Field Notes Blog
News and thoughts on UI/UX, web design, and more.
Meet Seymour Sea Dragon and Santiago Sea Turtle! You can see Santiago brightly swimming around town on the 3rd t-shirt illustration in the San Diego Blood Bank's 70th anniversary series. After the Dulce, Diego and Duke Dolphin "Celebrated the Past" and Octavia Octopus "Embraced the Present", we needed a cheerful representative to "Improve the Future". Sea Dragons are amazing creatures that have a cool connection to San Diego. While they are native only to Australian waters, our own Birch Aquarium has a world-renown sea dragon breeding program and from the first time I saw them there, I was mesmerized. Although I had already started a sea turtle design, when Michael at the Blood Bank suggested a sea dragon, I was hooked. So how did the third t-shirt design turn out to be Santiago the Sea Turtle then? And where is Seymour now?
For my second San Diego Blood Bank t-shirt illustration I was tasked with creating a fun new design that would carry on the local sea life theme while communicating the second part of the campaign slogan of "Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present and Improving Life Tomorrow". Who would be better at "embracing the present" than an octopus?!? Whereas the dolphins (our first design) had retro styling to reference the past, we wanted a contemporary look for this one. Armed (yuk yuk!) with these concepts and inspired by action sports logos and my love of cephalopods, I set to work, however, it took a bit of Disney magic to bring it all together.
As many of you know, I am an avid supporter of the work blood banks do in communities around the world. As a blood drive host I'm proud to contribute to that mission and it's a great way to stay on track since I'm working to earn my own 5 gallon donor badge. So, imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to create some original artwork to help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the San Diego Blood Bank! 2020 has been a tough year but it hasn't been all bad. For this design I wanted to create something that would be oh-so-San Diego while helping people feel hopeful and inspired. I immediately remembered one of the high points of the year for me, a very special day in February at La Jolla Shores Beach when I saw bottlenose dolphins surfing with pure delight in the sparkling morning surf.
What is RGB and why does it matter? Why is there a big blank spot on your site where you uploaded that TIF image? In this episode, we’ll do a deep dive into color spaces and look at how our image formats are influenced by our eyeballs, LED displays and even the sun itself. I’ll also provide some easy examples of what to use where and tips for getting the best results.
Say you want to add a photo to your blog as a thumbnail graphic. You snap a cool photo, pop it in and WHOA, it’s gigantic. Plus, it’s taking forever to load. Wouldn’t it be great to know how big to make the photo in the first place? In this 1 minute episode, I'll show you three easy ways to determine how large an image should be and give you some handy image size examples.
Build Your Skills to Rule the Web - Starting July 10th
Are you baffled by RGB and CMYK? Flummoxed by file types? Distressed by dpi? Do you struggle to understand when to use high-res or low-res images? Do you yearn for short and simple explanations? Then you're in the right place! I'm kicking off July with a Digital Summer Camp web series called The Secret Life of Images. Over the course of eight weeks, you'll gain hands-on skills like how to resize and optimize images for your website and social media. You'll also gain valuable deeper understanding about image formats (Vector? Raster?), file types and we'll crack the mystery of resolution.
The web is visual, marketing is visual, communication itself is visual. Before a single word of your carefully-crafted copy is read, people evaluate you based on your images. The difference between a fast, appealing website and a slow, ineffective one comes down to images. The key to high quality, professional brochure is the images. But never fear, YOU can be a Graphics Eagle Scout by the end of summer!
Whether you're running your own business, boosting your job skills or managing staff, this series is packed with short, info-packed episodes that will pay for themselves many times over (especially since they're free). That's right, I said episode because this web series is in video format which means you can learn on your smartphone while lounging by the beach, lake or campfire. So join me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube (links in the footer) for a new lesson each week or join my mailing list to get them delivered right to your In Box.
Content marketing is a fancy term for promoting yourself online by offering useful material. It's successful because it works on the power of attraction instead of distraction. In the same way we skip commercials, it's easy to tune out cheesy stuff online. Instead, we want to put out appealing, relevant content. Simple! Or is it? Do you have a hard time seeing your business through the eyes of an outsider? What may be an everyday, mundane thing to you (ho hum, here I am meeting with the wine rep again) might be wonderfully exotic to a new client (the handsome Italian wine rep - are you kidding me?!). With the goal of harvesting cool content for your social media marketing, here are 15 social media ideas that come out of the everyday things you probably already do.
The best way to make the most of your online marketing channels - whether it's your website, blog, email newsletter or social media feed - is to develop a habit of keeping them fresh. For small businesses and nonprofits though, this can be a real challenge. As small business owners, we wear a lot of hats and marketing often ends up on a back burner. To remedy this, consider scheduling in a 7 step monthly update. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing your first one and setting it up as an easy task each month.
Catty New Year!
It's not as if there are a zillion more of those suddenly. You're noticing them because the car caught your interest. It's been lifted out of the selective blindness that keeps us from being distracted by daily life's irrelevant details. So let's put that to work. Here are 3 very simple things that I do with my website clients to help them regain the precious skill of childlike focus.
About the author
As the owner of Pixel Lava Interactive I've helped hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits with websites, graphic design and more. I hope you'll find this blog full of useful information.
~ Ame Stanko