How tech and design industries are providing support during COVID-19

Big names in tech, design councils, universities and others alike are all coming together currently to provide phenomenal support to those working within the design and technology industry.

Whether it’s advice, social interaction or resources to help work forces and teams train, learn or continue with their work, there’s plenty of help to be found. We’ve compiled a brief list of excellent support to you as business owner, freelancers or employees within design to keep you on track and feel supported.

Design Council

The Design Council have set up ways to staying connected virtually as designers, through Zoom meetings and other virtual online community support. It has stated that it is dedicated to providing additional help to all who work within design, and the importance of keeping businesses within the industry afloat. They are a hub of information for all within design and are providing additional information for freelancers on how to support themselves currently.

Arts Council England

As a feature of Arts Council England’s Digital Culture Network, any business or worker within the creative industry sector can contact the network’s Tech Champions for advice and help on enhancing their digital skills. It’s also planned that there will be continuing free resources and webinars available additionally too.


Zira has set up a free and easy to access tool called Bounce Back to help employees who are unable to continue their normal work due to COVID-19. The program chiefly shows users how to steer themselves around the issues of losing work load, being furloughed or work opportunities ending. It also doubles up as a community for users to keep in touch with former employers, and has a “job marketplace.”

Universities, Shaw Academy and Future Learn

Universities and other academic facilities are offering free courses, diplomas and training on a huge variety of subject areas. Many of these courses would originally come with quite a large price tag but have been deducted to offer support to others during the pandemic. Courses and training is available over a period of weeks online, and have many subjects relating to tech and design such as graphic design, social media and viral marketing, photoshop skills, business and management.

Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey has set up specialised survey templates for teams and work forces to use to supply support to those whose work schedules have changed, are working from home or are continuing as key workers. They can help to enable productivity, check on employee well-being or keep teams up to date on projects.

The Dots

The Dots have created a specialist ‘Ask The Community’ forum in support of the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers answers and support on questions relating to freelance work, working from home, sharing worries, tips and advice. There’s also areas to arrange opportunities for work and collaboration between others, allowing you to connect and network with new businesses or other creative workers.


International Women’s Day and the Importance of Diversity in Tech

In honour of International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight the importance of women working within technology, and the lack of diversity and inclusivity seen in many tech and design companies.

More than 2.1 million people in the UK are currently working in the tech industry, and despite such large figures, only 16% are women, according to a report from the Inclusive Tech Alliance. They stated that “over a million more female employees would need to be hired to reach gender parity.” Additionally, a mere 15% of the digital tech workforce in the UK are from BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) backgrounds, with senior/board member positions being at only 8.5% according to another recent report from search agency Inclusive Boards.

Many companies will have no female representation whatsoever, or representation from BAME or other diverse communities. It’s hugely important to create awareness and have greater opportunities created to make the tech industry a more equal and inclusive career path, and what better way to celebrate this than with International Women’s Day in mind. At Moocow, we’re proud to have a team of fantastic designers, developers, writers and technical staff from a diverse range of backgrounds, with representation from female tech experts, those from the LGBTQ+ community and those with disabilities. With an office at the heart of Brighton, we’re proud to have a workforce that’s inclusive and socially aware, as well as great in their field.

Secondarily, we wanted to offer some tips and advice to any women, young or old, looking to pursue a career path in the tech and web design industry…

Don’t be put off choosing scientific subjects to study!

No matter what tech job you’re dreaming of, don’t let anyone stop you from studying exactly what you want to do. Gender should not limit your choice of career path. If you studied in a different subject previously and are wanting to enter into a new choice of career, it’s never too late. And when certain education routes get a bit pricey, there are many different ways to gain qualifications, including ones that don’t come with a price tag. As well as bursaries, scholarships and Arts Council Funding, many companies will actually offer to train people for free. On top of this there are boot camps and hundreds of online training programs and resources that can help you transition into a tech role if you don’t have the qualifications needed for a specific job. And if you’re looking to learn code, there are thousands of sites that can help you, Codecademy, HackerRank & edX are to name a few.

