Angles of Art is a family run picture framing and art conservation firm based in Reading. “At our core we are conservation framers and take the utmost care of artworks, preserving them for the future” says Alex Foster, the owner of Angles of Art. “Art and the love of art has always been an important part of my life – my Mother studied at the Courtauld Institute in the restoration of oil paintings and I gained an MA in Art History, having always been a keen artist making sculptures, paintings, and furniture. Running an art related business is a great opportunity to combine my personal interests with earning a living.” Angles of Art not only frame, restore, and conserve works of art, but also preserve people’s memories – of their wedding day and anniversaries, of sporting events, achievements, and heroes, and almost any event throughout their lives. Memories can be preserved in different tangible forms – shirts, cards, cross stitch and tapestries as well as pictures and images. The business is staffed by people who understand all aspects of art conservation and framing. “We have a team of artisans; fine artists; experienced craft workers; restorers; and of course business people”, says Alex.
As well as picture framing, Angles of Art run a series of around 6 exhibitions a year showcasing artists, ranging from the established to the exciting newcomer. This is an increasingly exciting part of what we do, commented Alex, “and we are always pleased to talk with local artists who may be of particular interest to the local area”.
“We have now built a collection of three framing related businesses that all work together – Angles of Art, The Caversham Picture Framer and James Frames” says Alex, “The first two are our retail businesses in different parts of Reading, whilst James Frames is a wholesale business – providing framing services for other organisations such as John Lewis”.
We first made contact with PAAC IT when looking for an organisation to support our specialist framing software, FramR, that runs on a virtual server. We had difficulty finding someone to step up to the task, but Richard took it on and has kept it working ever since. Over time we have grown our relationship with PAAC IT to include our server, NAS drive, and workstations across the businesses. Although we are based in Reading and PAAC IT is in Haslemere the support has worked extremely well” commented Alex. “The team at PAAC IT have remote access to our kit and can fix most issues from their offices. When our websites needed a refresh, it made sense for us to trust this to PAAC IT as well. Our first website was The Caversham Picture Framer followed by James Frames and more recently Angles of Art.”
The first phase of developing the websites for Alex was to really understand his businesses and the different positioning between the two businesses of The Caversham Picture Framer and Angles of Art. You can read more about our website design process here. We spent some time discussing the target markets of the two businesses, their USPs, and how we might differentiate the websites. As we progressed through the website specifications, we agreed the number and content of each page, colours and fonts, text and images. Once agreed Alex, and his team went off to shoot the images of the artefacts he wanted to include on the website and to write the accompanying text. The website needed to showcase the quality work that Alex and his team delivers, so the process was quite protracted as we waited for the “right” piece to be framed.
Meanwhile we developed the website framework in WordPress. We avoid the use of commercial website themes and minimise our use of plugins in order to keep site load speeds downs and reduce the threat of hacking attacks. Even so, creation of the framework is probably the quickest piece to execute in the whole processes. As Alex produced the content, we optimised image sizes, tagged each piece of content with metadata and entered key words and content snippets for the internet search bots. During the development process we held weekly Skype calls with Alex to keep the project moving and discuss refinements along the way. “It is quite an effort to find the time to produce quality content for the website and fit it into all the normal business activities that need to be performed” said Alex, “so the weekly calls really helped give me the incentive to keep moving”. We also took care of all the other “hygiene” factors of developing a website such as the domain registration, SSL certificates, cookie warning and privacy notices.
The final steps were to move the completed website onto production servers, ensure all worked well and to load the site map into Google’s search console.
The James Frames website followed a completely different path. “I bought the James Frames business which came with an old clunky website” says Alex, “I needed to get a replacement website going very quickly, and asked PAAC IT to simply rebuild what was there already, but just do it yesterday . . and they did”.
We have continued to work with Alex and his team and have almost completed a new website for the Angles of Art business.
“PAAC IT are a friendly family run business which knows its stuff! They make creating a new website easy with designing the setup while project managing targets for content creation” says Alex Foster