Tag Archive for: design

Cat on Rocket - Pen, Ink & Gouache on French Paper

I have a cat*, and I spend an inordinate amount of time torturing him with a laser pointer. This made me laugh. I’m an idiot, and I know it. But – hey, that’s part of my charm. Happy weekend, cat lovers!

*I hate cats.
Free Coffee

With all those dumps serving sub-standard coffee on Haywood Road, it’s good to know that I can still get the Best Coffee in Asheville with a short drive.

Please rest assured – if you contact us and go for a cup of coffee with us, we won’t take you to Krispy Kreme. We know good coffee. We know good design. We know how to market your business – and we don’t resort to dirty tricks and shady advertising to do it.

And yes, this is a real screen shot from Google Maps. Goes to show you that online reputation management is important – but it’s also important to be real. At some point, people will find out that Krispy Kreme isn’t the best coffee in Asheville. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve chased numerous fried dough balls covered in sugar with their coffee, and it’s not bad – but I’m a bit of a coffee snob/freak – it’s just not good or great or the best. Claiming “best coffee in Asheville” is a bold move. Maybe Krispy Kreme is just “naming it and claiming it.” Perhaps I should be proud of them for putting out there. Or, I could just get good coffee somewhere else and smuggle it in to KK. Yeah – that sounds more like me.

Happy 2013, people. Let’s do coffee. And design. And doughnuts.

(And a big shout to the good folks at BattleCat coffee – “E” on the map. I’m pretty sure I’m composed entirely of #46 at this point, and the staff is super-cool. If you want good coffee, that’s a great place to start.)
Asheville Web Design for Varminter Online Magazine

VARMINTS! Actually, I’ve found that if you yell that in the middle of the Asheville Mall, people give you wide berth. Nice.

Eric at Varminter.com needed a website built around his forums, which are lively and full of varminters. Varminters are guys who hunt rodents and pests for sport, property protection and population control – and who are also avid outdoorsmen (and women) and very much into conservation. I’ve found that hunters and sportsmen can be some of the most environmentally conscious people out there. They care about the lands they hunt and the animals on them. Pretty cool.

Anyhoo – enough of my soapbox. Back to self-aggrandizement:

We built the site using the Woo Themes framework so that they have the maximum in flexibility and ease-of-use. We also used some nifty plugins to give them a fully functional and branded mobile site, as well. All of this without disturbing the forums or any of their other information that needed to stay in place. With rotating advertising, a mobile design, expandable framework, super search engine ability and tons of great features in an easy-to-use interface, Varminter.com is poised to grow.

Check ’em out.

stonecloudthumbAnother day, another Asheville web design & web site launch. Plus, a little logo love thrown in.

Husband and wife team Todd Frahm and Lara Nguyen needed a new logo and look – and they needed business cards and a website to help promote their art.

Yes – they’re our clients, but we’d say this if we didn’t know them: They’re AMAZING. Todd and Lara are artists – and they’re both incredibly talented. You really do need to check them out.

Enough with gushing – back to business – the name of their studio (in the River Arts district of Asheville,) is Stone Cloud Studio. After a bit of back-and-forth, we developed a logo with a couple of variations that will suit their needs across a lot of media. The logo was designed to be flexible enough for signage, printed goods and a lot of different color applications. There’s nothing worse than a logo that is difficult to design around, but this one turned out bold, beautiful, simple and super adaptable.

The site, likewise, is a simple design that allows for a lot of updating and easy management, as well as an online store that is also totally flexible. Having a blog and an easily updatable portfolio segment were important features, and – well – that’s what they got. They also needed a more Google-friendly structure and framework, and WordPress really fit the bill here.

Built with WordPress, WooThemes and WooCommerce, this site allows Todd and Lara to keep it fresh, keep Google seeing it. Plus, it looks pretty damned good, if we do say so ourselves.

Check out the live site by clicking here. See both versions of the logo in our logo design portfolio. Check out the web design portfolio. It’s the best. THE BEST.

1Your site must be on Google. You NEED to be on the first page on Google. Why? First – why you must be listed on Google:

  • In the average month, Americans searched 15.5 billion times. Yeah – billion.
  • Google accounts for 10 billion of those searches. Yahoo chimes in with around 3, Bing/MSN 2 billion, and the rest – well, not many.

So – you can see that Google accounts for over 80% of all searches. It’s important, right? Now – the really interesting stuff happens when you start breaking the numbers within Google – and this is why you need to be on the first page:

  • The first listing in any Google search gets 42%+ of all click-throughs. (That’s the number of clicks after a search.)
  • The second listing falls to 12% of clicks. Third is around 9%, number 4 is 6%.
  • The first page listings in Google account for 90% of all click-throughs. The whole second page is about 4 1/2%. The whole third page is about almost 2%. It gets smaller and smaller – and that’s NOT a good thing.

What does that mean for you? It means that if you’re not highly ranked, you can really lose a lot of potential traffic (customers, clients and money.) That’s where we come in…

We can’t guarantee first page placement – nobody can*. We do offer a few things, though. We will optimize your site so that when Google comes looking, they find something to grab on to. We help you develop a content plan – one that will help you build relevant content that the search engines just love, but also that your customers will actually want to read. We’ll fiddle under the hood and make sure it’s all where it should be, and that you’re using the optimum settings for optimum traction within Google and – just as importantly – traction with what your customers are looking for. If you have the wrong understanding of what people are searching for when they’re looking for your goods or services, you’re missing the whole mark. We do the legwork so that the end results work

What this means is that your site will move up the rankings – and that is a good, good thing.

