Articles by Year: 2013
All is quiet here at Go Media – heads down, noses to the grindstone!
We’ll start with the bad…well, bittersweet news. Our Community Manager, Marissa Mele, has bid us adieu. Our hearts broke as we watched Marissa leave Go Media for the very last time, but we must admit that we’re happy too (read: jealous) – as Marissa is off for warmer weather! At least one of us gets to escape the Cleveland winters. We’ll miss you Marissa!
While we lost one, we gained two!
Let the Sun Shine In!
As always, we have been fortunate to work with many amazing clients and for awesome events, such as Sunfest, a music and art festival held annually on the first week of May in West Palm Beach, Florida. The state’s largest waterfront music and art festival, SunFest attracts more than 275,000 attendees. Even more are drawn to its website! Check out Go Media’s contribution!
Crash Bang Boom!
It’s mighty noisy here at 4507 Lorain Road lately…but we don’t mind! We have super exciting news to share! We are now undergoing a storefront renovation! Stay tuned here, and to our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest updates and to watch our building transform.
The Countdown is On!
We’re counting down the moments until Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 2013! We rolled out our WMC Portfolio Contest and announced the lucky 5 entries that will be featured designers in our gallery this year! We also announced many of our speakers and bands for the fest – the anticipation is killing us!
What The Team Has Been Up To:
Hello all! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been up to the following:
- Point Click Tailor Suit templates
- Website designs for BigBolts.com, KBK Enterprises, Motivideos & Midwest Box Company
- Icon designs for Tomra’s Recycling App
- BattleReady Hangtag designs
- Bill and I conducted about 6 interviews for our Summer Internship openings. Lots of resumes and portfolios to go through. We ended up bringing in 3 from those interviews and they all start this month.
- Jeff, Bill, and I recorded GoMP008, and recorded 4 interviews with WMC Speakers in preparation for this Summer’s festivities.
- Produced wireframes for 6 projects in currently in motion.
- Launched KelleyGreenWeb.com and WithrowEquipment.com, both sites using our WordPress theme “Lorain”.
- Client shenanigans, including a brand guide for a local educational institution, brainstorming names for a Cleveland bicycling initiative, and conceptualizing for a new restaurant’s identity
- Preproduction for OTM Series 3
- Interviewed Valerie Mayen, Dan Morgan of Straight Shooter, Kern and Burn, These Are Things for upcoming GoMediaZine articles
- Managing Zine posts by my colleagues here at GoMedia as well as some great guest contributors
- Prepping templates for this month’s Mockup Everything releases
- Photography for Point Click Tailor
- Updating Go Media Facebook, the Go Media Arsenal Facebook, Go Media Pinterest, Go Media Instagram, Go Media Google +, and the Go Media Twitter pages.
- WMC Fest Kickstarter launched
- Booking sponsors for WMC Fest
- Working out details with the venue and sound/lighting/staging
- Finishing up branding work for SunFest
- Training our new Arsenal product manager Simon Birky Hartmann
- Working on album cover artwork for Signals Midwest
- Creating Fest tote bags and poster work
- Moving my desk to a new area of the office
- Arsenal customer service
- Proofreading zine posts and email campaigns
- Organizing all the WMC merch into bins and shipping out merch orders
- Learning how to do site maps
- The number of leads has picked up since last month, so I’ve been spending more time writing proposals
- I’ve been attending as many networking events as possible! Recent functions include the Image Lab Open House and the Bad Girl Ventures Graduation Ceremony
- I’ve been working with Heather on writing the service pages for the Go Media website
- Jenny Kelley and I have started a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes targeted outreach campaigns to reach new potential business opportunities
- Project kickoffs for: Bike Cleveland, F.C Sturtevant Company, Pineapple Key, Cantine and KBK Foundation
- Wrapped Up Projects with SunFest, BattleREADY, Withrow Equipment and Kelley Green Web
- Ongoing Team & Client Communication
- Compiled content requirement guidelines in an effort to streamline our processes both internally and for our clients.
- Assisted our Arsenal and Mockup Everything teams with making the switch to Smartsheet ( a great program used for a variety of project planning needs)
- Learned some WordPress Content Placement skills from our wonderful Bryan Garvin
- Settling in in a new town, Cleveland the beautiful, very close to the lake Erie
- Settling in in my new responsibilities as Arsenal Manager here at Go Media
- Launched a sweet series of new products on the Arsenal:
- The excluded rough grunge texture pack
- The etched into dark texture pack (both by Maartne Kleyne, who wrote a great tutorial to demo the pack
- The 3rd and last part of Steve Knerem’s Keep Me Safe series of tutorial videos
- Preparing what’s next on the Arsenal including: next version of the site (top secret stuff, I won’t tell you more for now), recruiting some guest artists for some awesome sauce stuff, coming soon (but it’s top secret too, so I won’t tell you more either) and the next batch of products (scroll to the bottom) with our guest artist Steve Knerem
- Finally, my wife and I moved very close to a great Irish pub, so we’ve been enjoying a few Guinesses
- Some intriguing website development opportunities have come across my desk recently. Mostly medium size corporations, which are hopeful because they’re established businesses with a budget to evolve their brands.
- Wrapping up UI additions to Electricity Lab’s BOLT. They’ve developed a pretty fantastical platform toward the write-once-run-anywhere dream anyone who has been programming for a while has had.
- Pressing on with Arsenal 3. We hit obstacles that set the delivery date back. Such is the nature of the computer science beast sometimes.
- Having fun with Zurb’s Foundation 4 on a new Motivideos site. We’ve seemingly adopted Foundation 4 as our default CSS framework of choice this year.
- Prepare for and organize Go Media’s upcoming storefront renovation
- Continue to work furiously on my upcoming book, Drawn to Business, as well as Zine articles including Sakai Vector Portrait and Drawn to Business: Writing Winning Design Proposals
- Training our new Community Manager Heather Sakai on Photoshop and Illustrator
- Sales, sales, sales
- Inking Vector Set 22 with Steven Knerem
- Celebrating my birthday at Progressive field with the Go Media team
Meet our Intern!
This summer, we will be welcoming several interns into our Go Media family. Our first intern, Kyle Saxton, just arrived. Let’s meet him!
Hi all! I am originally from Mason City, Iowa. After moving around the country for several years I ended up in Richmond, Virginia where I am currently attending Virginia Commonwealth University. I am a rising senior in the Communication Arts Department, where my skills are strongly based around illustration, drawing, and painting. I also work in a broad range of media outside of my major including: graphic design, photography, and 3-D image/movement. At Go Media I will be working with a variety of Arsenal projects, Creative Market projects, and any other projects that come my way. When I’m not designing I love riding bikes, cooking, restoring vintage Corvettes with my dad, refurbishing furniture, and watching movies.
That’s it for now from us at Go Media. Until we meet again:
- Don’t forget to head over to Kickstarter to purchase your tickets to this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest, running August 16 through 18.
- Sign up to be notified when Bill Beachy’s book, Drawn to Business: How to build a thriving graphic & web design agency, is out.
- Keep up to date with Go Media on
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Sitting down with Dan Morgan of Straight Shooter
Filterstorm, PhotoGene, Camera+, iDarkroom, Instagram. With a flick of a finger, a simple effect, a toasty filter can bring a dull photo to life. In the age of the iPhone, such easy access to the camera itself, combined with photo-editing software gives us power and confidence we’ve never had.
