I first visited Saskatchewan in June, 2007. At that time I had only been dating who is now my fiance for less than year, but the time had come for me to visit her hometown and meet the “in-laws”. She had previously been through the same “meet and greet” experience as we’d spent the previous month visiting my family in the UK. I remember the both of us stepping off that plane in Saskatoon, at 9am on a Saturday morning – we had took the red eye from Toronto – collecting our luggage and setting off on the hours drive to Humboldt.
After about 10mins, heading out on to highway 5, I noticed something wasn’t quite right – that something was missing. But I couldn’t quite work out what it was. Then it hit me. There were no hills! Now, for a kid who grew up in a valley in UK – the Peak District – and then went and lived in Korea for a year (which if you didn’t know is 70% mountain terrain), seeing a place with no gradient is… well, it’s weird. All I kept thinking on that drive was, “When it rains, where does the water go?”
The 2 months I spent in Saskatchewan during that summer I learnt the following:
- there are 2 seasons – summer and winter – and regardless of what season it is your basement gets flooded;
- most of Saskatchewan is pretty flat, unless you drive north;
- it gets really hot in summer, which is then super-seeded by it’s extremely long and cold winters (at this point I had only “heard” about ridiculous temperatures such as -45);
- and that mosquitoes love me.
So for me that was Saskatchewan. It wasn’t until I actually moved to Saskatoon in 2010 that I learnt about the importance of Saskatchewan not only to the Canadian economy, but to the world.
Mines, Mines, Mines
I really had no idea about the mining industry here. Well, I shouldn’t really say “no idea” – as I had met people that worked for “the mines” – but just ignorant that such an industry continued to thrive. Growing up in the north of England where Margaret “Maggie” Thatcher, during her 11 year reign, shutdown our mines and then in turn systematically went about destroying the UK – that’s all I’m going to say about that, instead I’ll let others rant and rave about “Thatcherism”. So, to me “mining” was redundant.
For those of you who have grown up here, and/or are involved with the mining industry, then you’d be right to think that I’m an idiot for thinking that. Now that I live here it is so obvious that there’s nothing redundant about mining at all. Cameco – the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company – and PotashCorp – the world’s largest potash producer – are headquartered here in Saskatoon, along with offices for BHP Billiton, AREVA, Claude Resources, and Great Western Minerals, amongst many others.
Even though there are a number of large enterprises based in Saskatoon, this hasn’t stopped junior mining or exploration companies paving their own way in this industry. One such company is Axiom Exploration – or Axiom Ex – a geological consultation and mineral exploration company based in Saskatoon, and one of 2 Web Design’s recent clients.
Prior to working with us, Axiom Ex had no online presence, no branding, and no logo. It was our job, working in collaboration with them, to create the Axiom Exploration brand. This had to be established first as, as is the case with all our web design projects, the design team base the website design on the colours of the logo – without these key elements, they would have tricky time creating something exciting. Wireframes – yes. A sitemap – yes. An engaging, yet attractive design? Not yet.
Website and Logo Design
What was great about working with Axiom Ex was they knew exactly what colours they wanted – red and dark (charcoal) grey – and how the logo should look. A primary objective of the logo was to create something “striking” as well as a symbol that would become synonymous with the Axiom Ex brand. Therefore we proposed, “What about making the “X” in Axiom the symbol?” They loved it! So that’s what our team went with.
Now that the branding and logo in place, next up was designing the website.
Researching Axiom Ex’s audience, and understanding their goals and objectives, the design team created a variety of design concepts for the Axiom Ex website. The chosen concept you can see here:
A key element of the design was to highlight their services – Oil and Gas, Mineral Exploration, Projects, and Experience. These services are apparent in the main navigation as well as highlighted on the homepage. Built using a custom CMS the Axiom Ex website features:
- A “Project Showcase” module – so they have the ability to add content (text and images) regarding their projects
- A rotating homepage banner – which they can edit in the CMS
- An “Industry Leader of the Month” module – to highlight specific individuals within the industry
- A news feed – to provide updates on the latest news within their industry
- A careers page – which is featured in their utility navigation to promote careers within Axiom Ex
- Integration of Facebook and Twitter links
For more detailed information on this project – how we created the complete Axiom Ex brand – you can view the Axiom Exploration Case Study.