Author Archives: Tyler

About Tyler

Mr. Warhurst is a builder of websites, both large and small. He has a versatile mind, one that can think in both visual design and computer code. Mr. Warhurst loves portraying unique places through the websites he creates, using the enticing images to move people to experience these places for themselves.

Pilch & Barnet brings home 5 Addy Awards!

Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2021 by Tyler

We can all agree that 2020 was a tough year for everyone. But here at Pilch & Barnet, although COVID-19 scattered us out of our office, our collaboration couldn’t be stopped. We banded together and created some creative, fun projects for our clients—projects that brought us home five brand new awards!

The American Advertising Awards (the Addys) is the industry’s largest and most representative competition, bringing in more than 35,000 entries each year throughout its local chapters. The goal of the Addys is “to recognize and reward the creative spirt of excellence in the art of advertising.”

Here’s what we won!

Gold Addy – Visual/Illustration/Series

Gold Addy - Rhinelander Hodag Emoji GIFs

For best visual illustration, we won a Gold Addy for our work on a series of Hodag emoji GIFs. The Hodag is a beloved mythical creature and mascot of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Our design team illustrated these fun caricatures, then animated them into GIFs for use in social media. They’ve already received more than a million views! See more of our work for Rhinelander here.

Silver Addy – Social Media – Campaign

Silver Addy - Rhinelander Hodac TicTok

Our first Silver Addy also belongs to the Hodag! This creature fancies himself a bit of an influencer in the Northwoods (he once ran for President, after all), so we knew TikTok was the perfect platform for him to strut his stuff. In just a few months he reeled in hundreds of followers with his hypnotic dance moves. Watch the Hodag break it down here.

Silver Addy – Direct Marketing – Sales & Marketing – Specialty Advertising

Silver Addy - Hodag Social Distancing T-shirt

If you haven’t noticed by now, the Hodag is kind of a big deal. When COVID hit, and social distancing became a frequently employed term, it occurred to us that the Rhinelander Hodag was keeping his distance way before it was cool. So, we put together this limited-edition t-shirt and it sold like gangbusters—with all the proceeds going to the Rhinelander Chamber and its businesses. This clever idea earned us another Silver Addy.

Silver Addy – Websites – Consumer Website

Silver Addy - Wisconsin Travel Best Bets Website

Our final silver Addy comes to us via a brand-new website for the travel consortium Wisconsin Travel Best Bets. This beautifully redesigned site is packed with articles on everything from award-winning breweries to hidden beaches and delivers big on inspiration to book a trip to Wisconsin. See it for yourself here.

Bronze Addy – Online/Interactive Campaign

Bronze Addy - We Love the Northwoods Campaign

Last, but certainly not least, is our Bronze Addy for an online/interactive campaign. In anticipation of tourism’s recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we helped the seven counties of The Northwoods of Wisconsin band together to launch a new brand website and social strategy, including profile frames, Instagram stickers, and a new hashtag. Using these tools, and their unified efforts, the area was able to boost visitor confidence and begin its recovery.

See more of this award-winning campaign here.

Like what you see? Want to learn more? Pilch & Barnet can help your destination or company grow too! See some of our best work here.

How destinations can prepare for 2021

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 by Tyler

While this year has posed incredible challenges to travel and tourism, effective strategies have helped destinations navigate the storm. As we plan and craft strategies for 2021, it will be important build on some of the lessons learned this year—here are some things destinations can use to help speed the travel recovery in 2021.

Imagery

Strong images speak, inspire and motivate and are integral to any destination marketing effort. In 2020 they took in an additional role: reassurance. Destinations used images to communicate their measures to keep travelers safe and the beautiful open spaces and natural areas that allow travelers to responsibly enjoy time outdoors. Travel and the priorities of travelers have changed, and these images will have continuing value next year and beyond. Now is the time to continue to invest in photo libraries so you have appropriate and effective images to sustain your communication efforts throughout the year.

Social media

Social media channels this year allowed destinations to continue conversations with travelers who were temporarily unable to take a vacation. From fun quizzes to local scenes that offered tranquility, this was a time when inventive content was especially welcomed. As businesses reopened, social media helped promote businesses that are so important to the economic wellbeing of destination communities—lodging properties, restaurants, retailers, and service providers. Many people will be working from home for the foreseeable future, which presents a continued opportunity for social media. For example, some commuters who where behind the wheel listening to the radio for more than an hour a day will now be engaged online during that time. Others will be on their social media channels at times when they might have otherwise been occupied with business in the office. Continue to invest in the conversation.

