Chicago web designer: Creative balance

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
  • 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.

web designer creative balance

I am looking forward to many more creative adventures in 2012… digital or not.

©: 2011 Chicago web designer

The Chicago web designer on

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!

Chicago web designer istockphoto

You can view my collection so far at 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.

Chicago web designer stock photography

© 2011 Chicago Web Designer

Have you been let down by your web designer?

Isn’t it funny how things come in threes.

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.

We will not let you down.

What internet projects are you planning for 2011?

Happy New Year!

A fresh year ready and waiting for action

Is 2011 the year you?

  • Launch a new web site
  • Finally redesign your outdated web site
  • Update a site with a new product or service
  • Improve your search engine ranking
  • Begin that blog idea that has been on the back burner
  • Get to grips with Twitter and Facebook
  • Explore social media as a marketing tool
  • Make the most of email marketing campaigns

Whatever you business plans for the coming year if you are looking for a creative partner to help execute your internet or print projects we are here to help. A call, 847 607 8679 or a click away

© 2011 Chicago web designer

The Three Fold Power of Referrals

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.

©: 2010 Chicago Web Designer

Eye of the Chicago Web Designer: Creativity is Genetic

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.

©: 2010 Chicago Web Designer

Chicago web designer jargon square

Every profession has its own lingo and jargon and web design is far from exempt.  If you are in the market for a new web site the last thing you want is to be bombarded with is a lot of techno babble. It’s more than likely you don’t care about RSS, XML, CMS, meta tags, optimizing, browser compatibility, hosting… that’s why you are hiring a professional web designer, right?  The important thing is you hire somewhere who understand and speaks the “language”.
Chicago web design jargon
2010 © Chicago web designer