most commonly used colours and how we interpret them. However, keep in mind that certain shades or tones may result in very different meanings. Also, the context around the colour, and even surrounding colours, can have an effect, so think of this as more of a beginner’s guide:

White: purity, innocence, cleanliness, sense of space, neutral

Black: authority, power, strength, intelligence

Grey: neutral, timeless, practical

Red: love, romance, gentle, warmth, comfort, courage, energy, excitement, intensity

Orange: happy, energetic, excitement, enthusiasm, warmth, wealth prosperity, sophistication, change

Yellow: happiness, laughter, warmth, optimism, hunger, intensity, frustration, attention

Green: natural, growth, money, health, envy, tranquillity, harmony, calmness, fertility

Blue: calmness, serenity, cold, wisdom, loyalty, truth, focused

Purple: royalty, wealth, sophistication, wisdom, exotic, spiritual, prosperity, respect, mystery

Brown: reliability, stability, friendship, sadness, warmth, comfort, security, natural, organic

Pink: romance, love, gentle, calming, agitation

Do feel free to get in touch with the team here at Goggle if you need some colour inspiration.

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The ramblings of an ‘absent-minded’ goldfish

What is the meaning of life? Such supposition that there is a meaning could perhaps be considered presumptuous by some, but do we not all crave purpose?

Take me, for example. I am but a mere goldfish. One could be forgiven for rendering such a small creature meaningless, and such an accusation – albeit a harsh one – does have some validity if you consider I do not contribute much by way of conservation to any species other than my own. I understand this. However, one does seek to find a meaning – a purpose – for their existence, regardless of how insignificant they consider their role to be. Is that not what makes life worth living? The quest for meaning.

One can be ambitious and find a role for oneself. Whilst I’m not one to brag, I think I do a pretty good job carrying out my day-to-day ‘mascot’ duties, entertaining a bunch of cretinous fools who occasionally – and rather annoyingly – contaminate my water by dipping their fingers in in a pathetic attempt to dupe me into thinking they are food. They still find it hilarious. I find it hilarious how they still think they’re fooling me. C’est la vie.

Even better is the common perception that goldfish only have 3 second memories (as stated in my website profile, no less…). I may be absent-minded on occasions but to suggest I have such a short memory span on the basis of a few rare bouts of forgetfulness is, quite frankly, offensive and lacking in conviction.

I hope this short piece of narrative does enough to dispel such ridiculous notions and demonstrates that, whilst goldfish may be small and insignificant, we are in fact deep-minded creatures, who only nibble at the fingers of idiotic humans because we feel a duty to entertain them.

I must say, however, that the humans in whose office I reside, who – as you may have guessed – are often the source of my frustrations, make up for their idiocy with their enviable skills and knowledge in marketing and design. So, if you’re looking for a recommendation, you can’t go wrong with them – as long as you’re not a goldfish…

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The foundations for a marketing strategy

As important as finding and cultivating new work is, the foundation of any business is repeat work and retaining that work by valuing and maintaining relationships with existing clients.

Unless you’ve been lucky enough to stumble across an untapped market, it’s likely your business is operating in an ever increasing, fiercely competitive environment, so it’s imperative you protect your existing client base from the prying eyes of competitors.

A comprehensive, consistent and effective marketing strategy can help you achieve this and be the difference between elevating your business into the stratosphere and it floundering in a shroud of mediocrity.

To do this, you first need to establish who makes up your existing client base. I’ve met many a business owner who can’t tell me who their top 10 clients are. Once you have that nailed down, you’re able to focus on ensuring your top clients are, firstly, receiving a stellar service and, secondly, are receiving the personal attention they require.

‘Adding value’ to your service is a great way to keep your existing clients engaged. For example, keeping your clients abreast of developments within your sector that could have a direct effect on them is something I’m sure they will appreciate and find extremely useful. This falls outside of the remit of the standard service you provide and demonstrates you’re a knowledgeable entity that’s looking out for its client’s interests. In fact, this is a great tactic to employ when trying to encourage new clients, but that’s for another post.

Remember, your existing clients are paying your bills so value them. Your business will not survive if it does not retain the work it already has.

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Minimum standards: your business bible

Consistency is key in business: consistently meeting and exceeding your clients’ expectations will ensure your business thrives; consistently letting clients down is a great way to lose work and build your business a bad reputation.

Maintaining a service that consistently meets the requirements of your clients should be paramount on your list of priorities as a business owner. There are various ways you can do this but there is one that, in my experience, is very effective and doesn’t require any day-to-day micro-managing of staff, if it is implemented properly.

Putting together a ‘minimum standards’ document is great way to set out your expectations and provide guidelines for how any and all of your business transactions should be carried out. This can include simple things like committing to always arriving 10 minutes before meetings are scheduled to start or picking the office phone up within two rings. These may seem like fairly obvious and menial points but they’re all things that contribute to a prospective client’s perception of your business.

Not everyone you work with will have the same idea of what is acceptable and what isn’t, so it’s important there isn’t any ambiguity on your part in terms of what you expect but, equally, it’s important to encourage the input of your employees because you don’t know everything either.

