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February 25 2014


February 19 2014


August 16 2013


The financial value of side projects

At the start of the year I turned down an offer for one of my websites. But the buyer didn’t leave it at that, and I’ll share how things panned out.

Photo by Miss Thelma

The initial offer was £10K GBP. I said no.
He came back with £15K. I said no.
Then it was £20K for both Logo Design Love and Identity Designed. At that point I said £50K, because I wasn’t too interested in selling but still wanted to share my get-out figure. He said no, as expected.

A few months later a different approach was made: £10K up front with another £5K each month for a year, so £70K in total for both sites. I still wasn’t keen to sell, and I thought it’d be risky to count on followup payments, so I said it’d take £100K (not including Identity Designed).

And that was that, until some weeks later I was offered £45K up front. That’s when I started thinking about my mortgage, and I went back with £60K. The compromise was £57.5K (about $90K USD).

I talked it through with my publisher, because I knew if I sold the website that I’d want to distance myself from the brand name. I asked if there was any precedent for a book title being changed between the first and second editions. There wasn’t. And I was told it’d harm book sales if I didn’t have control of the online presence.

I also talked to others I respect. The general consensus was, “Don’t sell (for that price),” which was ultimately settled when my publisher said that now’s the time to work on a second edition of the book (I’m expecting a contract offer in the next couple of weeks).

All this without mentioning the credibility factor that would accompany the sale — also off-putting, and a point raised in the comment thread a few months back.

Anyway, all done. No deal.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s that you can create a saleable asset of significant value by simply spending a few hours each week building a website on-the-side. You need to enjoy it, though, summed up nicely by Alan Watts.

“Forget the money, because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid.”

May 23 2013


Paul Jarvis shares good advice for designers

I’ve been looking through the website of designer and writer Paul Jarvis. Here are some posts and resources of interest, and some thoughts I agreed with.

Paul Jarvis book cover artwork

Paul talks about how to build an audience from scratch. Many of you are, or once were in this situation. If I found myself transported back to when I became self-employed eight years ago, this is close to the advice I’d give the younger me.

It’s important to say no from time to time.

“Saying no sometimes means I get a feeling that the client could be tricky to work with, or not jive with how I work. It’s ok to turn down projects I have a feeling might not go well, because chances are they won’t. And if they don’t, it’ll end up costing more to do the work than if I had just said no first. Not everyone is a perfect fit, and I’m certainly not a perfect fit for everyone.”

There’s a page detailing products, services, and people Paul used to self-publish his ebook. Mailchimp is listed as the favoured email list management tool. I recently signed up with Aweber. More on that later. On a related note is one of Paul’s other posts: Sell your digital product.

Work better. Good productivity tips.

Paul has a couple of WordPress themes for sale. One’s free, too.

Solid thoughts on how to succeed at anything (posted on the Medium platform — worth a visit for the unfamiliar).

“Pay your dues and if you want something, earn it by doing everything you can while expecting nothing. Acting like you’ve put in your time and now deserve more than someone else will get you nowhere but thought of as an ass pretty fast.”

A quick bio: He’s a “practicing yogi, touring musician, has a tattoo (or two), and is a non-preachy vegan.” He currently lives in the woods, on the coast of Vancouver Island, with his wife Lisa and pet rats Ohna’ and Awe:ri.

Paul Jarvis

Catch him on Twitter.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

May 20 2013


Go Media + Creative Market

Creative Market, your ultimate resource for handcrafted, mousemade design is pleased to announce that Go Media is now selling goods on their platform. Go Media brings great design to life with their awesome products.

Check out some of my favorite products in their storefront and start getting creative today with Go Media.

Tags: Blogs

April 01 2013


Whimsical Watercolor Portraits

Watercolors afford artists the ability to create whimsical portraits, where colors blend together and give the painting increased depth. I believe watercolor art is a powerful way to express emotions, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. These watercolor portraits have a certain strength to them that shines beyond the paper.







Create Your Own Watercolor Masterpieces with Creative Market by downloading these products:


Then, check out these tutorials to learn how to create colorful watercolor designs with Creative Market products:

           10 Step Watercolor Design                                 Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Tags: Blogs Design

March 18 2013


A few thoughts about blog subscriptions

For six or seven years I’ve used Google’s FeedBurner to send blog posts to those of you reading via email and RSS. But with Google Reader closing, I won’t be surprised to see FeedBurner closed, too.

