Sunday, 8 September 2013

Website live!

So there we have avid readers, the website has put on its new clothes and is out and about showing his new toggs off to anyone bothered to pay attention.

Its taken quite a while but we've managed to complete the website. When I say complete I mean it still needs a load of bug finding and a load of polish, but its out there now and anyone that can be arsed can go look at the product of a gang of highly trained fruit bat farmers' blood sweat and tears.

Its been tricky trying to guess what will work and what wont asset wise, but I had a mock-up of the site I would use to test stuff on which was a great help. I've got to say the result is much better than I thought it would be. I had a massive mental block while designing the site, but really I should have just chilled out and had fun with it.

The best tips I can offer to someone doing this for the first time are:

Planning. Make a list of every asset you need and fill the list with as much info as you need. This includes sizes of art work, inspiration images, colour schemes and priority's. I found I needed to work on the background first as after I had that I could work from a colour scheme and I had a clearer idea of the overall theme. I used design mood boards to help me. Research and lots of reference images helped me get a general idea of the feel of the site. Inspiration isn't a tap you can turn on and off so you need to give your self a starting point.

Mock-up. Make a template in a program like Illustrator or Photoshop so you can test how your artwork looks in place. Playing around with the layout and adjusting sizes and position meant that the site went through many different incarnations. Its like having a giant jigsaw puzzle, but every time you complete it you find that several pieces are from a different puzzle and you need to start again with different pieces.

Communication. Stay in touch with the website developer. After toiling away in my pit, it was the get together with PJ that finally got the site finished. I had all the sizes I needed and a to do list but working live with PJ accelerated  the process and help both of us tie up the loose ends.

So, there you go. The sites pretty much done. what's next?

Well, my better half Gilly got me a Wacom Bamboo for my Birthday! what an awesome GF, helping me geek out to the max!

Its a sweet bit of kit, its very much a baby Wacom but its perfect for me to learn on. As this is my first time using a tablet to design with a massive £500 tablet would be a bit overkill and very daunting.  My little learning project for the Wacom is the caricatures for the 'caper crew'. I've read through a few tutorials and watched a load of you tube videos on inking using a tablet and all that's left is to get my hands dirty.

I've already managed to knock up a caricature for Mike by hand which needs a bit of a tidy up in Photoshop, but this is a chance to have a play with the Wacom and take my first step to being a big boy - I mean designer.