This document is also especially helpful for setting standards for any new employees you might take on, which can allow you to maintain a consistent service regardless of any change in personnel.

Once you have this document – let’s call it your business bible – in place, you can add to it and adapt it as you go, but having it there will ensure no one – including you – forgets the foundations on which your business operates, which should mean you always provide a service that consistently meets your expectations and the requirements of your clients.

And, if anyone joins your business and doesn’t keep to the standards you’ve set out, they can’t say you didn’t tell them so when you’re kicking them out of the door!

Start work on your business bible now. Feel free to get in touch with the team here if you need some inspiration.

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A day in the life of Goggle

The shrill ring of my alarm clock wakes me from my slumber. I look blurry eyed in the direction of my bedside table. The red digits on my alarm clock tell me it’s 6am.

A quick but thorough shower, brush of the teeth and I’m ready to get dressed. Glamorous casual is the dress code – as always – so a skinny tie, smart shirt, jeans and a fresh pair of trainers will suffice.

Coffee flask in hand, I’m now walking with purpose towards the station, excited for the day ahead. I know it’s obviously beneficial, and quite uncouth, for me to gush about how much I enjoy coming to work in a post I’m writing for the company that employs me, but I do seriously look forward to it. I think the three shots of espresso in my flask help.

After a swift 30 minute journey, seemingly made quicker by browsing Twitter, I’m walking through the doors of the studio. It’s 8.30am and Jason is already at his desk engrossed in what sounds like an important discussion (it probably isn’t) and Mike is stood staring at the projector screen displaying one of his recent creations, which I can’t quite fathom. I get the mandatory “afternoon” from both as I sit at my desk. Never gets old.

E-mails and messages checked and responded to, I’m all set. I saw some interesting news about one of our competitors whilst browsing Twitter this morning, so my first task is to do some undercover reconnaissance. Then it’s time to turn my attention to broadcasting news that one of our client’s websites is about to go in to build. Turns out Jason’s conversation earlier was important.

Mike has resorted to staring at his Mac screen whilst occasionally agreeing with himself. Both Jason and I are still completely oblivious to what he is trying to achieve but it’ll come to us in time. All creative geniuses appear completely nuts to the common man until the common man catches up with them – unless they don’t, in which case said creative genius is probably just nuts.

It’s now lunch time and Jason is off to a ‘client lunch’, which means that’s the last we’ll see of him today. He still feels obliged to tells us he’ll be back in a couple of hours. He won’t.

Mike pops out for a sandwich so I’m alone in the studio. Whilst he’s out, I take a call from a person trying to sell us office stationery, an enquiry from a prospective new client about a rebranding exercise and my mum, which was a bit embarrassing but at least there was no one here to mock me.

It’s now 2pm and Mike walks back in with his cheese and tomato sandwich, salt and vinegar crisps and orange juice neatly packed into a white paper bag. Like a book. It’s the same every day, apart from Fridays when he pushes the boat out and has a burger at the pub around the corner.

I pass Mike the message about the rebrand enquiry and decide to pop out for a sandwich. Whilst strolling along the road to the local café, I think of a great idea for a new blog post. It’s almost revolutionary. ‘A day in the life of Goggle’ I’ll call it. I purchase my customary ham and pickle in a seeded bap – we’re all creatures of habit – and hurriedly walk back to the studio to start work on my new project.

I arrive back and Mike is on the phone talking to who I can only assume is the stationery salesman I fobbed off earlier, although this time it seems he’s not quite so receptive to polite rejection.

I hunker down at my desk, fingers at the ready. So… how do I begin?

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How to get the best out of social media

The pros of social media are obvious: it’s a free platform to promote your thoughts, business, products or whatever takes your fancy. But there are a number of tactics you can employ – or not employ – that can increase the benefits and really make social media work in your favour.

Consistency: being consistent with your presence helps build momentum. There is absolutely no merit posting a raft of different information every day for a week and then going quiet for a month. Work out a plan and get your material together ready for broadcasting over a 3 month period. That way, you have far more licence to tailor each piece to tie in with the next, if you want to, and plan exactly when you release each item to maintain a consistent presence.

Be sparing: whatever you do, don’t send out 15 posts in the space of an hour. This only serves to irritate the reader by bunging up their timeline. And, anyway, who has the time or inclination to read about 15 different things at once? Be consistent but sparing. Weekly blog posts, for example – depending on what you’re writing about – will be ample.

Weekly events: making a blog release or post on a specific topic a weekly event can be a great way to engage your followers by giving them something to look out for. ‘Blog Wednesday’ or ‘Tweet Thursday’ could work…

Timing: think about when your target audience is likely to be accessing their social media accounts. For example, if you are targeting a demographic of which the majority work full time, sending out a tweet at 10am will not give you the best exposure to your target audience.

A picture is worth a thousand words: humans – particularly busy ones – are far more attracted to images than text. If you can supplement your posts with images or get your message across in an image, do so.

