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Ownbeat have created branding and a custom user interface for Flairshare, a new social network site which is currently in development.

Flairshare’s unique selling point is competition. Users will be able to showcase their talents and compete to win points.  There are sixteen broad areas of achievement, covering everything from cinematography to test scores. Students are the main target demographic. To motivate users to enroll their friends, there is a ranking system for different universities.

We helped Flairshare build the front end of a beta version of the product that they can trial and take to potential investors. Our most important input was to design the user interface, and we feel we’ve outdone ourselves here. Based on our philosophy that user-friendliness comes first, we have created a system that is both elegant and robust.

This project has given us valuable experience of working with technology companies to develop web applications. The Flairshare team are talented people themselves, with some big ideas- it’s been a pleasure to work with them!

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Venture Central

Ownbeat have been hard at work on some graphic design for Venture Central, an important new web project from the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA).

The BVCA promote the interests of venture capital and private equity in the UK. Venture capitalists invest in startup companies. It’s a line of business with high risks but high potential payoffs, which has a vital role to play in boosting employment and the economy.

The new Venture Central website is a one-stop information shop for aspiring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. It aims to be a less formal space than the main BVCA site- welcoming, yet professional, with the BVCA branding reproduced in a different colour palate. Ownbeat was called in to design a series of sixteen very large disc-shaped navigation buttons. They’re midway between icons and illustrations, so getting the right look was crucial.

This one-off job led to some more work, an outcome which we’re always pleased by. There is a lot of necessary text on the site, and BVCA felt this could be made more easily digestible. We provided illustrations and simple infographics designed to increase clarity and readability.

We’re delighted to have such a high-profile client on our books. It’s been fun seeing what we could bring to an established brand with its own distinctive look.



We live in a time when social media has a huge impact on public life- most famously, the Twitter campaign which helped Barack Obama win the US Presidency in 2008. So Ownbeat is proud to announce that we’ve been doing some design work for Yatterbox.

Yatterbox is a subscription online service which collates and analyses the social media activities of UK politicians in real time. They track all members of the House of Commons, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and a number of other public bodies. It’s a valuable source of information for anyone who has a professional interest in the political climate, whether as an observer or as a policy-maker.

Ownbeat has designed an intuitive and versatile custom user interface for the site. We’ve also created a whole range of infographics which present Yatterbox’s up-to-the-minute analysis of trends in a clear and attractive way. In addition to some help with page layouts, we designed a “landing page” to promote the site’s services to potential clients.

This is an ongoing working relationship. Yatterbox never stands still, and we already have a new order for some one-off infographics in the pipeline. We’re delighted to be playing a small part in such an exciting new development in political monitoring.


CRI Service User’s Magazine

Ownbeat recently spent an intense and inspiring couple of days consulting with a  group of recovering drug addicts. We worked in partnership with York-based social enterprise Inspired Youth to help them develop a new-look service user magazine for the charity CRI.

CRI is a health and social care charity, working with 42,000 people across England and Wales. Among other things, they support the recovery and rehabilitation of people who have a long-term drug problem. CRI involve addicts in deciding how to turn their own lives around, rather than simply prescribing solutions from above. The results are impressive- for instance, 75% of young people who start their treatment program stop using drugs altogether.

Over two days, we worked with a group of 12 service users on the layout, branding and content of the new magazine. They wanted to create something that is positive about recovery, yet does not whitewash over the very real difficulties. The end product looks great and has a profoundly emotional impact- testament to the passion and hard work of the entire team.

It has been genuinely uplifting to work with such an engaged and creative group. The subject matter may have been weighty, but these service users managed to walk the fine line between controversy, humour and positivity when tackling some tricky issues. We are proud to have helped them find their voice.

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Infusion Factory

Ownbeat is gearing up to the launch of the Infusion Factory web portal. This is a pretty exciting project, which has given us a glimpse of what the emerging “knowledge-based economy” might look like.

The idea behind Infusion Factory is simple: to give businesses and communities access to the knowledge and resources of the Further Education sector. The Infusion Factory site will be an online marketplace where the staff and students of York St John University – as well as commercial businesses in York – can hire out cutting edge equipment, or offer their own expertise as operators.

3D printing and high-definition photography are two likely best-sellers, both extremely useful to entrepreneurs working on new products. Really, though, the sky’s the limit. The hope is that people at York St John will find all kinds of ingenious new ways to make use of their skills. Eventually, the service will be open to other universities too.

This website will be our second collaboration with software developers Iquara. As before, Ownbeat have concentrated on design and content, while Iquara’s programmers did the back-end coding. The front page will feature a short animation from Spinning Top Films. Watch this space for further developments!





Rowntree Society website launch event

More excitement for Ownbeat last week, with a big public launch event for the Rowntree Society website.