Stand your ground when it comes to your career path

Confidence is key. Have a good perception of your own skills, the abilities you have and what you can achieve. If you don’t feel confident in your own abilities, it can be hard for others to feel the same. In interviews, prove you are the right person for the role, use active language that shows off your talents instead of being passive, state direct plans you have and show just how much you can benefit their company. Be bold and never feel intimidated, no matter how terrifying the interviewer may appear! (Although we hope they’re as nice as us)

Have a plan and find mentorship

Always take time to refine your skills, practice really does make perfect. Finding mentorship within a working role can also be really beneficial, so be sure to place yourself in an environment where you can be surrounded by professionals in your chosen field who are as passionate about your goals as you are. Most importantly, never give up on what it is you want to achieve. It can be hard seeing friends or colleagues achieving their goals faster than you or at different rates, but the job you’ve been waiting for could be just around the corner. Hard work always pays off, and whether it takes you 1 year, 5 years or even 10 years to reach the job you’ve always wanted, it’s always worth the wait.


All I want for Christmas is the 2019 End of Year Designer’s Toolkit

What better Christmas present can we offer you at Moocow than tips and tools to get your company up to scratch with the latest design software and technology know-how.

We’ve made it through 2019 and are soon to see in the New Year, but not before UX Tool’s end of the year Designer Toolkit Survey, comprising a breakdown of the greatest design tools and programs over the past year that designers have used worldwide. From the best in brainstorming, userflow, sitemapping and UI design, we’ll be sharing the top 7 platforms for seeing through your project from start to finish.

Sketch has been coming up top in everything, and is the highest ranked tool on this year’s survey for brainstorming, userflow and sitemapping, wireframing and UI design. It really is an all-rounder, and is a really clever tool to implement across all areas of a project.

Figma was another top choice, with its powerful design features it was another most used product for brainstorming, wireframing and implementing top quality UI design.

Whimsical was program of choice for userflow and sitemap tools, offering a range of practical and helpful collaborative flowcharts, mind maps, wireframes and sticky notes to assist in the demonstration and presentation of your project or business.

Adobe XD was another favourite for UI design. A powerful tool that can support in the production and planning of user friendly designs for websites, mobile apps, voice interfaces and more.

InVision Studio has been another strong contender for this year’s top spots. Self-proclaimed as “The World’s Most Powerful Screen Design Tool”, the clever collaborative design platform has in-depth prototyping and vector-based drawing capacities. has been listed as another of the highest ranked platforms for userflow and sitemapping. Although it may seem a bit on the basic side, it’s actually a very nifty and free online diagram software for creating flowcharts, process diagrams and network diagrams amongst many more.

Last but not least is Zeplin, for all your hand-off design needs. Zeplin acts as the perfect addition to help hand-off your designs and style guides with accurate specs, code snippets and assets.

We hope this acts as a perfect stocking filler for all the design geeks out there this festive season. Season’s Greetings and a very Happy Christmas from all of the team at Moocow Media!


Web Design Trends for 2020

As we approach the last stretch of 2019, businesses and designers alike are preparing for the creative trends set to take over 2020. With AI and interactive design becoming an evermore sought after technology, it’s not surprising that plenty of new web design features plan on largely incorporating websites with voice user interfaces, chat bots and other similar functionalities. But what else is trending?

It’s predicted that asymmetrical designs, broken grid layouts and microanimation will all be trending components for leading web design for 2020. A continuing popular feature is bold colours and minimalist layouts, which are proving to be a persistent theme from previous years. Take a look below to see some of the most in-demand styles and layouts to help you have that light-bulb moment and get your website prepped to be ahead of the game for the new year.


Microanimations and Illustration

These subtle, yet hypnotic creative twists to your web page design, can make all the difference in capturing a new audience, as well as showcasing your talent digitally which enables a sense of professionalism, no matter what industry you’re working in. Audiences like illustrations and animations that are unique, bold, colourful or fun, and add that little bit extra to help show personalisation of your company or products.


Source: Heco

Source: Ariel Wollek/Wix

Source: Smashmallow/Gifox

Source: Webflow

Source: Proud & Punch


Minimalist Layouts

Minimalist layouts allow for a stylish, sleek finish. Aim for homepages that aren’t text heavy, focusing more on visually appealing to your customers, whilst still bearing in mind the importance of a fast loading web page. This style of layout is great for not overloading the viewer with too much information, and works great for artistic or creative businesses looking to keep their site chic, but simple.