Don’t be shy: I’ve lost count of the amount of great, informative blogs I’ve read that do not relate what the person/business who published the blog can do for the reader. If you’re giving information that pertains to a service you provide, make sure you tell the reader you can provide that service. Otherwise, all they will do is take the thought you’ve planted in their head with your great piece of narrative and surf the internet looking for someone who can give them what you could have.

On that note, we are a design agency. Have a browse of our website and get in touch if there is anything further we can do for you.

Start by clicking the menu icon in the top left hand corner of your screen.

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Advertising: how to do it properly

Let’s get one thing straight before I go any further: advertising done well is a very good and useful marketing tool. It can help raise awareness for your business, drum up interest and new work, and build momentum. Fact.

However, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve laid eyes on a poorly constructed advert. Whether it be on the tube, the side of a bus, in a newspaper or on the internet. They are everywhere. And I’m not just talking about adverts prepared by a one or two man business on a low budget either. In my very humble opinion, some of the biggest corporations in the world get their advertising wrong sometimes, throwing millions of pounds at something that is no sooner acknowledged than forgotten. But don’t despair. The good thing about this is we can all learn from their mistakes.

When you advertise your business, your advert needs to create a good impression within about 3 seconds. The general public’s attention span isn’t much longer than that these days, I’m afraid. We’re bombarded with far too much information to spend more than 3 seconds trying to work out what the advert is for, whether it’s something we’d potentially be interested in and whether we want to pursue it further.

Some of the most successful advertising campaigns in the world have featured only an image, three words, a website address and a logo. If your imagery is right and your slogan appropriate and catchy enough, you’ll be amazed at how much more appealing it can be compared to a wall of text describing every nook and cranny of the business. Less can often be more in these instances.

Try it yourself. The next time you’re in a place full of adverts (i.e. pretty much anywhere), see if you can register how long you spend gazing at each one and which ones actually draw you in. See, I told you.

Remember, you have 3 seconds to impress and, however much you may be tempted, don’t go giving your life story. No one cares. If someone wants to know more, they will visit your website or social media account or whatever.

Leave your audience wanting more.

Get in touch with the team here at Goggle to start reeling people in.

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Take branding seriously

Thinking of a catchy yet appropriate name, selecting pretty colours and designing a logo may seem like fairly menial tasks when it comes to starting a business. Some could be be forgiven for overlooking them – or not paying them much attention, at least. WRONG!

How quickly do you associate certain logos or brand colours with a business or product? What do you think of if I say ‘golden arches’?

A business’ brand and logo are the primary sources of recognition for any consumer. They are its identity and what makes it stand out from the crowd – and we all love and trust known entities.

If your logo is recognised in a group of competitors, it brings about that fuzzy feeling of relief that we all feel when we are seeking reassurance: ‘oh, I know them’. It’s like the feeling you get when you arrive at your first day of big school and across the hall you see someone who used to be in your maths class at little school. The relief… thank God, someone you know. Who cares if you used to hate them before – busy egg teacher’s pet – they are your best friend now.

Leave Goggle to worry about getting the foundations of your business right. You can worry about everything else.

Have a look at the gallery for examples of our recent work and do feel free to get in touch for a quote.

Come on, ‘just do it’.

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Why are ‘responsive’ websites so important?

We are all inferior to Google’s supremacy in the world of web. It’s like all those years ago when Jesus fed the people only bread and wine – albeit unlimited amounts – when we all know he could’ve rustled up a chicken roast if he fancied it. We all feed from the hand of Google and should be grateful for what we receive.

The reason for mentioning this – aside from filling the compulsory quota for mentioning the word ‘Google’ on our website – is that Google have recently brought about changes in how they rate a website’s Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O.), which dictates how high up the list a company’s website appears when its name is tapped into the almighty search bar.

There are a number of factors that are taken into account when Google ranks a website’s S.E.O., such as how well the website is built, the amount of visits it has had within a certain period of time and so on – but now there’s another major factor and it’s whether the website is ‘responsive’.

‘Responsive’ is the word used for websites that have a platform for desktop, tablet and mobile. In other words, the website shrinks down and is user friendly for each of the three platforms. Some websites only have one, and it’s usually desktop, so when you try to visit the website on your mobile, you find yourself hurriedly searching for the magnifying glass you handily carry around in your backpack.

The majority of web surfing these days is done on mobiles or tablets. Most of us fill our morning commutes or the spare moments in our day browsing social networking applications and this often leads us to websites, so it’s very important your website is mobile and tablet friendly.

Here at Goggle, we can make your existing website responsive to ensure you appear high up on the search list when you’re ‘Googled’ or we can build you a responsive website from scratch.

Don’t get caught up with the other nobodies on page 2 of the Google search.

Have a look at the gallery for examples of our recent work and do feel free to get in touch for a quote.

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We’ve landed!

We made it.

After nearly 10 months of hard graft, fitted around our other design work, our new website is finally up and running.

We’ve attempted to incorporate some new ideas whilst keeping the core functionality that we all know and love. Have a click around and see what you find.

We’re always pleased to hear your feedback, good or – constructively – bad, so do feel free to get in touch.

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