Tag Archives | Design

iSad – Steve Jobs

There is nothing I can say that someone, somewhere will say much more eloquently and succinctly about the life and times of Steven Paul Jobs.

Love him or hate him, the man was simply a genius.

I think everyone who knew of him and his health knew the end was coming. Particularly after his recent resignation from running Apple.

However, is still leaves me sad that he is gone.

The news of his passing acted like a wakeup call to me.

I’ve had my head buried in the sand for quite some time. Suffice it to say that I’ve not been very motivated, as if in a long state of burn-out, slump, or “creative block” and its been going on for a while.

This news woke me up.

It’s time to Think Different and get back in gear.

So thank you to Steve Jobs for his contribution to the advancement of technology and for helping people take notice of the importance and impact of design. Thanks for making great products I use everyday like the MacBookPro I am typing this on, and for the Apple IIe I used 29 years ago.

Thank you for your inspiration.

Thank you for your creativity.

Thank you for your contribution.

Thank you for “one more thing…

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A new portfolio solution in more than one place.

Ever since I started to focus on Berchman.com I realized that my former “company” website, HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc., was no longer maintained, correct, or relevant. However, at the time I was fortunately too busy to even think about doing anything to the site.

Then one day I was doing research on a project and stumbled across a free portfolio template that stood out to me in more than one way. The template is called medifolio, by Dirk Leys who generously posted it online. I was particularly drawn to the “sliding” action when you click on a portfolio thumbnail image, and the return to the main page. There was a simple elegance to the whole thing. I looked at it and thought, “how can I do this type of page in WordPress and Thesis?” The original medifolio is a single, flat html page. How could I generate all the content, in the right order, with the right tags and syntax? I thought about it a while. A long while.

In the time since I first saw medifolio I was working on a client project requiring the listing of individual portfolio pieces, complete with images and text. It required a complete custom solution. By creatively using categories as parents I created blog posts that then occupied specific categories. I could then create custom loops to not only create a listing of the portfolio pieces at the top of the page, but I could have them link to the actual full description and image display further down the page (by using custom generated anchor links). You can see the work in action here on the website ckwrites.com. There are four custom lists generated across the top of the page after introductory text. All done within WordPress and Thesis with categories and custom page templates, and custom loops.

Since I had completed design and development of ckwrites.com I looked back at medifolio and the previous experience lent itself directly to making medifolio a reality. After some long nights tinkering with custom php and css solutions I got the basic page to work as the original static medifolio page. All the content was being dynamically generated from individual posts for each and every portfolio piece. All the tags, divs, etc. were being dynamically generated as well.

Once I had a basic working model the next thing to do was to implement. I’ve done this right now in two places where it lives, live on the Internet. The first implementation was at HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc.

I set out to rework, or basically remove, all the non-relevant content from the website and was left with a stripped down, single web page that tells what the current state of affairs is, and shows a sample of work that I completed in my time operating HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc.

Once I had this complete, I wanted to take it to another place and that was on the Dennison+Wolfe Internet Group website where I am a partner. This implementation allowed me to refine and rethink some things to how the portfolio is implemented.

I think both of these came out looking quite nice.

It will be a part of the new, upcoming Berchman.com redesign.

My next step, I think, is to clean this up, write a tutorial on how to implement this, and release it on an “as-is” basis. What does that mean? It means if you want it, download it, and figure it out.

That is what I had to do. 🙂

Let me know what you think.

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Where have I been?

I have been busy on many projects recently. What is great is I am ready to share them and the new things I’ve learned with Thesis and WordPress. My two most recent projects made me push my personal envelope of what I thought was possible within the WordPress/Thesis environment. Not that I’ve ever had any doubts, rather just plain figuring out “how the h*ll are you going to do this?“—and then doing it. So much fun.

Over the next few weeks I am going to share the projects, their scope, the questions presented, and their solutions. Not every project will go into minute detail, but I will give you enough info to maybe help you figure out how to do your own solutions to your own WordPress/Thesis challenges. I’ve noticed in the time that I’ve been using Thesis there are more and more people trying it out, and trying to do-it-yourself, which is great. I have found that its not a perfect fit for everyone but if you’re like me the fit is great and learning never ends. So stay tuned to see the projects.

Also, I’ll let the cat out of the bag and now state that I have a new website design for berchman.com coming soon (design is done and now in CSS) along with a custom portfolio solution rolled right into WordPress/Thesis. There is a fair amount of setup and labor in this process (basing things off an open-source solution), but I think the end result is clean and attractive. Thinking about doing a detailed tutorial and maybe releasing everything into the open. We’ll see what my time looks like. I’ve had very little time to write tutorials, or anything for that matter. But believe me there is lots to share and I’m hoping time will cooperate with me.

