15 October, 2012

Interactive Marketing Units

Since 1996 The IAB [Interactive Advertising Bureau] have been issuing guidelines for standard advertising dimensions.

Below can be found selected current recommended dimensions and graphical examples for interactive marketing units

Banners and Buttons

468 x 60 IMU - [ Full Banner ]
468 x 60 IMU - [ Full Banner ]
234 x 60 IMU - [ Half Banner ]
234 x 60 IMU - [ Half Banner ]
88 x 31 IMU - [ Micro Bar ]
88 x 31 IMU - [ Micro Bar ]
120 x 90 IMU - [ Button 1 ]
120 x 90 IMU - [ Button 1 ]
120 x 60 IMU - [ Button 2 ]
120 x 60 IMU - [ Button 2 ]
120 x 240 IMU - [ Vertical Banner ]
120 x 240 IMU - [ Vertical Banner ]
125 x 125 IMU - [ Square Button ]
125 x 125 IMU - [ Square Button ]
728 x 90 IMU - [ Leaderboard ]
728 x 90 IMU - [ Leaderboard ]

Released on February 26, 2012; view the updated IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio

03 September, 2012

A Voluntary Code of Practice For Buyers and Suppliers of Media Related Services

Developing a Code of Practice

In developing a Code of Practice, the IVCA aim to help ensure a sustainable business and public sector communications industry in which relationships between Suppliers and Buyers result in creative, cost effective and successful communications strategies.

Finding appropriate terms used within the media industry to identify the producers and consumers of strategic corporate and public sector communications can be difficult. So to make clear to all relevant parties the recommendations and parameters of the following Code, the IVCA has reverted to terminology that is mutually understood by developers, commissioners and procurement officers alike. This terminology should in no way, marginalise the creative and strategic nature of the services offered, but moreover aims to clarify the 'contractual nature' of the partnership between the parties involved.


The Code will refer to the providers of communication products and services as Suppliers. This will include production companies, agencies and the individuals involved in the production process. The Code will refer to those persons who contract, commission or purchase communication products and services as Buyers. These will include representatives from the business and public sector.

Underpinning the Code are some basic tenets which should ensure successful and productive working relationships. Clarity and understanding, between Suppliers and Buyers, is most likely to be achieved in the following ways:
  • Realising that personal integrity and mutual respect is required from both Buyer and Supplier if the project is to be satisfying and effective. Jointly working towards effective and sustainable business models.
  • Determining, in advance, clear and mutually agreed aims and objectives.
  • Using plain and open language in all discussions and correspondences.
  • Agreeing a realistic budget for the project and ensuring full transparency over all issues of expenditure.
  • Understanding that requirements, over and above the original agreement, may incur additional costs.
  • Ensuring both parties invest time and energy in developing a joint understanding of each other's work.
  • Clarifying all aspects of the processes and methodology required.
  • Mutually agreeing project milestones.
  • Introducing key members of the production and commissioning team at the beginning of the project and ensuring that they remain as consistent as possible throughout the work.
  • Making clear how the sign-off process will be undertaken and who will be making the final decision.
  • Having access to the final decision-maker before significant project costs are incurred.
  • Realising that both parties should be prepared to be flexible and approachable.
  • Ensuring that the production contract mirrors all aspects of the agreement and payment schedule.
  • Committing both parties to a structured review process that would take place after delivery of the project/work.
  • Ensuring mutual agreement from the beginning of the project on the proposed usage of programmes, clearly addressing copyright and related IP matters, so that appropriate permissions are obtained for different required media usage.

Code of Conduct: Suppliers

1. Business Conduct - Fair Dealings

1.1 Suppliers should make every endeavour to ensure that their business conducts its affairs in a professional manner and, in so doing, avoids behaviour that could bring the IVCA and its membership, or the industry, into disrepute.
1.2 Suppliers should conduct their business affairs on sound, ethical principles and make every endeavour to trade fairly and honestly with employees, Buyers and Suppliers.
1.3 In all dealings with Buyers, members must be transparent and clear about the cost of the project and their ability to deliver on time within the constraint of the project.
1.4 Suppliers must inform Buyers immediately if there is any potential delay or unforeseen cost increases or if the project is going over budget.

