Category Archives: My Full-Time Job

For too long (4.5 years), this website survived without much attention to it. It was in desperate need of a redesign in order to better present the information about the annual triathlon.

This website presented unique challenges for me.

Challenge #1:

This website is for an annual event and although there is a lot of information, it doesn’t really make sense to split it up across many separate webpages. It’s one event, so why not make it one page? This means the flow of information down the page needs more attention as does the way people access all that information (navigation).

Challenge #2:

The other challenge is that the logo requires more space and size. (btw, the logo was designed by the great Jamie Carroll) Since it’s a tall logo, it screams “make me huge”. It couldn’t just be treated like any other logo where it could survive smaller and at the top left of the website design. This logo needs to be the center of attention. So… I made it large and centered it. That was the easy part. The hard part was dealing all the space to the left and right of the logo.

Challenge #3:

Another challenge is that the call to action needs to be baked into the design of the site. The call to action being ‘register online’. I chose to place this button right below the logo. The logo draws the most attention so why not place the call to action right next to the attention grabbing element?

Check out the redesign below and click through to see the live website.

triathlon website

^ bottom of the magazine website that got a face-lift recently. Click-through to see it live online

 

At my full-time job, I sometimes help the marketing department create some pretty cool websites. One of them was for the alumni magazine, Still Magazine. I created this website on WordPress and this was at a time that I was just digging into WordPress and learning some more advanced techniques with WP theming.

I worked with another programmer to figure out the ins and outs of parent and child category templates in order to create a custom layout for each magazine issue. The idea was to use WP parent categories to signify each magazine issue and then child categories within those parents that would signify each main section of the issue – things like departments, profiles and features.After much thinking, tinkering and coding, we got it all to work and now each new issue takes minimal work on the IT side of things and the bulk of the work is writing the stories. The payoff? Each past issue of the magazine is fully intact online in a search engine friendly format – building the ATSU brand online one story at a time. Search engines thrive on up-to-date information and this website provides that with the 40+ new stories every few months. For example, check out the past issues – Winter ’10, Summer ’10 or Fall ’10

Another cool feature of the website is a custom jQuery slideshow that displays the top 5 featured stories. This is also very automated – by simply adding a particular ‘tag’ to each of the 5 stories and then uploading a custom slide – all from the same screen that you write the stories.

This is the type of project that I absolutely love.

There was a challenge to create a meaningful online presence for the magazine and I got to pull together all the resources by designing the website, planning how WordPress should function and helping pioneer a unique way to build a magazine website on the WordPress framework. Then I coded my design within WordPress and built the jQuery slideshow and remaining pieces of the websites. Oh yeah.. and then I trained folks to use this new platform to publish their content. Overall this was a great project that had an awesome payoff.

Check out this project in my portfolio >

Ad for Still Magazine's new website

This has to be my favorite magazine ad I’ve ever designed. Why? Because I had a vision,  sketched it out and communicated it to the photographer. It came together exactly how I planned. That may sound easy, but it’s not always.

The goal was to portray simply, that the print-only publication is now going to be online for the first time ever! I sketched a stack of magazines with 3-d ‘WWW’ on top of them. I then presented my idea to Kelly Rogers, ATSU’s awesome photographer and he came up with some sweet lighting ideas and various compositions.

I then went to work carving out the W’s from foam-core. Needless to say my foam-core cutting skills aren’t up to par. I first tried carving out a serif W… THAT was a disaster. Then I settled for a sans-serif W. My co-worker/friend/amazing illustrator/foam-core master, Jamie Carroll offered to cut the letters for me. THANK GOODNESS.

I then walked around campus stealing as many magazines as possible to form a huge stack for the photo. The photoshoot took about an hour or so and the only post-processing I did was to remove the stool the magazines were sitting on and to make the ‘WWW.’ pure black/white and not tinted pink (since the foam was pink.)

iconnect magazine advertisement

I recently designed this advertisement for placement in the A. T. Still University alumni magazine. It’s pretty cool to come full circle with a project. I had designed the iconnect website (see this post) and now print advertising for it. I also designed the first ever website for the alumni magazine – Still Magazine. More on that to come later.

iconnect is an e-newsletter for A.T. Still University that I designed in partnership with the Communication & Marketing Department. The goal was to create a place to get all your University news in one place. New stories and photos are added almost daily and it has become popular among the ATSU community.

