All posts in Design Musings

Charlotte's Web illustration by Garth Williams


Like Charlotte’s web, your website should communicate key messages about your small business, artistic practice, or services in a creative way that attracts new clients, fans…and tasty morsels.

I’ve been designing a lot of websites lately. Many of them are for dancers or writers who’ve never had their own professional site before. In some cases the artist has been making work for two or three decades and needs a one-stop archive to showcase the breadth of their portfolio. I’ve designed sites for a social worker embarking on and promoting a new wing of services, and for a musician interested in taking their art and teaching to the next level.

What I’ve learned is that designing a website is so much more than building a few pages. Most people I work with don’t have an existing logo, so often my first step in creating a visual concept is designing a logo or logo mark. I consider texture, font face and color palette very carefully, and from there I work toward developing a style and brand that encompasses your vision and personality, the essence of your work, and the kind of audience you’re trying to reach.

And it doesn’t stop there. I’ll help you set up a mailing list and sign up form widget for your site. I’ll install SEO and Google Analytics to extend your reach and track site engagement. I also ensure the site is fully responsive, so that it looks great on tablets and smart phones.

It’s exciting to build and launch your first ever site. Like Charlotte I spin a glittering design, then sit back and watch your inner Wilbur glow.

[Featured image: Illustration from Charlotte’s Web by Garth Williams, courtesy The Persnickety Reader]

3 Questions I Ask New Clients

When starting a new client project, I always ask three questions:

  • Who is your audience? Or, what kind of audience or clientele are you trying to reach?
  • What is the one thing you want your prospective audience or clientele to take away?
  • What is your vision?

All of these questions are important, but I like to focus on #3. What do you see? What are your desires for the project? Where do you see it going? Continue Reading

Not Everything Dies

Why I Love Layout

My dad is a nature photographer. I grew up watching him edit his photos in Photoshop 6.0. As it turns out, his nerdy interest in Jerry Uelsmann, science fiction pulp magazines, William S. Burroughs, and cut-up techniques would influence my design aesthetic years later.

Like my dad, I had a desire to observe and capture everything around me. I always carried a novel, a notebook, and a sketchpad. I was obsessed with Kerouac and Ginsberg and fascinated by manatees, archaeological dig sites, Jupiter, and the search for extra-terrestrial life. I wanted to see beyond the ends of the earth, of what was as yet unknown.

In my late teens and early twenties, I started making digital fan collages for my favorite show, The X-Files. I diligently saved jpegs of Mulder and Scully, combed transcripts for episode quotes, used textured brushes and layered like crazy. Basically, my fandom taught me everything I needed to know about Photoshop. Continue Reading