Professional Cleveland photographer Dan Morgan of Straight Shooter, who has been in the business for over 30 years, has embraced the recent explosive advances in his field. Go Media sat down with Morgan to talk about Instagram and related software programs.
Morgan notes, “That same rapid-fast forward in technology that has made it so everyone can take pictures, has made it so professionals can take better pictures.”
Spending the majority of his time as a commercial photographer, these new advances have broadened the scope of what he offers to his customer. He tells Go Media, “The type of photography I do today I never attempted to do back in the day because I’m able to experiment more and see how things look.”
Instead of simply offering catalog items, he offers varying options including food and notably, architectural photography. In the past requiring a big and bulky 4×5 camera with very sensitive and specific adjustments made at time of shooting, Morgan can now take his digital SLR and make all changes with ease in Photoshop and other software programs. He reports: “Architectural photography is one of my best sources of income now.”
Morgan’s experience capturing images of jewelry has been expanded as well. Recently published as the sole photographer for Brandon Holschuh’s book “The Jeweler’s Studio Handbook” where he captured stunning images of custom made jewelry, Morgan came across more advances in technology, making his process easier. One application of note creates a reflection of the jewelry, at the click of a button. This would at one time be a frustrating, multistage process involving multiple artists.
“All the fine art experimenting that I did in the last 15 years are now, with the assistance of technology – those effects are being achieved immediately,” Morgan comments, emphasizing that this technology not only impacts the quality of his technology, but the speed at which he can produce as well.
Morgan stresses that the decisions made within Instagram and other software programs should not be made randomly. “Those apps, all those tools that everybody can use – it’s all about applying them and having a method to the madness. It’s having that trained eye that’s important.”
He not only enjoys the options available to him in post-production, but also uses them to his advantage before he even presses the shutter. “I’ve been able to take pictures with my Canon Mark II, that yields a really sharp picture, into an Instagram picture. I photograph these knowing that I would put an Instagram filter onto it. The effect that I’m creating now by doing that same amount of work is getting me that much farther.”
Morgan shared some additional photos with us, exemplifying the power of this new technology, and how it has advanced his own work.
“Here’s something I concocted based on Instagram.” I knew the effect that Instagram gave, but I also knew that I could apply that effect from a good quality picture to begin.”
“Earlybird is my favorite Instagram filter because it doesn’t take it too far away from the original look, but it darkens the photo around the corner.”
“I shot this on a cloudy day so it was a really neat picture to begin with, but playing around with filters and it was the ah-ha! I got the energy coming from the tower.”
A vintage photograph of Morgan’s father, “the original Mad Man!”
Is there downfall to all this technology? “Having the tools,” Morgan cautions, “is not enough. It’s good that the tools are out there, because people are given the motivation to see that you can go places with it.” But there will always be a place for professional photographers in this world. Morgan emphasizes, “you still have to have that eye.”
Meeting the Chief of Awesome:
Skidding across fresh, bright black and white tile, a very exuberant 6-month husky jumped up excitedly to greet me at the door of Yellowcake, a recently renovated and expanded Gordon Square boutique. Owner and Cleveland designer Valerie Mayen was quick to follow. “Mango! Get down!”
“Sorry… She gets very excited!”
Inside Yellowcake live colorful, custom mod women’s and kid’s coats, dresses and skirts, and the beginnings of a men’s line including crisp ties and cool jackets. All of her designs crafted right here in Cleveland, Ohio, Mayen has had her roots in the city since November of 2011.
Texas-native Mayen has studied at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, worked as an apprentice at Gemini GEL in Melrose and earned her BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Illustration, where she also participated in a mobility exchange program with the Otis College of Art and Design in LA. She has also studied at the Virginia Marti College of Art and Design.
A contestant on Project Runway Season 8, she expresses herself through traditional illustration, fashion photography, pop art influenced paintings, digital media and fashion design.
Go Media had a few moments to sit down with Mayen to talk Barbie, Cleveland love, and making it work.
Go Media: I understand you have a multitude of artistic interests…which came first?
Valerie: I would say the drawing, the painting came first. When I was really little, around five years old, I used to draw my Barbies – they were my models. We had a lot of Disney movies and I would always draw the covers and try to copy them. There was also a drawing show that I always used to watch on Saturday mornings called Secret City. I used to get up every 9 am on Saturdays to draw.
How does your training in illustration and graphic design help you on a daily basis as a fashion designer?
The illustration really helps me whenever I am working with new clients, whenever I am creating new collections, making new pieces for the store, and trying to flush out new ideas. It helps me to visualize and realize if something is going to transpire or not.
It helps me to sell the vision, too. If I’m meeting with a client and they have an idea of what they want, but they’re not sure how to describe it, I can flush it out for them. It gives me a little bit more of an advantage to communicate to them: “This is what we’re going for, this is what we’re doing.” They have to trust based on what they’ve seen in my portfolio that I’m going to do good work. So the more accurate the drawing, the more piece of mind they have in hiring me.
The graphic design definitely helped, in the beginning, when I was starting Yellowcake. I did all of my (initial) branding and print material. It’s helped given me some sensibilities that other designers might not have.
Graphic design is kind of like the icing on the cake. No one ever gets a cake without icing. And if the icing is a hack job, then the cake isn’t as appetizing. It’s like a cover of a book. People put a lot of thought and effort into the cover of a book, or a CD or a poster or anything that will be the one shot to grab someone’s attention. So, we put a lot of thought into our branding. Luckily I’ve been able to develop those sensibilities: what I like, what looks good. What kerning and leading is. Different types and fonts, things I know work best with our brand.
What’s the hardest or most challenging thing you have faced developing your brand?
The hardest thing was figuring out how to illustrate that we are clothing company – because you know, it’s a big no-no to use a needle and thread, scissors, or other tools of the trade as your logo because it implies that you do alterations or other things in design. The dress form was a tricky one because it’s a tool of our trade. But because it’s a tool of our trade and also a woman’s form it, it was more of a metaphor, so it worked for us.
We’ll always go back and forth about Yellowcake. The longer we keep the company name, the longer I think, people should just deal with it. As we develop and we credibility and notoriety, it doesn’t matter anymore that people think we’re a bakery. We even thought of having a tagline that says:
“Yellowcake, we’re not a bakery dammit!”
Why did you decide to establish your Yellowcake roots in Cleveland?
It was a long line of a lot of things. At first it was friends, and then it was a lease, and then it was a grant, and then it was the guy. One year turned into four turned into six turned into twelve. And after awhile too, I decided to set some roots down and really make the most of my time here. A friend told me that if you want to be successful do the same thing in the same city for twenty years – and that if you work hard and are kind, good things will happen.
What changed you the most about being on Project Runway?
It made me really efficient and taught me how to edit a little bit more. It also gave me a newfound respect for other designers who don’t have the same aesthetic as I do. It taught me about respecting a designer for who they are, what they do and what their vision is regardless of whether or not it is in line with mine or not. Even now I have to check myself. Just because someone doesn’t design the way I do doesn’t mean they’re not worth their weight as a designer or artist regardless of what their level is or what their experience is.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Re-strengthening our inventory and finances after the buildout. Creating new products, trying new things. We’re revamping our website to capitalize on online sales. Also doing different shows and different events. We’re hoping to do Hullaballo again, which was our big fashion event last October. It was a huge success and and we are expecting double the attendance this year. We’re doing double the amount of garments in the collection and hoping for double the revenue. Things like that will help us keep the lights on and will help us continue to grow.