FeedBurner stats March 2013

So what to do?

I could switch to MailChimp for email subscriptions. It lets me migrate email subscribers from FeedBurner, (update: Aweber looks like a better bet) but I don’t know of anything similar for RSS subscribers. It’d be handy if there was one.

I’ve never believed those subscriber numbers (200,000?), so there’s a poll below to give me a quick idea about the most active readers (it’s my first time trying the Yop Poll plugin, and if it doesn’t appear in your feed reader or inbox, come on over to the website).

Reading preference
How do you read my blog posts?
  • Via RSS
  • Via email
  • On the website via Twitter
  • On the website via Facebook
  • Occasional website visit
  • Other

Thanks for that.

If FeedBurner does close, at least something good will come from it — the “Creative Design” feed title can make a sharp exit.

Related news elsewhere:
Why RSS matters, by Kevin Potts
The Google Reader shutdown is yet another nail in FeedBurner’s coffin, on TechCrunch
RSS can’t fill Google Reader void, by Michael Surtees, on Mashable
Apple’s RSS reader, on 512 Pixels
Why I love RSS and you do too, by Brent Simmons
Five best Google Reader alternatives, on Lifehacker

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Related posts worth a look

Tags: Blogs blogs

February 01 2013


On selling websites

Last week I was offered a five-figure sum for the sale of the Logo Design Love website. My sites will always have their price, but for a few reasons, I said no thanks.

Heart dollar
Photo credit: Instructables

My name’s on the book. If the website is controlled by other people, their actions will reflect on me, even if all traces of my name are removed from the site. That’s something I never thought about when naming the book, but on the other hand, the book’s success is helped by the popularity of the website, and vice versa, so it can be good having them linked.

Understandably, the sale was mostly based on statistics — visitor numbers and origins, what keywords drive people to the site, monthly ad revenue, etc. Thing is, I launched the site five years back, and since then it’s grown a personal value that’s more than numbers, not to mention the beautiful and smart readership that significantly adds to that.

Perhaps most importantly, the potential buyer owns another website where logos are sold in isolation at the lowest end of the market. One main reason for the purchase was to add banners and links pointing to this other site. Here’s a relevant quote from the Logo Design Love book.

“Every client is different, so every design project will be, too. It makes no sense to pigeonhole your clients into a specific price bracket. What works for one will not work for another, and your time — and profits — take a big hit when you limit yourself to a set range and attract clients on the basis of price alone.”

So not exactly a good fit.

Exit strategy?

If you’re thinking of selling your own website, here are a few questions worth answering.

  • What happens to the site after its sale?
  • How easy can you disassociate yourself?
  • How much have similar websites sold for?
  • What profit will your website generate over three years?
  • Can you trade for something other than money?
  • Who are you happy to sell to?
  • Do you want to keep any control over the content?
  • Will you provide support for a limited time?
  • How will you announce it to your subscribers?
  • Do you need a contract of sale?

If you want lower the time spent publishing content, but don’t want to sell completely, there are a couple of options: Hire writers, similar to Smashing Magazine or Web Designer Depot.

Site income > writer fees = profit.

Alternatively, store your content as an online archive, similar to Speak Up. Traffic will decrease over time, but it can still generate passive income, and act as a helpful resource.

Flippa seems to be one of the top marketplaces for those buying/selling a website (cheers Jon).

A couple of worthwhile reads for those in the selling market: Back in 2005 Yaro Starak wrote about how to sell a website. Some links are out-of-date, but much of the content still applies. Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips shared a few tips for selling your blog or website on Flippa.

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Related posts worth a look

January 30 2013


Design Blogs to Follow in 2013 [Infographic]

With the vast number of design blogs out there, it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out which ones to follow. You may think you can subscribe to them all, but soon you'll crumble under the pressure of that 1000+ staring you in the face.

Well the folks at Coupon Audit have made things a little easier by putting together a handy infographic listing the top 100 design blogs to follow in 2013. It's pretty awesome to see COLOURlovers on the list with so many other fantastic blogs. Check out the graphic and hopefully you'll discover some great new design resources.

