[MI: Update 5] Doodles and Deadlines

Modest Industries Iconography
From watercolour sketches to beautifully rendered vector icons (if I don’t say so myself!)

It’s the final week of my self-appointed deadline to get the website live and everything else done. Working solo for the past month has been an experience. Good and bad. The good is that it gives me thinking time, I can get things done without needing to worry about processes or interdepartmental conflicts. The bad is that it can be hard to motivate yourself every single day and also it can get hella lonely. Everyone’s bloody working! It’s great not having to bump and grind on a daily commute to the office and having almost-empty roads whenever I drive somewhere during the day. Moral of the story – I need more some self-employed coffee shop friends. Maybe I’ll organise a working meet-up.

Now, what have I been up to this week?

Website:

The code is pretty much there. It works how I want and it scales well on different screen sizes. I’ve written the majority of the copy too which has helped a lot in visualising the end product.

After writing the copy I needed to make some changes to the layout. Lorum Ipsum is great but it’s also too easy to make look good so once I added copy there were inevitable tweaks that needed to be done. Mainly the sections where there’s alternating image and text side by side. I wanted to also have them align vertically to each other – which as other developers will know, vertical alignment can be a bitch – especially if the height needs to be dynamic and you’re also using nth-of-type and floats. Either way, it’s in a happy place right now.

All that’s left with the website is to finish making the accompanying icons and to take some photos.

Iconography:

I changed direction with the main style of my imagery from being borderless photos on white backgrounds to a flat, vector doodle style. The photography style will still be incorporated where people or physical products are involved, but for the majority of the site I’m now going with a bespoke set of icons I’ve been designing. You can check out some of them on the Modest Instagram. The more I make, the more ideas I have so the rest of this week will be making these and fitting them into the website.

Business Cards:

My first batch of business cards from Moo were terribly aligned so they gave me a reprint. The gold foiling on the original batch where I had the gold badge on the back bled into the detail too much so this time round I enlarged the gold badge and it looks kinda awesome. Think police badge mixed with American Psycho business cards. They’re badass. Aside from a few of the cards not having the gold foiling, I’d say about 90% of them were perfect.

Office Space:

I’m meeting a guy in London about office space this week. I’m not sure exactly what he’s thinking or what will come of it and I won’t know what the plan is until after meeting him, but it looks like a London office is a strong option on the table regardless of what happens here, the other option is Hertford as it has good connections to London and I’ll be moving in to a new flat there in March.

New Business:

It’s getting round to that time where I’m going to have to start scouting for new business. So far only some emails have been sent. Once the new website is live there’s going to be a big push for clients though even before the launch happens there’s currently potential for a couple of monthly retainers (design and development work), as well as website build and branding projects so it’s a good start. The feelers are also out for some employees. There will be a Vacancies page on the website when it goes live, chances are I’ll need one developer and one designer but these are dependent on the genre of clients that come through the door and the type work we’ll be delivering for them.

That’s all for now. Take care and don’t forget to follow Modest Industries on Instagram.

 

[MI: Update 4] Almost Business Time

Concept sketches of header image for Modest Industries
Concept sketches of header image for Modest Industries
Week 3 is almost over and things are starting to come together. Week 4 will probably be manic while I try and get all the loose ends tied up before the soft launch. Here’s a run down of the past week.

Business Cards:

They arrived and as excited as I was, they were printed off-centre. There’s usually a 2mm error threshold with printed jobs but this was so off-centre that it looked terrible so I requested a refund which was credited to my MOO.com account. I ordered another set.

The card stock is beautifully thick, the gold foiling is a really nice subtle touch, though for smaller details it bleeds a bit too much. I’m hoping my new ones are better aligned so I can give them out proudly. Credit where credit is due however, MOO does have some fantastic customer service.

Website:

This is the big one. It’s coming along nicely – I built all the pages as static HTML and then gave them a dynamic header and footer with PHP. Eventually I’ll build it out into a full on WordPress theme and use that as the CMS but for now I don’t need to as it works, is fast and I have control over every pixel. I’ve also built the contact form that people can use to send the company enquiry emails, which is nice. In case your’e wondering how I’m viewing the PHP files, I use MAMP for my local server (it’s how I develop WordPress themes locally too).

