Logo Design Challenge with Aaron Draplin

Logo design is one of my favourite aspects of Graphic Design.

Taking a company or projects personality, morals, characteristics and bundling it all into a logomark and logotype is a greatly satisfying experience.

The late great Saul Bass and San Francisco based Scott Hansen (AKA Tycho) are my personal favourites – but the large man with tall tales, Mr Aaron Draplin (AKA DDC) is one that really brings the excitement and love of all things simple, retro and BIG to the logo design game.

Check out Aarons' overview of how he goes about designing a logo and gets Midwest on yo' ass!



Beautiful typography and responsive websites

I've been a graphic and web designer for around 17 years now and in all that time I've been fascinated by typography and how a considered selection in type can bring the dullest of projects to life!

The problem was for a long time when it came to creating designs for clients websites. See, up until recently all website and digital designers were restricted to the same fonts you normally get to use in Microsoft Word. Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Georgia and Courier.

Now as much as you can do with these fonts, it really did limit you in the digital world to creating really striking designs.

With the dawn of CSS3, TypeKit, Google Fonts and all manner of technological answers available to website designers and developers nowadays, Times New Roman can finally be kicked to the curb!

Nearly every font is now available and website design is really starting to look amazing and the lines between high end printed brochures and websites is now being blurred.

Now, the only problem is – which font to choose!


Converting UNIX timesamp to Human readable date in Wordpress


Ive been able to create a UNIX timestamp against custom meta type 'event', and order those events using meta value and meta keys.

But I've not been able to convert the UNIX timestamp into a human friendly/readable date.

I've finally worked out how!


$postid = $wp_query->post->ID;
$start_date = get_post_meta($postid, '_cmb_event_date', true);
echo date( 'D jS M<b\r>G:ia', $start_date ); ?>

*/ $start_date has to come from the plugin. This should be changed to whatever command you have created in your plugin. Also '_cmb_event_date' should be changed to whatever meta key you have given this data entry. */

My workflow when building a Wordpress Website

My tried and tested method to website bliss, from your brief to 'go live' in 5 steps.

I strive to make the process of designing, building and broadcasting your website live to the world as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

The way I achieve this is through a tried and tested approach, broken down into set stages that let’s both parties, know exactly where we are and exactly what information is needed to keep the project moving along nicely and finished on time.

Every stage is managed through the Project Management Tool Basecamp which can be accessed by my clients at any stage. It includes a long and comprehensive list of 'to do's' not only for me, but for you the client. It's an ever changing list, due to the quick moving nature of web development and is split into...

Stage 0. Brief, costs and timelines.

Before we kick things off, we meet either in person or via Skype and go through a questionnaire (you may have filled this in online already) and decide on a brief, sitemap, costs and timelines. Upon agreement we put together a proposal and a contract. On receipt of a deposit payment (50% payment up front, remaining 50% on completion) and a signed contract, we get the ball rolling.

My responsibilites.

  1. Talk through with you to understand your requirements, give suggestions and firm up a sitemap
  2. Deliver a proposal on estimated costs, timelines and confirm the brief
  3. Send over contract for you to sign.

Your responsibilities

  1. To answer all questions in our brief questionnaire form
  2. Give us an honest budget you have to spend to complete the project
  3. Sign and agree with our basic contract and pay the 50% deposit of the estimated cost up front (remainder will be invoiced on completion) to get things started.

Stage 1. Logins, Content and Design.

My responsibilities.

  1. Create visuals of your website. If a complex website, I may visualise near on all pages in the site. If a simpler website, just home page and one other page.
  2. Create a presentation for you, which we will run through with you in person or over Skype.
  3. Gather feedback from you and make any amends.

Your responsibilities.

  1. Send us all login details for your existing website, hosting package, domain name package if you have them (don't worry if you do not have a hosting package or domain name registered, this will all be in the initial proposal).
  2. Send me all copy and imagery for every page within the website. This is vitally important pre-design. I will not proceed with the design of the website until all this information is with me (if you prefer, I can suggest a copywriter that can create your content for you – estimates on request).
  3. Give feedback on the design I create of your website and sign off before the actual website build.

Stage 2. Pre-Development.

My responsibilities.

  1. Setup and test your hosting server
  2. Install Wordpress and implement Bootstrap, Thesis and any relevant CSS & JS

Stage 3. Website Development.

My responsibilities.

  1. Add basic content to the website
  2. Amend the generic Wordpress settings in line with your website design
  3. Implement any fonts that will be needed
  4. Build and develop the basic layout of the website
  5. Build and develop all custom pages within the website
  6. Install or Build custom plugins that add functionality
  7. Create Widgets and embed into the relevant areas within the website
  8. Thoroughly test the website functionality
  9. Test website for responsiveness and compliance with the latest Browsers
  10. Migrate any data across to the remote server (your hosting package) from either an old website or the local version (stored on our servers) of the website we have built
  11. Test website working correctly on the remote server
  12. Setup any Google functionality that was required, such as Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Site Verification
  13. Undertake any SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) that is required. Vitally important to factor well on Google.
  14. Setup any email accounts and Social Media accounts on behalf of the client
  15. Take down the holding page (temporary landing page while the website is being constructed) and go live!

Your responsibilities.

  1. To run through every page within the website and check all content and layout before signing the website off
  2. To reap the benefits of a new website to wow your clients, friends & family!

Stage 4. Training & Maintenance and Digital Marketing

Our responsibilities

  1. If you have chosen to receive training, we give you face to face (or Skype if easier due to location) training on how to use your new website.
  2. If you have chosen a maintenance contract, we will ensure your site is checked once a month for hacks, plugin updates and will offer 1 hour of amends or tweaks if needed (anything over 1 hours will be charged at our hourly rate)
  3. We can help you promote your website through Digital Marketing techniques on top of the Search Optimisation included in the package – namely, Blog writing/Copywriting, PR, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Email Marketing – Prices on request.

Your responsibilities

  1. Receive training and look sharp!
  2. Send us any future developments you want. A website should be constantly updated and moving with the technology and your customers.
  3. Let us know if you need any assistance with promoting your website

By sticking to these 5 steps, I normally achieve a website from brief to completion in 4-6 weeks from approval of estimate and the 50% deposit paid.