Design solutions: Take a wee walk with Scruffy Dug

Logo full Colour

We have been doing daily blogs for some time now, and we enjoy it very much, but it has occurred to us that we haven’t taken the time to introduce you to Scruffy Dug Design Solutions, and what we do.  So we would like to take some time to tell you what we’re all about, and what we can do for businesses and start-ups in central Scotland.

We are small group of professionals who have worked in all manner of businesses, small and large. Combining our skill sets we have experts in design, web creation, social media, marketing, book keeping, customer service, and business analysis.  What’s more, these skills have been applied to retail, telesales, fashion, hospitality, telecommunications, insurance, finance, and the drinks industry.  We have always strived to give our all in business and learn and enhance our skills, but always for someone else’s company.  When three of us found ourselves facing redundancy, we decided to take our destiny into our own hands.  We wanted to do things differently, building a fair and friendly business world.  We go out of our way to help people like us; people who have the knowledge and ability to do something special and haven’t yet had the opportunity or support to let them to strike out on their own.

When people have a skill, product or service and they want to start up a business, there are so many things to take into account.  This will take their time away from doing what they love and what they do best.  Getting bogged down with payroll is not what the budding tattoo artist had in mind.  A local charity might not envision how constant and time consuming social media can become, possibly drawing their attentions away from the main goal of their operation.  A brewer shouldn’t have to spend painstaking hours reworking logo designs or figuring out how to brand their business when they want to get on with making beer.

That’s why we guide young businesses through whichever aspect is furthest from their reach and offer support packages, acting like an external department;  a friendly, efficient extension of their business.  Web sites and social media are a part of most businesses these days but web design is a specialist skill, one we have in spades.  Have a website but no one sees it?  We will get you on that first page of Google to make sure get you noticed.  Need brochures or flyers to promote your business? We can work with you and produce exactly what you need.  Or, we can arrange and implement your entire start up process and let you get on with what you do best.

So don’t take those first, daunting steps alone – take a wee walk with Scruffy Dug.


Visit our web site to find out more about what we offer here:


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Whistle while you work: Create a happy team and make more money


If you think you know everything there is to know about your industry then your competitors are already racing ahead of you.  Don’t get complacent, industries evolve and improve, businesses that hone their skills are sure to succeed.  You don’t want to have to hire new people to follow trends, give your existing employees the power to compete.

A well trained workforce is essential for ensuring you maintain high standards, professionalism and keep up with your competitors.  It’s important to recognise and maintain the skills that your combined workforce makes available to you.  It’s also crucial that you develop those skills.  Well trained employees are happy, more productive and make fewer mistakes – which will save you money.  Not only will you as an employer reap the benefits of a better qualified team, but you will also build a loyal staff base that feel supported and will appreciate the opportunity to progress both personally and within your business.  This is a process that can either come from a practical perspective, when a training need is based on things like new software packages or from a more organic angle, when someone shows a natural aptitude in a particular area that you can build into a valuable asset.

One of the key things that you can do to make sure that you not only have a highly skilled team but also a contented one is to spot enthusiasm and capture it.  When people are free to pursue the elements of the role they enjoy and excel in their passion spills over into other parts of their life and they become an ambassador for your business.  The energy that comes from a staff member who is enthused about a particular role is a powerful tool.  It can help sell your product and corral other members of the team to really get behind what you have to offer.  You would be a fool not to give support and any training needed to fill in the gaps in their knowledge or refine their talent.  Enthusiasm can wane quickly if left unnoticed, so act on it and develop it to benefit the business and to guarantee the member of staff knows that they are appreciated.

You should also utilise experienced members of your workforce, have them coach or mentor newer team members.  Long standing members of staff are a gold mine of information.  Not only do they know the business inside and out but they will be well acquainted with the systems or processes in place.  This means that the training resources are already at your disposal, you don’t necessarily have to fork out for external courses if you recognise and value the breadth of knowledge of existing staff that’s very specifically tailored to your company.  Promoting a culture of sharing knowledge will demonstrate to your existing staff how much you respect their expertise as well as creating a great place to work for everyone.

Developing and encouraging your staff can only be a positive endeavour, generate a satisfied, knowledgeable workforce and watch your staff, and your business, flourish.


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Responsive Design, What it is and why you need it!

Responsive-Design1So I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but what exactly is responsive design?

