iChicagoWebDesigner.com. We have a new blog!

Inspired by my original  “Eye of the St Louis web designer” and now Eye of the Chicago web designer” series I have decided to launch an additional blog dedicated to my “Eye of the Chicago web designer” posts.

Chicago is a rich city full of inspiration for us web designers … my camera has hardly stopped clicking since I arrived here! I didn’t want to swamp this blog with my photos.

So without further ado click iChicagoWebDesigner.com and take a peak.

2010 © Chicago Web Designer

Emotions of a Typeface: A set of Dreamy Fonts

Here is the next installment in my series “The emotions of a typeface”. Today’s set features dreamy fonts.

They all convey a sense of calm, quiet and restfulness, something I could really do with after the upheaval of moving my web design business to Chicago over the last two weeks!

dreamy type faces

Think “spa, pampering, bubble bath” – any one of these would work for branding elements.

Next time I’ll showcase a set of Techno font,  I’d love to hear your requests for future posts in this series

View  others in “The emotions of a typeface” series : playful fonts , Energetic Fonts

2010 © Chicago Web Designer

A letter to Chicago from the Chicago Web Designer

Dear Chicago,

Hello! A week ago today I was packing up my St Louis web design business and today, here I am firmly planted in Chicago. It may be a while before I am fully unpacked but I am really looking forward to getting to know you, all your fabulous businesses and getting down to work as the Chicago web designer.

Here is what I do:

Web Design

  • Custom Web Site Design
  • Web Site redesign
  • Banner ad Design
  • Email templates
  • Blog Design, wordpress, blogger
  • Internet marketing ( SEO)

Graphic Design

  • Logos and corporate branding
  • Presentations
  • Brochures
  • Advertisements
  • Traditional graphic design

I have been in the web and graphic design business for over 10 years and am truly passionate about what I do.

One question, as a city you have a lot of nick names. Which one do you prefer, Chi town, ChicagoLand or the Windy City?

Yours Sincerely

The Chicago Web Designer

2010 © Chicago Web Designer

New Website for Chicago Headhunting Company

There is nothing like kicking off a Monday morning with the launch of a project. Today sees the release of a new web site and brand image for Chicago headhunting company, Peter Meder and Company.
Chicago headhunter peter meder web site

We began working with Peter about a month ago. He wanted a very professional and polished looking web site and was interested in integrating his  blog and networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. We created a clean crisp look and feel enhanced by an amazing set of photographs ( taken by Peter himself) with call to actions on the home page to current headhunting searches,  social media connections and his blog.

The blog, “Moving up -A conversation with Peter,  career advice and stories from 25 years of headhunting” has been live for a few months but just using a standard blogger template. To ensured it flows seamlessly with the rest of the site we created a custom template, with navigation to the main site and branded with the Peter Meder and company brand elements.

peter meder blog

Twitter and Facebook accounts were also given the brand image.

peter Meder socail media

We are just finishing up on a stationery set to complete the brand makeover. As I said before full image branding are my favorite design projects and I am looking forward to the opportunity to working with more Chicago based clients!

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

Emotions of a Type Face: A set of playful fonts

Ask any web or graphic designer how many type faces they have loaded in their font directory and you will be boggled by the number, they are important tools of the trade and we like to have lots!

Selecting the right typeface for a project, title, button, logo, banner, call to action, etc, can be a time consuming task. What sort of emotion will the typeface evoke and will it be the right emotion?

Today I am starting a new series, the emotions of a type face, and to kick it off lets start with a set of playful fonts.

These fonts all convey a relaxed, laid back emotion. They are fun, non confrontational but functional.

playful fonts

Next time I’ll showcase a set of energetic fonts

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

St Louis web design blog evolution

When I first started this blog back in 2005 it was an experiment and educational process. I could see their potential and what better way to learn than start one for my own company. Over the last five years my blog has evolved and grown into an invaluable tool for attracting site visitors and generating leads.

Blogger was a nice easy platform to start on and I used one of their templates, modifying it to reflect some very simple Indigo Image brand elements. As you can see (thanks to the way back machine) it was pretty basic stand alone application.

first generation blog design

When I saw the amount of traffic visiting it became imperative to incorporate the main site’s navigation into the template from a usability standpoint . I developed a header which created a seamless transition from blog to the rest of the site and vice versa and had a consistent branded feel. I also introduced subject categories to better organize the ever growing content and give the visitor a different avenue to explore.

2nd generation blog

The momentum for the 3rd generation came from a complete site redesign. I took advantage of this to better position the blog subscription and offered users a number of ways to subscribe. The 3rd generation was originally powered by blogger but has been recently switched to WordPress ( this was due to blogger withdrawing FTP support). The switch to WordPress has made it easier to introduce additional functionality like a blog search (this is such an easy way for me to look up older posts) and better manage things like blog categories.

3rd generation blog

So what’s in store for the 4th generation? I will definitely be taking advantage of the functionality offered by WordPress and some ideas are certainly beginning to formulate but not quite there yet. My main objective still remains the same though, but they are secret so I will keep them to myself!

2010 © St Louis Web Designer

Banner Ads on your website

If you are a website designer or an owner of a web site that offers advertising this post is for you.

website advertising 4 ideas

Yesterday I revealed a branding project I have been working on which included the creation of a logo, business card, website and banner ads. An important part of the website was that it be able to accommodate banner ads as this was to be a major source of revenue for the site.

To refresh your memory here it is again
website sbradio
Designing a web site with ads  in mind poses a  challenge. You need a site with conflicting call to actions.

Call to action A

Engaging your site visitors with your site’s content – happy surfer and web site owner

Call to action B

Encouraging your site visitor to leave your site by clicking on a banner ad – happy advertiser

So how do you design a website to  please both surfer and advertiser? Successfully accommodating banner ads into a web site is all about balance between space,  size, color and movement.

Space and Size

There are industry standards for the size and shape of Ad units suggested by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).  This list of acceptable shapes and sizes is growing each year but to create a website to accommodate all  is not wise.  A better approach is to pick a few of the best performing sizes/shape (do a search to see the current hot list) and create your website design around those blocks.

The thoughts of ads on a page can sometime conjure up an image of clutter and disarray but careful spacing and positioning of the  units can optimize the performance (click through) of the ad, while minimizing the invasive effect they have on the surfer.


The banner ads provided by the advertisers are likely to be multi colored and certainly not designed to compliment a web site with a complicated color scheme.  The best approach is to keep the color scheme of your site monochromatic, in the case of the SBradio site we selected tones of gray. This approach helps the ads pop, happy advertiser, but enables the site visitor to easily switch focus to the site content, happy surfer.


Many banner ads have an element of movement, either a flash animation or a rotating gif.  To overcome the competing effect of an animated element it is best to ensure the host web site has no or little movement itself.

So ads vs content, let the competition begin!

2010 © St Louis Web Designer