HB Blogside

Designing and Launching the New HBDesign.com From a Design Standpoint


This is the second post about the launch of our new website. This one comes from my perspective, the right-brained designer experience. Like Bob mentioned in his post, I also found the task daunting (but exhilarating at the same time). 

It’s always a challenge to create internal (unbillable) work, and this project proved to be no different. It was a huge undertaking in terms of developing a concept that effectively speaks to who we are, designing an innovative site within the constraints of our technical specs and honestly, just getting it done. Other considerations were our updating, refreshing and promotional strategies. Continue reading

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WordPress as a CMS


By now, almost everyone who wants or has a web site has heard about WordPress. Originally a blogging platform, it has evolved into one of the most popular content management systems (CMS). It is relatively easy to install, easy to update, easy to modify via plugins, and has a large user community for support. There are thousands of custom themes available to get you started with a good-looking web site. Continue reading

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Where Do Great Ideas Come From?


As graphic designers, we are in the idea business. We are constantly asked to generate new ideas. Or alter existing ideas. Anyone can come up with a good idea, but where do truly great ideas come from?

This is my recipe for great ideas. Continue reading

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Building and Launching the New HBDesign.com from a Technical Perspective


left vs right brain

Redesigning and launching a new web site is a daunting task with many things to take into consideration. One of the key considerations for us was to bring our web site up-to-date from both a design and a technology perspective. From a technology perspective that meant to bring it into HTML5/CSS3 coding standards, to make it responsive, and to use a content management system (CMS). Continue reading

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Graphic Design Down Under


I recently returned from a holiday in New Zealand. The country is visually stunning! I was overwhelmed by the natural beauty countrywide, and I was also taken by the amount of bold, illustrative graphic design that lives almost everywhere. It was so prolific, it often set the stage, set a mood. If the graphic design in New Zealand could be labeled with an emotion, I would give it “zealous” and “happy” (which I’d also give to the people). That was paired with a sense of fun. Bright colors, positive feelings, very organized and again, almost always supplemented with illustration. Continue reading

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Web Page Load Times and Image Optimization


One of the most important aspects of an effective web site is site performance—specifically how fast a page loads. Slow-loading pages lead to high bounce rates. (Bounce rates are people leaving your site.) While there are a lot of factors affecting page loading time, one of the most common is the size of images. Continue reading

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Technical Interpretations of Graphic Designs

Leslie, our Creative Director, recently sent me some examples of graphic design she had created.  She took some design-oriented quotations and rendered them graphically. She placed a constraint upon herself: each design was limited to a single font. She did three different designs of two different quotations, for six total. The two quotations were

“A designer know he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery  (done in Garamond)


“There are three responses to a piece of design:  yes, no and wow.  Wow is the one to aim for.”  —Milton Glaser  (done in Helvetica)

She created these in Adobe Illustrator.  You can see her work below.

I was both impressed with the design and intrigued with the question of whether or not I could create similar works using HTML—more specifically HTML5 and CSS3. I kept the same constraints she had, using the same fonts .  She used Helvetica for the “wow” poster and Garmond for the “perfection” poster.   I would only use HTML text and CSS styling. I would not use any graphics (images or canvas elements). Since HB Design’s company tag line is “uniting design + technology,” this seemed like an appropriate exercise. Continue reading

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Content is King

In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King” (http://www.craigbailey.net/content-is-king-by-bill-gates/), which over time has become a mantra for the web. Like many sacred utterances some believe it and others challenge it. And I suspect most people haven’t read Gates’ essay at all. His basic premise was

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

Continue reading

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Requests for Proposals

We get a lot of requests for proposals (RFP) for web sites here at HB Design. This post looks at two common requirements that are often stated in web RFPs:

  • The site should be easy to find in common search engines like Google.
  • The site should have a non-technical content management system (CMS)

These are admirable goals, but are not necessarily easily achieved. Let’s look at each. Continue reading

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Managing fonts with the Google Web Font Loader


What is the Google Web Font Loader?

To understand what the font loader is, you first need to understand using web fonts. With the @font-face CSS rule, you can specify fonts to download for your web page. This CSS rule was first part of the CSS2 recommendation but was not widely implemented by the various browsers. Today it has much wider support. There are still compatibility issues. Different browsers and/or versions support different font file formats, although, modern versions of browsers and tools such as the Google Fonts makes using fonts much easier.

Continue reading

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