The old saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” If all I did was work, work, work I know for certain my digital creativity would dry up. I keep my passion for web and graphic design alive by balancing work and play. You will NOT find my chained to my computer screen day and night. Oh, I also have no interest in having a data plan on my phone so I can check my email etc. where ever I am. When I step away from my computer I like to step away from the electronic world.
It seems however I am unable to step away from the creative world. Here are a few of the fun non computer creative things I have done in the last year.
Invested in an SLR digital camera, while my photos are far from professional I did qualified for a profile on istockphotos.com
Built some sand sculptures in the gorgeous white sands of Florida.
Learnt how to tie the fantastic monkey fist knot
Enjoyed the creative eye candy of down town Chicago. From the wonderful impressionist painting in the Art Institute of Chicago to the amazing reflections from “The Bean“
Transformed a dungeon basement room to a teenage penthouse complete with painted skyline mural
Made an igloo in the garden after the spectacular snow storm in February
Got creative with food with some doggy cookies …for humans.
Got inspired to buy some watercolor paints after discovering a painting I’d started at age 17 and never finished. Brushing up on some seriously lost skills!
Planted a vegetable garden …that our resident garden critters enjoyed very much.
I am looking forward to many more creative adventures in 2012… digital or not.
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.
In the last day and a half I have had three separate conversations with business owners who have been let down by their web design company. From failing to deliver promised work, shoddy non functioning web elements, to hosting a site with a company who seems to have no concept of up-time guarantee.
It appears these web design companies do not value their clients, a strategy I find hard to comprehend.
Its not the first and certainly not the last time, I’ve heard stories like these. Over the years I have collected quite a few, for example
My web designer takes too long updating my site with the new content I send.
My emails and phone calls are never returned
Something is broken on my site and I need it fixed now
Google has black-listed my site and I am getting a “malicious” warning
I have paid a web designer to develop a web site and they have disappeared off the face of the earth
My web site is always down and I have just discovered my web designer is hosting it on a server in his basement
My web site looks different when viewed on a MAC or a PC, help!
I am getting bombarded by spam from my web site
There are a lot of “cow boy companies” out there
If you are looking for a web design company who is with you every step of the way, who measures your success as their success then give us a call: 847 607 8679.
A fair chunk of my projects come from client referrals. One of my latest projects, Spring Willows Farm, was a referral from children’s author, Cynthia Reeg ( thanks so much Cindy!). What’s not to love about referrals, they are a powerful win-win-win for all concerned.
The New Client
Hiring a web designer can be a daunting task. Where do you begin. A simple Google search for “chicago web designer” yields a whopping 2,610,000 results. Even if you just evaluate companies on the first 3 or so pages that can take a lot of time and can you be sure the companies are a good fit for your project in terms of expertise, experience and even budget. For a new client, a referral, or even a number of referrals can be invaluable time saver and pre-screening process.
The Referring Client
When referring, personal reputation is on the line. The referring client is placing their trust in you to do not only a good, but a great job. Their experience working with you has obviously been excellent and they want the same experience for the “new client” A few years back a client sent me a number of referrals and at the end of each project I’d let them know they were complete. Their response was always “you make us look great”. Mission accomplished.
The Web Designer
A referral is the greatest form of flattery a client can give and is the ultimate validation that you did a great job for them. It is a good solid lead that more often than not will lead to a new project. More clients = more potential referrals.
So there you have it the three fold power of referrals.
The holiday season started early for me today when I was presented with a fabulous homemade advent calendar lovingly designed and constructed by my 12 year old daughter. Creativity is without doubt a genetic trait! She has no interest in web design and wants to be an architect. She has inherited her creativity from me but is a spitting image of her Dad .
She will be highly annoyed that I have featured her on my blog but here she is with her wonderful gift. Today’s treasure was a packet of ice cubes, I’ll keep you posted on what’s behind each door.
I may be a little weird … weather affects my level of creativity.
The Chicago weather this morning was a toasty 60 deg, still and rather gray. Then the sky began to bruise and a small but sweet thunder storm rolled in. I couldn’t be happier, the more dynamic the weather the more creative I become. Give me rainy, windy, snowy or stormy days and what ever project I am working on … website, logo, brochure, branding, gets an extra boost. Looking forward to what the Windy City can inspire!
Anyone else influenced by the weather like this?
p.s I had an incredibly creative week here, the tree featured in this post unfortunately didn’t survive the lightening strike and withered and died over the summer. I had it removed last week.