Top 100 design blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit


Tags: Blogs

July 31 2012


WordPress vs ExpressionEngine

I’ve used WordPress since starting this blog in 2006, but quite a few designers I respect favour ExpressionEngine. So I did a little digging on the pros and cons. Here are some interesting reads.

WordPress ExpressionEngine logo

ExpressionEngine/WordPress comparison, link points to a balanced comment on EE Insider, 2012
ExpressionEngine Should Be GNU (and Free?), by Chris Castiglione, 2010 (good comment thread)
WordPress versus ExpressionEngine and part two, on Lab.SixtyFive, 2011 (switching from WP to EE)
Switching Mindsets: From WordPress to ExpressionEngine, by Mindy Wagner, 2008
ExpressionEngine Designers Questions, answered by Mark Boulton, 2005 (still relevant)
WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla vs ExpressionEngine, comparison by Paul Kortman, 2011

And a few designer websites running on each platform.

Designers using WordPress

Designers using ExpressionEngine

I think the choice depends on the requirements for the website and the preference of the designer, but I’ve no experience using ExpressionEngine so can’t give a personal comparison. Can you?

Identity Designed

Brand identity inspiration on Identity Designed.

Related posts worth a look

January 23 2012


COLOURlovers Interview with Erin of Design For Mankind

Erin Loechner is a writer, stylist and designer. She is a quirky girl with lots of style and a great swagger about her. Everything she publishes on her site, Design For Mankind, pushes the envelope just enough to keep you interested and excited about trends and styles. She has graced the pages of many magazines all the while keeping up with trends and colors on her segment.

First up, why don't you tell the community a bit about who you are, what you do, how long you have been doing it, and your background. 

I'm Erin Loechner, a 28-year-old freelance design writer and blogger ( I dabble into styling, consulting and rearranging the furniture of any willing party! I'm also an online personality for

What past experiences do you think have contributed the most to where you are now?  
I tend to think of life (and age, for that matter) as little more than a collection of experiences and encounters that continually shape you as a person. So many moments have led me to where I am today, but the catalyst was probably the foundation of my art/design blog, Design for Mankind, in 2006. So many opportunities have stemmed from that tiny little website! The Internet is an amazing thing.What colors do you think we will see a lot of in 2012? 

I don't know if it's the wintery months or the beginning of a new trend, but I've been noticing a resurgence of muted tones as an alternative to the bright, cheery hues of seasons past. Candy-colored hues in muted tones are all over my radar this year!


What patterns and trends do you think will be big in 2012?

I'm seeing a huge trend in art-inspired patterns (and am so excited!) in the past few months, so I'm predicting everything from landscape art clothing (like this collection! below) to watercolor housewares (like this rug! below).

Source, Source

Which colors, patterns & trends are you personally most excited about?

Oh, definitely art-inspired patterns. If I could watercolor everything in my home, I would!

What is your favorite website or app right now?

My favorite app is Instagram; I'm a total sucker for documenting my day visually, but will never find the time to hone my photography skills. Instant problem solver!

When decorating your home, what are the top three colors you turn to for the space? What is your favorite paint color?

Oh, I'm very much of a believer of a neutral home (exhibit A = my dining room! below). I've found in the past that my job can be so stimulating, it's important for me to come home to a clean, natural color palette. Every wall in my house is Architectural White (Olympic Paint), and I often layer each room with blacks, grays and natural wood tones. I'm very monochromatic these days!


What's the best home design-related advice you've ever received?

If you love a piece, there's room for it. Alternatively, if you're not 100% in love with a piece, ditch it.

When you are feeling stumped, where do you turn for inspiration?

I'm rarely at a loss for inspiration, but I've found that when I am, it's usually due to too much research, rather than not enough. This usually means I've been spending too much time behind the computer screen, so I'll get out of the house, grab a coffee, take a walk or head out for a bite with my husband. I'm usually back to square one in no time!

For someone that is just beginning down the road to create a better home, what resources or advice would you give to them?

Find a general direction you'd like to go in, and make the rest up in your head. Start collecting images from online or your favorite magazines, and really study what each image makes you feel, rather than what you see. This will give you a great starting point for the sort of space you want to create, whether it's cozy, modern, chic, glamorous, or all of the above. Most importantly, enjoy yourself and continually surround yourself with things you love. It makes a world of difference!

January 17 2012


December 20 2011


To the commentators

“In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.”

Source: “90-9-1″ Rule for Participation Inequality: Lurker vs. Contributors in Internet Communities

With that in mind, this post is for the 10%.

You’ve taught me a huge amount by sharing your experiences of design, of the Internet, of life. You’ve kept me motivated. You’ve made me feel less like I’m sat at my desk working alone. In fact, I reckon there’s a good chance I’d have quit publishing blog posts if it wasn’t for your perspectives, suggestions, feedback, questions, answers. Quitting wouldn’t have helped keep me in self-employment.

Some blogs don’t have comment threads. Seth’s blog and the johnson banks thought for the week to name just two. Others turn comments on and off depending on the post. I can understand why.

Blog comment count

I started blog publishing in 2006. At the time of writing, there are 20,193 comments across 589 posts on this blog, 11,108 across 361 posts on Logo Design Love, and 877 on 85 Identity Designed posts. A total of 32,178, and an average of 18 “approved” comments every day for five years. In addition to moderating, reading, and thinking about every comment that’s submitted, I feel the urge to offer everyone a response, but I like to think you understand when I don’t always have time.

So for all you’ve given me, and for all you’ve given countless others who continue to learn from the insights you’ve shared, here’s to you, the 10%, the commentators.

Thank you.

A few interesting posts elsewhere about blog comments:

Commented Out, by Khoi Vinh
Why I don’t have comments, by Seth Godin
All these comments will be lost in time, like tears in rain, by Daniel Gray
Kill Blog Comments? by Oliver Reichenstein

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

November 24 2011


Happy Thanksgiving: 15 Ways to Show Thanks With Color

Of all the things to be thankful for, color is at the top of the list. Color is saturated into every fiber of our lives. It gives variety to our days, our moments, our very lives. It is there in our darkest moments and happiest memories. It can influence moods and reactions. It is there for us when we brainstorm inovative ideas, new marketing techniques, or complicated craft projects. Color is simply inspiring. So, on this Thanksgiving Day, remember to take a look around you and notice all the beautiul colors that this season has to offer.

How are you celebrating color this season?

Fall Leaf Garland from Maureen Cracknell Handmade as a part of Celebrate Color 

Celebrate color this season with a leaf garland made of felt and yarn. Incorporate a gorgeous color palette into your home's decor without the crunchy mess of real leaves.

Project by Triple Play

Dazzling. Do you think these sparkly aqua-blue accents steer a little bit away from traditional fall colors? You have to admit, it adds a nice depth to the overall setting and complements that traditional orange nicely.

Thankful Tree" by Simply Vintage Girl

Elegant. Bring the outdoors in to create thankful bits of autumn pastels and pattern mixtures combined in a "Thankful Tree."

For the kiddos. Shades of brown add warmth and provide an earthy feel in this Turkey centerpiece. Choose a fun and colorful palette for the thankful feathers.

Tradition, (What Are You) Thankful Four?

What are you thankful...4? A great excuse to use color in so many ways! Write what you're thankful for on colorful number fours cut from scrapbooking or construction paper and share. Turn them in to ornaments to display all weekend. Keep them around as reminders.

" year I cut large 4s from paper and placed one on each person's plate. Just before dinner, we wrote the things we were thankful for on our cutouts, then took turns sharing our lists..." - Candice Steelman (reader at Disney Family Fun)

By Holiday Crafts and Creations

There's always room to go classic. Traditional autumn colors make a space warm and inviting. These edible place settings using M&M's to imitate Indian Corn are quite fun! under Thanksgiving Crafts

Create a three dimensional palette with blocks and display an appropriately thankful message.

Design Sponge - DIY Project Autumn Leaf Bouquet 

What better way to say thank you to the beauty of color than to use fallen leaves to create vibrant autumn roses.

avery & anderson - Fall Decor' Part 4: THANKS be to upcycling wine bottles!

Get funky, use a few recycled wine bottles, a bit of paint and some other odds and ends to create and display a thankful word.

Crafty Katie - Fall Burlap Wreath

What would fall be without a wreath? Burlap offers a very earthy-happy texture, while adding a mix of traditional or non-traditional colors livens it up. - Abundance Seed Balls

Blending tradition with innovation - did you look close enough? I took a double-take after realizing those were bean-balls in the cornucopia! How creative and fitting to the season. A gentle reminder of warm soup on chilly fall evenings.

