Monthly Archives: January 2011
Our friends over at Stumptown Coffee Roasters have a bunch of new coffee arrivals this month, from Bolivia Buenavista to Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado, we can’t wait to add these new coffees to our caffeine fueled days.
Just in time, we’ve helped revamp their home page latest news and added a Twitter link. Do follow them, lots of interesting tweets, direct from the source.
Well wouldn’t you know, I was halfway into building pretty much this, and I discover that IFC (behind the TV show Portlandia) has already done it.http://www.putabirdonit.com/
Well I can’t blame them – it’s smart. This is clever use of social media. They’re really on their Facebook page, even getting local celebrities to keep it active. They’re also active on Twitter, talking about upcoming episodes and events.
We’ll definitely be watching tonight, since the show is kind of hilarious. I can’t help but feel a bit slighted that they thought of this gimmick first, it would have been a great way to promote our business and get in on the social media buzz. At the same time, I feel like I’ve learned a little bit from this experience. Social media is powerful and can clearly connect with your audience in ways you might not think of.
The takeaway? Social media matters, and you need to get in front and steer that ship before someone else steers it for you. That’s what we’re here for.
I frequently encounter a problem with my music at work.
I use a Mac with one of those little Apple keyboards. It has buttons that control iTunes, play, pause, and so on. I use it to pause my music when something is happening in the studio that needs focus. Then, when I come back, I can start the music back up with the keyboard again.
When listening to Pandora, however, I completely forget about this. Something comes up that needs focus, so I hit pause on the keyboard. This time, that key causes iTunes to start playing right over Pandora. Both, at the same time. Leaving me completely distracted, and my focus in tatters.
Really wish Pandora was able to take over those keys when it was running.
Excellent post on Quora from the founder of Syncplicity, a Dropbox competitor.
If you’re starting a new company, the best thing you can do is keep your feature set small and focused. Do one thing as best as you possibly can. Your users will beg and beg for more functionality. They will tell you their problems and ask you to fix it. [...] Until you have a lot of resources, stay focused on your core competency.
Our dear friend Amy Ruppel has been creating lovely hand-made objects and posting a new one each week on Ruppelshelf. Personally, I love the excitement of wondering what she will post next. I’m also fascinated by the creative routine of a project like this – pushing oneself to create something new each week, in a shop, with your hands.
We’ve been dreaming about tinkering with our website for a couple years now. This month, we finally decided to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Our first task was to define what was working for us with our current website and what wasn’t.
Last month, we asked just about everyone we could a single question: “When you think of Needmore Designs, what comes to mind?” We based our initial redesign planning on the results. We learned that our general aesthetic shines through quite well in the designs we create for others – clean, tidy, modern layouts with much white space and smart font choices. We also learned that folks think of us, the people behind the website.
With these points in mind, we took a hard look at the website we have had up for the last three years. I’ll tell you what we didn’t see – white space or people. And so, the redesign project was underway. Here is what we stared with.
Not bad, but we thought we could do better. After about a month of thinking, designing, and tinkering, here is where we are as of today. White space. Tidy layout. Nice fonts. And real people front and center.
We’re especially excited about the new home page. The thumbnails are pulling from a variety of places on the website (recent projects, team, and blog). By going greyscale, we’re giving all of this equal weight. This also allows the home page to be completely different each time you visit. We’re excited to see some of the designs that come out of this randomness. We do feel that, with one glance, you get a strong feel for who we, as Needmore Designs, are. And that feels pretty good.
You’ll also note that some important information is missing. We are giving ourselves the rest of the month to hammer out the details of the website. As we zero in on a page that we feel is finished, we’ll talk a bit about the process. We’ll be documenting this live because, well, this is how we usually work in front of a client and it just feels right. We do hope you enjoy our little trapeze act.
I came across an excellent article in the January 3rd New Yorker called Just Have Less. It’s about Tomas Maier, the creative director of Bottega Veneta, and his response to a question about the prices of his products most caught my attention.
Maier insisted that his prices reflected the cost of materials and labor. “A chain store can sell a pair of kahkis for sixteen dollars,” he said. “I can’t even get a bold of kahki for that much. That means they are being made in some country where a kid is chained sixteen hours a day to a sewing machine. At Bottega, we pay our artisans in Vicenza properly, with benefits, and excellent working conditions. We use the best materials, and we make things in a way that is built to last.” He insisted that Bottega’s goods were not beyond the reach of middle-class people, who have simply been trained to want too much stuff. Anyone, he said, could afford one five-hundred-and-fifty-dollar hand-painted cashmere scarf. “Just have less,” he said.
It’s a great article. But it did leave me wondering why someone with such discerning taste would have a website like he does. Tomas, if you’re reading our blog (and I know you do)… let’s talk.