Well simply put, it’s a way of getting your website to display sensibly on every device. So while a wide page with lots of text would display perfectly on your laptop or desktop computer, when brought up on your phone, you’d constantly be pinch zooming, and swiping around the page to read the text which initially was too tiny to read.

Responsive design takes the data, the text, images, etc, and formats it in a sensible manner for the device being used. However it does slightly more than this. In the early days of mobile internet (and still sometimes to this day) you’d see a link at the top of the page you were viewing on your phone or tablet, “view the mobile version of this site”, and you’d click through and suddenly everything would be simplified for the smaller screen on your device.

However, this required a lot of work, since the operator of the website, now had twice as much work to do, maintaining the normal version and the mobile version of each and every page on the site.

What responsive design does is remove the needs for different designs of pages for different devices, responding to these “responsively” and automatically serving each device with the version it needs to work best.

Responsive design gives each user the best looking version of your site to each user based on their device, and provides them with the best user experience for their device too, which leads to increased usability, and leading to users staying on your site for longer.

For this reason, we use WordPress, and ensure that responsive templates are used to make sure our work, and our clients websites are shown off to their best.

If you’ve got any questions, ask through Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer.

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Let me be brief: working to a design brief

Let me be brief

Following a client’s brief is essential; you need to execute their idea to a high standard in the best, most efficient, way possible.  Much of what you need to do is common sense but it doesn’t hurt to have a few tips from someone’s who has already made every permutation of error out there, so here you have it, a few handy hints for making sure you hit the mark.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re design ideas are better than someone else’s, instead talk the idea through and make suggestions for other concepts that you think will work well and be able to explain why.

Identifying your client’s taste is a good place to start, but it’s important to get this perception directly from them.  Don’t go solely by their website or décor because it might be irrelevant, for example, if you don’t ask they might be planning on changing it or it could be a colour scheme they  can’t stand.  Have a chat, have several chats, and keep asking questions to make sure you’ve always got the right end of the stick.  It’s really useful to have a brief in front of you.  If your brief has been emailed read it through, work out what you think it all means then talk to the client before you even think of doing anything else to confirm that you are, or aren’t, on the right track.  Don’t feel silly for reiterating, you’ll feel sillier if you get it wrong.

Make sure you have a thorough understanding before you start working.  A rookie error is thinking there can only be one or two interpretations of a style or theme.  There have been many times in the past, and it still happens from time to time now, where I have a concrete vision from the brief that turns out to be miles from what the customer had in mind.  Be really specific about the details, if they’ve said, for example, I want a blue background, well, it’s silly to assume that of the hundreds available they’ve got the exact same shade of blue in mind as you do.  Don’t accept vague terms like “something cool” or “something vintage” without getting your customer to show you examples of what they mean by that.  It can sometimes be quite difficult to squeeze these details out, it’s important to stay friendly and ask questions in a patient manner, it can feel awkward to begin with but you’ll soon develop the knack. Trust me; it’ll save you so much time in the long run.

Sending drafts back and forth can be time consuming, and not only could you be wasting everyone’s time, you’ll also make yourself look less professional.  If you have doubts, or if your customer is unsure and needs a little inspiration or direction, suggest sending through some partial designs.  That way you don’t waste too much of your time, your customer will feel looked after and the first full draft you send will be what your client is looking for.


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Create A Community Not A Network

Network Community


Networking is great. You meet and connect with new people, promote your product and find new clients. Business, any business, YOUR business, can be more and do more than that. By working together, and building a smaller, tighter, more determined community, small companies can really thrive.

Be Friendly

Every business wants to have a friendly face, what’s better is to have a genuine, friendly attitude. I’ve said it before, it’s nice to be nice and people like nice people, business doesn’t have to be cut-throat. Success is better when it’s shared.

Act Locally

It’s important to think big but it’s important to start your networking on a local level. Reach out to the people on your doorstep that are potential customers or compatible companies you could work with. Swap ideas, share services, refer people to them, working together to benefit everyone, socially and financially.  A good reputation is essential and building a positive standing in your local community gives you a solid foundation for improving your connections.

Always Refer

With local contacts and a good reputation you can start to build a strong, worthwhile business community.  Most companies will rely on outsourcing for part of their business: accounting, legal matters, supply, plumbing, any number of things.  When you have a relationship with another business, promote it. You will find that if you refer customers to them they will do the same for you when they encounter someone who could use your product or services. A strong recommendation is worth a thousand ad’s.

Be Charitable

Do what you can for local charities. If you hear of a charity doing good work in your area support them however you can. You can always do something. You can fund raise, volunteer or donate your product, service, time, or a portion of your profits.

