New Design of Goldspot Pens Blog

Blogs need a facelift every once in a while. With the Blogger and WordPress platforms evolving at a rapid rate, new features like social bookmarking, magazine style layout and adaptation of new w3c standards can leave older themes and templates behind in the stone-ages. Such was the case with the company’s blog, which I created and developed earlier last year. This is our third template change and the most colorful version yet. Continue reading

A Hiatus is in the Works

It’s been a while since I updated my own blog. Alas, my brand is suffering. My daughter is getting older (9 months now) and free time has slowly evaporated ever since she was about 5 months old. No longer can you just sit her down in front of her toys and NOT expect her to be on the other side of the room in a minute. I turn my head and she’s got my car keys headed out the door.

I’ve been concentrating my efforts on the company blog : Goldspot Pens. At almost at 100 posts from the blog’s creation in February of 2009, I’ve picked up over 160 RSS subscribers and get about 50 visits per day. This year, I’ve really stepped it up, going from about 4 posts per month in 2009 to about a dozen per month this year. Combined with promotion of the blog on the website, our Facebook page and updates on Twitter, we’ve developed quite a following.

My non-work time is continually a work-in-progress. We’ve tried the Mom and Dad Guide blog with no success in even getting out of the first two weeks with new content. I say “we” because, beyond me involvement in getting it started up and designed, my wife was supposed to be cranking out the posts, inspired by the little one’s development and exploration. Maybe when she’s off in the summer, you may start to see a resurgence from the prolonged hiatus.

Art-wise, I haven’t done anything. Looking to change that, I would love to spend next week, which I will be taking off, exploring some ideas for a series of designs that can be marketable on this website, Zazzle, Cafepress and the like. Besides taking care of baby, I will make it my priority to work on this and have something to show for it.

New Year’s Design Resolutions

Looking at the year ahead, officially the first year of the new decade, I am taking an earnest inventory of my professional goals and the steps that lead to the completion of those goals. Making more money is on everyone’s list, but what method is going to be most effective? Most creatively satisfying?

When I went to college, the clear division between the fine arts majors (me) and the graphic design folks was the final product of our portfolios. The graphic design portfolio was a resume, proof that you had the skills necessary to obtain a job or earn someone’s trust to invest in a future project. The fine art portfolio turned out as a “product” that could be purchased or presented at a show.

The professional world for creatives is very similar. You can either provide a product or a service. Being a graphic designer for hire, a role that I have explored to some degree of success over the last year, is a service that I have provided based upon the client’s specifications. What I am considering is more along the lines of my entrepreneurial fine arts instruction, which is to create products within a body of work that can be sold on their own. I create the project and the final piece, available for mass consumption through the many online sale channels like Zazzle, Cafepress and Etsy.

  • Designing T-shirts has always been an interest of mine, and I have made a few printed designs in my time already.
  • Of course I would love to continue working with my current clients and seeking some interesting design opportunities.
  • Comic books are cool, but take a heck of a long time to write and illustrate.
  • Writing a novel has always been a dream, but also takes way too much time to complete.
  • Painting is out of the question – too small of a space, too many hazardous chemicals used around the baby.
  • Continue writing on this blog is a must, even if no one is reading.
  • Illustration or pencil / charcoal drawings are certainly possible. I am capable of a photo-realistic drawing style, which can translate into commissions.
  • Anything and everything else?

Of course, that’s the doing side of things. I am always a student of my trade and would love to learn more. Some items that I would love to research in the next year:

  • Establishing a business entity for being a freelance artist.
  • Legal issues surrounding copyright and contracts.
  • Gather some inspirational design / art books.
  • T-shirt printing – design and execution

So, as I’m putting together my list of resolutions, or goals that I aim to accomplish this year and I encourage everyone else to do the same. Happy New Year’s and God Bless!

Mediocre Articles Prove What?

A lot of content is out there on the internet. Almost too much.

It gets to be an issue when you are looking for some new, insightful articles and end up finding garbage. I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds and a LinkedIn group for graphic designers. Graphic design articles are some of the most prevalent topics being written about on the internet. Tutorials, hints, tips and resources are very helpful to professionals and a great article is posted, reposted, tweeted and shared in every which way, generating tons of traffic, ad revenue or conversion clicks for the blogger. Some “professional” bloggers decide to share their knowledge on a topic, but all it represents is a thinly veiled attempt at trying to generate traffic to their website or shoe-horn as many SEO keywords as possible.

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