She needed a basic website and branding to capitalize on her book tour. The timeline was short and the budget was tight. I passed the project off to Radicle.Vision and my wonderfully talented partner @fffalcon. Falcon took on the logo design based on Cathy’s prompt, which I think is one of my favorite prompts for a logo I’ve ever had:
“fat fierce and intelligent”
With that Falcon, Cathy, and I landed on this beauty:
From this logo mark and Falcon’s suggested color theme I set to work making Cathy some business cards.
These are some of the options I gave. With that done (in a record time I might add) Cathy had something to hand people she was meeting on her book tour and I set out to create a website.
I suggested Squarespace because of it’s ease of setup and maintenance. Cathy had written most of the content already and knew what she wanted, which always makes the process go smoothly. I was given free reign to make the website happen and am quite proud of the results.
I was able to modify the Pacific theme, add some pictures and arrange the content already provided to create a nice little one pager for oneilrisk.com
With a three week turn around this was a very smooth and joyful project. Mad respect to Cathy for being an awesome professional and as always Falcon for being a rock star.
My partner put me in touch with an old client of theirs. They needed help to add a page to their existing WordPress site and fix a few cosmetic issues. I agreed to help and dove in, expecting a simple process. The theme was using a baked in version of page builder which I quickly found was both out-of-date and totally not working.
I was to extract text and images from a PDF and apply them to a page in WordPress. I was able to extract the text as HTML (formatting it with some regular expressions) and gathered the source images from the client.
Once I attempted to add it to the page using Page Builder I found that the raw HTML input wouldn’t capture the input text. No wonder the client was having problems! I was able to hack the system by adding the text directly to the input element via the browser’s development console. An impossible task for someone with a only a working knowledge of browsers and web technology.
After shimming the content into the page and fixing some other esoteric theme related issues I was done. This simple act of adding a page to their website cost 300% more than it should. In fact it shouldn’t have taken an engineer to do such a basic operation.
The client had three options. Try to fix the site, recreate the site, or keep using this hobbled site. Because the site hadn’t been maintained the off-the-shelf theme, WordPress core, and many plugins (some integrated with the theme) were all out of date. Updating and fixing the site might introduce a host of new problems and might not even fix the site.
To keep the site as is and just deal with the wonky broken system would cost way more in the long run for the client. The whole point of using a CMS like WordPress is to make tasks like page creation simple enough for a client to manage on their own. The process of adding content to a page was so onerous that it would be faster to just build pages out of HTML!
So my recommendation was to recreate the site in Squarespace. The client accepted this and we began work.
I opted to use the ishimoto theme as a base to create the site. The original site was very clean and minimal so it was fairly simple to remake using only Squarespace’s theme and design tools, no code necessary.
By using gallery blocks and the intuitive content tools provided out-of-the-box by Squarespace I was able to quickly recreate all of the pages. Better yet the client was able to jump in and figure out how to use the system without much hassle. The cost was about twice as much as adding a single page to the old site!
On top of this we were able to leverage Squarespace’s e-commerce tools to begin setting up a system to sell prints directly off the site.
I love WordPress. It is a triumph of free open source software and a gift to the world. With a few plugins and a decent theme you can create a powerful website that does anything for a fraction of the price. It puts power into the hands of the user. However it requires some upkeep, there is a cost to maintaining WordPress. I would say that when compared to Squarespace’s monthly cost (~$12) it’s about even.
The power of Squarespace is that it just works, the server and updates are all handled by someone else and requires no intervention. When all you really want to do is display some text and media (and perhaps a store) it can be a very good option.
As a designer I feared that products like Squarespace would take away from my livelihood, but I find that my skills as a “power user” make it worth while for clients to hire me to do the initial setup and design pass. I can then hand it off to them without needing to provide a long term maintenance agreement. It’s easy for me to build and it’s easy for them to edit, a win-win in my book.
After creating The Karass Inn’s logo I set to work creating a website for them. They used checkfront.com to handle the booking side of things so I was left to simply create the presentation side.
I used the Make Theme with only slight modifications to the CSS. Mainly to create the pop-ut Book Now button. The site looks great on mobile too:
The address, phone, and email at the top work incredibly well on mobile. By using proper Uniform Resource Identifier schemes with the links available applications will launch when they are clicked. You’re probably already familiar with mailto: which almost all email links use, it looks like this: