Site Building

I am a graphic designer which takes me into many interesting realms. I love unusual art forms like manga (comics created for the most part in Japan). Now I am working on a customer’s website that employs my creativity in new ways. I must make the site supremely navigable, eye-catching, organized, and visually unique. You have to avoid making a cookie cutter site or something reminiscent of others. This makes for a rewarding challenge. I should mention that the client is a local woodworker and custom furniture maker. He specializes in farm style tables fashioned from reclaimed wood. The results are gorgeous once he takes that old wood and stains it to perfection.

The site has many photos of objects for sale including close-ups of the wood grain and different finishes. You can order anything from white washed to medium and dark stains. The designs are what captivate me the most. The farm tables and flat expanses of nature’s best sitting on curved legs. Everything is perfectly proportioned. You can order a table for four to ten. It just depends on your home space. I want the website to highlight his talent and expose the degree of art involved in the woodworking craft.

When I was almost finished building his website, I heard a knock at the door. I wasn’t expecting anyone so imagine my surprise when the client stood there with a smile on his face. “I have something for you,” he muttered and so I let him in. I looked out the door beyond to the street and noticed a pickup parked right in front of my house. He turned simultaneously to point to something loaded in the back, tied with secure ropes. “Come and see,” he beckoned. We both exited the house and walked toward the street. “This is my latest dining room table design. I hope you like it.” Did I like it? Of course. It was gorgeous. I have always liked the simplicity of the farmhouse style and this was an archetypal example. I prefer the way the legs are shapely and robust and not the spindly ones you get with a typical dining set from the factory.

A friend was waiting in the truck and the two of them brought in the table and placed it in my dining room. We moved aside the old hand-me-down from my mother that had seen better days. The new table made the space shine with elegance. The woodworking was superior and nothing I would ordinary find on my own without a recommendation. My client had selected a stain that was a perfect match for the wood beams in my living room. It could not have been a better choice. The table also had an extension so that I could easily seat six to eight. This is the kind of reward you get as a graphic designer. I also got paid by the way so it was an additional perk. It shows you that in life, you never know what is around the corner.

Magazine Launch Party

It’s party time. Unfortunately, it is not mine. I was asked to design some oversized mockups of cover art for a magazine’s outdoor launch. I was happy to attend. In fact, I wanted to get there early to make sure the lighting was right and that my work looked good. Once I was satisfied, I could relax and enjoy the festivities. They had gone all out with live music and wonderful catered food. I ran into the chief executive who had hired me at the hors d’oeuvre bar and we got to talking. He was focused on me such that I felt that another job was in the offering.

Who doesn’t love a good party. I can put up with the speeches and awards, but there is something to say for people in a good mood eating delicacies. Several local officials were invited and a few minor celebs. This meant photographers galore. However, at one point during the event, the Bluetooth speakers stopped working. The venue sent their Outdoor Light and Sound team to the rescue but they seemed to take forever in coming. What could be wrong? These speakers are wireless and portable. I had to take a look. I have seen them many times before. After a few minutes of interruption in the sound system for the band, I had the device up and running. Someone had placed a heavy object on the main cord that attached two speakers. I took a photo and posted it on Facebook, of course.

The party continued in full swing and I loved the music. It was difficult to talk but there was an outside patio for that purpose. The same executive I spoke with earlier approached me with a plan. Yes, it was about another job. He described it in detail and asked about my ideas. I smiled as I said that I would love to reveal them as soon as I had them in my head. He laughed. I had imbibed a few drinks and wasn’t in a position to think about work.

Let me tell you about the new direction of the magazine, he said. I was all ears. He would need a considerable amount of freelance work as his inhouse graphic designer was completely overloaded. Perhaps they would consider a full-time job. I like working on my own, however, and didn’t encourage this topic. I would be flattered, of course, but frankly I loathe giving up my freedom. His wife came over to introduce herself so I was released from the obligation to respond to an employment offer. We talked about this and that and returned to the main room to enjoy more of the music.

You never know what can happen at a party. Each and every one is an opportunity to network. Unless you are just having a gathering of friends, I would encourage all of you to attend business events whenever you can. Get on the local mailing lists in your community. It is a smart career move no matter what field you are in.

Girl Power

What makes you tick? As for me, it varies; but recently I got a new project that really floated my boat, as they say. Some of my work as a graphic designer is routine, run-of-the-mill stuff, so I get pretty excited about something a bit different that challenges my creativity. I crave such opportunities and run with them. This time believe it or not it is a job designing a housecleaning website. They need a strong graphic on the landing page. This will be fun I thought. I want something that represents girl power to the max.

I worked on a couple of samples before I got it right. I wanted the image to please the client at first glance so I would not have to offer others less eye-catching. Picture a superwoman version of the classic, old-school housewife sporting a big skirt and heels with roast in one hand and a vacuum in the other. They used to show these women with perfectly-permed hair and a good dash of makeup.

This is a great retro image that hasn’t been done to death. It will make a cool female logo for The Vacuum Challenge website. It is a modern-day reference that people will get immediately. It is a bit mocking, but that is what makes the point. We used to associate women with the vacuum cleaner, never men. If we saw a man with such a product, he was selling it door to door.

A superwoman is today’s take on people who fend for themselves and don’t hire a cleaning lady. That is for the elite now as it was in the old days. Women are busy now and need to work fast with the latest state-of-the-art appliances. Housecleaning is a chore but one that can be executed more easily with modern products. This is the message of their Facebook community too. A superwoman is in all of us gals. She can sew, cook, vacuum, take care of kids, mow the lawn, and rake the leaves all before work. Ha! This is what people think. But at least we can approach this kind of perfection with help.

I created my version of the actual Wonder Woman since that is a trademark not available to just anyone. It is pretty close, but different enough to pass muster. You can’t miss the reference. It is not too cartoonish and not to realistic either. I have created a good balance to suit the taste of the website viewers. I used the usual colors of red and blue and added the requisite details of the headpiece, ornate body suit, and smattering of white stars on blue high- rise shorts. While this famous lady is pure glamour what with her long flowing locks, gold belt, and red earrings. You will have to see mine and compare. It is not exact, but not a bad takeoff on the original.

The client loved the concept and saw the implication of female empowerment. Ladies, this is the new you.