The Rowntrees are a great York institution: the Quaker family who ran the Rowntree chocolate factory for over 120 years. (The factory, now owned by Nestlé, is still one of York’s largest employers.) They gave us prominent social reformers such as Joseph Rowntree and Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, who did much to improve the lot of the working class and the urban poor. The family continues to do valuable work through their Foundation and Charitable Trust.

The Rowntree Society exists to promote interest in the history and legacy of this extraordinary family. The website we designed for them makes it easier for the general public to access information from the Society’s archives, and to get involved with events and projects.

We held a short presentation and celebratory drinks at the Youth Hostel International in Clifton, York. This historic building was once a Rowntree family home. It retains much of its character, with several rooms named after family members.

It was great to see such a strong turnout. We met sponsors, volunteers and representatives from other charities. Above all, there were some of the many thousands of York residents who have worked at the Rowntree factory over the decades. We really felt like we’d done our bit to help keep local history alive and relevant.

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Britsafe E-Newsletter

Ownbeat has won a major digital marketing contract with the services firm Britsafe. We are now running a fortnightly e-newsletter for this hugely successful regional employer, which will go out to their clients, business partners, and many of their prospective clients.

Britsafe provides both cleaning and security services, ranging from office cleaning to uniformed patrols. Founded in 1993, the company are doing well despite tough financial times. They have a strong commitment to staff training, and a proactive approach to meeting (and exceeding) national standards.

In digital marketing, having a great website is only part of the battle. You must also attract new customers and keep current customers engaged by continually producing fresh high-quality content. Every fortnight, we talk to the Britsafe management team to get the latest news and explore hot topics in the industry. We then get down to work writing a newsletter based on this consultation.

To avoid putting off readers with a huge wall of text, the bulk of the newsletter takes the form of several “teaser” paragraphs that link to longer articles elsewhere. Company news is mixed in with cutting-edge advice on issues related to hygiene and security. By helping Britsafe share their considerable expertise, we are working to build their reputation-which ultimately means increasing sales. We are proud to be working with such dynamic people on a brand with real potential.


SCY Website Launch

We are proud to announce the launch of the new SCY website. SCY (also known as Science City York) is a highly successful business services organization, formed in partnership between York University, City of York Council and York St John University to promote business and public sector growth across the region. The work they do is exciting and varied- from helping small businesses out of difficulties to winning million-pound funding bids for research projects.

To reflect SCY’s cutting edge remit, we have created a site with a clean, contemporary feel. Visually, it plays on the colour scheme of the SCY logo. It’s designed for ease of navigation, with discreet yet highly visible internal links to all sections of the site on every page. Social media and interactive features are tightly integrated to provide a welcoming experience for potential clients.

For this project, we teamed up with software development company Iquara Limited, who handled the coding side of things while we concentrated on design and content. It’s been great to collaborate with such a lovely and talented group of people, and we’re looking forward to working with them again soon.

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Jessie’s Fund

Ownbeat are very pleased to announce that we’ll be designing the new site for Jessie’s Fund, a major charity based in York.

Since 1995, Jessie’s Fund has been using music to help improve the lives of disabled and seriously ill children. They’ve been very sucessful at this. Notably, Jessie’s Fund has supplied musical instruments to all 40 children’s hospices in the UK. Thanks to them, 28 hospices also have music therapists on the staff. Their “Soundtracks” workshops give children in special-needs schools the chance to create and record their own music.

We plan to make their website more exciting, to reflect the great work Jessie’s Fund is doing. Visually, there will be a mix of photography and hand-drawn illustration. There’ll be more multimedia content, and social media will be integrated to make the best of Jessie’s Fund’s strong Twitter and Facebook following.

The new site will have more case studies: we want to put across the personal experience of some of the children who’ve been helped by Jessie’s Fund. We’ll also expand and improve the on-line resources section for teachers and music therapists.

We’re proud to have been chosen for this project, and can’t wait to get started!


Two major launches!

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks at Ownbeat, with the launch of two major projects. Both were complete re-designs, bigger and better replacements for already substantial sites. We’ve put a lot into these two websites, so it’s very satisfying to see them up and running.

The first is a website for the high-profile arts and culture magazine Aesthetica. It features both lavishly illustrated teasers for magazine articles, and free reviews and interviews in the Aesthetica blog. Frequent links to the shopping cart system make it easy for customers to purchase current issues, subscriptions and back issues, or even individual articles.

A market town in Northamptonshire, Brackley may be small, but there’s plenty going on there. Building the new website for Brackley Town Council, our priority was to make important information as accessible as possible. We’ve created an attractive, uncluttered interface that should do exactly that!

We have also been hard at work on numerous smaller projects, including a  website for Beware of the Bull. They’re a consultancy who, amoung other things, help charities to make more successful funding bids. We’re proud to be associated with them.