INKspired Creations - Paper Pumpkins | Teresa Collins - Paper Thanksgiving Pumpkins

Autumn wouldn't be autumn without a couple of paper pumpkins leftover from Halloween. Another way to utilize a mix of patterns and palettes.

PLAID - Thankful Art Collage

The paper flower on this thankful journal has a nice whimsical feel to it and reminds me of autumn leaves. Writing down what you are thankful for is always a great way to reflect and come back to on days when you aren't feeling so thankful.

 Kind Over Matter - Thanksgiving Fortune Cookies

This simple, yet unique idea encompasses the idea that being thankful can also remind us of the good things that are yet to come.

Incorporating autumn colors into our homes and Thanksgiving celebrations is a special way to recreate that warm feeling we experience when we start listing all the things that we are thankful for. This reason, above all, is why color should be remembered on Thanksgiving Day.

A big Thank you to all of you COLOURlovers for loving color and making our community flourish with so many beautiful creations! Be safe and colorful on this holiday! - The COLOURlovers Team

Creations Used:


header credit: Leaf Garland

October 27 2011


September 30 2011


From nought to 87,698 in five years

Not really knowing what I was doing, I started this blog in October 2006. In the years since, and according to the FeedBurner chicklet in my sidebar, the RSS subscriber count has risen to 87,698 (the number fluctuates a little each day, usually decreasing at weekends when less people access the feed).

Glass-fronted building

It might’ve taken five years (those looking for a quick-fix should take note) but I’ve learned a few things along the way and want to pass-on some blogging advice.

1/ Focus on what you’re passionate about

Two points there. Focus, and passion. When you focus your content on a general topic or profession, your readers know what to expect, and they’re more likely to subscribe. In addition, unless you’re passionate about what you publish, you’ll get bored long before a few years have gone by.

2/ Share your mistakes

We all make them. But few of us share them. You tend to open-up more when you talk about getting things wrong, and it’s that personal touch that’ll help keep readers interested. Here’s an old post of mine (from 2007) that can still be of use if you’re starting a blog: Seven blog mistakes to avoid. And perhaps one of my biggest mistakes was neglecting email security.

3/ Comment elsewhere

There’s a big world of blogs out there, with a big world of people reading the comment threads. Join the chat. I’m sure you have some good advice or a point-of-view that others want to read. You might learn something, too. I definitely have (thanks, in no small part, to the valued commentators on my blogs).

4/ Make guest appearances

Offer guest articles to blog owners who have already built a solid subscriber base. I did this on a couple of well-known blogs. I sometimes look back wishing I could press ‘edit’, but still, worth doing. One thing to remember, offer your best writing. Don’t hold the good stuff back for your own blog. You only get one chance to make a first impression with the new audience.

5/ Make it easy to subscribe

Seems obvious, but there have been plenty of times when I’ve had to search for a subscription button or link. Put it in a prominent position on your blog. Additionally, not everyone knows the benefit of RSS subscriptions, so offer an email alternative.

6/ Publish consistently

It doesn’t matter if you publish a new blog post every day or every couple of weeks, but consistency breeds familiarity, which breeds confidence, leading to trust, and eventually to sales of some sort. We all have something to sell.

7/ Don’t sell-out to advertising

I encourage you to make money from your blog. It makes sense given the amount of time you’ll invest. But a blog that hides useful content behind blocks of Adsense, popups, and a raft of flashing banners is a sorry sight. Instant turn-off.

8/ Social proof

We avoid the empty restaurant in favour of the busy one next door. To a certain extent the same applies to our websites. Some people think it’s boastful to show a blog’s subscriber count. I don’t. But avoid using the FeedBurner chicklet (or whatever alternatives are out there) until it shows more than 500 or so.

9/ Don’t sweat the numbers

It’s easy to become a stat-addict, constantly looking at numbers, charts, graphs, wanting to see a continual increase and wondering what you’re doing wrong if you don’t. Try to treat each reader/commentator as if s/he’s your only one. This one-at-a-time focus keeps your writing personal, and people will subscribe to your blog because of you.

10/ Be positive

The blogs I enjoy most remind me from time-to-time how fortunate I am. Millions struggle every day to have the life I lead. What do I really have to complain about?

A sincere note of thanks to every one of you who takes time to read what I have to say.

