Asheville North CarolinaAsheville, North Carolina.

Here’s where you’ll find blog posts about our hometown – Asheville, North Carolina. We love this place. There’s an amazing spirit in Asheville, and it’s one that can really get the creative juices flowing.

We like to think that Blue Dozen Design is very Asheville. We’re natives (most of us, anyway) and we’ve grown and changed and gotten weirder right along with Asheville. We’ve seen the good and the bad – and we’ve loved this town through every damned bit of it. There’s something, though, about this town that hasn’t changed – and we hope it never does.

Independent Studios is Dead! Long Live Blue Dozen Design!

Blue Dozen DesignAs you’ve probably gathered – we’ve rebranded, relaunched and recajiggered our site and our selves. We had several reasons. But, really, the main one is that this identity will better match what we’re doing here. didn’t really match the name of our company, and Independent Studios had gotten a little stale. We’re not independent. We’re very much dependent – on several things. You, each other, our families. We might have separate offices, we might lead separate lives – but, we depend on each other. We wanted to ditch the Independent part – which would leave us with just Studios – and who wants to see that?

So – welcome to Blue Dozen Design.

What is Blue Dozen? According to James, our intrepid leader:

Blue Dozen was spawned from really considering what this business is, and why I do what I do with it and through it. I’m a married man with 5 children. They are why I work the way I do. They’re my “raison d’etre,” the reason I get up in the morning and do the work. They’re six beautiful, amazing, brilliant individuals. They all have blue eyes. Do the math. They’re dependent upon me to bring home the bacon, and I’m dependent upon them to keep me breathing and growing and stretching and striving. When I started Independent Studios waaaaaaaay back in 1999, I chose the name “Independent” as a way of thumbing my nose at the rest of the world that (at that time,) thought that it would be impossible to go it alone as a designer in Asheville. That was wrong, really. It’s never good to start something with a negative mindset. Blue Dozen is a fresh start, a new ethos, and an impetus to kickstart the business and design culture that I really want to see out of this business and this group. Blue Dozen is about my love, my dedication – and, just as importantly, my support system. I love my family. They come first – without excuses. I love design, I love the team here, I love our clients, and I love this business. But – without those 12 blue eyes, those 6 stars, I would really just be an independent weirdo, fiddling my way through life.

We’re still the same group of designers, artists, programmers, social media freaks and geeks that you have come to expect out of DesignAVL/Independent Studios. But – we’re reinventing the design wheel. Still too much caffeine, still plenty of joking around – just a fresh, new focus.

Plus – heck – it’s a catchy name and one that we can market a lot easier. Domain names are important (we’ve got a blog post about that coming soon…) and we dig the color blue.

Nice to meet you. Again.

Web Design – Barley’s Taproom

Oh, man – web design, Asheville, beer AND pizza? Yes, please – may we have another?

Barley’s is a downtown Asheville institution, and we got to do a little responsive web design for them. Using WordPress, Google Docs and a few other tricks, we gave Barley’s a great-looking website to go with their awesome everything else. It’s easy to update, easy to use and also totally responsive. Works great on all platforms from desktops to tablets to phones. The site integrates with Google Docs to keep calendars updated and menus refreshed. Beer. Pizza. Web design. Oh, yes.

We’ve got a few more things in the works with Barley’s – so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out their site by clicking here.



Web Design for Asheville’s Own BattleCat Coffee Bar

Web design for Asheville’s most kick-ass coffee shop? Yes, please.

We’re honored to work with Amber and all the awesome folks down at the BattleCat. Stop by and have a cup of coffee. Stop by their site and plan out what you’ll have. Good food, good coffee, good site, good grief – isn’t it time to have a cup of coffee?

Web Design and Logo Development for The Honey Bee Steward


We’re privileged to work with some pretty special people – and the Honey Bee Steward is certainly tone of those. This fellow has dedicated a huge portion of his life to the preservation of honey bees, educating folks about honey bees – and just about everything else you can do concerning the little buggers.

Independent Studios developed a lovely, subtle logo for him, and a bold, bright website. The logo captures the honey cell and some good, earthy tones – and comes out warm and subtle. The site, built with WordPress and WooThemes, is as bold as the logo is subtle. The site is easy to update, and the design really makes it all pop.

Check out the Honey Bee Stewardgive us a call – we’ll help you be the bee’s knees too!

Asheville Website Design for the Brewgrass Festival!

We’re happy to announce a new web design and development launch – this time for Asheville’s own Brewgrass Festival.

Danny and the good folks at the Brewgrass Festival needed a new website that could grow and change with the festival. With bands and breweries dropping out, they needed something easy to update and easy to use.

They also needed (like everyone does) a responsive web design so they didn’t miss out on the huge percentage of folks using mobile devices to view their site. It needed to work – and work it does. How? WordPress and WooThemes.

The site features some nifty stuff and a super-easy user interface so it can stay updated, fresh and awesome. Also, since it’s built using a totally modular system and theme, they won’t have to recreate the wheel next year when their look changes. Sweet!

So – go check it out. Then, drop us a line – we can help you be awesome, too!



Asheville Web Design: Charlotte Street Computers

CHARLOTTE_STREET1When Asheville’s own Charlotte Street Computers needed a new web site designed and developed, they approached us – and we were reasonably excited. See, Charlotte Street Computers is Asheville’s best computer repair and sales shop – and their old site was, to say the least, lacking. So, we hooked ’em up.

  • Built using WordPress, so it’s super-functional.
  • Designed by us, so it’s super-sexy.
  • Optimized for search engines, so it’s super-easy to find.
  • Built using WooThemes, so it’s super-slick.

They’re happy, we’re happy, and Asheville has one more great website. If you need computer repair, training, sales or support – Charlotte Street Computers sincerely can’t be beat. If you need web design and development – well, you know where to go…

Asheville Web Design: Beer City Festival

beercityAsheville is Beer City. We design websites in Beer City. So, when the Beer City Festival needed a quick, attractive and super-functional website – they came to us.

Built from the ground up in a couple of days, this WordPress site is sleek and simple – but with plenty of functionality. Ecommerce, online ticketing (coming April 15, when they’re available,) and plenty of other features makes this site easy to use and easy to maintain. Beer guys are busy guys – and the last thing they need is a hard-to-use website.

The design scheme (the Beer City poster) is based on the work of Brent Baldwin at Image 420. Love them guys. We spun the colors off of their design – and built a quick website. Nice. We all win.

Check out the website at

New Site Launch:

ibmeeportfolio1International Body-Mind Empowerment Enterprises (i.b.mee.) is a non-profit in Asheville, and they needed a super-functional, super-custom website to assist them in gathering and processing information. See, they’re out to change education from a rewards-based system to an empowerment system. Sweet! We set them up with a WordPress site, a Woo theme and a bunch of custom work. Forms with conditional logic, easy-to-update pages and blogs, and an online forum makes this a full-featured website.

Check ‘em out. Truly a great cause and a bunch of great folks.