Want to see her again on Project Runway? Vote for Valerie here!
Since inception, Yellowcake has contributed 5% of their profits to a charitable organization that supports the relief of hunger, homelessness and poverty. They believe in creating boldly fashioned clothing that sustains and supports a healthy humanity. Employing local, supporting our neighbors and aiming to do well by doing good.
WMC Fest 2 Night Stand
We are excited to announce that 2 Night Stand is not only expanding to multiple cities in 2013, lead by amazing creatives across the country, but also that we will be having the first, non-Chicago event in the days leading up to the WMC Fest 2013. We’ve had over 1000 people apply to our past Chicago events, for Trencherman’s Brewing Company, the Zombie Research Society & NASA. We know that amazing people will be heading to WMC Fest and this event will open a unique opportunity for amazing people (who probably already follow each other on Twitter) to design and create side-by-side.
Obviously, we’d love to have amazing creatives request an application.
The better the crew, the more amazing the weekend.
Apply for the WMC Fest 2 Night Stand now!
You can also check out the twitter feed to see what people are saying about the event.
Be sure to hit up Jason Schwartz one of the Cleveland organizers, if you have any questions or just want to chat.
What is 2 Night Stand?
20 thinkers & makers dive into a weekend long creative bender.
Brilliant concepts and ideas are explored.
No deliverables are promised.
Come to think, be challenged & collaborate. The entire creative process is cataloged and posted live. We consider it a creative growth experience.
How It Works
Applicants request an invite.
Once the invitation process is closed, the 2 Night Stand crew and city leader choose a group of around 30 people to participate in the event. Once selected, those participants are notified and a waiting list of 3-5 people are notified. Tickets to event are purchased online before day of event, so no money is handed day of event and meals can be purchased.
2 Night Stand events are typically held on a Friday night (5pm-10pm) and Saturday (10am-7pm). This can vary by event and coordinator. (For example, the WMC Fest event is tentatively Thursday 10am-7pm and Friday 10am-4pm).
On the day of event, a “mystery client” is presented. By mystery client, we mean one that has not paid 2 Night Stand, or any of it’s organizers for free work. The event is based around sky is the limit creative with no feedback from any external sources. The jam session is posted live on our site and final work is posted by each team to Behance.
Is There A Cost/Fee?
Yes, the event costs $75/person which is used to secure space and provide meals and snacks for participants. The purpose of having these events is not to make money, but to provide a platform that is self-sustaining and has the ability to provide participants with good food and drinks.
Can People Sponsor The Events?
Yes, in the past we’ve had some great sponsors and are always looking for help whether it be financial around an event, or a supply donation.
Can People Request A 2 Night Stand Event In Their City?
Yes. We are currently accepting city organizer applicants here.
Hey Go Media faithful! Over the next few months I’ll be posting five excerpts from my forthcoming book Draw to Business as a series of teaser articles here on the GoMediaZine. So, without further ado, here are seven tips on writing winning design proposals.
Regurgitate back exactly what your clients tell you. Writing a good proposal starts with listening. Ask lots of questions and listen carefully; your potential client is going to tell you exactly what they want to read in your proposal. Your first job is to listen and write down everything they say. Then you’re going to write that back to them in your proposal. If a client says: “We want a highly interactive website.” Your proposal should say: “Our solution for you is a highly interactive website.”
Create templates and refine your message. When you sit down to write your first proposal, think of building a template. You’re not going to want to write every proposal from scratch. Try to keep most of the sections generic enough so that you can reuse them with other clients.
Design your proposal. You can file this under the “duh” category. Your business documents are a representation of you! They should embody all the skills you have as a designer. This includes your proposals. So take the time to make sure that the design of your proposal will sell your potential client as strongly as the content within it. Your proposal is your portfolio! Make sure it looks amazing!
Customize the design for your client. For larger proposals, we will swap out the colors and images in our proposals to match the client’s brand. In some cases we invest quite a bit of time and effort to make our proposal look like THEIR proposal. It’s amazing how impactful delivering a custom designed proposal can be. The client feels like: “They just ‘get’ us.”
Give them a few exciting ideas. It’s a well-known fact that people buy on impulse. There is a lot of emotion involved in why people buy. One way to sell a client is to get them excited. This can be easily accomplished by sharing a few of your ideas with a client. This should be done in just a sentence or two. Describe something exciting you want to do with your client’s design. A clever idea can make the difference between you and your competitor.
Ask for a budget upfront. Knowing a client’s budget up-front is critical to writing a winning proposal. Ask your potential client for a budget during your very first interaction with them. If they act coy and won’t give you one, there are ways of extracting it. (These tactics and many more in the forthcoming book).
Don’t underbid the project. Another critical reason for asking for a budget is making sure that you’re not underbidding the project. Believe it or not, underbidding a project is as bad as overbidding it. When you severely underbid a project you’re communicating that you’re either an amateur or that you don’t understand the scope of the project. Both of these will scare off a customer.
Want to learn more about becoming the greatest design firm you can be? Buy Drawn to Business, a nuts and bolts strategy guide to building a thriving design firm!
Finally available: the 3rd and final installment Steve Knerem’s “Keep me safe” video tutorial series
I’m very happy to announce that we’re releasing the 3rd part of Steve Knerem‘s video tutorial series today! For those of you that have followed part 1 and part 2, you’re probably jumping with excitement. For the others, I’m inviting you to go read Steve’s “Getting Inked” post for a quick recap.
Also, both Steve and the Arsenal team would like to apologize for the delay, but we’ve had to
slay a few dragons fight some video issues (video flickering and sound track). When a video file doesn’t want to, it doesn’t want to.
So, what’s in the box?
In this last installment, Steve covers his digitization and coloring techniques:
- Color palette choice
- How to use Illustrator’s tools to add various elements that bring the place together:
- Vector brushes
- And more!
The hour-long video is as usual laced with tips, tricks, and cool music. While the tips and tricks might not be the ultimate demystification of the process, they should at least make it more of a relaxing walk than an uphill battle.
A few screenshots
A few notes from Steve
Well if you been following this tutorial you know that it’s a long time coming. We’re finally at the finish line and now you can on the in depth look into how I color and finalize my tees for print. I’m super pumped to get this out to you and a mega props to Go Media for being a great company to do some work for and letting me use their stage to help anyone learn something new and grow as an artist.
If you purchased the first two tutorials, you can expect more awesome music from some awesome metal bands such as Onward to Olympus. I drop a bunch of personal insight that I’ve picked up over the years illustrating that hopefully will help, let you in on some of my technical “secrets,” and show you how I conduct business.
Lastly the tee will be or already is printed! Go to www.establishthefrontline.com. Buy a tee or five and wear it proudly and send me pics of you wearing it to [email protected]. AS A BONUS: the first 50 tees will have a labeled tag with the ETF name on it, my signature and I’ll write in the order # of the tee you purchased it ( i.e. 1/50, 10/50, etc.). Finally I am getting a printed tag made up that on one side shows the final art and the other side shows the making of the art.
Thanks for purchasing and viewing, always let me know what you think, ya’ll are the best!
— Steve Knerem
One, no, two, no, three, last things!
One: again, you should totally go buy that last part of the tutorial on the Arsenal. Also, if you haven’t gotten any of them yet, we’re making the 3 parts available at $69.99. Just buy the 3 parts at the same time. This is a $20 discount, and it won’t last forever. You should totally take advantage of it while it lasts.
