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An Excuse for not Writing

Sorry I have not made an entry in a while… I have been slowly… ever slowly… contemplating the new direction of my portfolio site while trying to keep up with all my projects. In fact, I am officially turning away Freelance work at this point.

My job at TRNXS.NET is really a full-time plus gig and working there has been very enriching. I work with a group of guys whom I see as being incredibly talented and brilliant on several levels.

I am working as a front-end designer; or at least that is what I was hired to do. As usual, the job description has been somewhat stretched. When I wrote content for InstaCare.com I never thought it would have been published as it was, but I had to quickly learn to edit myself better.

New lesson learned: Never Assume; ass-u-me …. oldest story….

I had to become a copy-writer and I had to improve language skills that I let get lazy over time. Never mind that it is still not all that long ago I graduated college for the 2nd time. Alas, refining those skills had to become a priority.

When SummerlinHealth.Com was released, a parent to InstaCare, I found my role as better defined and my creativity allowed to flourish with some degree of license. It felt good to see the company CEO brighten and feel I hit the nail on the head. Two more projects later I am still batting with a good average; as soon PureCare.net and ProviderCare.Net will be out.

I have the honor of having designed the logos on PureCare and ProviderCare; updated and cleaned up InstaCare and Summerlin Health as well. I am glad management has been pleased with the over all result.

It’s good to be employed. I can give so much credit to Freelance designers out there fighting the good fight. I do still have 3 open Freelance clients pending and one of them has tuned into a very unfortunate situation. I will talk more about that later.

My job duties have expanded again recently, and not on a level I am in anyway reluctant to grab on to. I have been designing and completing a lot of print media. Now that takes some new thinking and fortunately I really paid atention in school.

Creating graphics for print is very different than creating them for the internet or for any digital presentation.

Alas, I can say my situation is very fortunate. I was speaking with one of my mentors recently, saying to him that some days I really hate web design. He told me he hates it every day, but still holds a deeply rooted passion for it. That was good for me, because it just sort of snapped everything back into perspective. I still get excited when work is published and I still feel joy when a client says it looks amazing. Yeah!

cancer charity shirts

I am hopefully a helping a friend with her project and raising money for cancer. She wanted t-shirts she can sell at a profit. If you like these and want to contribute, buy them from her. Buying them at the online store will not generate money for her cancer charity. I just wanted to share the link.

Scott

New Sites Published

Within the last week, a couple of projects made it to the Internet. One of them includes Canyon Gate Marketing. This company is integrated with relationships into the other sites I have been working on as a part of my job. This does not include side projects outside of trnxs.net.


Here is the before and after. The mission of Canyon Gate Marketing became better defined and the CEO of the company strengthened his vision. Although the company has been around for a while it is putting new light on its current and future projects. Glad to be a part of it.


On a side note… I was working on a couple of StudioSK specific projects including gotNurv.com and a new site.

I spent a chunk of the weekend on a social networking site getting it setup and structured with the help of my Hosting Company. I have to say, having been with them the last 8 years they have never let me down. I am hosting with Hosthead.com

Although I am concerned about posting this on here because of the nature of the content, the site itself is highly worthy. Modifications/Customizations went fairly well and I proposed this to another person whom I know is trying to build a social networking environment. I used Eelg as opposed to other products a lot of developers are using as framework out there.


My user group will be discussing these next week at a meeting atBorders in the Towne Center Square on the 13th.

New Site Launching Today!

I have been a little quiet about my job, with the exception of some previous comments. Well, I am wrapping up my 3rd project at my company and this one taking sail today is of particular interest. I took on the design of the company web site.

Summerlin Health Web Site

Above is the new version while below is the old version. See, when I started here I was supposed to be working with a young guy responsible for the designs they were suing (seen below). I was not keen on the harsh gradients and the blotchy uses of purple. However, keeping the same story was still important.

In the above rendition of the project there are some nice dynamic element with RSS feeds into the site as well as a rotating visual menu shown in the bottom quarter. Although I designed the site, coworker William worked with me to make it fully functional.

The site works off of a Zend Framework. This is a small Zend project, but I will be posting another one soon that is an online app that I worked on as well. The original designer quit abruptly. My aesthetic obviously deviated from his, but at least management likes it.

Feel free to tell me what you think!

designersIndulgence

This comic was passed around the office today. The freelance world can be… challenging. I do it in limited quantities. But I can say that this dialog is very familiar. ha ha ha.

Been working on 3 projects for trnxs.net and want to publish and talk about them, but need to make sure it’s cool to do so. I am working a lot with a talented guy named William Estrada and I have to say it is a good pairing.

I seem to work well on a team. I do feel like a leader, but to be honest between what I do with William and what I do with Tony Reiker (in Portland) it feels like a strong collaboration. I’ve been so lucky to find such awesome guys to work with.

Enjoy the comic!

long long dusty road

Well, since starting my my job, having time to generate new business for StudioSk has become a low priority. I have one major project still cooking in the pan and am anxious to see that finally take shape. My partner helping me build this project is using a Zend Framework; which I am excited about because I am actively using the same technology in 2 other projects at my job.

