Where Wearable Tech Meets Fashion

written by Georgia Schumacher 18 November 2014

Wearable techTechnology and fashion are both huge industries, and designers from each sector are coming together to spark a revolution in the way we use technology. Wearable technology could change the lives of fashion-conscious people for the better, whether it's T-shirts that monitor your health or jewelry that lets you know when you have messages or calls waiting.

Wearable Tech at New York Fashion Week

Although wearable gadgets were once clunky and inelegant, the latest generation of wearable tech aims to look beautiful and perform flawlessly. In fact, wearable technology has so convincingly crossed over into fashion that several high-tech accessories were featured during the 2014 New York Fashion Week.

Designer Rebecca Minkoff was one of the big stars of Fashion Week, with her high-tech jewelry that delivers some real functionality, as well as beautiful design. For the fashionista who doesn’t want to take time out from socializing to reach into her bag and check her mobile phone, there's a gold bracelet that connects with the phone using Bluetooth and subtly delivers a notification whenever a call or text comes in.

Ralph Lauren smart T-shirts were also featured at New York Fashion Week. These biometric wearables use silver-coated threads to conduct electrical signals through the shirt, allowing them to measure your heart and respiration rates, as well as your movements as you walk, run or play sports.

Fitness-Tracking Fashion

Many fitness-related wearable gadgets, such as the Fitbit Flex, are already very popular among runners and sportspeople. Fitbit Flex is a wristband that monitors the steps you take and the calories you burn, and watches over you while you sleep to assess the quality of your nighttime rest. Their most well-known wristband looks very technological, with its bright colors and light-up display. However, with the right design input from fashion houses, fitness-tracking wearable tech could deliver the same functionality in a much more subtle and fashion-conscious way. With its line of Tory Burch bracelets and pendants, FitBit may already be leading the industry in that arena.

With fashion designers taking on the challenge of incorporating wearable tech into their existing lines, there's the potential for wearables to develop into clothes that look and feel as good as the tech that powers them functions.

3 Design Elements You Can’t Afford to Ignore in Testing

written by Georgia Schumacher 13 November 2014

Do your web design choices compel users to take further action or cause them to swiftly click away? Once you have great written content, your design must be carefully crafted. Sometimes, A/B testing will reveal the most effective design, while other times, asking directly for feedback offers a wealth of information. Here are just a few graphic design and web elements that should be tested.

1. CTA Position

The call-to-action, or CTA, tells the user what you want him to do next. Maybe you want him to sign up for a webinar, or perhaps the CTA will help a user navigate to a video. The CTA is usually a clickable button that should be placed near the top of the page. Users may scroll down to the bottom of the screen, but only if your content and design compel them to read that far. In many cases, placing the CTA at the top of the screen where the user can't miss it is the best choice. Remember that web users read in an F-shaped pattern. Testing CTA position lets you see where it is most likely to be clicked.

CTA buttons2. CTA Color

The color of your CTA button is another important element of any interactive design. Some colors will jump out from the page better than others, and, when your background is white, many options exist. The color of the CTA should stand out on your design -- but not like a sore thumb. Finding the right CTA color can be a fine line; it should typically be consistent with the overall design scheme, but the CTA may be ignored if it blends in with the background or neighboring design elements. The only way to know what CTA colors work best is testing!

3. Photo Selection

A powerful image may keep people on a web page or email screen and increase user engagement. Using images of real customers, versus stock photography, generally adds more value to the design. However, product photos may also be more appropriate in certain situations. The placement and size of the photo will also affect its impact. Users may ignore an image placed off to the side without a clear relationship to the text. Knowing which image will connect best with the end user may be a bit of a guessing game. Testing enables designers to determine which photos elicit the best response from users.