Two: if you follow the tutorial, we’d love to see what comes out of it! Don’t hesitate to mock it up, post the result on the interwebs, and to link to your image in the comments below. Or better yet, post it in the Go Media Flickr pool, and you might be featured on our monthly showcase.
Three: like the art Steve has been designing throughout the tutorial? Well, it’s available on shirts, as Steve said! You should totally purchase one in your size on Establish the Front Line, Steve’s apparel line. Also, something tells me that Steve will share a few more things about that shirt yet (like production pictures, etc), so you should totally watch this space.
Hey Go Media faithful! Man, it feels like it’s been years since I’ve posted anything in the Zine. These days all my writing has been focused on my upcoming book Drawn to Business, Designed for Success. I think everyone is going to love the content. It’s all the nitty-gritty details about how we run our design firm, but I digress. This blog post is about a piece of art I created for last year’s WMC Fest. I had this crazy idea of illustrating a portrait of my friend Heather Sakai. I wanted to try and include all of her passions in one single image, from her Japanese heritage to her love of Hello Kitty. I thought it would make a fun subject for a tutorial. Though, I’ve been doing so much writing for my book, that I really didn’t want to write a tutorial. Instead, I thought it might be fun and interesting if I just showed you my process in a series of images. So, without further ado, here is my (nearly) wordless vector illustration tutorial.
I grabbed the wings and tail from Vector Pack 19.
It’s Friday. I’m hungry. One of my friends recommended a new trendy restaurant and, hey, it’s right around the corner. However, knowing that “trendy” can mean “a sole sprig of lettuce and a sprinkling of truffle oil” and I wasn’t joking about this whole hunger thing, I head to the restaurant’s site to check out the menu before making any firm plans. But, when the graphic and video-heavy site finally loads, the menu is impossible to find, as are directions to the entrance, which I’ve been told is hidden down some strange back alley. In fact, I can’t even figure out how to enter the site, mired as I am in this gorgeous yet impossible to navigate landing page, with earthy music blaring through my speakers. Frustrated, I choose another old standby just around the corner (probably ten feet from this new restaurant, but who can tell?), just to spite the first one.
I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. And yet, I appreciate beautiful design just as much as the next person, and dislike those hyper-corporate sites that are all business and no personality. That’s why I think it’s so important to test the success of your web designs — not just to see whether or not users actually find the site compelling, easy to navigate, and even easier to buy from, but also to see how far a designer can push the envelope before that bottom line begins to suffer.
To accurately measure the success of a website, Google Analytics is a must. There’s a lot to it, so I highly recommend this analytics guide for both an initial grounding in the subject and for more advanced, deeper investigations. As a start, here are just a few key things to look out for when testing the success of your web designs.
When it comes to determining the effectiveness of a website’s user interface, there are few measures as telling as conversion rate. Whether it’s an actual purchase or simply downloading a pamphlet, conversion rate is an effective way to gauge just how engaged in the site users are, and where in the sale funnel they might be encountering roadblocks.
Of course, basic measures like keeping a headcount of newsletter sign-ups are useful, but to really dig into the nitty gritty, consider using Google Analytic’s Advanced Segmentation tool. As you can see in this case study of a company called WBC, advanced segmentation can really help you dig down into subtle measures that are powerful yet easy to miss. For example, this particular company found that, lurking within a generally low conversion rate were loyal users with high conversion rates. This lead to a redesign that displayed a greater range of products most desired by loyal customers, and established industry authority.
This tool is most powerful when paired with content experiments, which, despite the title, can be applied not just to content but to various elements of design as well. As a designer, you already know that on a landing page the most crucial information and any forms or other means of conversion should appear above the fold. But how much information should appear? Should the content be wordy and informational or highly visual? How clean is too clean, how packed too packed? With content experiments, you’ll randomly send visitors two or more versions of your site while tracking conversion rates, enabling you to test everything from major layout differences to the color of a headline. Whether that creative, totally new layout works or not will entirely come down to the data.
Let’s say a design is working and a customer has added the desired product into the cart or started to fill out a form field. But then they get frustrated with just how long the form is, or they type something incorrectly, or the cart responds with an error message. Make no mistake: web users are fickle and these kinds of frustrations are likely to turn them away.
Google Analytics’ event tracking can both identify and help mitigate the problem. With the ga.js tracking code, you’ll be able to see and record just how users are interacting with website elements, and you can classify those interactions with web page objects. So, whether your forms are too long or your checkout process is too cumbersome, event tracking can help you identify user experience and sales funnel roadblocks and move them out of the way.
By most accounts, the average user expects a web page to load in no more than 2 seconds. Yep, all of those jaw-dropping photos and helpful videos and interactive features you’ve added to a site in order to up conversions and engage users (and just generally keep things fun and cool) have all of a couple of seconds to load and become totally functionally. Not only that, but they also have to work on a variety of devices; fair or not, users will blame the site for not loading on their ancient iMac, and all of that design genius of yours will be thrown out of the window.
First order of business a site speed test for every site you produce. The Site Speed menu under Content in your Google Analytics dashboard will also provide a look at specific page load times, as well as that of the overall site. If the results are disappointing and you’ve got a high percentage of visitors coming to you from around the world, consider hosting your site on a Content Distributed Network like MetaCDN. As the name implies, CDNs distribute storage of a site across a worldwide network, so that users will always be downloading page elements from the nearest server to them, rather than waiting for it to download from some server halfway across the world. CDNs also automatically account for the demands of different devices, making for an overall much speedier experience (and a higher likelihood that visitors will stick around).
Bounce rate analytics are easy to find in your GA dashboard both for landing pages and specific pages on your site. However, just what bounce rate means is a little more confusing. Strictly defined, bounce rate measures the percentage of users who leave the site rather than clicking links that bring them deeper in.
But if you’ve designed for, say, an expertise blog, this could just mean that users are finding exactly what they want and leaving. You’ll know this for sure if they’re staying awhile on the site — something you can see for certain when you take a look at site times in the Engagement tool. This all may mean that the content and layout in themselves might be great, but there may not be, for example, a nice display of related articles in the sidebar, or enough featuring of services to show the reader that there is more on offer. Other causes of high bounce rate might include loading and error issues, boring content and design and poor usability.
Google Experiments can again prove crucial not just in upping conversions but also in getting users to stay there in the first place. Use the bounce rate to identify and pin down the problem, and Experiments to determine just what to do about it.
Creativity, artfulness, and fun are all crucial elements of good web design. But users won’t appreciate any of that if they can’t find what they’re looking for — and fast. Rather than fearing the numbers, web designers should use them as the source of their creativity. In fact, many times the most creative and inspiring solutions are those that come from within real world constraints. In that way, analytics and web design are perfectly paired.
Excluded Rough Grunge and Etched Into Dark Texture Pack Tutorial with Maarten Kleyne
Maarten Kleyne, a freelance graphic designer from the Netherlands, feels music. Kleyne believes wholeheartedly that music is a key element in the creation of his final product. Inspired by the works of Steven Wilson and Lasse Hoile, his portfolio is filled with images including cd packaging, posters and collaboration artwork. Recently, WMC Fest alum Maarten cranked up his stereo, picked up his camera and created some texture packs for Go Media’s Arsenal. We are so proud to add his texture packs into our resource library.
We’ve asked Maarten to create a tutorial based on these textures, in order to demonstrate how you might like to apply them.
