Dead Wallet

dead-wallet-logo-avatar

Ever since the demise of my old pet project, The Cheese Grater, I’ve had an empty void that needed filling. Something to take care of and grow. Five years later and that void may very well be filled by my new pet project, Dead Wallet. Armed with more knowledge of front-end and back-end technology, as well as a much deeper understanding of WordPress, now is the perfect time to do something.

Dead Wallet is a website dedicated to curating really, really, ridiculously good looking cool stuff. Stuff that you’ll want to buy, and probably will. It’ll probably kill your wallet. Get it? Dead Wallet?!

Nice.

I was toying with this idea for a while after getting a few Amazon gift cards. I didn’t like the idea of spending those on stuff I actually needed because, well, where’s the fun in that? So I started looking for come random bits that I thought were cool, but for some reason Amazon is more insistent on showing me Pressure Washers and Gift Ideas for Kids rather than something awesome like a Gold Casio Calculator Watch!

No biggy.

That gave me an idea and the kick I needed to get this going. Obviously at the time of writing this post it’s still in very early stages – it’s actually only a few days old, but that’s okay. I built the theme from scratch and plan on developing new features over time depending how it evolves.

That’s all. S tay fresh.

[MI: Update 6] Website Launch + New Business

modest-industries-responsive-website-launch
Modest Industries – sleek and responsive. Nice.

Yesterday was a big day for Modest Industries. Yup, we launched the website! Let’s break it down real quick.

Website:

It’s done. Well, it’ll never be finished, but that’s the nature of a company website – it’ll forever evolve as we grow. Right now though, it’s perfect. You can see it at modestindustries.co. All the illustrations are done and I’ve kinda fallen in love with making them, which leads us perfectly into the next section…

Iconography:

All the icons/vectors/flat images – whatever you like to call them were created in the past week. After creating a few I put some on the @thisismodest Instagram to tease out the style and as a way to get some public feedback on them.

The icons – individually showcased – has (thankfully!) had a really positive response. Over the past week the account has organically grown to around 50 followers with an average of 30 likes per image. I’m happy with that.

Originally I was doing them purely for the website but now I’m making as many as I can think of because I can see these being a bigger part of Modest’s identity than I originally anticipated.

New Business:

The 1st of February was my self-imposed deadline of getting the website up and running and getting other company assets sorted. I haven’t quite done everything I wanted to but the website and business cards were my main priority so I’m in a good place.

I still need to work on pitch documents, rate cards for individual services and some other bits to give out when drumming up new business, however, it’s only day 2 of being available for work again and the pipeline is almost already full, which is great.

It’s almost worth setting up a new-client waiting-list. Well, not quite yet. Almost, though.

Office Space:

This is an exciting topic for Modest right now. I’ve met one of the co-founders of a design and branding agency who have offered us working space and use of their meeting room. Here’s the kicker – it’s just off Oxford Street. Perfect as a base for getting around London, although surprisingly, a lot of Modest’s clients are just down the road.

Staff:

The clients I accept now will likely shape how Modest Industries grows as they dictate (to a certain extent) who will be hired. I’m heavily aware of this so I’m being careful who I accept as a client. From the beginning Modest has never been a money-driven venture so it’s nice to have the capacity to refer work elsewhere.

I’m keen to keep our client workload a good mix of content creation, design, development, and conceptual work. Currently it’s mainly development with a touch of design so as far as hiring people, my first full-time employee will likely be a front-end developer or a designer. If unicorns exist then someone who does both of these well would be perfect.

We’re offering teams tailored to the work we receive so this will shape the business hiring people as it becomes necessary. In the mean time I have a nice network of freelancers with a varied mix of skillsets so the workforce is a fluid one, fluctuating as needed.

Rest & Relaxation:

Nope.

Pizza in the wild

pizza-icon-by-marcus-michaels

I love seeing the things I make and put out in the world get picked up and used by other people for their projects. That’s the reason I love making icons and contributing them to The Noun Project. I’ve seen my icons used in a number of projects but my favourite one (because I love the real thing so much) is my pizza icon. It was one of the first icons I ever uploaded to The Noun Project and to date it’s been my most popular at over 2800 downloads.

The only problem is that if people pay for the icon, they obviously don’t have to give attribution so I don’t get to see a lot of the work, but some do and today whilst browsing Uncrate I saw the book Where To Eat Pizza (by Daniel Young) staring me right in the face.