Volunteering is great. If you are planning a team building weekend, do something that matters, like renovate a community park.  At Scruffy Dug we donate our services when we see a local charity doing work we like. It brings goodwill, feels great, and makes a difference, plus you will build relationships that strengthen your business community.

Community Not Network

To create a network, you connect with people and businesses. The idea is not just to make a list of contacts but to find a way to co-exist, grow and make positive changes with those groups. Don’t just look for people who can help you, but people you can help. Expand your business, while they expand theirs, creating a driven business community that can really make a difference where it matters most.

Creating a Great Logo

A logo is one of the most distinctive things a company has, the sharp end of its effort to control it’s image. For example, stand in your local large chain burger resturant, and without the branding it’s pretty much impossible to tell if you’re in a McDonalds or a Burger King. However, the branding, the Burger King Crown and McDonalds golden arches, stand out and make the place instantly recognisable.

Keep it Simple 

While we’ve got computers capable of showing massive resolutions in millions of colours, your logo won’t always be displayed like this. Even these days it may get faxed, it may be printed at a reduced resolution, so making sure the logo is recognisable when tiny, when printed in black and white, and when inverted, is essential. So make sure the logo works with these first, and then you can add colour.

Be imaginative

The first idea that comes to you may seem the obvious choice, it’s just so obviously everything your company is about. But if it’s obvious, then lots of other people have probably thought of it, and you’ll end up with something bland and generic.

What does it Answer

What does your logo say about you, it should communicate something about your company, whether its your attitude, your style, or just the field in which it works. So write down a short sentence, maybe ten words about your company, and then see if your logo matches that.

Sketch it out

While working in Photoshop or Illustrator may produce amazing results, it’s not the fastest way to work, so sitting down with a pen and paper allows you to get ideas out onto the paper quickly and see what works. This is especially good if you’re not doing the final work, but want to have input to the design.

Does it annoy you?

If you’re successful, your logo is going to be something that you see many times a day for many years, so a massive consideration is, does it annoy you. Is the spacing between the letters irregular, does the cartoon dogs eyes look odd (a problem we actually had, that we all agreed the dogs eyes looked odd, but couldn’t work out what it was, and it took several modifications until everyone was happy). If there’s some flaw in the design that maybe only you can see, it’s worth sorting it out now before you’re stuck with it.

Anyway, just some ideas. If you’ve got you’re own ideas about what helps you design a logo, then please let us know in the usual places.

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5 Tips for Writing Articles for the Web

Getting yourself noticed on the internet is a slow process, if there was a quick one, everybody would be doing it. This slow process involves getting word out and talking about yourselves, as we have been doing the past few weeks. Writing lots about what we do, to show our audience that we know what we’re talking about and are trustworthy. So here’s 5 tips we’ve picked up in writing good articles for building our audience.

Who is your Audience?

There are a number of things which are worthwhile in determining your audience, from the tone you’ll be expected to take, whether conversational, to more jokey, but also the technical knowledge of your audience. Are you going to use acronyms without explaining them since your audience are technically minded, or are you going to break everything down for beginners. Without knowing your audience, you may write at the wrong level and lose them simply on basic communication.

Be Human?

The web is a friendly place, mainly used for entertainment, so a more human style of writing to entertain your audience is generally better. The dry recitation of facts will usually bore your reader (unless that’s your audience as you determined above), and you’ll lose them, so try to find a more interesting way of presenting facts and figures.

Read it back!

Read your article back to yourself. Out loud. There’s something about this act, that slows you down and allows you to catch errors that just reading over silently lets you miss. You may feel a little silly, but it’s worth doing, it’ll help your style as well, making it sound more like you.

Don’t rush.

Although you might have a deadline, racing to meet it will make you cut corners and make mistakes. So give yourself plenty of time, ask for extra if you’re working to an external deadline. Just getting words down on the page to meet a deadline will produce a far inferior article compared to taking your time, researching your subject and getting it done to your own satisfaction.

Have a checklist.

Before you start writing, lay down your headers on the page, get the points that you want to cover listed. Because sure as fate once you start getting into details on item two of the list, item four and five will disappear from your mind. If you’ve got a list, you can check everything off as you go through, rather than realising 5 minutes after you hit send that you actually forgot to make one of the most important points you meant to write about, because you were lost in the details of a far less significant point.

Hope this helps a little, it’s just some pointers we’ve picked up.