— Heather, GMZ Editor
Thanks for the introduction Heather and hey everyone! A while back I was wearing my crazy ear-to-ear grin the entire day, because the lovely people from Go Media asked me if I was interested in doing “some stuff” for them again. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of everything Go Media so I obviously said yes.
The first parts of my work have recently launched on Go Media’s Arsenal as the two texture packs: “Excluded Rough Grunge” and “Etched Into Dark”. Now – like the introduction said – I’d like to show you one way to apply these in a design through a quick and simple-to-follow tutorial. There are many other ways you can utilize the textures we’ll be using. This tutorial simply highlights one of those; a way I personally use textures quite often when creating a design.
Note: If you want to follow along with this tutorial, you will need to purchase the new packs. If you don’t you will probably still get something out of the tutorial, because I’ll try to keep it general. You will, however, get the best results from using textures from the set(s). Grab the “Excluded Rough Grunge” and “Etched Into Dark” texture packs while they’re still hot!
For this tutorial I chose to go for a 12 inch vinyl cover format. I’m truly stoked to see the vinyl record make something of a comeback, if only for the bigger canvas space we designers have! Now, back on-topic: In order to keep a focus on the texture usage, we’ll be creating an abstract – perhaps somewhat psychedelic – front cover. Here’s a preview of the final design we’ll be creating in this tutorial:
Good to know: Throughout this tutorial you can click on most of the images to enlarge them.
We’ll take our time and go through this step by step. Don’t worry, I’ve kept it a simple-to-follow tutorial. (I just use a lot of words, sorry. It really is simple though.) There’s a whooping total of 10 steps we’ll go through.
Some steps only cover the essential basics because I advocate experimentation, I want you to go beyond just following the steps if you don’t mind. Just try and experiment with the things that’ll pass along and I’m sure you’ll get a truly amazing and unique design because of it.
Feeling reluctant to experiment? You can still create the same thing by following the steps. I would, however, like to emphasize that you should try and experiment with things to create something different. It’s one of the best ways to learn, in my opinion.
Ok, so here it goes:
Step 1: Set up your Photoshop document
Open Adobe Photoshop. I’m using version CS6, but I’m sure any version will do for this tutorial. Now go to File > New and setup your new vinyl sleeve document with the following dimensions: 12½ x 12½ inch on a 300 DPI resolution. The ½ inch is just some safety bleed space I’m keeping. You can use CMYK or RGB color mode for now. I find RGB easier to work with at first, you can always convert it to CMYK at a later point. If you go to print that’s obviously something you shouldn’t forget.
Step 2: Purchase and download one or both new packs
If you haven’t already, take a minute to purchase and download the texture packs we’ll be using from Go Media’s Arsenal. Download the “Excluded Rough Grunge” and/or “Etched Into Dark” packs. We’ll use both, so in order to get the best results I’d advise you to get both too. You can skip this step if you already have some textures you want to use. However, this tutorial is meant to show you a way to apply those from the Arsenal.
The benefit of using the premade textures from the Arsenal is that it saves you time and can help you achieve professional results. I frequently use textures myself. Basically, there’s not a single design that I make without the use of textures. Sometimes I’ll use textures in a very subtle way and sometimes quite heavily to form a complete design. That first case will be the thing I will highlight in this tutorial; the subtle addition of textures. What you’ll hopefully come to see is that the vinyl sleeve we’re making couldn’t go without those subtle additions. They’re essential.
Step 3: Create a ‘foundation’
Before we actually start using textures we’ll need to make a basic ‘foundation’, or ‘composition’ if you will. First, fill the background with a color of your liking. I chose to go for a darker greenish (#5f7463) color.
Next, place or paste a photo/texture of clouds on a new layer and have it fill the entire canvas. Then use the filter: Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates > Polar to Rectangular (yes you can actually find a use for this).
Place or paste the same original photo/texture of clouds on another new layer. This time flip it a 180 degrees before applying “Polar Coordinates”.
Set the blending modes of these two cloud layers to: Overlay.
Step 4: Add the “Excluded Rough Grunge” textures
In this step I’ve used “Excluded Rough Grunge” textures 7 and 13. Place them into the document and have them fill the entire canvas. Add texture 7 first and set its blending mode to: Screen.
This is something I often do with greyscale/black and white images. It only pops the whites. This way we quickly start adding roughness to the artwork.
Add texture 13, canvas filling and blending mode set to Screen as well. Duplicate the texture 13 layer and rotate it 180 degrees. Perhaps move these 3 layers around a bit to find a suitable spot for the white rough spots. Add other/more textures if you feel like your design needs them.
Step 5: Bring in another color
Next, add a contrast color, something truly opposite from the green you have chosen. I used some orange colored clouds. Don’t worry, this color will not be seen later. The point of that will become obvious.
Add this color in whatever way you prefer, just make sure it’s not a solid color. It has to have a bit more variation to it. A good choices here could be to use water color, lens flare or colorized clouds textures. Or you can go mad with a brush yourself. Just make sure it has some dynamics to it. Don’t overthink it though, because like I said: it’ll be used in such a way that the colors itself will not be shown.
Place this new color layer on top of the others and set its blending mode to: Difference. (Doing this will directly show you why the color did not appear)
Step 6: Add the first “Etched Into Dark” textures
In this step I’ve used “Etched Into Dark” textures: 1 and 10. Place them into the document and have them fill the entire canvas. Add texture 1 first, invert its colors by pressing CTRL/CMD+I or by going to Image > Adjustments > Invert. After that set its blending mode to “Overlay” and its opacity to 30%.
Now add texture 10 and invert that as well (CTRL/CMD+I). Set its blending mode to “Divide” and its opacity to 35%.
Try experimenting with other/more textures and opacity levels to see which result you like best.
Now we’re going to add a ton of minor details by placing texture 1 all over the canvas, multiple times. See those little dotted spots on this texture? Add this texture with inverted colors to your document again. Set its blending mode to: Overlay.
Add a layer mask to it and brush away all the white parts until only those dotted spots show. In order to make it blend into the background well, remove all the white stuff surrounding it. You can also try using different opacity levels.
Now scale it down a large bit to make those spots turn into little dots, or stars if you will. I call them “sparks,” and I’ve added them about 25 times all over the canvas.
Step 7: Transform the ‘foundation’ to several blocks
Ok, so now we have quite a nice ‘foundation’, right? Let’s copy it around and transform it into “something more”. Merge a copy of all visible layers into a new layer by pressing: Ctrl/CMD+Alt+Shift+E.
Now you have a new layer that’s an exact copy of what you’ve (visibly) made so far. Resize that layer to about 80% of the canvas size by pressing CTRL/CMD+T and changing the width to 80% at the top menu bar. Be sure to check the chain icon to have the transform maintain the aspect ratio. After that set the blending mode of this layer to: Exclusion. (Yes, this can also turn out pretty neat for a change. Right?)
Duplicate this newest layer (CTRL/CMD+J). Transform the duplicated layer to 80% of its original size as well. Re-select the original block layer, the one you made before this newest one. Now make a selection of the duplicated layer by holding CTRL and pressing on it in the layers panel. (Still following? I do hope so.)
Invert the selection (CTRL/CMD+I) and add a layer mask to the original block layer (that you should’ve selected). This should cutout the duplication layer from the original.
Now invert the colors of the duplicated layer by (selecting it and) pressing CTRL/CMD+I.