This is tremendously exciting!

I did a little vanity Googling and found a few other places it was being used – one of my favourites being this Pebble project on GitHub: A watchface for the Pebble watch that does nothing but display “Pizza Thursday”. It was created for the monthly Pizza Thursday at Catalyst IT http://catalyst.net.nz.

An honourable mention also goes out to this Late Night Slots game because it’s all about junk food and slot machines, and that’s awesome.

Love it.

MarcusFont2

Remember my hand-drawn typeface – MarcusFont? Probably not… but I won’t hold it against you because I’m happy to announce it’s been upgraded.

I’ve just added a load of new glyphs (including the much ñéêdëd åccented characters!)

I didn’t realise how much it needed an upgrade until I started using it on here as a webfont, but now it’s got all the extra characters it’s a much more complete font and guess what – because I’m so super duper excited, you can download MarcusFont2 here for free!

(personal use only please – drop me a line if you want to use it for any commercial projects)

MarcusFont2

Why I stripped the style from my blog

Good morning! Today sees my new WordPress theme launch.

marcusblog-wordpress-theme-2015

When I say “new WordPress theme” I really mean “basic stripped down version of a WordPress theme requiring only the minimum functionality and styles for it to work”.

I’ve always been an on-and-off blogger mainly due to not wanting to blog when I don’t like my theme, so my clever idea was to make this blog just about the content.

All you UX people out there will argue that I’m not maximising clickthroughs, that there’s no real thought-out user journey and maybe some aspects are clunky. I’m not going to disagree, I also don’t care. The important thing for me is that I start writing again. The styles I’ve built make posts easy to read on various devices and that’s all that really matters to me right now.

The design was a tricky one for me, as it’s a big part of my profession I strive to make everything I do look as good as it can. To some degree I’ve done that with this theme considering the restrictions I’ve put on it. It’s still early days and I’m still tweaking little bits that bug me but on the whole I can live with it.

I’d ask for feedback, but as I said above – I don’t really care right now, but obviously you can leave a comment telling me how awesome I am.

Malta’s Grand Harbour Marina Polyscape

Malta Grand Harbour Marina Polyscape

Malta Grand Harbour Marina Polyscape

So this is pretty fun. It’s not original and yes, I’m late to the polyscape party – but hey, if nothing else, I’ve made a couple of cool new wallpapers for my laptop.

The photos were taken from the boat as we were coming out of The Grand Harbour Marina in Malta. The angle of the wall leading all the way down to the lighthouse was incredible.

How to build a one page personal website

Website Showcase

This is a walkthrough tutorial, with code examples on how to build this one-page website that you will be able to customise with a text-editor. I’ll also talk you through buying a domain name (http://example.com), web-hosting (where your website is stored), how to point yout domain to your web-host and upload your website.

I’ll make this as easy as I can and will assume you have no previous coding experience. You might want to bookmark this page because it’s quite long.

Ready? Let’s go.

Before you start building your website, you should have a clear vision of what you want on your website and how you want it to look. You can sketch something on a napkin or make it pretty in Photoshop. Either way, it’s a lot harder without some direction.

Continue reading “How to build a one page personal website”

Sweat Roulette is in the news

News Clipping - The Mercury

SweatRoulette.com has been making headlines in The Mercury newspaper, available to read online and in print.

It’s crazy to think that this idea was only thought up last week and a crude prototype was only developed last Sunday. The website has been updated with more functionality since it’s launch such as giving you a rest period after each workout, a round counter which tells you how many rounds you completed with a dynamic link to share your achievement on Twitter.

A big shoutout to TeamTreehouse.com, I’ve learned so much from these guys. It’s definitely one of the best places online to learn how to code (amongst a load of other useful things). If you want to take yourself to the next level, give it a try with 50% off your first month.

Learn to code with Treehouse

Sweat Roulette v1

Sweat Roulette Web App

It’s up, it’s live, it’ll make you sweat your ass off. Sweat Roulette is a healthy project by Charlotte and myself which will get you moving and keep you fit.

The rules are simple. We give you an exercise for 20-60 seconds, then it’ll change. You keep doing them as hard as you can for as long as you can. If you need a rest, skip one exercise.

Timer, Exercise Instructions, Rest Intervals and Music are being development for future release. If you want to be part of this project, feel free to leave feedback or submit a pull request on GitHub.

Give it a go and Sweat Roulette.