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ASHEVILLE COFFEE MAP

Asheville Coffee Map

I almost hate to admit how many of these I’ve supped in. At one point, I did most of my design work from coffee shops – and while fun, I was going broke from my bean-squeezins habit. While in the midst of my nomadic office life, I wrote a bit about it (on the now semi-defunct DesignAVL.) You can check out the posts by clicking here. Some of them are obsolete, some are still semi-interesting. They’re all about coffee. That’s good, right?

Now – bask in the convenience:

RED CARDINAL CHARLEY HARPER

Heroes of Design: Charley Harper

charley-harperCharley Harper is freaking terrific. In his words, his design style is “minimal realism,” which equates to being very graphic. Since that’s what I do for a living, his goods really ring a bell for me.

Harper’s work has a way of boiling things down to their absolute base shapes and forms, which is the very essence of graphic design. Simplicity is such a difficult thing to design – and Harper had a real knack for the simple. Even in his more complex pieces, he never loses that sense of simplicity, immediacy and grace. He does a tremendous amount of animals (especially birds,) but some of his less popular works (landscapes and people,) are really beautiful.

Harper’s an interesting fellow, humble and super-soft spoken. Check out the video below to dig a little more. You can also check out a wonderful array of his works with a simple Google search. Dig it! I know I do.

*Photo of Harper in studio came from here.
PATH WAY THROUGH FORREST

Love. Now.

Asheville NC

As some of you know, it’s been a tumultuous summer here at Blue Dozen. We’ve had some family issues crop up in our (well, MY) life that have been painful, un-fun and downright distracting. We’ve kept a stiff upper lip in spite of all that’s gone on, and it’s looking like sunnier days are ahead. We’re all back in the office and we’re all ready to kick ass and take names in the manner which we’ve grown accustomed. Projects have still been rolling in and rolling out – and they’ll keep rolling. Since design and development and coffee-drinking is part of our DNA, there’s a great solace in the workaday world here. But, it’s been rough. The creative wells run dry faster when there’s an outside stressor. Then again, we can use the stress to create great things – and we feel like we have. Take THAT, issues!

Through all the garbage that’s been going on, one thing has kept ringing true – love the people around you. When things go haywire and life is cold and hard, you’re going to want to know that you have a group of folks who are in your corner, and you’re going to need to have peace and comfort in knowing that you’ve done your level best to love them, cherish them and show them how important they are in your life.

Friends, family and, yes, clients are all part of that. Spread love to those around you, and when the storms of life arrive, that love will be showered back onto you. We spread love – daily. We love what we do, we love who we do it for (that’s the client stuff,) but our family is, and will always be, priority one. We make no excuses for that – it’s been our modus operandi since we first opened our doors. Love of family – it’s the thing that really gets us through the rough patches.

So, what am I really saying here? I don’t know, really – just wanted to pop in and let you all know that while things have been rough, it’s love that has sustained us. We thank our family for that, and we thank YOU for that.

If you haven’t yet, take a moment and hug those that are important to you. Call someone just to say “I love you.” Be good to those around you and be good to yourself. This world is too big and too complicated to go it alone. We all need support, and we all need warmth and hugs and shoulders to cry on. Reach out to those that are close to you. They’ll be your shelter.

Thanks to our clients. Thanks to our families. Thanks to love.

Have a great week. I know we will.

2 More Web Sites Launched…

We’ve been developing sites at a furious pace, and we’ve recently launched a couple of sites using WordPress and WooThemes. The sites use the same back bone (Canvas by WooThemes,) but have totally different uses. This is an abject demonstration of the power and versatility of WordPress as a web development platform.

First, Choose Your Company. We’ve worked with Eli on a number of projects, but he never had a site for his development company. He contracted with us to develop an easy, quick site that he can use to display his Yahoo! stores development and custom coding ability. We developed his sweet new logo and then moved on to build a great, flexible site with a portfolio segment that makes it simple to display his great and diverse work. Check ’em out!

Choose Your Company Website Design

Next up is Stylish Minx. This is a simple blog-style website for a style blog (see what we did there?) MaryAnn has a great fashion sense and a real passion for sharing her budget-conscious tips and outfits. Simple, gorgeous and super-functional. Built using Canvas by WooThemes, this site is easy to use and super search engine friendly. Go by and get some tips to beautify your grungy self…

Canvas by WooThemes Development

Help! I’m Getting Arrested!

JAILBIRDYep. I’m getting arrested on June 26, and I need to raise bail. Do you have any idea how hard it is to smuggle a McGriddles into jail? I’ll wither.

Am I getting arrested for insanely great design? Nope. Building excellent websites? Nuh-uh. I’m getting arrested to help raise some brass for muscular dystrophy. They’re coming by my office, putting me in shackles and taking me downtown. I might get beaten, water boarded or tickled profusely. No matter what happens, it won’t be pretty. Mainly because I’m pretty unattractive*, and most everything I do isn’t pretty because of it.

How can you stop this? How can you assure that I will make it out alive? How about a little help in raising bail to keep my carcass out of the county jail? Please? I’m begging – don’t let them take me away.

Muscular dystrophy isn’t funny, and I certainly don’t want to make light of the need here. I have a healthy family, and for that, I am truly blessed. But MD is very real, and it affects many folks in many different ways. If we can raise some coin to help fund research, summer camps for kids with MD, purchase medical equipment or keep a clinic open, I’m happy to go to the klink.

My bail has been set at $2400. You can help by donating any amount. Little, small, giant, extra-large – anything helps.

MDALOGOTo donate towards my bail, click here. You’ll be taken to MDA’s donation site, and your donation will be applied towards my bail. All donations are tax-deductible, plus you’ll get that warm feeling knowing that you helped a great cause. Of course, keeping me off the streets might seem like a good cause, but helping those with MD is an even better cause.