2. Business Representation

2.1 Suppliers should strive to ensure that their marketing communications to potential Buyers are clear and unambiguous.
2.2 Suppliers should not knowingly make misleading statements (in speech or writing) concerning the definition of their deliverable services or the benefits that Buyers may derive from them.
2.3 As a fundamental issue of best practice, member companies should clearly identify quantifiable services related to actual prices, within a written quotation for all work.

3. Pitching Practice

3.1 When Suppliers present work to an existing or prospective Buyer, they must make it clear where any of the work that is shown as part of the presentation, has not been produced by them or their company.
3.2 There should be the minimum of disparity between the pitching team and the production team.
3.3 Suppliers should provide reasonable access, where required, to previous Buyers for whom they have worked and give appropriate references.

4. Budget, Contract and Feedback

4.1 Suppliers should provide a single contact (such as the Project Manager) from the production team.
4.2 Suppliers must ensure that Buyers are fully aware of the key stages in the production process.
4.3 At the start of the project, Buyers must be made fully aware of what changes they can make to the project for the agreed budget and what charges they will incur if there are additional changes requested over and above those initially agreed. Use of a document, such as a Project Change Notice (PCN), is recommended whereby an agreement is made at the outset that no additional work will be undertaken until the specific change has been put in writing with the relevant cost and signed off by both parties. The production company would generate the PCN after a Buyer requests for a change or addition to the work.
4.4 Suppliers should be prepared to quote for and conduct pre-production research where required.
4.5 Suppliers should quote for and conduct post-production research and analysis to evaluate project cost effectiveness where required.

5. Risk Management

5.1 Mutual agreement should be obtained on insurance issues so as to make clear who takes responsibility for major problems which may affect the project e.g. adverse weather etc.
5.2 Mutual agreement should be obtained regarding who is liable for costs that may be incurred when specifically engaged in overseas projects e.g. Risks encountered in currency fluctuations etc.
5.3 Suppliers must indemnify Buyers against any third party intellectual property rights liability arising from materials (in any format) provided to the Buyer. No Supplier should knowingly provide material in any medium whatsoever whose use would infringe copyright.

6. Decency and Lawfulness

All Suppliers must ensure that marketing collateral (digital or printed matter) for their business or person is produced in accordance with the following criteria:
6.1 No materials (in text, graphic, audio or streaming media formats) are produced that violate the copyright or other intellectual property rights of another party.
6.2 No materials are produced which either promote illegal activities or provide information about illegal activities that is suggestive, influential or instructional.
6.3 No materials (text, graphic, audio or streaming media formats) are produced which are obscene or pornographic in content.
6.4 No materials (in text, graphic, audio or streaming media formats) are produced that are offensive, profane, hateful, threatening, harmful, defamatory, libellous, harassing or discriminatory on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender, disability or age.

7. Dispute Resolution

7.1 Should the Association receive a complaint from a trade Buyer or consumer regarding any aspect of a purchase (or intended purchase) of goods or service from a Supplier:
a Members accept that the Association will endeavour to bring about a reasonable resolution between both parties with the aim of achieving a satisfactory outcome for both parties.
b Members agree to co-operate fully with the Association and to provide honest disclosure of relevant information that would assist in reaching a settlement. (In cases where the member company has instructed solicitors, then the Association will not intervene unless the member company so wishes).
7.2 If the IVCA is requested to engage in dispute resolution, it is required that both parties should accept that the Association has the right to provide a voluntary group of members to conduct the review.
7.3 Members must accept that the service offered is non-binding on either party and can be terminated at any stage.
7.4 Under normal circumstances, the maximum time provided by the Association to facilitate dispute resolution, (at which member companies provide a voluntary group to conduct the review), is a half-day.
7.5 All parties must understand that the service offered is not a substitute for legal advice but a voluntary conciliation service that aims to avoid protracted legal disputes.