Source: Elegant Seagulls Design

Source: Yumi Lambert

Source: Club of Waves


Bold Colours and Typography

Bright colours and bold typography, with geometric, sans-serif or freestyle fonts are particular favourites for graphic design in 2020. Colour is psychologically proven to have a relationship with mood and has been used as a clever marketing tactic in advertising for years. Making your home page proudly loud is a great way to draw in viewers and mesmerise customers with websites dazzling and dripping with colour.


Source: SKTR./Awwwrds

Source: Black Futurism Festival 2019/WebDesignerDepot

Source: Adobe

Source: Gautier Maillard

Source: Nuture Digital

Why Bespoke Illustrations are Trending in Web Design

At MooCow, we pride ourselves on having the most up to date knowledge on the hottest web trends. With technology and techniques developing daily, take a look at what 2017 has in store for the world of web design.

Whilst many businesses are still opting for a traditional approach of plumping up their sites with bold typefaces and pristine layouts, others are jumping on a slightly different bandwagon. Hand drawn illustrations are a hot pick for up and coming web sites, with many of the creative industries choosing to adorn their sites with hand drawn graphics and typography.

Not only is it a fun way to personalise your site, it allows your web page to be custom crafted and show off your talents if you’re a master doodler yourself. Brands often set themselves apart by having unique and off-beat logos, designs & layouts, so you never know – having your web page plastered in drawings and free-style artwork could actually make you the next web page super star.

A few of our favourite sites that showcase some serious talent when it comes to illustration include Legwork Studios, Future Living and Proud & Punch. Take a look at their sites or have a look at the Awwwards site for award-winning design inspirations.


Our Design Process – What We Need From You

MooCow is an interactive website design agency, based in Brighton & Hove. Since opening its doors in 2006, we have been working hard growing and developing our client base & expertise, offering a dynamic blend of creative thinking, experience and technical know-how. If you’re currently considering working with us, below is a basic guide to what we need from you as a starting point to help create your web page.

– Your company name and a brief list of words relating to your business and industry. For example, we’re a web design company, so we would choose specific words that we want Google to pick up relevant to our business.

– A short description or paragraph about you or your company – who you are, what services you provide, or a little bit about your company history.

– Have a think about what pages you would want to feature on your site and titles for them to appear on a menu. This could be an ‘about us’ section, ‘services’ or ‘portfolio’ etc.

– Drop us a link of an example of a web design style you like, this will give us a better idea visually of the look you are trying to achieve for your site.

– If you’re wanting a specific logo used, send us over a copy that is hi res with a white or transparent background and at least 600 pixels wide. Save this into either a png or jpeg file. For ‘favicons’ your logo will need to be sized to 512×512 pixels. If you want to test drive a new logo, let us know and we can design you a fresh one.

– Any text you want featured on your site, paragraphs about you, your company or the services you provide, send this over too in a word doc or pdf file. If you’re struggling to put together what you’d like to say, don’t worry – our team can help in writing up some dazzling copy personal to your site.

– For images, be sure to pick only hi res images, approx 1500-2000 pixels in size saved into a jpeg or png file. You can also include a title or keyword that describes your images that SEO will pick up easier.

– Make sure to include any contact details you would like featured on your site, this includes a phone number, email address & location so that a customer can call or visit you.

– If you have any links to social media such as a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page you can attach these too.

– Finally, a link to your RSS Feed/Blog if you currently have one active. If not we can make one for you to add to your site, so let us know if this is something you are interested in. The same goes if you are a business that sells products or other payable online services and would like a shop page included in your site.

The thought of creating a brand new website can be daunting, but don’t worry, our team of experts are here to help make the process quick, simple and stress free and give you all the guidance you need on the way!


5 Cost-Effective Alternatives to Photoshop for Professional Image Editing

When it comes to good design, we all love websites that are packed full of awe-inspiring imagery, and photos that really make you feel like you’re there in that exact moment. We can’t all have the skills of a professional photographer, but what we can help with is showing you how to edit your photos to a professional standard, without having a major price tag attached.

Don’t get us wrong, Photoshop is great. But not everyone wants to pay high prices when there could be a cost effective alternative. So after doing a bit of research, we’ve tracked down 6 Photoshop competitors, all with excellent editing tools and all at a much lower cost. And best off all, the majority of them are free.