Go through this process a few times. Duplicate the duplication, cutout a part of it that’s smaller and invert it or not. Why “or not”? Well, sometimes the non-inverted results look better. I’ll leave that up to you to judge.
While going through this process be sure to rearrange the duplicated blocks here and there. Or not. Also, don’t cutout all the blocks. Keep some of them entirely visible. You can also try and delete the first duplication after you’ve cut it from the original. Then, you can duplicate the cutout version and re-size it as you see fit. Also, try different percentages to decrease the layers with.
There are plenty of ways to go here, all resulting in different compositions. Play with it, experiment!
Step 8: Add even more “Etched Into Dark” textures
Remember those spots/stars/sparks/whatever we added back in step 6? Well, if you like things “rich with details”; add a whole bunch more. Add them on top of all the rest though. So not inside the basic composition, but on top of the block copies. By doing so you’ll enhance the blocks themselves some more as well.
Here’s about 25 more of them added, however subtle they may be:
Step 9: Add some final touches
Most of the time I use adjustment layers to add a certain “final touch” to a design. In this case I added three to enhance the artwork an extra bit. The adjustment layers I added were: “Curves”, “Gradient Map” and “Vibrance”. See the image below for the settings I used.
Now, add some text to it in whatever way and font you see fit. It will be a vinyl cover after all! Of course you don’t have to do this. When you’ve done that (or not) and you deem the design ready, do one last thing. This is something I always do to bump up the sharpness of a sleeve and to make all the little details pop out just a wee bit more. In print that might be lost a bit, which is exactly the reason why I do the following:
Merge a copy of all visible layers into a new layer by pressing: Ctrl/CMD+Alt+Shift+E. Use the filter: Filter > Other > High Pass with a radius of 5,0 (or any other value). Set the blending mode of this layer to “Overlay” and change the opacity to something more of your liking. I changed it to 50%. Try experimenting with this little technique. Try different radius values and opacity levels.
Step 10: Present it
To help place this vinyl sleeve into context, try creating a mockup for it in order to make it look like a physical sleeve. You can easily do this via Go Media’s vinyl record mockup templates or their online mockup creation tool at MockupEverything.com!
Creating a mockup preview is an awesome way of presenting your design for a lot of reasons not stated here. It could even help you persuade clients about a design. It gives them an idea of how their product will look like as a real-world product, in this case the vinyl sleeve.
So what should you use, templates or the web tool? It’s a personal decision, yes. On one hand, the vinyl record mockup templates will give you a (near) print-ready image. You could print it out and show it to a client while meeting. If you’re sending the preview over via email or a website then http://mockupeverything.com/ is probably best for web-ready presentation. It also keeps the file size lower. Clients might like that. It saves them some space, and makes sure it won’t max out their inbox quotas (and yours!).
In case you don’t know how to use Mockup Everything or the templates, Go Media has put some neat demo material together on how to use Mockup Everything.
Mocking up the artwork we just made – in my case – results into this:
That’s it, you’re done!
Hopefully this tutorial was simple to follow, helpful and even inspirational. Aside from that, I hope the textures will prove of great use to you in many designs. If you create(d) your own sleeves, or something else, using these textures, I’d love to see it. I’m very curious to find out and see how you apply them, so feel free to share those designs. There’s actually a special Go Media place for that!
Show off your results
On the Arsenal Facebook Page, you can post the images you created using Arsenal vectors, textures, fonts, etc. Please show me how you’ve used these products in the real world. It’s not often that we – as in Go Media – see the work you create with Arsenal products, so take this as a call to action to share it with us on the Facebook page.
For even more exposure, you can post your image in the GoMedia User Showcase on Flickr and/or comment on this tutorial below and link us to it!
Thanks for your attention and time! It’s much appreciated.
CG artist and filmmaker John Robson on developing the skillset today’s studios want.
Faced with the assignment to make a short film based on the question, “What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?” Los Angeles-based CG artist John Robson opted to put the question to a friend’s three-year-old son and film the kid’s response. The result is Supper Time! from John Robson on Vimeo. And, well, let’s just say you’ll never look at spaghetti the same way again.
In addition to filming and directing Supper Time! Robson created all of the VFX using Maxon’s Cinema 4D and Next Limit’s RealFlow, and he did it all in one week. “MoGraph allowed me to create new ideas without being bogged down by technicalities and slow processing times,” he explains. “So I was able to work almost as fast as I could think.” (See more of Robson’s work here.)
A freelance designer and CG artist who works for a variety of well-known houses such as Blind, Troika, Mirada and Royale, Robson made the film as part of Frame Society. Organized by Blind creative directors Chris Do and Greg Gunn, Frame Society is basically a group of filmmakers, writers, animators, directors and other creative people who meet after hours to share ideas and talk about everything from camera work and lighting to VFX. “Almost everyone in the group has been in the industry a long time by work or by hobby,” Robson explains. “So we understand how to tell a story just because we’re living in that world.”
Evolving With the Industry
Like many creative people, Robson didn’t plan the career he is currently pursuing. Instead, cinematography studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara led to curiosity about how to create special effects for film, and pretty soon he was learning Final Cut Pro and After Effects. By 2003, Robson got his first job doing motion graphics. He taught himself how to use Autodesk’s Maya, and that’s where his real education began. “I learned everything on the job, so that was really college for me,” he recalls.
Describing himself as more comfortable following a creative path rather than a technical one, Robson says his skills took him down yet another road when, at the suggestion of other artists he knew, he taught himself how to use Cinema 4D. “All the big teams were using Maya, but when MoGraph came out it completely revolutionized my workflow and that of the other artists, too,” he says. “Suddenly, we could pretty much do anything in real time and experiment on the fly, sort of like being in the kitchen with unlimited ingredients.”
As a freelancer, Robson is well aware that in order to stay busy, he must evolve with the industry. Over the years, he’s watched as artists who have insisted on specializing in just one area either create a reasonable niche for themselves, or wind up without enough work. So, knowing that studios are always looking for artists who understand a variety of software, he splits his time between directing his own projects, design, 3D and 2D work, and compositing. “No matter what job I’m on, I’m almost always using C4D, especially MoGraph,” he says.
Meeting the Need
Robson’s remembers really putting his C4D skills to the test as a freelancer working on a project for Mirada. Finding himself waiting for assets from the rest of the team, he decided to play around and see what he could create in Cinema 4D. “I was working and one of the art directors came by and couldn’t believe I had created what I had in one day, so they asked me to do another and another, and soon we had a huge Cinema farm going,” he says, explaining that Mirada often uses C4D, Maya and Houdini in combination.
For this particular Mirada project, Robson and others on the team were asked to create photo-real popcorn and Coke in stereoscopic 3D for Carmichael Theaters. Robson was the C4D lead on the job, and the team used a combination of C4D, MoDynamics, RealFlow, Houdini, NUKE and Next Limit Technology’s Maxwell Render engine. “Mirada brought me in on the project because they knew Cinema had the power and efficient dynamics for the project, but it was before C4D R13, so I had to build my own stereo rig,” he says.
With the help of fellow artist Casey Hupke, Robson created the popcorn by emitting Thinking Particles from above the screen and linking them to a MoGraph matrix object. “This bridged the gap between modules and utilized the best and most efficient features for the job,” he explains. Rigid body MoDynamics were added to all of the pieces, so the popcorn fell, accumulated in a funnel just above camera, and then spilled into the tank. Coke appeared to pour over ice and fill the screen thanks to RealFlow.
