The Man With Two Names

Sean Craig

Thumbnails: My Website

So I moved on to the next phase of designing my website and decided on 5 possibilities. Here are their thumbnails. In the coming week I’m going to bring these sketches into digital renders and choose which look to go for in my website.

My Website: Thumbnails

Quick wireframe sketches of website ideas.

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Internet Economy

Digital Money

 

How many hours do you think you spend a day on the internet? How much of your time and money do you use yearly on your quests through the virtual collage of pictures, music, products, info, movies, etc.? According to the European Trade Commission (http://www.newmediatrendwatch.com/markets-by-country/17-usa/123-demographics) we spend around two and a half hours a day on the internet on average. 365 x 2.5 = 912.5 hours a year! 38 days straight! Now lets say for those 38 days you could have been working a minimum wage job instead. 38 x 24 (hours) x 7.25 (average U.S minimum wage) = $6612.

The point of this post is not to make you feel guilty. In today’s society using the internet is  very common and useful (granted some overuse the internet.) My point, however, is other than this money we could associate with our time how does this money measure into the internet economy? Many advertizement companies spend millions of dollars to get face time on the internet. This in turn hopefully will attract the user’s business. If you add the amount of money people pay for online subscriptions and services you are left with a huge economy indeed. This economy has one huge flaw that is becoming more and more apparent, where is this money going??

Before we go further check out this awesome site (http://rcs.seerinteractive.com/money/). On the site it shows what companies are making profit online and what their stream of revenue comes from. It also links to articles that discuss the financial standing of each company. As you’ll notice many of these companies don’t make money off of selling products or even services. They make money off of affiliates, advertisements, and “freemium”( service is free but options to upgrade to premium version draw in money.) As you may have noticed none of those things deal with a physical product. And here lies the problem.

In our physical economy we trade goods for currency. However, in the new information age we trade currency for data. When the U.S  Federal Reserve was established in 1913 the internet was a long ways into the future. The idea of the modern computer was only being thought of by few and wouldn’t even begin to be created until 1938. Money is being pushed into a new economy that is not based on any resource or material, it is based on information. What price would you put on information? Apparently $6612 a year.

Site Map: My website

 

My Website Map

The above is my site map for the eventual Sean Craig | Man With Two Names website! Something that drives me up a wall these days is portfolio sites either being simple but boring, or complex and exciting. What I want to do with my website is create a seamless experience that is visually delicious and alludes to who I am as a person, designer, musician, and artist without being visually confusing. By the way if you ever are designing a website, even if you are just getting it designed by someone else creating one of these bad boys right here can help you visually see the purpose and user experience for your site. And that my friends is awesome User-Expierence Design!

Web Design: Casa Bonita Website Redesign

Casa Bonita Redesign

To Begin

The following is a project that I completed for my web design class. I was in a team with two other kick ass designers, Melina Chastain and Emily Verhagen. The prompt, redesign Casa Bonita’s (One of the top roadside destinations in the U.S. located on the beautiful West Colfax) new website. This of course was not an actual redesign, it was just an assignment. Here is the link of the current site: www.casabonitadenver.com

Sketch Casa Bonita

A shot of an early ideation for the website.

Design Process

Early on we knew that our goal in redesigning the website was to simplify. Our aim, to create a quick and fun experience for the user. We  researched and collected all the resources from the current website and set out to do some field research, we went to the famous Casa Bonita!

The Menu

After arriving we spotted their existing menu (http://www.artifacting.com/2010/03/the-menu-at-casa-bonita/). A few sopaipillas  and adventures later we were set on designing the website around the menu. The ensuing process would be a very fun experiment in creating a quirky user-friendly experience.

Typography | Layout

After consider SEO and other visual needs of the site we decided to keep the copy down to a minimum. We opted for a more dated typesetting style. We broke many type choice rules and chose some awesome rustic decorative typography that would be read easily while being attractive visually. We decided that we should create a single scroll page in order to have a simple viewer experience.

Final Outcome

We created a very simple and fun website that not only looked good but felt natural. We opted to break from the digital and aesthetic and create something that felt very honest and rich. Our site only features illustration and typography. We decided the value in Casa Bonita was in the mystic of their attraction and the place itself. To entice customers to come visit we opted in not spoiling this mystic with images. While this is not a fully functional website just front end design we already had an idea for the functionality of the site. The top feature would collapse the second you scroll down and the Logotype and navigation bar would stay fixed at top. The links would help you jump up and down the single scroll page or you could manually scroll through yourself. This of course would make it very easy to integrate across media (iphone, ipad, desktop, etc.)

My team rocked this one. I believe with a few adjustments that were suggested in our final critique this could really be a rocking Casa Bonita website!

Oh also since our team won out of the two design team we got a very special prize (last image on bottom) from our cool teacher Mr. Robb Fladry.

Casa Bonita Website 1

Feature Area and Navigation

Casa Bonita Website 2

Fun take on the “About Us”

Casa Bonita Website 3

Simplified Menu (not our illustration)

Casa Bonita Website 4

Our bottom map (the fold would be animated/responsive and fold up with user interaction), Contact Info, and Hours

Clients & The New Designer : $

To begin, I will admit that I do not have nearly he amount of experience that other designers do. I am still a a little tadpole in this HUGE design pond. However, even with the small amount of freelance experience (3 years) I have had my share of experiences with clients. Many of the biggest issues with clients I feel are: asking for and receiving money, Allowing your design goals and their company goals to not push each other out of the aim, and to present the final product to them in a way that will make it impossible for them not to agree. In this post I’ll deal with the issue of money and a client.