Pixelmator (£28.99)

An impressive image editing app for Mac, Pixelmator offers fast powered tools to help alter and enhance images to make professional, high quality photos. The app has excellent retouching and special effects options, and tools to draw or paint. You can save to any format or upload on social media sites, and comes at the lower cost of £28.99.

GIMP (Free)

A free and open-source image and graphics editor, great for image retouching, free-form drawing, photo manipulation and adding graphic design elements. It’s available to download on a wide variety of operating systems, including GNU, Linux, OSX and Windows. A good option if you’re not in a position to invest any money on your editing tools.

Acorn (£28.99)

A nifty download for photo touch ups and edits with great options for creating photo collages, adding text and shapes, or creating new images. There’s plenty of instruments for editing, special effects and cloning. You can also remove image backgrounds and create logos with easy to use tools. Although not free, its price matches with Pixelmator and is still a fairly cost effect alternative.

Pixlr (Free)

An online photo editor that’s free to use and doesn’t involve a download. You can use this site anytime you pop online for quick image editing and touch ups. It’s equipped with all your general editing tools, and has options for creating fonts, logos, borders and backgrounds. A brilliant and cost effective alternative that will get the job done quickly too. You can download any images you create in various formats or upload online too.

Paint.NET (Free)

A free Windows download tool for image editing, Paint.NET is extremely easy to use and great for those with no image editing experience whatsoever. Although a fairly basic download, there’s still plenty of options for special effects, blending and layer adjustments. It also mirrors several of Photoshop’s classic tools such as curves and contrast control. A great download for minor tweaks and retouches.


5 of the Best WordPress Themes for Creating a Portfolio

At Moocow, we pride ourselves on having the most up to date knowledge on the latest web news, tips and trends. With technology and techniques developing daily, Moocow are continuously working hard to help find new ways to develop your business.

Our design team believe WordPress ranks above all the rest as a hosting platform. The open-source CMS works as an ideal model for creating a wide variety of sites for both small and large businesses, and is ideal for showcasing portfolios and products. Having a portfolio that’s professional, visually captivating and clearly showcases your work is vital for your business to achieve success and gain interest from new clients. So below, we’ve hand-picked some of the best WordPress themes for putting together a high end portfolio, that will grab your audience’s attention and gain you new clients and sales.



Creates beautifully fresh and contemporary portfolios with 12 unique layouts to choose from. Comes with access to over 500 fonts, colour choices, shortcode modules and so much more. Oshine also supports a large variety of plug-ins, including WPML, BuddyPress and Gravity Forms. A great choice if you’re looking for a stylish and modern way to display work visually.




A great theme that’s easy to use, extremely fast loading and is ideal for those working within the creative industry. An elegant and artistic approach to portfolio design, you’ll have access to hundreds of fonts, colour choices, layout elements and designs and you’ll be able to use a variety of great options for animation. Adios allows for superb compatibility with all devices and browsers, and will ensure your site is noticed worldwide.




Perfect for colourful, chic and customisable design, this theme comes with a coding-free content builder for ease of use. Ideal if you’re looking for an artistic and simplistic portfolio design, it’s packed with beautiful layouts with drag and drop options, fashionable headers and plenty of options for blog posts. You can also create stylish home sliders to showcase large images, and with SEO by Yoast you’re sure to have plenty of great options for getting noticed in search engines.




A sensationally designed theme for those looking for a cool and contemporary twist to showcase their work in style. With numerous options for layout, images and blog posts, this WordPress theme also includes Revolution Slider, allowing users to display work through slideshow. You’ll be able to personalise the slides and create your own unique animations and visual effects too.



Studio 8

Rated as one of the best WordPress themes on the market, Studio 8 has a superbly sophisticated and stylish design. Beautifully fast and responsive, the theme provides great portfolio options to businesses of all backgrounds. You can upload custom headers and access built in short codes to make editing and designing easier. Known for creating attention-getting websites, this theme will help put your portfolio on the map.



Using Instagram to Boost Your Brand

Instagram – the world’s most popular photo sharing app. With 300 million monthly users, the social media site currently has a larger following than Twitter, and its followers are constantly growing. With our easy to use guide, Moocow can show you how to use Instagram to help utilise your social media skills, boost your brand and get you the followers you deserve.