That’s it for now. Summer is here and I hope yours is going well.

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A Website Realignment: Day 56: Branding Berchman

This post is the first in what may be many video posts (ie., vlog posts). I am exploring new content formats so this may appear to be a bit ‘raw’ and unrehearsed, but it is real. I’m not reading a script (although you do see me look off and pause—I’m looking at a whiteboard with notes).

So, how does this fit into the “Website Realignment” you may ask? Well at this stage I am assessing content and its function and role in the website:

  • What types of content do I use?
  • What content formats don’t I use?
  • Are certain types of content suited to a specific format? (Tutorials are always text?)
  • Should I have more than one type of content?
  • Am I making this not simple?

So here it is. The first video post. I plan on these becoming higher quality the more I do them. Would definitely welcome your comments on using this format in the comment form below.

http://www.vimeo.com/6959125
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A Website Realignment: Day 45: Branding Berchman

Note: Recently someone asked to see all the posts from this series. They were reading the “Day X” as a series that was a post every day. Under that logic you would see there are many posts “missing” in this series. However, that is not the case. I am working on this project most days, between client work, and posting when I can. I have not posted in a while because work has picked up a bit. However, I have no plans of abandoning this effort. Stay tuned!

Making the Brand Visual

Now its time for the visual branding. This subjective exercise adds an element of challenge because whenever designers design for themselves it has the possibility of spiraling into a never ending reevaluation.

However, I have been thinking about the visual approach since I started this project. Paying attention to influences, likes, dislikes, colors, and typography for weeks now has allowed me to mentally prepare an ‘idea board’ in my mind.

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A Website Realignment: Day 12: Branding Berchman

The next step in branding Berchman.com is to develop a positioning statement.

From the brandeo website:

“Also referred to as a brand strategypositioning strategy, or brand positioning statement, a positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom a brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants them to view the brand.”

I would adjust this for my purposes because I am developing a personal brand statement, not a corporate brand statement:

A positioning statement is a succinct description of the core audience to whom a your personal brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how you want them to view your brand.

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A Website Realignment: Day 9: Branding Berchman

I’m picking up where I left off on the previous post.  So far I’ve gathered adjectives 17 friends, family, and clients perceive as my personal brand. I’ve also identified adjectives I would use for my personal brand.  But what else is there that might have an influence on my personal brand?

  • My opinions, likes, and dislikes
  • What tools am I working with?
  • Who do I do business with?
  • Who is my target market?
  • What are my roots, my upbringing, where I was raised, etc.
  • What is my story?

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A Website Realignment: Day 8: Branding Berchman

Since writing the first post in this series I read a great article on A List Apart that spoke volumes to me about the process I am embarking on and documenting here. If you do not read alistapart.com I suggest you check it out. To summarize–I am not so much “redesigning” berchman.com as I am “realigning” berchman.com.

I am reviewing the goals and purpose of this website and ‘realigning‘ content and design to help achieve those goals. Initially when I launched berchman.com I thought nothing of ‘goals’ or ‘purpose’ it was just my personal website. The times and purpose of this website have changed. So I have changed the title from “A Website Redesign” to “A Website Realignment” because it more accurately reflects what I am doing.

The first part of realigning this website is defining the brand of Berchman.com. Berchman is me so subjective/objective issues are very strong with taking on this exercise. Berchman does have a brand in the eyes of the beholder, but up to this point-in-time I have never done any research to get to the essence of the Berchman brand.  Continue Reading →

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A Website Realignment: Day 0

Here is the beginning of what I hope to be a great series of posts. This series will chronicle—in as much detail as I can provide without driving myself or you crazy—the process of reinventing my brand and transforming this website in form and function.

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Three Thesis Sites in One Week

thesis-WordPress

It has been a busy publishing week for me. I have had 3 websites go “live” this week that are based on WordPress and Thesis. Two of these website involved comprehensive design and the other involved functionality customizations. The point of this post is to share some recent work to show that all Thesis sites do not look totally the same. The best part is that I learned many new things about WordPress and Thesis in the process—some of which I will share soon.

Coming up next after this post will be a serious undertaking that I will chronicle on this website—the redesign of berchman.com on WordPress and Thesis. I will post the whole process from start to finish as a complete “under-the-hood” look at how it all gets done. So stay tuned. The posts on the redesign of berchman.com will start next week. Continue Reading →

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