Testing Methods

TestingOne popular means of testing your web or interactive design is A/B testing. When utilizing this method, you will create two versions of your email, landing page, website, or other design to implement simultaneously. In most cases, each version is exactly the same, minus one difference--that could be copy, CTA color, CTA position, or any other element you are testing. Sometimes, you may need to test two entirely different designs, but when you begin changing multiple pieces on your design it becomes hard to know to which design elements you can attribute success. Whichever version produces the most interactions can be used moving forward--and you can always continue testing other elements over time. Remember, testing your web design stands to greatly increase the success of your efforts. Don't be afraid to learn by trial and error!

Learn more about web design best practices in our Web Design & Interactive Media Programs.

A Thank You to Veterans

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 November 2014

US flag

This Veterans Day, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division extends our gratitude to all those who have served in the U.S. military—including our many brave military students, faculty, and staff—for their courage, commitment, and patriotism. We remember and honor these individuals for the numerous ways they have made our world a better place throughout history.

Today and every day, our faculty and staff are committed to supporting each of our military-affiliated students as they prepare to pursue rewarding creative careers. Last month, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division was honored to be named a 2015 Military Friendly® School, and we remain dedicated to offering flexible degree programs, scholarship opportunities, academic support, and transfer of credit policies that can help make education more affordable and attainable for all students.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, military students are encouraged to join our chapter of the Student Veterans of America in Connections (under the Organizations tab), a network where peers can provide academic and personal support, share helpful information, and discuss a wide range of topics and common interests. We also encourage military students to explore the resources and organizations available via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thank you again for the sacrifices you have made and all that you have done for this country!

What do your color choices say about your brand?

written by Georgia Schumacher 21 October 2014

Color is more than just a personal choice when creating art, or designing advertising and marketing materials. Every color choice makes an emotional impact on the viewer and can cement the understanding of a brand in consumers' minds.

Colors

Warm versus cool colors

Typically, colors are divided into two groups: cool colors and warm colors. Warm colors, like red, orange, yellow, gold, and brown, typically make you think of heat or light. Cool colors, on the other hand, are associated with tranquility and nature—colors like blue, green, purple, and grey. Cooler colors are found on the lower right hand of the color wheel while the warmer colors are on the upper left hand of the color wheel.

Choosing colors from one group or another can change how the viewer feels about a painting, product or brand. For example, say you are creating a logo for a company that sells blankets. To convey a sense of warmth, you might choose a color from the warm color palette. On the other hand, if you are creating a logo for a snow cone company, you want a color that feels chilly, like blue. Colors like blue, green and purple can literally make people feel colder.

Saturation

How these colors affect viewers has a lot to do with how bright or saturated they are. For example, red can be a very stimulating color, but if you bring down the saturation, the viewer may associate the color with a sense of calm.

Color by color

Psychology studies have shown that different colors have different affects on humans. Here are a few:

• Red raises blood pressure, encourages people to gamble more and is the color of love. 
• Blue is calming and is one of the most popular colors in the world.
• Orange makes people think of bargains.
• Green van spark creativity and outside-the-box thinking.
• People often think of boredom or cleanliness when they think of white.
• Black is thought of as sophisticated.

No matter if you are into fine art, design or marketing, considering color psychology can help you to convey your intentions to the viewer. When choosing colors, always think about your product and service and find colors that make sense for you!

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division Named a 2015 Military Friendly® School

written by Georgia Schumacher 15 October 2014

LogoThe Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is honored to have been named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, and Vetrepreneur® magazines.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15% of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. In total, the survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students. Now in its sixth year, the Military Friendly® Schools designation and list provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we strongly value the commitment to our country made by military members and veterans. As part of our efforts to recognize the commitment and service of these students, we are proud to offer qualifying students numerous military education benefits, including a military scholarship. We also offer all military students a comprehensive review of their military experience and training to determine eligibility for transfer of credit toward our programs.

“The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is proud to announce that we have been awarded Military Friendly® status once again for 2014-2015,” said Brandon Corley, Director of Student Financial Services. “We are honored to service the millions of active and veteran service members along with their families. We are committed to dedicating resources and staff to serve as military experts and to ensure that these service members receive the highest level of personalized customer service.”

For more information about our commitment to educating and supporting military students, visit http://www.aionline.edu/tuition/military-aid/.