Code of Conduct: Buyers

8. Business Conduct - Fair Dealings

8.1 Buyers should ensure that they conduct their affairs in a professional and courteous manner.
8.2 Buyers should agree to pay appropriately for the products and services required so as to ensure the maintenance of a creative, professional and sustainable industry.

9. Pitching and Tendering Procedure

9.1 Procurement processes should be fair and transparent.
9.2 Prior to request for tenders, Buyers should identify and evaluate up to ten possible contenders for the project.
9.3 Following evaluation, Buyers should invite three (not more than five) to enter the formal tender process from which a single Supplier should be appointed.
9.4 Buyers should identify to all parties, the number of people being invited to tender.
9.5 Recommended best practice timings for pitch (proposal) turnaround should not be less than five working days. Ten working days should be regarded as the optimum minimum, with large (complex) projects having a lead of 3-4 weeks minimum.
9.6 Buyers should not request a tender to test the feasibility of a project that does not yet have management approval, unless they are prepared to pay participating companies for the work involved.
9.7 If five or more tenders are requested, Buyers should consider paying a fee to cover the tendering process for unsuccessful companies.
9.8 The tender document should be as clear, precise and comprehensive as possible.
9.9 It is recommended that the Buyer should disclose a budget figure to ensure they receive an appropriate tender.
9.10 Briefs issued should have been signed off by the eventual decision makers, to avoid inaccurate briefing.
9.11 In all dealings with potential Suppliers, Buyers should be transparent and clear about the scope of the project and the required delivery time.
9.12 Buyers should make clear to the Suppliers, in advance, the sign-off process and any key production milestones they require. If additional sign-off is required or significant changes requested over and above those already agreed, Buyers must accept that additional charges may be incurred.
9.13 When Buyers receive pitch ideas from a specific company, they should not use those ideas and have them reproduced by another Supplier in any circumstances. The intellectual property/copyright remains with the agency unless the agency allows the Buyer to propose payment for such material.
9.14 In a best practice environment, Internet auctions are not recommended as a suitable method of procurement.
9.15 Buyers requiring qualitative or quantitative research, to evaluate project effectiveness, must identify the scope and budget at the tendering stage.
9.16 On request, Buyers should provide a debrief (verbal or written) for the companies which were unsuccessful in their pitches, preferably within ten days of the decision reached on the pitch.

10. Project Management

10.1 Buyers must inform Suppliers immediately if there are unforeseen changes required to the project and be aware that cost increases may ensue. Seen note on PCN Section 4.3.
10.2 There should be the minimum of disparity between the commissioning team and the staff member/s overseeing the project.
10.3 Suppliers should be provided with a single contact from the Buyer company and it should be made clear from the outset if that person has sign-off authority. In rare circumstances where that may not be possible, it should be seen as the Buyer's duty to clarify contact names and responsibilities at the start of the project.
10.4 If feedback is required about the project, the Supplier should be made fully aware of the relevant market parameters, survey frames and the qualitative or quantitative nature of the data required.
10.5 All payment to Suppliers (whether stage payment or final payment) should be made on time and within the time frame agreed in the contract.
10.6 Buyers must indemnify Suppliers against any third party intellectual property rights liability arising from materials (in any format) provided to the Supplier. No Buyer should knowingly provide material in any medium whatsoever, the use of which would infringe copyright.

11. Dispute Resolution

11.1 Should the Association receive a complaint from a member company regarding any aspect of a purchase (or intended purchase) of goods or services, the Association will endeavour to bring about a reasonable resolution between both parties with the aim of achieving mutual satisfaction.
11.2 The service offered will only be available when legal proceedings are not underway.
11.3 All parties must accept that the service offered is not a substitute for legal advice, but a voluntary conciliation service that aims to avoid protracted legal disputes.