SEO

Websites are a key source of information for travelers, but to be effective they must be discovered. There’s a lot of competition for audiences, and going into 2021, it’s critical that websites be optimized to connect with potential travelers. This is the time to make sure pages are loading quickly and links aren’t broken. Content drives traffic, so now is also the time to make sure you’re providing the content travelers are searching for. Outdoor experiences, like parks and places to hike, were huge drivers to destination websites in 2020. Those topics are likely to continue to be important in 2021—monitor your traffic, invest further in the content that’s performing and use it as a vehicle to inspire people to travel. Be mindful of the kinds of searches people are conducting and answer their questions with your content. Is it safe to travel right now?  Are the restaurants open? Where can I find a place to hike?

How we’re keeping travel dreams afloat

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2020 by Tyler

As the world worked to slow the spread of COVID-19 this spring, most people’s travel plans had to be put on hold. But while travelers couldn’t get in their cars and physically visit a destination, the need for destinations to connect with their audiences didn’t stop—in fact, building connections with travelers this year has been more important than ever. When travel is safe and permissible, we want people to already be thinking about their next travel destination, and we have spent the last few months getting them to do just that.

We’ve helped places continue conversations with travelers by developing and launching a mix of creative projects that leverage social media and help people enjoy a little “vacation” at home.

Here are some examples of what we’ve done:

  • Coordinated video interviews with small business owners to help them stay connected with visitors and share their updated offerings and services
  • Adapted our messaging to “dream now, visit later” language, consistent with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and others in the industry
  • Promoted carry-out dining and online shopping options to help support local businesses
  • Invited people to share memories and photos of past vacations and curated that content on multiple platforms for our clients
  • Created COVID-19 resource pages on destination websites, updating the content as necessary
  • Created “5 minutes of relaxation” videos for client destinations on YouTube, featuring topics like a Northwoods sunset or a gently flickering campfire
  • Designed special COVID-19-related graphics encouraging residents and visitors to abide by official recommendations on masks and social distance procedures
  • Worked with several counties in northern Wisconsin to launch a “We love the Northwoods” campaign, encouraging visitors to share their Northwoods memories
  • Designed and sold a T-shirt featuring Rhinelander’s famous Hodag to help raise money for local businesses impacted by COVID-19 in Rhinelander
  • Used our Hodag Fan Club to promote fun games and activities for kids and families who are stuck at home
  • Created virtual photo tours of destinations across Wisconsin
  • Designed thank you posts and graphics for essential workers
  • Created funny photos and videos of Rhinelander’s Hodag in quarantine (check him out on TikTok!)
  • Promoted an effort to distribute special floral arrangements to local hospital workers on behalf of Hilldale shopping center
  • Ran a lighthearted photo contest that asked people to submit vacation “photo fails”

While a lot is uncertain in the weeks and months ahead, it will be important to keep talking with the travelers of today and tomorrow in new and creative ways. We’ll continue to find ways to keep the conversation going, and we’ll share some of these ideas on this blog.

Web Trend: Inventive Typography

Posted on Saturday, July 13, 2019 by Tyler

When we think of the text on a website, we think of it as secondary to the imagery and functionality of the page. It provides context and important information. (“Like what you see? To inquire about availability at this lodging property, call 715-555-5555 or visit their website…”). It prompts users to take action. While this is still true, typography—the design of the font—is becoming increasingly important aesthetically in the space of image-dominant websites.

Tried-and-true (and perhaps a little hackneyed) websites place the text and images on a grid pattern. Newer sites try to create more stylish and out-of-box layouts that use asymmetrical patterns and a variety of media alongside carefully selected typeface. Below, see an example of an older website that segments its text and images like a grid next to a newer site that breaks from the form.

Additionally, now that our computer screens are sharper (even on mobile), traditional ideas around using sans serif fonts for legibility are changing. Previously, screens lacked sharpness and serif fonts were more difficult to read because of the multitude of small lines appended to each individual letter. See below.

Keep in mind, however: trendy designs are only as good as their legibility and the user experience. Visitors should be able to find information quickly without scrolling; they should be able to read text without squinting or turning their heads sideways. For this reason, it’s better to play it safe with longer paragraphs of text like blog posts.

Pilch & Barnet keeps the user experience in mind when choosing fonts in all instances big and small: from designing logos to coding websites.