This was one of the first project I worked on when I started as web developer and I found out a week ago that it had won the bronze award for Excellence in Alumni Web Sites, Electronic Newsletter at the CASE District VI Institutional Awards Ceremony. With this excitement, I looked for ways to make the website better, because everything can get better, right?

The redesign included adding color (green), centering the website in the browser (instead of pushed left, like atsu.edu is), giving the ATSU logo some breathing room and finally removing the strange gradient of dark to mid blue in the header. The slideshow of content on the homepage was also revamped and made more intuitive (I hope).

Read the official announcement.


close-up of the iconnect header area.

What projects have you been working on lately? Comment & Share!

YouTube-copy

I’ve been crazy busy at ATSU designing new websites and doing daily web updates for everyone and their brother. I discovered that schools get special privileges as far as branding their channel. This got me excited to design this channel. It only took about three hours and it was so easy to implement.

There are a  few new websites that will be going live soon and I can’t wait to share them with you. One is for Still Magazine, ATSU’s Alumni Magazine produced by Marketing and also for the Student Government Association (SGA). I even got to design a logo for SGA. I gave you a sneak peak at the SGA logo a few months ago.

In other news, I’m currently applying to istockphoto.com in order to start selling photography and illustrations – wish me luck!

Marketing without design is lifeless, and design without marketing is mute.

Von R. Glitschka

This one is interesting and may explain why I feel it important for me to know what the marketing department is doing on the web at ATSU. I think the marketing folks and I both somehow understand this concept.

I think you could even say “A newspaper, magazine or story without design is lifeless” Even if it’s the choice of typeface and leading.

A few months ago I took on the project to create an e-news portal for all things ATSU. Sort of an up-to-date stream of news that contained everything related to ATSU. The project required a logo, website, sweet notepads (w/iconnect logo) and a magazine ad for the alumni magazine, Still Magazine. The logo was originally Lee’s design, I just tweaked it a bit. Lee’s a marketing associate here at ATSU. The notepad was laid out in conjuction with Gail, a graphic designer at ATSU. The website is built in wordpress so it can be quickly updated. The site also uses a jQuery powered slideshow on the homepage.

iconnect_logo

iconnect_notepad
Complete with Truman Alumni Association pen 🙂

iconnect_ad
iconnect ad in Still Magazine

iconnect_web
iconnect.atsu.edu

iconnect.atsu.edu launched today. Now the ATSU community can stay connected through the various social networks that are integrated into iconnect. I spent about 2 1/2 months on the design and development of it, I also worked with Lee in Communications & Marketing. She had a great vision for what iconnect could be and worked to get meaningful stories and content on the website. You can follow iconnect on Twitter and also follow ATSU news releases on Twitter

If you work at ATSU, look for something special in your mailbox that has something to do with iconnect.

There’s another ATSU publication that will be hitting the web really soon. Can’t wait!.

sgalogo

Logo for the Student Government Association at ATSU – This is to be used on their brand new website that I posted a few weeks ago. Will be in WordPress – should be come out nicely!
iconnect_ad
iconnect – a website that connects the ATSU community through various social networking all in one place. I can’t wait for this to launch – The URL has been blurred out since it’s not live yet. This is a magazine ad that will be in Still Magazine soon.

finaidvideo

Financial Aid videos for ATSU – the most extensive use of web videos at ATSU to date – I think… Again I can’t share the URL since it’s only for a select set of users. The previous and next buttons use jQuery to ‘slide’ to the next video. An example is here.

weekdesign

So I decided not to include the other 10 million design projects I worked on this week – so I collaged them into a small space.  This week included an iconnect magazine ad, blackcat billboard ideas, newspaper ad for meadow heights, SGA logo, iconnect subpage design, creative improv subpages, financial aid video slideshow, blackcat illustrator recreation and a bunch of programming.

I’m.

Exhausted.