The website is being built ‘mobile-first’ so I’m making it to be displayed well on small screens as a priority. My main consideration initially was having a menu that works on smaller screens which is navigationally important user experience. It’s nothing fancy, a simple menu button that once clicked animates as it opens/drops down with a nice ‘x’ appearing under the original menu button. I built it to animate using JavaScript and made it dynamic by programming a simple algorithm that counts the menu items and adds some base numbers to determine the height to animate the menu’s container to. Simple. I needed to make this as dynamic as possible (i.e. the website knowing what to do when new menu items are added) because it will make things easier going forward as the website develops.

Office Space:

Office space, office space, office space. The bane of my life. Finding that right balance of cost vs. space vs. location vs. lease is a tricky one. Ideally I want a monthly contract to begin with in a place easy to get to by train or car, but the more I look the more I’m thinking I should get space in London or get a longer lease around here. I’m optimistically hoping by next week I’ll have something sorted.

Photography Studio:

I’ve ordered some photography studio gear which will arrive next week.  From past experience, having a clear area to take a few photos for whatever is a must. Sometimes we’ll need a photo of something simple that takes an age to find in the right style on stock photo websites, other times it’s getting those impromptu head shots or making on the fly professional videos. It’s useful to have and IMHO something every agency should have instant access to, even if it’s temporary and can be set up when needed. Modest has a borderless image style and we’re taking all of the photos for the website so the equipment will see good use from day one.

Reaching out:

I’ve started to reach out to friends and companies who I’ve previously spoken to about, and have shown interest in working with Modest Industries. I’m not going for the big push yet because good work at this stage is important to me so organically growing the client list and building solid relationships are key. Anyone that has shown early interest therefore has first dibs.

 

15 Photos from the Sliema Street Art Festival 2014

Sliema Street Art Festival

Single woman dancing to the live band

Onlookers from the walkway above

Looking through an optic on a tripod placed by the roof artists through it

Charlotte enjoying the art through the optic

Street artists doing what they do along Sliema promenade

A police officer smiling after looking back at the the live painting

One of a few trucks being spray painted

Temporary Skate Park set up along Sliema beach front

Publicity material on a fully hand-painted car

Painted Cling-Film - Add More Colors

Beach party from above

Light suit - the party is about to begin

Spicy Chickpea Burger

Behind the band

At the weekend, Sliema hosted its annual Street Art Festival. I went down with Charlotte, Steph and Yana to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the art.

Sliema’s promenade is usually a nice place to be in the evening as everyone is out enjoying the food and drink. The festival just amplified that atmosphere. Stages were set up for live bands, singers and DJs, and walking down the beach front were artists spray painting cars and vans (with incredibly detailed artwork), live floor, roof, and wall paintings, some healthy and not-so healthy food stalls, beach parties, a temporary skatepark and small markets where art and crafts were being sold.

For dinner, Charlotte and I stopped by The Grassy Hopper’s Food Van. They offer a selection of vegetarian delights, we ordered the Spicy Chickpea Burger and the Beet n Bean Burger. I’m not usually one for vegetarian meals, especially burgers, but damn, it was so tasty and filling. They fried ’em up just like normal burgers, added the cheese and whatever else, stuck it in a fluffy wholewheat bun and served it on a bed of salad. Then we ate them on the beach.

To end the evening we went to get ice cream but the queue was huge, so we left it.

I filled the void with yogurt and honey when we got in.

Regent’s Park: Queen Mary’s Garden

I spent the day out and about with the girlfriend today. I took my camera and a macro lens to get some close up nature shots. Most of them didn’t turn out too well, but I did get a couple of gems:

A rose called Tintinara
…not sure what this is called.

At one point I was holding a leaf up to the sun and a hoverfly landed right on the tip of it. Very lucky, but also unlucky as the wind denied me any chance of a good shot. Bastard.

Facebook Timeline

Just updated my Facebook timeline to something a little better – it’s only temporary though as I want one with a better, brighter photo, but the camera concept will still be the same, just put together better.

Here’s the original ‘Scamp’ – if you can call it that.

20120118-181306.jpg

Another cute toy turned evil…


I have finally got around to taking another photo for an image-set I’m putting together, Cuddly Toys After Dark. This time it features a Polar Bear puppet that I’ve had for years.

I’m now on the lookout for new bedrooms, new people and new cuddly toys to add to this, quite frankly, disturbing set so if you’re interested in having your photograph taking in your bedroom with your favourite cuddly toy – let me know.