Many of the experienced designers currently are advising the younger generations to not under price themselves for any design. Easier said than done. While the market is becoming hugely saturated from the influx of new designers, including myself, their is a shortage of available design jobs. It’s becoming much more competitive. In addition huge companies or tightening up their bottom lines and small firms are closing everywhere unable to compete with the proliferation of the In-House Designer. So many designers become freelancers, and struggle to turn positive profit through self networking and marketing. The college graduate is stuck; intern at a small firm, corporate in-house, or join the growing ranks of freelancers. While many of the experienced designers can utilize old contacts and flex their resume to get a reasonable paycheck many budding designers are left with tiny new businesses with very tight (or non existent budgets.) My advice from what I’ve learned in asking and receiving payment for your design is simple, play the part. Act like that huge designer with 40+ years of experience. Now while this doesn’t mean you should start adding 0’s to your rate it just means being confident in yourself and what you offer. If they can’t pay your rate, judge if it is based on their wallet or their opinion of you. Use this tactic when you ask to get payed as well, don’t allow a client to walk all over you.

It isn’t easy to ask for money. Just remember that you are only underpricing yourself. Clients want results they don’t want to have to search out the cheapest designer. If you are already sitting over coffee and a design brief they already are interested now just have confidence.

My top 3 website designs of Fall 2012

Hello there and welcome to my top 3 picks of websites for fall 2012. My basis for the following choices rests on three separate factors:

1) Navigation – Simplicity in direction and how it moved me through the site.
2) Visual Deliciousness – Mouth watering, beautiful looking site.
3) Content – What’s the reason? Did it convey the reason successfully?
THIRD PLACE | Rainymood.com

rainymood.comTo begin the idea is genius and simple. Want to play with your music by adding a light rain sound? Want a calming sound of rain to put you to sleep? Want to create a sound black hole, by opening duplicate windows? This site has one purpose and millions of ways to share that purpose with others. The design features a seamless repeating video in the background. However, since the content’s light it loads fast!
SECOND PLACE | Lifetick.com

Lifetick.comThe goal behind this site is to give the user a place to keep track of and categorize goals. This market is full of applications and websites offering the same solution in goal setting. However, this website offers a certain level of complexity while offering it in a simple to navigate way. Built completely in HTML5 this site is very clean both visually and behind the scenes making it fast and delicious to look at. It allows different levels of submersion within the experience, making it perfect for a wide array of users, like me.
FIRST PLACE | Sagmeister.com

sagmeister.com

Who goes to Sagmeister.com? Pretty much every design professional to come ogle at the “Rockstar of Design”‘s firm. The thought reverberating in their head “What will be on here? Will it be as shocking as the aesthetic Sagmeister has brought to the table time and time again?” Then you see designers designing? Wait a minute! The floor is buttons! Before you know it you are shuffling through all of the parts of the site like a crazed 8 year old at Chuck E. Cheese’s for the first time. However, this whole time it doesn’t even dawn on you, this is simple navigation. You are awed but not distracted. Honestly one of the most groundbreaking sites simply because it merges reality with the web without losing usability.

The above sites create beauty through simplicity. By reducing complexity, not just productively but beautifully as well. Tune in again when I choose my top 3 websites for winter 2012!

Design That Matters

Ted: Design That Matters

In the above video Timothy Prestero brings up a great point about product design. In his opinion many designers design a product for how it will look. However, many of the possibilities that designers push actually aren’t possibilities at all just pretty ideas.

Outcomes are what we are all designing for and to not look existentially on the things we want to produce only lets us as designers see what we want to see. I am guilty of only seeing the possibilities in my designs instead of seeing the whole picture of developing that possibility into a reality. The world is not perfect, and so even if you believe your design to be flawless you need to understand that the world it is going to is very flawed and that development isn’t a perfect easy art. There is boundaries. While we can solve the problems these boundaries bring to the table we can’t forget the bigger picture surrounding them. Many new designers start designing without seeing these problems, and I believe as they gain experience they learn to look for these problems. The best designers however, not only see these problems but they see the extroverted settings of these problems and create solutions to help control or even change the variables these settings bring.

CSS Zen Garden

SO there is this juicy little website:http://www.csszengarden.com. It’s a great little tool to see css in action and then get a look at the code behind it. Here is my top three picks from the site. Enjoy!

1. http://www.csszengarden.com/?cssfile=202/202.css
– It is pretty easy to see why I prefer this one. It is simple but yet grabs your attention. The fact that it all fits within one space that scrolls is pretty cool.

2.http://www.csszengarden.com/?cssfile=169/169.css
–Yet again very simple. I also enjoy the incorporation of the illustrations and images as well.

3.http://www.csszengarden.com/?cssfile=150/150.css
–I enjoy how this one uses colors and different hues to guide my eyes directly to the information. Also the rounded corners and how everything relates to the image makes for a very visually appealing website.

Yay to learning css!

Hello (welcome to my) world!

This (just like Facebook) was started because a teacher told me to create this. However, soon this page will be filled with many juicy posts. These will mostly deal with design and issues within the communication and visual world (with a hint of random comedic relief). So sit back grab a coffee put your feet back and enjoy the ride!