If you have any additional tips or advice to share, please do.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

Tags: Blogs blogs

May 24 2011


Author Introduction: Shannon - a Professional Florist for the Wedding Channel

Meet Shannon, a new author soon to be seen frequently on our Wedding Channel (mainly). She has over 23-years of floral experience and is so deliciously creative with her art, that we had to snag up some of her talent for our benefit!

Besides owning and running, Flourish, located in Sacramento, California, Shannon also blogs and manages,, a fantastic resource and fun place for wedding tips, floral advice and you name it.

Shannon has been a COLOURlover since September 2010 as FlourishShan, and constantly refers brides over to to first create a palette before deciding on flowers. We'll get to learn more about her flower advice and a little DIY in the coming posts. Give her a big welcome and feel free to hit her up with any wedding flower related Q's! Enjoy! - Molly Bermea / Blog Editor

Hello, from Shannon herself...

Hi!  Let me start my intro post by saying that I LOVE color!  Color has always been a defining element in my life.  I clearly remember the color of my childhood bedrooms, the color of my high school's corridors and the colors of my own bridal bouquet.  Color drives my passion for floral design.  I consider the way I combine colors in my creations to be my strong point as a designer.  That is why I am so drawn to the COLOURlovers site and the tools it offers to myself and other color-philes (is that a word?).

Sarah Maren Photography

Day in Your Life Photography

So when Molly asked me to blog for the wedding channel here on COLOURlovers I couldn't say "YES!" fast enough.  I have been using the tools on this website for a little over a year now when developing color palettes for weddings and branding my blog, Fancy Pants Weddings and re-branding my floral business, Flourish.  I am a HUGE fan!

Flourish is my main business.  We are a special event floral design company in Sacramento, Ca.  I have been in business for over 20 years.  Every day brings me a new set of design challenges and I love it so much.  I have designed florals for over 800 weddings and events.  About 10 months ago I realized my brand could use some dusting off and sprucing up.  John Conley, graphic designer and friend, developed the color palette and logo that were to starting point for a complete brand re-vamp.  He has also helped me with every aspect of the branding from the look of the website to business cards.  But in the end it always comes back to the colors.

This is the palette we started with when we first started talking colors for Flourish's new brand.  As you can see, after a  few minor tweaks we stayed pretty true to the original color ideas.

Recently, I helped a bride develop a color palette using COLOURlovers for her wedding.  Erin had a hard time blending colors when she was developing the look and decor for her wedding.

The palette we put together was the main tool she used when choosing all the elements of decor for her event.  Linens, paper products and florals all centered around this palette.

Her bridal bouquet (above) added a little punch of magenta/purple and ivory.  Her bouquet consisted of Super Green roses, peonies, cymbidium orchids, dendrobium orchids, anemone, stock, Bells of Ireland and hypericum berries.  It smelled heavenly too!

Because clearly I do not have enough to do, I also write the blog, Fancy Pants Weddings where  I dish out advice and help to brides and grooms planning their Northern California weddings.  I also feature images of real Nor-Cal weddings, do the occasional wedding craft, and try not to take it all too seriously. Stop by and say "howdy!"  Because no blogger wants to feel like they are talking to themselves.

I am looking forward to writing more for COLOURlovers regarding weddings and all that goes into to planning the big event.

Header Palette:

May 23 2011


Comment threads on portfolio entries

Earlier on Twitter I mentioned I was debating the pros and cons of viewer comments on portfolio entries. Essentially it’s the difference between publishing new work as a blog post, or as a static page.

vintage microphone

Ian Devlin tweeted back with, “Depends on who’s doing the commenting! I guess there are more cons than pros though as portfolio pieces are subjective.”

To which I replied, “That’s what I’m thinking, Ian. I like the chat, but when the cons can affect the thoughts of potential clients…”

Ian responded, “Yep, then it’s not worth it. Some people will comment negatively just because they can. It’s not what you want.”

Ben Seven weighed in with, “I don’t like it on Behance — it’s too much ‘Oooo this is nice’, and to me, a portfolio is for prospective clients. You could blog ‘new work’?”

Matteo Pescarin said, “I tend to agree, although an external link with the ability for people to discuss the work could be nice.”

