I am honored that so many of my clients come back to me for repeat work, even moving from St Louis to Chicago 5 years ago ,did not destroy the relationships I have built up.
I have been working with Cynthia Reeg, a St Louis Children’s author, since 2007 and was delighted recently see an announcement that she had got a new book deal for a trilogy. It had been a while since her website had been updated and she contacted me looking to take her site to the next level. She wanted to not only update the content and promote her new book but to have the ability to self manage the entire site and develop a fan base which she could market to. The new site needed to be mobile friendly too
I am always up for a challenge and love it when a client comes to the table with a well thought out list of wants!
Her old site was static based but incorporated a Blogger blog. Moving forward with Blogger was not ideal so the decision was made to move to the WordPress platform as the content management capabilities are far superior. I built a custom responsive template based loosely on the look and feel of her old site (why change it when she was happy with it) and imported all the posts from blogger.
The pages were given a fresh more modern layout and a prominent call to action was include. It encourages readers to sign up for her blog and in return they receive a free writing lesson. The call to action is tied in with an email blast program so her fan list can be easily managed and marketed to.
I recently discovered Lyle’s Golden Syrup in my grocery store, no big deal you think, but if come from the UK and enjoy the odd bit of baking… as I do… it was like finding liquid gold.
So why is this tin of Golden Syrup being featured on a blog about web and graphic design?
Take a look at the logo.
It is a dead lion with bees buzzing around it. I think if I presented a client with a logo, featuring an animal carcass, to be used on a food product, in this day and age, I would get shot down in flames and become a laughing stock. But this particular logo has endured the test of time. Not only has it remained virtually unchanged for over 100 years it has been confirmed by The Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest brand.
The trademark was registered in 1904 by Lyle and the design is reference to a story in the Old Testament, in which Samson killed a lion, then saw that bees had formed a honeycomb in the lion’s carcass , “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”. Owner Abram Lyle was a highly religious man.
Facebook will make it’s new timeline approach to profile pages default on December 22nd. The look and feel of the profile page will change and additional functionality to visit past posts via a timeline, will be introduced. If you don’t want to wait you can easily get the new timeline visiting here , a clicking the “get timeline now” button.
The new profile page features a large cover photo which you will need to set. You can use one of your existing photos or upload something new.
The dimension of the cover photo is 850px by 315 px, if the image you select is smaller that that it will end up being stretched and not sharp.
I created a montage of contemporary graphics for my cover photo, they are the same as the ones I used to create the “Color Punch” igoogle theme.
To get you started I am offering three contemporary graphics you can use on your own Facebook profile. Download by clicking on the image and saving to your computer. They are sized correctly and ready to go.
I get rather disgruntled sometimes when I go to buy a birthday card and I find nothing I like, is it just me?
So I have put my graphic designs skills to use and created my own birthday card which can download for free. I actually have this card on my personal blog ” Creative in Chicago” and was recently picked up by About.com, making it their number one choice in a list of 20 free birthday cards.
The card comes in four color combinations and works well for men, women and teens. Click on the one you like and download the pdf. Print it out on some good quality card stock and you are good to go.
As a web designer I know an image can sometimes say a thousand words and stock photography companies like istockphoto play an invaluable tool in my web designers’ tool box.
I recently got approved as an istockphoto photographer and while photography is something I only dabble in, I like to challenge myself to take photos worthy to post online!
You can view my collection so far at www.istockphoto.com which feature photos taken in the North shore area of Chicago this past fall. I am the first to admit I am no Ansel Adams but I find the creative process fun.
Who doesn’t love a before and after comparison, I do them for web sites quite a lot, ( herehere and here) to showcase how a few design tweaks can make a huge impact on the appeal of a site. But today I am going to show you how I used my graphic design skills and tools to transform a very dingy, quite disgusting Chicago basement room into a light and airy teenage “penthouse” hang out.
My canvas for this room was horrible wood paneling which has the texture of drift wood but nowhere near as pleasant. I primed then painted everything white, it took 3 coats before it looked good.
Then came the fun bit.
To be certain the skyline idea was going to work in terms of scale and look/ feel, and what colors looked best, I did a little Illustrator and Photoshop mockup.
First I designed the skyline in Illustrator. It was then imported into Photoshop and superimposed a photograph of the wall I intended to paint. ( I used the multipy function and distorted the illustrator graphic to fit the wall dimensions) After a bit of color tweaking, playing around with different shade of gray we settled on a simple black and gray color palette.
Because of the rough nature of the paneling my initial plan to carefully tape off and paint the skyline failed so I ended up painting the whole thing free hand. If you look carefully I did not stick religiously to the illustrator design but it was enough to point me in the right direction. It turned out pretty well.
I have a bit more work to do on the furniture on the other side of the room… more painting which I will share soon!
It is hard to escape the abundance of snow in the Chicago area at the moment. Ask most people what color is snow and the answer will be white. Ask a graphic designer and the answer will be, “white but also think soft grays, delicate lilacs and even dramatic blues.”
As a web and graphic designer color is one of my favorite “tools” Here are the colors I see in snow.
I am a sucker for visual illusions as can be seen here and here. Now there is a new one: Silencing.
Play the video below and focus on the white dot in the center. To start with it is easy to see the dots are changing color, but as the disc starts to rotate they become static. Or do they? In actual fact they are changing all the time.