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5 Game Changing Image Sources – All Free!

Camera lens


One of the easiest ways to instantly grab people’s attention on social media is by using pictures; it’s always handy to have a bank of images for any publications you’re putting together too.  Google Images is one of the quickest and simplest ways to add pictures to posts and other documents but you have to be careful to change the search settings so that you are not illegally using an image.  Don’t worry though; there are lots of sources at your fingertips with fantastic free photographs, drawings and vectors. We’ve listed 5 below, they’re all free to use and because these sites use imagery that falls under the Creative Commons Zero license you can use, share and modify them, even for commercial purposes, without having to worry about copyright restrictions.  Some sites stipulate that you must give credit to the original artist, or state when you have modified the picture (although even if they don’t, it’s still nice to be nice).



This is an excellent place to start.  It’s easy to use and a great source for pictures to use on social media.  There’s lots of bright, good quality images plus photo packs you can download, and you’ll instantly have a handy collection of photographs in your chosen category.



This is another easy site to use, you can view photographs on their website (either as large, almost full screen, shots or in a grid layout that makes them easier to select if you’re in a hurry). You can also subscribe and have ten free images emailed to you every couple of weeks.  As well aUnsplashs having a ‘collections’ section where you can view by category, you can also search the site for something specific.  If your search comes up blank they encourage you to look through their images and tag them, helping to refine future searches and make it less likely to throw up blank findings.



Not only can you quickly and easily search by category, nature, landscapes etc. you can also look at the images that are trending, the most popular downloads and see a view count for each photograph, so not only do you have access to great quality pictures but you can also keep your finger on the pulse too.



As well as high quality images this site also has some excellent background options that will look great as the background for things like flyers, invites or brochures.  The images take up a lot of screen space so browsing to find the perfect pic can take time, but it’s well worth having a good old peruse and get inspired!



gratisographyCertainly no boring, same old same old in here, if you’re looking for quirky or eccentric images this is the place for you.  As well as typical categories such as animals and people they also have more off the wall things in their whimsical category.  The search bar is initially difficult to spot, click the middle of the page just above where the photographs start and a search bar will appear but other than that it’s really easy to navigate.



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5 Free Twitter Tips For Start-ups

As you might expect using Twitter for business can be a bit different from running a personal account.  Your content will obviously circulate around the product or service your business offers, rather than social posts, but there’s a bit more to it than that. Here are 5 easy to follow tips that will help you get most out of Twitter and it won’t cost you a penny.

1. Use Lists

The lists functionality on Twitter can be a very handy tool. It is what it sounds like, lists of Twitter accounts. It allows you to select a group of accounts on a theme of your choosing. This way you can focus on one aspect of your business at a time, rather going through a timeline filled with topics on various themes. It is also worth noting that when you put an account on a list you can set it to private. This means that accounts you have on your list won’t know they are being viewed, unlike when you follow the account in the traditional sense. (Yes Twitter has been around long enough to have traditions.)

2. Engage Directly

To get the most out of Twitter it is important to engage with your followers. Find ways to connect with people throughout the day. When someone comments, comment back. You may not want to follow everyone who follows you, but it is always nice to follow back when you can. It’s nice to be nice, and people like nice people.

3. Keep It Relative

As point 2 says, you want to engage with people as much as possible, but remember you are running a business. You want to stay on topic, and find ways to make the talking points of the day relate to what you are trying to promote. If it doesn’t either reinforce your brand or image, or sell and promote your product or service, it might end up doing more harm than good. You don’t want your Twitter feed to seem like a forum for an unrelated topic.

4. Keep A Routine

People will come to expect certain things from you in terms of the frequency of your content. You can decide what content is best and the timings of your posts, but once you do, stick to it. If you regularly post a blog on a specific evening every week, for example, your followers will be keeping an eye out for it, hopefully looking forward to it.  If you suddenly start posting that blog at different times on different days you risk losing people’s interest.  Also, if you start posting it at different times of the week your followers can potentially miss out on information.

5. Use Analytics

There are several sites you can use to analyse your account, however Twitter’s  Analytics function is free and easy to interpret.  It provides you with a lot of useful information that you can use to track your Twitter data.  You can work out what type of content works best for you, improving your presence and efficiency.  It allows you to monitor information on things like  how your content is being received, the posts people are engaging with most or the number of views.  This means you can address any issues you’re having and also get confirmation of when you’re doing a good thing and getting it right.

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