Publishing a short ‘New Work’ post (like this) seems to be a good way to go — with a brief description of the project and a link to the more comprehensive portfolio entry. There are three benefits:

  1. Subscribers are notified of portfolio updates
  2. Comments are kept off the main portfolio entries
  3. There’s still a comment thread if anyone wants it

Although I’m not keen on the extra click it means for you.

I have a question. I want to show a selection of thumbnails from my portfolio at the foot of each project page. Do you know of a WordPress plugin for the job? The thumbnails would need to link to the case studies that are highlighted.

Vintage microphone photo courtesy of Gary Quinton

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

May 16 2011


Identity Designed half-century

Identity Designed has reached a half-century of brand case studies, so I thought it fitting to give a combined mention to all the beautiful contributors.

Identity Designed

Case studies in brackets.

A-Side Studio (MARK)
Anagrama (Theurel & Thomas)
Andreas Neophytou (Outside Photographic)
Andrew Sabatier (Asterisk Investments)
Astronaut Design (Antarctic Voice)
Believe in (Believe in)
Bernstein Rein
Bibliothèque (Flint, Boskke)
Chermayeff & Geismar (Conservation International)
Clinton Duncan (Fred International)
DBD International (Botanical Bakery)
Designers Anonymous (Ecopod)
Fabio Ongarato (K.P.D.O., ACCA, Social Traders)
Form (Recreation Awards, Virgin Galactic)
GBH Design (Virgin Galactic)
H&A (Black Light)
Heydays (ITI, Berg & Berg)
Hyperkit (Faye Toogood)
Landor (Miller & Green)
Lundgren+Lindqvist (Johanna Lenander)
Make (LM Wind Power, IVA)
Mash Creative (S/O/T/O, 2011 calendar, Royal Mail)
Moving Brands (Watermark)
Mytton Williams (Ink Copywriters, The Halcyon)
Nancy Wu (Offsetters)
Nathaniel Cooper (Glacé Artisan Ice Cream)
Project Projects (Museo Tamayo)
Pryor Design (Ann Arbor Film Festival)
Raw (Think Green)
Rudd Studio (Channel 4)
SomeOne (Wright Brothers, HomeSun, Eurostar, Newspaper Marketing Agency)
Studio Verse (Addition)
Tank Top (Eurosport)
The Click (Burlingham Woodland Walks)
Think Studio (Miriam Haskell)
Unreal (The People’s Supermarket)
venturethree (Little Chef)
Wallzo (McCormack Joinery)
Zerofee (Dezeen Watch Store)

A stunning collection of design talent.

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May 02 2011


How to Get More From WordPress With Multisite Blogs (Network Install)

WordPress is surely the most used CMS in the world. Here we will talk a little about it’s incredibly easy multisite install (a.k.a. Network install). With multisite you can set up multiple blogs that share the same WordPress files, DB, plugins, themes, so you can do some cool things with it. We will see how to get posts from another blog in the network, as it was yours, create users, dynamically create a blog, how to create multiple blogs in different domains, and much more.

So, let’s rock.

What is Multisite? Why it is so good? Why should I care?

With Multisite install you can create (and remove!) multiple blogs that can work together. They share the same DB, WP files and domain (but you can use it in multiple domains, see below).

It gives you a lot of power to build complex networks with a few clicks.

For example, let’s say that as a really good freelancer you have a lot of good customers (I hope so! :D). If you use WordPress as your CMS, you have to install one blog for each one of them, right? No. If you set up a network, you just have to upload a new theme and create a new sub-blog for each one of them. Actually, you can have the same text, menus, and categories for all of them.


Share info

You have some info that is easily shared between all blogs, so you don’t have to worry about:

  • Common user data – Users who are added to your network will have subscriber access to all sites on your network. People don’t need to have an account for each blog in the same network.
  • Posts – You can easily get posts (categories, meta-fields…) from any blog in your network and post it as if it were your own content.
  • Themes & Plugins – Any theme or plugin set available to the super admin (network administrator) can be used for any blog. So you don’t have to install the same plugin in 300 blogs

Separate some info

As each blog has to be different from its sister blogs, you have some info that is still separated, like blog configurations, selected theme, and separate site administrators.


We have a lot of applications for it:

  • User created
  • Multi-Themed blogs – If you want to create a network like
  • Groupon-like sites – So you can have one blog for each city, which has its own administrator.
  • Freelancers – So you can have one blog for each customer, and can easily setup a preview for them.