I walked into the last half of a project here at trnxs.net which should be ready to launch in the next couple weeks, if all goes well. Since they already hired staff to make it happen, I imagine the expectation is pretty realistic. It’s a pretty cool idea; not that I am at liberty to say too much right now, but I do not see anyone else doing the same thing.

Even though I am a late comer to this project, a lot of my creativity and content is actually driving the site and being put into the functionality. I am not a programmer, but my skills in UX have proven to be a benefit. I also have the time and focus to think about flow and usability to really contribute to the final product.

The previous front-end guy bailed on the project leaving me with a lot of leverage. I win I would say!

Project 2 is sorta in limbo, also Zend Framework, but the content is more static and informational as it supports the previously mentioned project. It is www.summerlinhealth.com; I will be optimizing it and refreshing the content soon with their new product launch coming soon.

And finally, I am working on a new project that I designed yesterday. Management came to me telling me very basic information and not much more. So I went with it, bringing in color theory and image psychology, but it was all wrong. The CEO and the management I am dealing with thought that giving me much information would impeded the creative process, but what I needed to know is WHY the site existed, what inspired it, what is out there that shares their vision. And so within a couple hours I had a whole new story and got the thumbs up.

I will be sharing that soon. I went online and looked at the competing sites for this project and they are nothing like what I am creating.

It’s been great having these unique projects. I hope their singularity and uniqueness make them great successes, because I think in the long run that will affect me as well.

As for endlessembroidery.net…. I am excite to have that coming to life as well and look forward to the launch soon. I have an excellent team, even if we are having to deal with days only 24 hours long and that nasty need for sleep once in a while.

wurking stiff

Well, after almost 8 months of scraping by on my own I happened to find what may be the perfect job for me. I have to consider it a tremendous gift from fate. This has happened often before, finding exactly what I was looking for. I was really becoming disheartened about it and really doubting my choice to come into this industry full time. Alas, here I am.

For those of you in the know, I also have a degree in Culinary and worked in one of the best kitchens in the city for a long time. But most of my working career has been technical or web related or both. I was seriously considering finding myself a nice whole and going back into banquet cooking.

It always led to that question, what am I really going to do when I grow up? Still have no idea, but I will enjoy the ride along the way. Let’s see what happens.

This site will start featuring more of my work and designs, some relating to this company and to more of the art stuff I am hoping to put out.

See me at First Friday on November 6th at the Art Institute display.

Thanks!

advertising

So much for thoughtful blogs about business. I started a new effort at advertising and generating some new clientele by using Adwords, an ad on CraigsList (see tweets on www.art23design.com) and whatever I can generate through my networks. So far almost all of my work has come from word of mouth and it is a good thing.

Hopefully, as a new guy on the block, I am working this gig the right way and making something sustaining. I feel like there are good things going on with the work I have in the pipeline. Right now I finished up with elevateinteriors.com with the setup of their site; pending some future additions.

EndlessEmbroidery.net is in the pipeline and is a substantial project that is so exciting. It is one of the biggest projects I have undertaken so far and I am enjoying working with the client a lot.

And finally the upgrade to cmclv.org is very near release and the work on it is an amazing leap from their old site. I did the old site, so I can bash it openly. I had such limited time and resources when I first did it, but now it is blossoming.

So, happy clients should be good references and I hope they are happy. 🙂

aesthetics

I have pride myself on having a good design aesthetic, but sometimes what seems good is not good enough. My process in the beginning of a project is to give the customer a chance to give me feedback on the basic look/feel. Is the design for you (the customer) or is it for the visitor?

It is both. There is a sense of ego (id) going into the design that can be detrimental to the finished product, while not being narcissistic, but satisfying the customer aesthetic. They write the check that pays for the site. The visitor needs to want to come back and the designer has to make sure, when possible, that this happens.

Color schemes entertain the eye while content that is interesting or desired brings them back. Some colors are about trust while others are about action. A site serving a particular function or service, if it is a value produces the visitor flow on its own. No matter how it is labeled unless the site is compelling and/or useful people do not come back.

This is an impact on search engine ranking. A site that is static and inactive without any dynamic content may not advance much in the scheme of things. Actively marketing and creating links into the site will help it. But quick and easy ways of improving content is by adding widgets or even a twitter reader that adds fresh information with your tweets.

My design approach is to be easy to use and navigate, create visual interest, and meet the needs of my customers. Although sometimes it is hard to maintain the balance, one just does it. Is it successful or not?

Getting critical feedback is like pulling teeth. Peers and leaders are not out there willing to critique. Better to say nothing if you do not have anything nice to say? My door is always open to my customers and peers who want to offer feedback. It can be done right here by clicking the COMMENTS link below or by emailing me directly.

as seen on Twitter

Made some overdue touchups to the site. There was something missing on this designers we site and finally something clicked. It may (in some cases) be just an embellishments, but the stars added a dew drop of balance to the site. I also added my Chickenhead piece on a couple of the pages showing me in vector with a chicken-mohawk.

I am curious for any feedback, but getting that from anyone is like asking someone to help you move. Yeah…

I hope people like the updates here.