So – donate to my bail. I’d appreciate it, and you’d be doing a really, really good thing.

*I’m gorgeous. Just trying to be humble to raise a few shekels for charity.

WordPress Site Design & Build: NeighSavers.com…

We worked with Bev Greene at Matchpoint Projects to develop a sweet new site for NeighSavers. We’ve worked with Bev on numerous occasions – she manages projects, we do the work, the client wins! It’s a great match. See my point? See what I did there…

Anyway – Neigh Savers Foundation is a great cause that helps re-home retired racehorses. The racing lifespan of a horse is very short when compared to the average length of a horse’s life, and often these magnificent animals are allowed to languish when they’re no longer able to race. So, Neigh Savers steps in and helps find homes for the horses. Very nice.

They’ve been scuffling with an outdated website, and along with Bev, we helped develop a new and feature-rich site. Some of the features…

  • Built with WordPress, so it’s easy to maintain, super search engine friendly and highly configurable right out of the box.
  • Built around WooThemes’ Canvas, so you know it’s got all the slick features a modern site needs.
  • Easy donation buttons to help drive conversions in the right direction.
  • Integrated “Horse Portfolio” so it’s easy to display horses for adoption, as well as equines who have found their forever home.
  • Fully responsive, so it looks and functions great on every device.

It’s a great cause with, if we do say so ourselves, a pretty terrific website. It’ll function well for years to come, and Neigh Savers will reap the benefits of a truly modern, functional and attractive website. We designed a logo and identity package for Neigh Savers previously, and it’s nice to be able to launch a website that displays their new look, logo and identity.

Working with Bev as a project manager was a blast as always, and knowing that our work was going to help animals in need felt really super.

WordPress site for Neigh Savers

Human Resources in Asheville

WordPress Site Launch, Logo and Human Resources…

Look! A happy client! Go, Jamie, go!

Look! A happy client! Go, Jamie, go!

HR Designs offers on-call human resources solutions to businesses big and small – outsourcing what can be a difficult job, and one that can be personal and uncomfortable (and unpleasant if handled improperly.) HR Designs partners with businesses and helps them in many areas – hiring, firing and personnel strategies. Everyone wins – and if someone decides to be butthurt about being canned, the company can say “Hey, HR Designs fired you. Wasn’t me!”

We recently had the pleasure to work with Jamie at HR Designs in developing a logo, website and marketing materials.

Very cool company with a great concept and an owner with a great passion for human resources and for enabling business growth. Jamie was a lot of fun to work with, and the logo, website and collateral turned out great! Take THAT, Toby.

Visit HRDesigns.com to check out the logo and the HR goodness. The site features:

  • Built using WordPress, so it’s easy to keep it all updated and humming on along.
  • Theme based on Canvas by WooThemes, so it looks great and functions like a champ.
  • Contact forms, content toggles and all sorts of bells and whistles.
  • Responsive design, so the whole shebangabang looks great on all devices – phones, pads, laptops and desktops.

Thanks to Jamie and the crew at HR Designs for a fun project. Even Michael Scott would approve…

WordPress Site Design for HR Designs, Asheville NC

McCensorship?

McCensorship

I’ve decided that beginning tomorrow, May 1, I am embarking on a campaign of petty annoyance. I will tweet, daily, one complaint about any of the number of consumer products in which I am routinely disappointed. Big places, little places – anyone who gets (or has gotten) my goat will be fair game. I’ll keep track of it all, respond when I’m responded to and make a general nuisance of myself.

Why? Why not. I’m good at complaining, and there are limitless things to complain about. I’ll try to make it entertaining, but my main goal is to waste the time and resources of the crappy places that I complain about. It’s nothing personal (except when it is,) and I hope to have a little fun and propagate my ill will upon the Twitterverse.

I decided that I would start with McDonald’s – and I started this morning. I posted about how the McGriddle sucks. I was nice. I compared it to an Adam Sandler flick – interesting at first, but ultimately tasteless and lame. Nothing bad, no curse words, nothing “attacking.” I went back to check on it, and my tweet was gone.

So – I posted the same thing, more or less. And – 3 minutes later, the second tweet was gone as well.

Why was this removed? Why was I censored? For my opinion? If so – Twitter has some explaining to do. They allows misogynistic, hateful and ignorant stuff all over the place, but – complain about a crappy sandwich, and you get pulled?

I see a few scenarios:

  1. McDonalds is powerful, and they have a direct line to Twitter. If this is the case, I think there should be disclosure. Who got my post pulled and what was their rationale?
  2. Twitter is specifically pulling posts for complaining about McDoo. Why? I can make all the racist comments I want, but if I talk critically about a multi-billion dollar pusher of crap food, tweet gets killed. Hypocritical much?
  3. My account was hacked and ONLY those posts were deleted. Probably Russians.

Personally, I think it’s #1, all day long. And if so, that’s wrong. Plain and simple – wrong.

Game on, Twitter. Game on, McDoo. In the words of the late great Rusty Shackleford, “I am your worst nightmare! I have a three-line phone and plenty of time to kill!”

I’ll be complaining about every menu item. At least once per day, and I will keep track of what gets deleted and what stays. I will contact and pester Twitter until I get an answer as to why my posts were pulled. I will waste more of their time than I waste of my own.

I feel like I owe it to humanity to use my God-given gift of irritation to better the planet for all of us. Follow the idiocy on Twitter.

Oh – and the McGriddle sucks.

Image from Shutterstock. Not endorsed or affiliated with McDonalds or their crappy food. Also, for the record, I worked at McDonalds for a summer when I was in college, so I’m an expert.