Web Trends: Give the Customer What They Want…On the Go

Posted on Friday, March 15, 2019 by Tyler

In 2018, mobile surpassed desktop for time spent on the web as a record 77 percent of Americans own smartphones. As a result, mobile optimization became more important than ever to brands hoping to gain loyal customers through the web. Whether consumers are shopping for clothing or hunting for homes, the experience they have can make or break decisions, especially when it comes to choosing how to spend money. Moving forward, web designers must prioritize mobile optimization to ensure potential customers can access information efficiently from their devices.

Common and necessary components of mobile-optimized sites include:

  1. Clickability: Sites designed for desktop have small buttons that can be difficult to press when using a touch screen mobile device, so designers must create buttons large enough for clicking with fingers.
  2. Readability: Text should be fitted to the screen. Site visitors should not need to scroll, zoom, etc. to read the information on a website.
  3. Searchability: Providing the visitor with the fastest route to the information they need will improve their experience. Designers should include a “search” bar to make websites user-friendly.

Keeping all of this in mind, Pilch & Barnet now designs all websites with a mobile-first approach.

Web Trend: Keep It Moving

Posted on Monday, November 12, 2018 by Tyler

In addition to utilizing color and patterns, designers are adding motion to otherwise static pages to attract and guide eyes. While video content can be used to entertain website visitors, it can also be distracting or frustrating if the file takes time to load, which might prompt visitors to exit the website prematurely. To combat this issue, small elements can be animated to create subtle motion to webpages that engage the viewer without interrupting them. Designers craft this feature using JavaScript, building GIF animations that engage the user and keep them on the page longer.

This technology can also be used to build what is called a particle background, which is a strong substitute for video content. Adding moving elements to webpages creates a more engaging and interesting web experience while allowing visitors to conveniently navigate to their desired webpage.

FAQs Can Help Drive Content

Posted on Friday, January 12, 2018 by Tyler

As we continue to plan out content for e-newsletters, websites and social media outlets for 2018, we’re taking to heart a piece of advice we picked up at a content conference last year, attended by three people from our Content team. One of the valuable tips we heard was to ask clients what questions they frequently get from visitors and potential visitors online, over the phone or in person at their visitor centers or chamber offices. Then, we can craft content based on these questions and use it on websites (FAQ pages, blog articles), in our e-newsletter copy and in social media. This content is valuable because it’s based on information people are actively looking for, not to mention that it can help bolster search results for our websites and improve engagement on our social media channels.

Web Design Trend: Small Movement

Posted on Monday, November 13, 2017 by Tyler

If you’ve perused the internet sometime in the last six years, you’ve probably spotted the small (and often funny) images that loop to infinity—the animated GIF (GIF stands for graphic interface format, but you don’t really need to know that). What used to be a gag in blogs and group text messages is now becoming more common in web development. In 2018, these short animations will become more refined. For example, expect to see custom branded GIFs replacing static logos (Google and Uber have already done this).

Adding a bit of tasteful movement to key elements of a brand makes web content more engaging for users. Small movements can also draw attention to key elements of a page in a very beautiful way. Instead of placing an entire GIF on a webpage, some web developers are employing cinemagraphs. At first glance, a cinemagraph appears to be a normal photograph—but look closely, and you’ll notice a subtle, sometimes looping animation.

At Pilch & Barnet, we implement cinemagraphs on client sites when appropriate. We also use GIFs in many of our promotions. And, if you ever want to ignite a superficial squabble in the office, ask if it’s pronounced “GIF” (like gift) or “JIF” (like the peanut butter).

The Importance of Https (HyperText Transport Protocol Secure)

Posted on Monday, March 13, 2017 by Tyler

If you’re one to notice small details, you may have seen that an “s” now appears after the http in most of our web addresses, so “https://www…”. Https stands for HyperText Transport Protocol Secure. The “s” signals that we’ve taken steps to block the misuse of website data from intruders and malicious attackers. Https protects the integrity of your website by helping prevent hackers from tampering with the communications between the site and its users; it also protects the privacy and security of your users by stopping intruders from being able to passively listen to communications between your site and your users. Plus, Google Search recognizes https as a sign of a legitimate and trustworthy site, so it bumps up where your site appears in search results. And don’t worry—if your users still type the web address in without the “s”, they’ll be automatically directed to your site regardless.

The latest from the workshop

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2015 by Tyler

Find your perfect fall moments in Vilas County. This 30-second spot puts visitors in the driver’s seat (and the biker’s seat, the boater’s seat and the hiker’s seat, too) as it takes them on a first-person tour of some of the best things to see and do in Wisconsin’s Northwoods in autumn.