We help you understand what Search Engine Optimization means, what it does and what you can really expect. You need a plan, you need consistency and you need a site that actually works with Google – not that damages your chances. We can help with all three. Plus – we can make you look damned good. Did I mention we offer design services, too? BOOM. Cross-sell.


All of this comes with a caveat – not every business in the world would benefit from being #1 on Google. Not every business needs a website. Not every customer base actually uses a computer. If all of this just won’t work for you and actually give you a return on your investment, we’ll be honest about that – and we can help you develop other marketing ideas that WILL work for you. Just adding a little realism into a subject that is sold as if it’s a 100% necessity for everybody out there…

*There are plenty of people out there selling “magic beans.” You trade a lot of money for these beans, and they don’t grow the beanstalk and you don’t find the goose that lays the golden egg. You might avoid the giant, but you’re stuck with a bunch of beans. And no goose. Don’t be suckered into the beans.
Web Design for Seattle Wedding Officiants

Elaine Way at SeattleWeddingOfficiants.com needed a site to match her personality and her product. She had a first-page Google site, and while she knew she needed a better look, she didn’t want to harm her search engine placement.

That’s where we came in.

We set her up with a custom WordPress website using Woo Themes and a bunch of other tricks in our box. We cleaned everything up, trimmed a lot of fat and added some easier navigation plus clearer call-to-action.

The result? A good-looking, super functional and really fun site. Elaine can update everything, and she’s mentioned that her contacts have skyrocketed since the new site launched. Nice!

Check out SeattleWeddingOfficiants.com. We dig it, the client digs it, and we think you’ll dig it too!

Asheville Web Design for Tastes Divine

tastesdivineThe fine folks at Tastes Divine contacted us to discuss a design and development of a new ecommerce site for their cupcakes, cookies and corporate gifts. The site they had was – well – it wasn’t good. It also didn’t include a functional ecommerce system, and they needed to sell some goodies. So – we got to work…

The result? A beautiful, functional site built using WordPress (so they can keep it updated,) WooThemes (so it looks and functions great) and WooCommerce (so it sells their wares.) A custom design that is easy to maintain, and an ecommerce system that makes it easy to stock and for customers to buy from. Everyone wins!

Check ’em out here.

Our only complaint is that we have yet to receive a 300 pound box of goodies. We’re waiting…

Garage 34 (downtown on South Lexington) has been a great client, and when they wanted to revamp their website and get rolling with ecommerce, we were super-happy to help ’em out. They’re a terrific group of people, and their product line is diverse and fun – plus they actually give back to the community. Super cool. Check out their store.

Now, since they’re using a point-of-sale system to track inventory, manage transactions and essentially run the store, we needed something that would interface with their system – but was also easy to use. So we built a site using Shopify.

With Shopify (attached to their POS, ShopKeep,) Garage 34 gets a few things:

  • Easy-to-manage and add products.
  • Full compatibility with their inventory and cash register.
  • Sweet looks!
  • Speed and security.
  • Easy updates of pages and their blog.
  • Easy sharing via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
  • A lot more.

So – yes, we’re tooting our own horn here. It’s a good looking, slick-functioning site.

Oh – and we redesigned their logo to be a little more feminine. It’s stitchy! GO NOW and BUY!

Hey, folks! Long time, no blog. Sorry for that. There’s been a tremendous amount of work coming in the door lately – and that is great. But, at the same time, it’s kind of sucked, as I’ve been unable to keep up the blogging momentum. And, as I’ve stated before, momentum is what you need to build a successful blog/online business/social media empire. I want to take over the world with my website, but not at the expense of my clients.

So, while I’ve been hammering away on lots of stuff (Woo Theme based websites, logos for locals and all sorts of printed goods,) I’ve been negligent on this (and many other) blog.

The good news is that the work keeps flowing in, but I’ve also found a good schedule that allows for “spitball time” and for blogging and social media escapades. So – get ready.

One big piece of news – I’m in the process of launching a new website that features a more “business” image of my business. It’ll be a more corporate-styled site that should appeal a little more to the suit-and-tie types. DON’T WORRY -this site won’t change. This site is more “me,” but I’ve also heard from a few trusted business associates that I might want to have a more buttoned-down version. No – it won’t be lame. It’ll just be a little different. That will launch on Black Friday, and there will be an associated giveaway/deal there – so stay tuned. You’ll be reasonably happy that you did.

And in other news: it really is time for some new shoes, which is an ordeal around here. I know that I will eventually just buy another pair of Chucks, but I will have to try on at least 100 other types of shoes before I resign myself to buying the same old same old. The really bad part is that both my Chucks and my boots are both worn out, so this could turn in to 3 months of dragging the family around to every shoe store within a 100 mile radius to find shoes and boots. Then, I’ll just order the same thing I already have from Amazon. The classics, as they say, never die. Unfortunately, shoes do!