Agency + Landing Page

New Piece

I recently completed a project that was an animated landing page that I made using Hype. If I haven’t mentioned this program (cough, ahem, I mean App) before, now is as good a time as any. A good friend of mine designed this software to make creating HTML 5 content designer friendly. Sure, not many designers can go into the world nowadays without knowing a little code, but Hype helps not only level the playing field, but also lets designers do what they do best: Design (not code).

So HTML 5 is another medium for animating web pages in the vein of Flash, but utilizing different technologies and using inherent browser capabilities, not plug-ins to function. Yeah, I’m definitely on the band wagon for this new era of rich web content using HTML 5. It’s an exciting time to be experimenting with new technologies and tools.

So saying, I worked as a contractor for another agency (in Belgium, btw; love how small the world is these days) to create this landing page. They were hoping to use a lot of effects, probably to help show off the capabilities of HTML 5, while still maintaining as much cross browser compatibility as possible. Initial designs also utilized google web fonts, which I thought was cool we could do using Hype, but in the end, switched back to a standard web safe font, as it opened up a few more animation options. The techniques I used are opacity changes, movement along paths, rotations, and letter spacing and size changes.

Wedding Reception Invitation

New Piece

Invite overviewMy brother recently got married, but in a small ceremony in Upstate New York, so most of our California family was not able to attend. So saying, my aunt wanted to host a special dinner for the family to celebrate the happy occasion, and I offered to make the invitations. I was also happy to make their wedding webpage (just a quick splash page).

Their colors were blue and brown, and although I know they aren’t interested in things that are too decadent, I thought a nice formal invite would do well for the get together. Besides, it gives me a chance to play.

I had these lovely brown envelopes that had some bronze pearlescent qualities, and used some cream colored card stock for the cards, with a blue paper insert. I also got this sweet paper punch that was perfect for the “you are invited” part on the front of the card. For the floral pattern I scanned a special scrap booking paper that had a design I liked and traced the pattern in Illustrator and filled it in with a nice dark brown color instead of the black it came in (many thanks to my friend Heather for the scrap book paper scan technique she taught me).

I have been really into the new trend of badges, banners and ribbons, so wanted to incorporate it somehow. Therefore, I had the return and address labels wrap around the envelopes. I included a little piece of the floral pattern on those elements to tie it all together.

I also included a vellum map with parking instructions for the restaurant, and a sepia toned image from the wedding day itself.

Definitely enjoyed doing a little print work, as I’ve been spending a lot of time on web graphics lately.

Companies I like

About Me

I enjoy living in Silicon Valley for many reasons. Variety of places to eat is pretty high on the list, weather a close second, but both are quickly followed by the social climate of the area. You don’t have to look far to find an entrepreneur or tech geek. Even the business people are interested in the new companies that pop up (even if only for their IPO values). I love being in the know about what people are working on, and what is coming next. I love what technology can do, and while I keep a fair amount of skepticism in my pocket about how far is too far (sci-fi offers a lovely insight into some opinions on this matter) , I really revel in the potential that some tech offers to make this world “a better place.”

There are specifically 3 companies I’d like to call out for their efforts to make things “better,” which in my opinion, includes making things more accessible, which I feel these 3 have in common.

Inkling

Inking creates rich, interactive textbooks for the iPad. Going above and beyond just digitizing standard printed books, these buckets of knowledge are filled with links, references, animations, videos, interactive diagrams, and so much more engaging material than any poor defenseless hardbound paper version could ever hope to offer. It’s so exciting that it makes me want to go back to school just to play around with their software (not that I can’t play around with it on my own, but there’s nothing quite so informative as having to use something in the context it is designed for). The benefits seem so outstanding to make so much material accessible, all in a neat 1.33 lb package (goodbye backpacks). Of course, one could argue that this kind of technology caters to and exacerbates information overload and encourages easily distracted minds (I heard a really cool interview about this topic on NPR last night that kind of dug into that topic). I am optimistic, though, that our brains can adapt to these new inputs and will be better off for having access and the opportunities to gather all the new info.

Square

Square is a company that allows any one with a smart phone to accept credit cards. In this ever increasingly cashless community, it is a welcome opportunity for individuals and small businesses to accept payments. It is a free app, with a free accessory, that charges 2.75% on all transactions, but no additional per transaction fee. For a small business, this makes it incredibly accessible to take credit cards where otherwise the fees of renting credit card terminals and paying monthly maintenance fees were deterring, if not completely cost-ineffective. On top of that, they have rolled out a new service called Card Case ┬áthat is designed to be a virtual tab. At certain locations, once your account has been set up, all you need do is order your items and tell the cashier your name and you will be charged and sent an electronic receipt. While security is probably the first thing to jump to any critic’s tongue (and minding

that I’ve never been the victim of identity theft, I can not empathize with that frustration), I know that the company went to great lengths to dot i’s and cross t’s to set this system up securely. Like so many new technologies, they will certainly have hiccups, but will only get better the more people use them and work through issues. I for one am excited for this new cashless future they are enterprising. Also, having a small business that uses this service makes me all the more biased towards how useful it is.

Airbnb

Airbnb is a service that allows you to rent out your own home/room/space to travelers, and also allows you to stay in affordable or impossibly awesome locations all over the world. Putting hotels and hostels to shame, Airbnb is opening a whole new world of options to travelers to either meet and stay with cool locals, or just bask in the wonderful residential neighborhoods of cities that would otherwise go unnoticed. Or maybe you’d prefer to stay in a treehouse? Or on a boat? Options that you would otherwise have to know someone to have that opportunity. On the flip side, you can meet cool travelers coming to your city as you host them in your own place. Or just make some extra cash while you’re out of town anyway. You can rent out anything from an air mattress in the living room to your whole house. It is a wonderful online community of people who are eager to see new things and meet new people, and like most online services, there are ways to rate both renters and stayers so people can get a feel for what kind of person they are before accepting a reservation. Airbnb did have a snafu in July that caused the company to snap into action to step up their security measures: they doubled their support staff and are now offering insurance. I’m sure as they grow, they will continue to figure out new services and new ways to protect the community they’ve been growing since 2008.

Besides providing a form of accessibility to their customers, the other thing about these companies that stands out to me is how the few people I know who work at them are genuinely interested in the products they produce, are enthusiastic when talking about them, and really believe in what they are doing. There is little in life I find more compelling than hearing someone talk about something they are passionate about. It becomes easy to tell who is a salesman just pitching their product versus a person who is actually standing behind what they are creating. Above all else, whether a company succeeds or fails, I think having more people in the world truly interested in what they are doing is what’s making it a better place, regardless of what they’re creating.