How to activate multisite?

Since Worpdress’s Codex has a really well explained tutorial of How to Create a Network, we won’t cover this.

How to use your new admin panel

As any WordPress admin panel, the network admin panel is really easy to use. But it isn’t so easy to find. Here is where you can access it (after your network is created, of course):

From here you can do almost anything you need.

So if you want to create a new blog, just go to Sites > New site. Once created you have a lot of options for each site, use it carefully (don’t go just changing the permalink structure for each blog, for example, it may cause some errors).

If you want to set which plugin / theme will be available for each sub-blog, use this option:

Useful snippets

Talking about code, there is a few things you must pay attention to. When you activate your network, you change some functionality of wordpress, so some functions will not work as they used to (or as you thought they should). And you have some new functions that makes your work easier.

Here is a list with much more functions for your entertainment.

Switching between blogs – switch_to_blog() function

Let’s say, for example, you own and you have WordPress (Network install) there. Inside you have /phpblog and /cssblog. Your wordpress’s structure is:

  • – The main site, because it was installed first. Its ID is always 1
  • – The second blog installed, so its ID is 2
  • – The third blog installed, so its ID is 3

When a page is requested in any of these blogs, your server executes it as if it was a single wordpress install, the only difference is that it will only get data from the current blog ID.

But you can change it when you use the switch_to_blog() function. It makes your blog get data as if it were other blog in your network. So if you want to make phpblog get cssblog’s data, you just have to set switch_to_blog(3). Note that it won’t work for plugins, which is only called when you really access a blog.

You must have been asking yourself now, “how can I make this STOP?. Well, once you’ve finished you just have to call restore_current_blog() and make things go back to normal. If you called switch_to_blog() twice, each restore_current_blog() will just bring you to previous active blog. For example, if you have switch_to_blog(2) and INSIDE of it you do switch_to_blog(3) when you call restore_current_blog() it will bring you back to blog 2, and if you call restore_current_blog() again then you will be in your original blog.

Other important thing to notice is the $blog_id global variable, that stores the current rendering blog. It is useful, for example, if you have the same theme for multiple blogs inside your network.

A little example, how to get posts from phpblog if you are in root, from cssblog if you are in phpblog and from root if you are in cssblog

//gets active blog
	global $blog_id;

	switch($blog_id) {
		case 1:
			//we are in root, so we want to go to phpblog
			$goto = 2;
		case 2 :
			//we are in phpblog, so we want to go to cssblog
			$goto = 3;
		case 3 :
			//we are in cssblog, so we want to go to root
			$goto = 1;

	switch_to_blog($goto); //magic!
		//I always indent code inside a switched block, it is easier to read after a few days (or months)
		$lastposts = get_posts('numberposts=-1');
		if (!empty($lastposts)) {
			foreach($lastposts as $post) :
				//do some cool stuff in here

Get posts from all blogs – get_last_updated()

What if you want to get some recent posts from last updated blogs, not only one blog? Then get_last_updated() is the function that will save your life!

It returns the last updated blogs as an array, so all you have to do is a foreach and you are done!

Let’s see a simple example that shows last post from last updated blogs:

$blogs = get_last_updated();
echo '
<h1>Last posts in network</h1>
foreach ($blogs AS $blog) {
	echo "
		$lastposts = get_posts('numberposts=1');
		foreach($lastposts as $post) :

Dynamically created blogs – wpmu_create_blog()

This is definitely my favorite. With wpmu_create_blog() you can do something similar to itself, where each user can create his own blog.

But before creating a blog you must create / choose the admin user. So, after you have user_id it is just call wpmu_create_blog() with its parameters. Pay attention in the “path” parameter, it must have “/” before it, or you blog will be created in an address that can’t be accessed (in our example, without “/” it would be wpmultisite.com1wd).

	$user_id = wp_create_user( $user, $pass, $mail );
	//params: wpmu_create_blog($domain, $path, $title, $user_id, $meta, $site_id)
	$id = wpmu_create_blog("";, "/1wd", "1WD inside wpmultisite", $user_id);
	echo $id;

Are you hungry yet?

I hope you’re still hungry to learn more about creating a multisite blog. I’m sure you will use it for some great projects, you can read more about it  here:

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