A large majority of online shopping traffic occurs through social media, sites like Pinterest and Etsy have made online shopping even more popular, with buyers being drawn in by adverts and promotions that are visually exciting. Instagram is paving the way for businesses to show off their creative flair, allowing consumers to see a more personal side to how their company works, as well as showing off what their brand has to offer. Below are 5 ways you can improve your site following using Instagram.

First steps – setting up your account!

If you’re already an Instagram user, be sure to keep your personal account separate when setting up a new account for your business. This enables users to identify you and your brand as separate, and allows for any embarrassing selfies to be posted completely out of eyesight of any potential clients. Use your brand logo throughout your page and as your profile image so viewers can establish that your Instagram directly relates to your company. Make sure your bio is short and sweet, but packs a punch. There’s a million or so users out there, you want to make sure your company stands out from the crowd. Last but not least, always attach a link to your website – whenever a user views your profile, it directly boosts traffic to your site.

Make an impression

Be big, beautiful and bold! Boost your brand by using product shots that are eye catching, colour co-ordinated and fun to create. Believe it or not, certain colours are actually more of a hit than others on Instagram, with blue being one of the most desirable colour trends with followers. When creating adverts always use HI RES professional photographs, opt for a text overlay on one of Instagram’s photo editor apps to create quick and trendy ads.

Identify trends

Keep up to date with what’s hot on Instagram – which users, hashtags and themes are trending. Do your research, take a peak at your favourite brands, look into companies similar to yours and see what gets them plenty of likes. What styles of posts are popular? The main aim is to boost your brand professionally, but customers and clients want to see you have a fun side also. Outdoor shots that show your customers actively using your products are a great way to show off your adventurous side. Whether you’re having some downtime with your team, or are busy getting creative in the office, these are great opportunities to capture your company’s creative side on camera.

Get #Hashtagging

When posting your pics, pair catchy descriptions with relevant, trending hashtags. Picking a popular hashtag allows any user across the world to view your post. Use hashtags that relate to your area of business, such as company name, location, what you’re doing, and words that describe exactly what you’re posting. Research hashtags that are currently trending, be it colours, days of the week, events or features in the news, and use these to help shape the audience you want your post to reach. Use a minimum of 5 to help boost your audience range, so don’t be shy. You can even create your own hashtag relevant to your business name.


Get networking! Make sure to share on other social media platforms your company uses such as Twitter & Facebook. Encourage clients to share, like and comment on your posts, and return the favour too! Keep an eye out for new business opportunities by connecting with new users and building a rapport with relevant brands.



Why Marketing Through YouTube Can Help Boost Web Traffic and Sales

At Moocow, we pride ourselves on having the most up to date knowledge on the hottest web and marketing trends. With technology and techniques developing daily, Moocow are continuously working hard to help find new ways to market your business.

One of the most popular ways to help boost your brand is with the use of video content. More than 80% of all internet traffic is video, with both large and small independent businesses opting to target their audience members through channels such as YouTube. As it stands, YouTube currently has over 1 billion active users monthly, and despite the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, video is quickly taking the lead as an essential platform to successfully market your business on. Choosing to tackle video marketing could give you an advantage over your competitors as well as giving you a rise in your Google ranking.

Setting Up a YouTube Channel

Think of YouTube in the same way as you think of the layout of your website. Your YouTube channel represents your homepage, and the videos you add are like the pages you populate your site with. The more videos you post the more chances you will have at reaching a higher audience and potential new clients. The greater audience you achieve, the more likely you are to see positive changes to your ranking on Google. When getting started, be sure to make your videos relevant to the theme of your business and channel, ideally making each video no longer than 3 mins in length, or if necessary, stick to under 10 mins for training or ‘how to’ guides.

How Can a YouTube Channel Benefit My Business?

Wondering why you should bother? Having a YouTube channel linked to your business can benefit your company in several different ways. It can help to bring new viewers to your actual web page, help to show off your brand on a nationwide level, and even help you to make direct sales. Creating video reviews or filming ‘open box buys’ are a perfect way to generate sales by creating a link off the video directly to your site or online shop. The same as any social media platform works, the more views, likes and connections you make from posting your videos, the better ranked your channel and website will be on Google. With more and more companies making the switch to video marketing, 2018 is not the year to be camera shy!