The conditions of the proceeding code of professional conduct are subject to periodic reappraisal by an industry working group and may therefore change from time to time.

For further information on the IVCA, log onto the IVCA website at http://www.ivca.org


Originally published November 2010

01 August, 2012

Choosing a Web Design Company

As the popularity of the Internet increases, more and more businesses are looking to get some sort of presence on the Internet. Different businesses take many different routes to achieve this. Some, not realizing the enormous effort required, try to design it themselves, others hire the local wiz kid to do it for them. The most sensible option, however, is to hire a professional web design company.

Choosing a good web design company is a bit like finding a good plumber or a good mechanic. There are loads out there to choose from but how do you get a good one? The one who will get the job done, on time and to budget? Read on it will hopefully give you a few pointers from my experience, looking at it both as a designer and from your point of view, as a customer.

Before you start looking for a design company, you need to decide your budget; Website Design should be treated no differently to any other business expense. You need to decide how important this project is for your company, and how much you're willing to spend. You need to have some ideas of what you want from your new website.
  • Are you looking for an online e-commerce store, an informational site, or an online sales brochure?
  • Do you want the site to have database access, to store product and service information, which can then be searched through by the customer and displayed online?
  • Do you need an animated web site with lots of moving graphics and user interaction? Or is a simple static-page more your thing?
  • Do you have all the information that your new designer is likely to need?
When you contact some designers, they may bombard you with technical questions and try to pressure you into signing a contract. STOP, before you sign anything there are some important questions you need to ask:
  • Is this company a full-time web design company? - Some designers build web sites as a part-time, second or weekend job. There is nothing wrong with this, everyone has to start somewhere and your part time geek may just be the next Bill Gates, however there are some issues you should be aware of.
  • Are they contactable during working hours? - It may be that you need to urgently change the pricing on your site, to add a special offer or change your opening times. If you can’t get hold of your designer are you confident that you can do this yourself?
  • Do they have their own web site? - If not, why not? You should check out their site, for prices, services offered and any terms and conditions, prior to meeting the designer. Even if you don’t understand all the gobbledygook, it may just save you a few quid, as they say, forewarned is forearmed.
  • Do they have a portfolio of work you can view? It is vitally important that you see some of their published work. Start with the design company's own web site; look at the sites of some of their clients. Ask yourself if you like the style of this designer?
  • Can you talk with some of their clients? If their service is good, they will be keen to put you in contact with some of their clients who are prepared to discuss their experiences. This will help you to establish if the company is reputable. It's also worth checking out their qualifications and finding out if they are members of any societies or associations.
  • What is this company’s main source of revenue? Often companies offer web sites in addition to their main business. Graphic designers and printers are among those who have branched out into the web design business. Again there is nothing wrong with this but you need to ensure that they understand all the technical issues in this rapidly developing area.
  • Is there any charge for the initial consultation? – Some companies will offer a free consultation and build further consultations into the price of the contract. Occasionally less reputable companies will try to charge you a fee just to discuss your requirements. Some designers will try to deal with you solely via emails or on the Internet, whilst others will try to do business over the phone. Wouldn't you prefer to see whom you are dealing with?
Finally, but most importantly.
  • Can they do what you want? Do they have the right technology and resources? Do they offer web hosting, maintenance, search engine submission, domain name registration and statistical analysis? Does the price include graphics design and copy? What kind of support do they offer when things go wrong or need changing? Do they charge for these things? Is it included in your quote? Can they get the job done on time?
Remember you're paying for this service and that you are entrusting a very important part of your company strategy to your web site designer. You are more likely to get a good web site if they fully understand your business, products or services.

Selecting the right designer is the very first step a client can take to ensure that they receive appropriate servicing of their graphic design needs. AGDA [Australian Graphic Design Association] has prepared a draft document outlining their recommended designer selection process that is available here as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.