Website Inspiration

As I mentioned in the previous blog post I've been wanting to redesign my website for quite some time now and over that period of time I've collected quite the list of portfolio websites I find myself returning to again and again for inspiration. I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites to share with you.


Ghostly Ferns

So technically they are kinda a collaboration but I freakin' love this redesign. The bright unusual colors, the line work, the topless ghost mascot... seriously what's not to love? I also really feel intune with the language they use on the site. Very friendly and straight forward. No marketing jargin here!


Frank Chimero

I love this website simply because Frank broke free of the grid layout so many designers have for their portfolio (guilty!). I think the grid layout works but I think it's time to start pushing for something more. I'm looking for some new ways to break the grid layout in the next iteration of my website.


Joe Schlaud

A long scrolling website with tons of color. This is a great example of how such a simple website can still have a lot of personality!

These are just the tip of the inspiration iceberg. I've created a handy pinterest board if you would like to take a look at some other sites I fancy and follow along for future additions or add your favorites in the comments below.

PS: If you are in the reading mood Jason Zook (Formerly Jason Sadler, formerly Jason Headsetsdotcom, formerly... eh you get it...) wrote about the struggle of redesigning your own website and gives some helpful advice about narrowing your focus. Read the article here.

A New Project & Designing In The Open

I’m redesigning my website, I’ve been saying for ages how I’ve wanted to redesign my website from the ground up teaching myself code along the way but that project seems to always take the back burner to other work. Well not anymore! I’m excited to say that I’m finally digging in and that I will be designing it in the open. I will be posting the progress to this blog on a regular basis as a way to keep myself accountable as well as to post about my overall design process for the website.

why design in the open?

Accountability — First and foremost I’m hoping for some accountability. Designers have a tendency to struggle when it comes to designing for oneself and I for one am no exception. I’m writing this post as a way to light a fire under my own ass and finally stop talking and start doing. I’m also counting on you (yes, you reading this right now) to keep me on my toes.

Feedback — Designing in the open is a great way to gather a communities reaction before a design goes live. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen articles bashing redesigns of brands. Having a transparent design process could have helped identify issues or miscommunications long before the final brand was shipped.

Gain Tips & Advice From The Community — This is a big part in choosing to design my own website in the open. As I get more into the guts of the project and move beyond my skills in HTML and CSS I know I will need the help of others with more experience.

Contributing To The Community — I love that I work in a field that is constantly changing and evolving, and even more so I love the openness that comes within the web community. In order to stay up to date on the latest tricks it's important to write about our own experiences, failures and successes so that those who come after us can learn.

If you want to learn more about designing in the open check out Brad Frost’s blog about redesigning the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s website in the open or read about what the Guardian gained by designing their website in the open.

I'm really looking forward to finally starting this project and I will be posting the first phase within the coming weeks so stay tuned! Follow me on twitter to stay up to date on the project or if you enjoy really bad jokes.

5 Favorite Designers

Everyone has one. A list of their favorite designers that they go back and refer to for inspiration time and time again. Below is my list of designers I find to be at the top of their creative game.

1. Aaron Draplin -

Aaron Draplin is the most inspirational speaker I have ever had the pleasure to see and an incredible designer to boot. "Work hard and love this shit" is one of my favorite quotes from his talk at Wed Design Day 2013. He has so much passion and love for what he does that you can't help feeling inspired. Much like his personality, his work is bold and to the point. 


2. Dan Mall -

Another designer I had the pleasure of seeing at Web Design Day (If you you live in Pittsburgh have never been you really need to check it out). Dan is an art director, designer and founder of SuperFriendly. The designs produced by the SuperFriendly team this year are not just beautiful but extremely user friendly. His blog post on element collages inspired me to start incorporating them into my own design process which I have found leads to more constructive design conversations with the clients.


3. Jessica Hische -

My go to inspiration for when it comes to hand lettering and typography. Jessica Hische has worked with clients such as Wes Anderson (talk about a dream job) and Barnes and Noble (You've probably seen these). She has coined the term "procastiwork" which has resulted in some great side projects like the web series Don't Fear the Internet and The "Should I Work for Free?" flowchart.


4. Paul Jarvis -

Paul Jarvis has been a freelance designer for almost two decades and has the portfolio to prove it. His attention to detail and desire to stray from the norm make him a constant inspiration. He also offers some pretty stellar advice for freelancers on his blog.


5. Ludlow Kingsley -

I'm breaking my own rules by naming the agency Ludlow Kingsley as my fifth favorite designer. Ludlow Kingsley reaches that perfect middle ground between quirky and simple. They do an amazing job of portraying a brand's personality through design.


By no means is this list an end all. I'm constantly being inspired by new designers all the time. If you know of someone that should be on my radar feel free to drop me a line on twitter!