Blog / Design

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Minimalism. Beauty Fueled From Functionality.

A common misconception of minimalism is that it takes no time at all to design, or that slapping an asset or two on a white background with a thin font makes it minimalism. But the truth is, while limited assets, color palette and overall distractions contribute to a minimalist design, there’s far more to think about when mastering the art of minimalist design. Read More…

Design 101: What is Kerning?

Kerning. What’s kerning you may ask? Well, most designers will tell you it’s the cause of many headaches in design. Kerning is the spacing between each letterform in a font. Kerning can vary from very tight kerning (letters very close to each other) all the way to wide kerning (letters spaced far apart.) Wide open kerning can have a very “breathable” feel to it, making it easier and a bit more calming to read. That isn’t to say that tight kerning is hard to read, though sometimes it can be. But when kerning goes wrong, it makes most of us designers cringe. Read More…

The Role of Color: PMS vs. CMYK

pantoneWhat is Pantone? As a client, you may hear your designers and printers refer to this magical word often. Pantone, or PMS (Pantone Matching System) refers to a standardized set of colors. This proprietary color space allows different printers and manufacturers from all over to refer to the same color system for color accuracy. In PMS, a single number specifies each color.

There are many benefits in choosing to print your designs using the Pantone system over CYMK format.  CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. This system uses a certain percentage of each of these colors to make up your desired color.  Think back to 3rd grade art class… We all knew that if you mix a little bit of yellow with blue, you get green. Now, if your friend next to you tries to mix the exact same colors, are they going to turn out the same? Not exactly.

The biggest benefit you will receive from using the Pantone system is a consistent, reproducible color.

Case study:business-cards

This is a small example of some business cards we just finished for one of our clients.

The left side color is printed in PMS colors. The one on the right is the same color printed in CMYK. Notice the large difference in color?

Choose Wisely!


Interested in design topics?  Please comment to share ideas or questions and we’ll address them on the Voltage Blog.

Lyric Opera Tessitura TNEW Integration

Recently, some kind words were shared about a Voltage Creative new website project that included a custom ticketing system integration.  An excerpt from the Tessitura newsletter is included below regarding Voltage’s work styling the TNEW system seamlessly into the new Lyric Opera website (also designed and developed by Voltage).  We are proud of our partnership with Lyric on the project and are grateful for the nice words from Tessitura below (or after the jump). Read More…

Primary Information: UX Minification

As User Experience (UX) developers, it is our duty to make human-computer interaction as simple, efficient and clear as possible. Take this standard shopping cart checkout form for example:

It very clearly is inspired by the format we use to address mail for the US postal system. Familiar, yes, but it is not taking advantage of all our computers have to offer us. We have the ability to derive secondary inputs from primary inputs.

Primary information is human input or any information that can not be regenerated automatically

In this example, city and state can be derived automatically by a user’s zip code. All it takes is a free zip code database and a little effort.

Here’s that same input set, redesigned :

This format has many advantages:

  • Copying of duplicate values via a simple interface
  • Default values. Most companies have a country in which they do the majority of their business
  • Primary inputs are hierarchical and secondary inputs are dynamically filled.
  • Auto-populated fields (city and state) are still editable after the automation

The end result? The average user has to fill out 3 fields rather than 12.

Speeding up and simplifying this process increases conversions and makes our users happy. And that’s what we want, happy, converted users.

We’re Pleased to Add Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists to Our Client List

N is for new.
Voltage Creative is pleased to announce that we’ll be working with Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists on their new website.

Terracon is a dynamic and growing employee-owned firm of consulting engineers and scientists providing multiple related service lines to clients at local, regional and national levels. Since 1965, Terracon has grown from a small Iowa geotechnical firm to a large, multifaceted national firm. With more than 2,700 employees and more than 100 offices nationwide, Terracon has the resources of a large firm with the atmosphere of a small one. This growth is the result of talented, dedicated employees working toward a common goal to complement each other to deliver success for clients and employees. Our services are delivered on a timely basis with consistently high value and attention to client needs.

We’ll be working alongside their in-house marketing team as a creative digital services provider. The new site will greatly expand the functionality of the current site at, as well as well as make it easier for the in-house team to make content changes and updates in the future.

We’re very excited about this project! Stay tuned here for an update when we launch!