For the past month or so, I’ve been sporadically playing around with pointed pen calligraphy. And I’ll tell you what, it’s fun and easy. I get in a meditative mode when engaged in anything creative or detail-oriented, but calligraphy really ups the ante — steady breath, steady hand, pausing every few strokes to dip the pen. It feels great.
Also, the soft scratch of nib on paper is one of the great sounds in life. Up there with the solid whack of tennis ball with racquet, or the metallic squeak when changing chords on a guitar.
I’m a novice, but…
One thing I’ve noticed is that I get so focused on the letter forms, that I lose all ability to spell.
Two “l”s in always? Cmon now. That simply doesn’t happen after third or fourth grade….unless you’re focusing too much on making it pretty!
Obbbbsessed with repeating letters where there are no repeating letters.
I took a couple Skillshare classes, like this one and this one, which helped me figure out what supplies to get, how to assemble them, and encouraged me to start putting pen to paper. My favorite class was this one by Molly Suber Thorpe. It focuses on digitizing calligraphy. I haven’t yet produced anything worthy of such treatment, but I really liked seeing Molly’s process and felt a kinship with her OCD-veering attention to detail.
If you’re not into subscribing to Skillshare, here’s a peak at some supplies that’ll get you off the ground and running. They’ve been great to me, though I admittedly have nothing to compare them to as they’re all I’ve used so far.
A real labor of love (including meticulously cutting out and collaging 100+ flowers from the generous folks at the Biodiversity Heritage Library), I proudly present: luisandsarah.com, the website for our recent wedding.
Lots of sweet images in the full-width responsive slider. Including this one of us jumping off the dock where the wedding was held:
Here are some of the other pages:
The wedding was small (under a hundred guests) and a bit remote. We were so touched by our friends and family who traveled from near and far (and farther!) to be there with us.
I had A LOT of fun making our paper invitations (will do a post on those soon), but we kept the RSVPs digital to cut down on costs….and to force people to venture to the dang website, bwahahaha.
Beyond logistics, I thought it’d be fun to also include some mushy and/or human interest content.
Like our little story:
And also some miscellanea, including a collection of the things we love, snapshots of wedding dresses that didn’t make the cut, and a few of our favorite love stories from books and movies.
What’s awesome about making a website for yourself? Well, for one, you can do whatever you want! So I took that liberty to pepper the site with quotes and passages that felt like us. Such as:
Enough with the romance. How about the specs? Well, this site is responsive and hand-coded (with love).
I guess even farmers have to network these days!
A little holiday card I designed for the Humane Society.
Detailed view of the animal-snowflake:
Does anything spread cheer like kissing bunnies??
Ramon’s homepage. What do you think?
Get Cool Stuff is a non-profit up-cycle boutique. They provide training for women in underserved populations, giving them the skills to revitalize forsaken items and then sell the cool stuff they produce. Good for people. Good for the earth. What’s not to love?
Eventually their site will be more of an e-commerce platform, but for now it’s a cool web presence they can use as they gather funding and establish their storefront.
Since there isn’t too much content at this stage, I went with a one-page design, kept hip and interactive with some parallax scroll effects and CSS3 animations, none of which you can see in the screen shot below.
The parallax images actually look more like this:
Not quite sure why my Paparazzi Ap turned them into scary red and beige blobs.
In parallax scrolling, the background (in this case, the image) and the foreground (the text) scroll at different speeds, which creates a nice feeling in your tummy. Try it.
(Someday I’ll stop being so lazy and mock-up my screen shots in an empty browser window with Photoshop, the way a proper blogger/designer would, but that day is not today. So please shame me for my nerdy browser tabs and really lame bookmark folders and Inbox with 3,931 messages if you feel so inclined.)
Here’s a closer look at the content sections:
On mobile, since there’s no hover, the “We Believe” circles aren’t so interactive:
That’s right folks. This site is responsive. Shouldn’t it go without saying? Can we please make responsiveness (responsivity?) mandatory?? (Full disclosure my own site isn’t responsive, but it’s a grandpa at three years old, so, give it some slack, will ya? He’s just trying to keep the weeds out of the garden and keep track of his teeth.)
Unfortunately the actual site isn’t responding as shown above because Go Daddy has some auto-redirect mobile bananas set up. But as soon as I get the client’s credentials to update the DNS, it’ll work like the beta site, captured above, and currently living on my non-Go Daddy and not-bananafied server.
Alright. Go getcher cool stuff.
I dare say, this was the perfect project to come home to after spending six months in India: A tourism website for Westerners wanting the authentic ashram/yoga/meditation/ayurveda/guru experience in India. Consider me your Subject Matter Expert.
So here’s the site, and…..it responds!
How much do I love responsive fly-down navigation for smart phones and tablets? Immensely!
In India, more is more is more. And then add a little more. So this design was a bit of a free-for-all. Though if it were really an accurate representation of the country in look/feel it would also be bedazzled in sequins, set on fire, wail Carnatic music, and have a cow saunter through. Maybe in CSS4, folks, maybe.
But for now, lots of decoration and ornamentation and color, but keeping the layout clean and easy for our Western viewers.
Drop caps, funky borders, bold-italic colored links.
Fancy pants icons.
A couple more interior pages:
More pretty shots of the full-width responsive slideshow:
Visit the site. More importantly: go to India!
Early this year I got the awesome opportunity to play Art Director & Lead Designer on this pretty huge event that partnered the Art of Living Foundation and Google India.
Why was it awesome? So many reasons!
First, the chance to work with Google, whose cheerful, minimalistic aesthetic and tireless innovation makes my heart happy. And I mean, c’mon, it’s Google — the company that became a verb!
Second, when your professional passion intersects with your personal passion (in my case, design and meditation/service/peacemaking), life is moving along nicely.
Third, this is a cause TO BELIEVE IN! The Hangout sought to answer the question: “What can we do for a stress-free, violence-free society?” During the opening remarks Sri Sri shared these words, putting it perfectly:
When the Wright Brothers thought about flying, everybody thought they were crazy. I have this crazy idea to see a world without violence, without stress. I’m so happy that so many of you have joined me in this dream. It may appear to be far-fetched but we need to dream first. Then, one day, either in this generation or the next, it will come true.
So. The design.
First, some visually stimulating teasers playing with the idea of what a stress-free violence-free society might look like:
Pollution? Bah! Our factory’s emissions include bubbles and sparkles and rainbows.
The next step was to position Sri Sri as the expert he is in both large-scale conflict resolution and the individual journey to peace and joy. Luckily he makes this a snap through his own inspiring words:
And some hand-lettering for the fun of it:
And of course, ads of every shape and size:
And the results!
So lucky to get to be a part of it.