Pursuing a Passion
Even when he’s crunched by deadlines, Robson always makes sure he finds time to do some personal work. Recently he finished a short film called Infinite Loop,which is based on the idea of what it would be like to be stuck in kind of hall of mirrors. “It all starts with a guy at a party who starts messing around and plugs a cable into a TV,” says Robson, who directed the film and created all of the VFX using Cinema 4D and After Effects.
“The film kind of shows you what would happen if you pointed a video camera at its own image,” Robson says, adding that although he had an idea of what the footage would look like when it was shot, everything changed when it came time to animate. “I was coming up with all kinds of new ideas in post,” he continues.
“I camera tracked some shots and brought data into Cinema and created expression that I applied to a MoGraph cloner with a step effector to create a delayed process.” The goal was to create a retro feel, something simulating what would happen if you attached a cable from a video camera to a TV screen, “but didn’t want that screen to be too intrusive visually,” he says.
For the hallway tunnel shot, Robson tracked the plate in SynthEyes and created an expression that compensated for the XY position and Z rotation of the camera while applying the values inversely to a step effector’s parameters. “This replicated the effect that a camera has when it views a screen with its own image on it,” he says. The step effector also scaled down each concurrent screen to create a forced perspective of what looks like a long tunnel, but is virtually flat. Each clone’s video footage had to be manually offset to simulate the delay of transmission between iterations of the screen down the tunnel.
The end credits were made by applying a step effector to a cloner object and creating iterations of the type and border that were rotated, scaled, and positioned over the course of several clones to create a spiraling tunnel effect that gradually shifted from clone to clone. “I created a series of user data sliders driven by Espresso that influenced the intensity of the values of the step effector and allowed a simpler control for randomizing movement,” Robson recalls. Each clone was rendered out with a different object buffer so he could randomize opacity for each object buffer in After Effects to create a flicker effect.
“I’m really proud of how it turned out,” says Robson, pointing out the film’s “urban legend-like spin” in which pointing a camera at its own image means the party guy gets immediately transported into the TV, a fate from which he cannot escape. “All through the film you see him running away, thinking he’s outsmarted technology, but in the end he’s still stuck in the TV and his friends forget about him.” Interestingly, after the screening of the film, some people wondered aloud whether the film’s subtext had something to do with a fear of technology. For Robson, though, it would seem the opposite is true.
Welcome back to the 9th edition of the “Go Media Guest Pinner Gallery Showcase.” If you aren’t a fan of ours on Pinterest click this link to start following what we pin. This showcase features the best pins from our Go Media Guest Pinner Gallery, so these images are the ones that you all found and shared with us. If you would like to be added to the gallery send me an email at [email protected] Happy Pinning!
Listen to the Podcast
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Sponsor of this Episode
This episode is sponsored by WMC Fest 4. WMC Fest is the premier art, design, and music festival in the Midwest. Uniting creative dreamers and doers since 2010. WMC Fest takes place from August 16th through 18th at Cleveland Public Theatre. 20 speakers, 20 designers, and 30+ bands.
Go Media Quick Tip: Don’t Over Think Things
- Be a little naive, jump in, and figure out how to swim later.
- A common theme we’ve seen after interviewing a lot of the WMC Fest speakers this year is that they didn’t always know how to do what they wanted to do. They just knew that they wanted to do it and worked out the kinks as they ran across them.
- Take advantage of your naivety.
- Dive in, take a risk, and don’t get bogged down by the details.
What’s Go Media Been Up To?
- Bill is now finished with the first draft of his book. It’s in the hands of the editor.
- It’s Spring, which means some office reorganization. The design and Arsenal team moved their desks around. Plus, our storefront restoration project should be beginning soon. Most have moved away from the center of the office.
- Heather Sakai also worked on cleaning up our storage areas, which allowed us to store all of the new WMC Fest merch coming in.
- Bryan and Bill have been interviewing the new group of interns that are coming in over the Summer to work with the best small business website designers in Cleveland, Go Media.
Customer Retention: A chapter from Bill’s new book “Drawn To Business: Designed For Success”
- If you can keep the customers you already have, you’ll save yourself time, energy, and money. Historically, we were always seeking new leads instead of being proactive on retaining those who were already here.
- You can only make a first impression once. How you come out of the gate with that customer will dictate how well things can move forward. The initial steps and deliverables are so powerful. If you stumble out the gate, you create a sense of wariness. It can cause negative feelings towards the project, which could result in work being looked at with a far more critical eye.
- Know what expectations you need to meet by setting those expectations with the client.
- Under promise and over deliver. Over promising outrageous expectations will cause disappointment if you can’t meet those expectations. It will also put you in a position where you no longer enjoy doing the project because you’ve put yourself under a lot of unnecessary stress.
- Being realistic to a client, by giving them some news that they don’t want to hear, allows you to set realistic expectations that both sides can agree upon. And, if you set the bar too high, the client will expect that kind of turn around the next time, and that’s not necessarily a client you want to retain.
- The relationship is key to customer retention.
- Be an advisor, not just an order taker. If you see an opportunity for your client to do something better, offer that advice.
- Stay in touch with your customers. It doesn’t matter how or why, give them a call, or shoot them a quick email, to let them know you’re thinking about them. Watch a movie or read a blog post that reminded you of your client, tell them. You reaching out to them could spur conversation about new projects and opportunities.
- Give your best customers your cheapest rates.
- The Old And New Project
- Weapons of Mass Creation Fest 4
- Go Media Twitter
- “Lux” by Braid
- Troy DeShano Twitter
Interested in sponsoring the Go Media podcast, either episodically or exclusively? Well, hit us up at [email protected] if you are interested in advertising your business.
What Do You Think?
We want to hear what you think about the latest episode of our podcast and what topics you would like to see covered in upcoming episodes. Comment below with your suggestions.
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The Old & New Project
For many of you this isn’t the first time you have heard of the Old & New Project. You may remember a post we did about the project last May which included an interview with the founders. Check it out here if you missed it.
Old & New Project returns this month with another round of religious contemporary graphic art. This time, contributors span both the globe and the current spectrum of design celebrity—with artists both well-known and up-and-coming invited to participate.
According to the site’s creators, the new round of designs is focused on “Turning Points” in various biblical stories, “single moments in each character’s narrative that changed the trajectory of their own lives, or even human history.”
A new design will be posted Monday-Friday beginning April 22 and will feature work from the following artists:
- Adam Anderson,
- Alexandra Beguez,
- Allie Smith,
- Anna Hurley,
- Brian Doc Reed,
- Chank Diesel,
- Chris Rushing,
- Ciara Panacchia,
- Dominic Flask,
- Emily Dove,
- Joe Cavazos,
- Julie Frey,
- Matt Stevens,
- Melanie Matthews,
- Mikey Burton,
- Rogie King,
- Shed Labs,
- Sophia Foster-Dimino,
- Tommy Chandra, and
- Travis Brown
About Old & New Project
Old & New provides a platform for contemporary graphic artists to exhibit works themed on Biblical stories and passages. It also aims to introduce a new online audience to Biblical art, attempting to replace popular, yet sometimes low-quality, contemporary Biblical artwork with the kind of accessible and honorable work that has historically been associated with the Bible.
The website is a curated collection of single designs by a variety of international illustrators, artists and designers. The collections are released in an indefinite series of rounds. The goal of these rounds will be to bring new light to well known Biblical passages as well as introducing less familiar (or comfortable) content.
