Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back to catch up

I'm definitely over my my off week that I had a bit ago.  I've steadily been working on catching up on homework and I'm taking off work the first to catch up while taking a webinar with school.  Added bonus, its my Friday off this week soooo that leaves lots of time for potential schoolwork.  Of course this week is insane anyhow.  I have normal work through tomorrow, then as I mentioned Friday I'm off.  I love that my job gives me the opportunity to have every other Friday off, however I hate that I spend most of them running around catching up on errands.  This Friday will consist of a little homework, some errands, etc.  Then Saturday is another Annapolis shopping trip (while I know its only been 2 months since the last trip, believe it or not I don't think I've been in a couple years before then) and perhaps another Paper Source trip while we're out!  I certainly am going to have to stop at Franklin Covey to get some refills for my organizer!

One exciting project coming announcements for my friend's baby.  I'll be ordering paper and such this weekend, its really exciting!  Of course, I can't figure out how much work there is to do in advance, but I can do certain things like design the layout and start making the envelope lines so thats exciting!

Other than that, there really hasn't been much else new in the last little bit.  Tax time was a bit of a killer, but that's another post for another night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On being in a bit of a rut

Hey everyone.  So I am having an off week.  I feel like for every 2 great weeks I have, I have an off week.  I'm there.  I'm doing something at work that takes a lot more focus than what I'm used to, which means I've brought my ipod in and while it does help me crank out some epic documents, I think I would die of embarrassment if anyone caught me rocking out to The Phantom of the Opera or Moulin Rouge (who knows what I'll listen to tomorrow...) and it does make for some very long days.  I've hardly gotten any hw done this week and its just weighing on me.  Its silly but I do Weight Watchers (13.6 pounds to go) and if I don't eat right, I feel guilty.  If I don't work out, I feel worse.  If I do work out, I feel like I should have spent the time doing hw (and vice versa) and then I eat poorly from the stress and we're back to square one.  It may seem silly but that is simply how I work.  I'm starting to look for an apartment to lease starting this summer and the combination of things is weighing heavily on me (literally and figuratively speaking).  I'm looking forward to a bit of homework catch up on Friday since it seems like I'm simply not able to get anything done in the evenings here.  Hopefully I can get lots done this weekend since its free and I have a date day planned next Saturday.

I have to say a bit on twitter tonight.  Now I've used Twitter since...well before most of my friends knew what Twitter was.  Let me see that would be....summer 2007?  I think.  Anyhow, I have a personal twitter account which I really don't update too much anymore, and then there's the lineily one, which I honestly set up to get the company more established, network with other designers and artists and just really get the most of it.  Which is weird because with the personal one, I was a bit of a snob with who I allowed to follow me and who I followed and what not.  That's not to say I'm still not a snob about it, I am very selective of who I follow although Joe Blow can follow me and I won't stop him.  On the other hand tweeting at some people, I'll look at my comment later and its like "was that really necessary" and then other days there will be this great back and forth or I'll be able to helps someone with my limited web knowledge and its like "this is it, this is why I do what I do."  And I love every minute of it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shaking things up!

I have officially decided that this is no longer just the company blog.  This is officially now my personal blog.  The title for the blog has been renamed to "Confessions of a Designer", which is what this will be...there's a lot more to life just about goals, mistakes, learning experiences etc of my design firm.  Therefor, this will now be somewhat a mix of personal and business blogging.  I'm finding that without really expressing what's going on, while my bits on the company are informational, it really doesn't give much of a grip  Since this is my blog, I feel like unless you know me as a person, you certainly can't understand me as a designer.  So that's that.  Starting over from here.

So here is the whole story behind me.  I'm a 24 year old designer that has been designing for 5 years.  My background is a mix of information arena and advertising.  I usually have way too much on my plate and yet at the end of the day I still manage to pull it all together.  I have an amazing guy in my life, we'll call him T (since I'm not sure he'd appreciate me blogging about him much) who I've been dating for almost three and a half years.  I work full time as a designer, part time for my freelance company and about 15 hours a week on homework for my certificate in Advanced Web and Flash Design with Sessions College.  Consider this as the beginning of my blog, with my take on life, lessons, cooking, design and so much more!  I'll only be posting the links to design related blog posts on my twitter, but stay tuned for all of them!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I was so wrong

So do you remember how a while ago I was like "blah blah blah you don't need to spend money to make money"...yeah...

I was wrong.

So wrong.  Well, not entirely long.  I mean if you make far more than you spend, you're probably ok to not have to invest in your own business.  If you're a start up, not so much.  Or at least, don't plan on buying anything.  This is the first time I've done business stuff at tax time and I'm not going to lie, its not pretty so far.  I mean its not bad, I thought I had done a good job of balancing everything (I have a positive balance in the business account) however I just got a lovely form in the mail called a personal properties assessment that is $300 just to file it!  It doesn't matter if the business doesn't have any property, as a LLC it still has to be filed.

I should really rename this blog confessions of a newbie design firm (hmmmm....maybe i will still...) but this blog isn't just to be about designing, its really sort of the documentation of this company growing.  Plus if there are any other startups reading this, I really feel like this is super important information!

So my dear audience, I have a question to pose...I originally intended for this to be a semi-weekly blog about the company/progress/etc.  However, there's really not a lot going on now, so I'm thinking of making this blog a little personal and a little business.  Otherwise, it will be a bit of unsteady flow since right now my main focus is getting ahead on school more than the company sooooo I'm thinking a bit of a mixup may be in order.  Thoughts?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Something New

So in case you haven't visited the blog or the website recently, I did a full revamp of the site!  There are some old things, some new things and a few things missing!  I thought it was time to break out of the monotone scheme and add in a little bit of color!  Granted that I am talking about super muted minimal color because really, the focus should be on the content, not on the design.  I've decided to take down the link to my Etsy until I actually have time to put some stuff up there, it just seemed logical.  But I didn't really want to talk about my website, I wanted to talk about building it!  I always had kind of wondered how to get from a concept to a site and while it seems like "duh just build it..." there's really more to it than that.  So here is my personal process:

1.  Get a clue

No have to have some sort of idea of what you want before you try to do anything else.  If you need some inspiration, check out Smashing Magazine for some terrific examples!  Sketch out some ideas, write out what you need to do, this is the time to do it!

2.  Pick your colors & images

Sometimes I find that the images you choose can completely change the design of the site.  Usually I like to have some sort of a theme first before matching images OR I gather all my images first and then customize the theme around it.

3.  Make a mockup

For me this is usually a 2 step process.  First I'll sketch out everything exactly how I want it layed out and then I'll translate it into a functioning wireframe of the site(with place holder images and text).

4.  Pull it all together

This is the point where I put all the content where it actually goes.  Make sure everything lines up like it should and all the images are formatted correctly.

5.  Break it!

Well actually, its probably already broken.  Unless you test a site as you go along, chances are pretty goof that there's something wrong with the code.  Sometimes you can just look at the site and realize that an image is out of whack or your code suddenly is showing up within the text...a good way to test is using the W3C Validator (they have a great CSS validator too).

6.  Publish it

I usually save this part for last.  Generally I'll put as much information the site I'm making in a hidden subsection where I post the site for testing and then publish the site on the actual page as the last piece.

I could be a lot more technical and tell you my full process but then I'd be out of a job, right?  But if you have any questions or want anything to add, I'd love to hear it!