There are a few things that make this project unique.
- Inclusion: Old & New is not an attempt to convert folks or create religious propaganda. In order to take a new look at this old book, we want, in fact we need, artists from all types of faith perspectives. That may include different religious backgrounds, those who have had a really negative experience with the church, agnostics and atheists.
- Accessibility: If you want to learn more about the Bible, there are a lot of complex theological books written for that reason. With Old & New, our goal is that both the art and writing are accessible to all types of people, regardless of how much they may or may not know about theology.
- Reaching Out: We’re honored to partner with Blood Water Mission, an organization that focuses on empowering communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa. Prints of designs are available to purchase and proceeds go to Blood:Water Mission (over $1000 during the first 2 rounds).
Who is Parafina?
Carlos of Parafina Co. is a longtime fan of Jeff Finley‘s book, Thread’s Not Dead. Recently he reached out to us here at Go Media, and we were so impressed by what he’s doing we decided to feature an interview with him, right here on the GoMediaZine!
Since he was a kid, Carlos of Parafina Co. has dreamt of that one project that would allow him to do what he loves, blurring the line between leisure and work. He’d like to find that balance. Parafina is the materialization of that feeling of cohesion.
Parafina has two distribution centers. The first one is located in Southern California (USA) and the second one in Southern Europe (Spain). He believes that creating eco-friendly products is the way to go. This is what he always wanted to do. To create quality, cool, and fun products with a strong meaning and a correct philosophy. He stands behind his products with pride.
Go Media recently had the opportunity to converse with Carlos about his company and we would like to share it with all of you, our readers.
Who are you and what is your company name? Tell us a bit about yourself and your brand.
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
My name is Carlos Sáez but all my friends call me “Carletes”. I’m working in a little startup called “Parafina“. I didn’t have any business experience with t-shirts. I spent nearly two and a half years doing a lot of research around T-shirt forums, bought a couple of books (yours was one of them), started a visual blog, made mood-boards, and nearly broke my head trying to create my own voice, style and story. I was looking for something that resonated well with all the things I love and that people will connect with. I started selling at selected stores in California, just contacting them through email, being nice and polite and showing them some off the stuff I have put together. I try to tell a story of my love for the ocean and the outdoors, in a fun way and focus in hand drawn art, eco inks and organic garments. It has been a super fun and rewarding experience so far… Loving the community response, I am so thankful for that.
What made you want to start a clothing company?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
After I finished university, I got to travel the world with my back pack for almost 8 years (I was a judge in the kiteboarding world cup). It was a dream job especially the first 7-8 years… Then I fell in love and had to be away from her. I always had the idea of starting my own little surf/mountain/outdoors/travel inspired brand, and it was the right moment to follow that dream. I am a hard worker, always put a lot of passion in everything I do, so once I decided to do it, I pushed as hard as I could to learn and bring the project to life.
In the world where everyone starts a clothing company, how is yours different?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
I guess the coolest thing of Parafina is that each t-shirt has a story behind it. Each design fits into a bigger picture, a story of love for the ocean and the outdoors. I think consumers are demanding richer, more authentic connections to the products they use. That is what I expect from the products I buy, and this is what I try to deliver. I think the handmade and eco-friendly approach is really cool too. We are puting love into everything we are doing with the brand. I am really into less computer and more into artist hands on the designs. I think combining both with the right balance is the way to go.
You said you read the Thread’s Not Dead, how did that help or change your plans?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
When you are starting you don’t know where to look for answers. I noticed it was pretty difficult to get others to share answers and advice. I understand it now, it is a trial and error thing, you have to spend a lot of money learning the right steps. I was on IATT (IAmTheTrend) and I think I saw a link or something so I bought your book and it helped a lot, especially on the very first steps. Then you have to stop reading and start acting and that is where the real learning happens, because you have to go real deep into every step.
Launching a clothing brand is the easy part, how do you plan on growing your brand?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
Once I decided to start the project, I started writing on famous surf websites and blogs for free, just to be able to get to know people, I have built a network of sites that are now helping to spread the word. Being in some of the best surf shops also helps, Thalía Surf Shop in Laguna Beach, for example. I don’t make a buck out of that, but I see it as free advertising and brand recognition in some of the best alternative indy surf stores. I started not only with t-shirts and also got to make some other products that go hand-in-hand with the same philosophy the brand wants to share. Since our launch a couple of weeks ago, our facebook has gone from 150 (basically friends) to 800 people, and we have received a lot of emails saying hi, and telling us how they liked our vibe. Such a great feeling after all the hard work. At the end customers are our reason to be and who will make this succeed.
What was the hardest or most challenging thing you’ve overcome thus far with your brand?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
Every step has been hard, picking the name took me almost 2 years, I wrote down hundreds of names. And all the good ones were taken, when the name was available, the website wasn’t. I picked “Parafina” because it is one word, because is easy to write and spell, because I like its sound and because of its meaning (surf wax in Spanish.) Also parafina oil is what you use as fuel for the mountain men lamps, so it has that connection to sea and land. Besides that, I think the financial part is the most difficult, at least for me. I like the soul and creative side and not so much the accounting side, but hey, this is business and you have to be good at everything so I had to work extra hard to get all the puzzle pieces together.
What is your favorite part about your brand?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
Creating concepts and ideas, doing the little details, hanging out with my customers to listen and learn from every single one of them. Above everything my favorite part is making people get stoked and happy.
If there was one thing you wish was answered in Thread’s Not Dead, what is that?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
Overall, I think the book was really aimed at designers trying to start their own thing. Everything is told from a designer’s point of view (I can understand it because you [Jeff Finley] are one of them). Maybe, it would have been good to outline how to deal with designers and how the process actually worked for entrepreneurs. But I found the 2nd part had a lot of the info that I was actually looking for as a entrepreneur. It’s a good book and I recommend everyone who wants to start a clothing line to get it and study it.
What kind of advice would you give our readers?
Carlos of Parafina Co.:
Research, all the time, everywhere. Make mood boards on Pinterest. Connect with people, get in the forums. Do your own thing, look for a style that is not overdone (this is actually very difficult and will take a lot of time) and the most important, read this post!
Parafina Co. Links
And You Say Print Is Dead!
For years, we’ve heard people say “print is dead” and “it’s all about the web,” but as far as we can tell, print design isn’t going anywhere. From business cards to postcards, from invitations to menus, print design is far from dead, it’s alive and thriving. Just check out the showcase below if you don’t believe us.
Inspired by vintage scary movies and Goosebumps children’s books, Atlanta, Georgia artist Aaron Crawford‘s art could be described as horror with a sense of humor. Aaron is setting himself apart from the pack with his diligent hard work, intelligent detailed line art, vibrant mixed media colors, and constant social media hustle.
Aaron Crawford and his successful apparel/print company Cavity Colors have 25,000+ followers on Instagram, over 6,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 40,000 followers on Twitter… impressive numbers that even President Obama would be proud of.
I had the privilege of catching up with Mr. Aaron Crawford over the phone a few weeks ago to discuss his art, his process, and his goals. Take a listen to our conversation:
Created by Simeon Hendrix who is a professional graphic artist, documentarian, journalist, and father living in Wichita Falls, Texas. Simeon also toured the US for 10 years (from 2002 – 2012) as the frontman for the experimental rock band DOWN-STARES for videos click here. For more information please visit: http://simeonhendrix.com