Did you know that the nomination window for DesignHope is quickly drawing to a close? Well, it is. But before you make that mad dash to go nominate your favorite brand I wanted to tell you a bit more about the awesome companies that have stepped up and offered their services to help us make this a reality.
Eight years ago we launched DesignHope - the economy had tanked, people were getting laid off and starting their own projects and we wanted to help. We promised a logo and website for the winner. Hundreds of people applied and sponsors jumped in to help. It was one of my favorite moments at FortySeven Media - for real.
Today I’m introducing a leaner, meaner FortySeven Media. I know what you’re thinking. I kind of already did that a while back when Nate jumped off to start his own adventure. True. But not much changed after he left.
Guys, did you know that 2015 marks 10 years of 47m? I'm having trouble computing that statement. Hold on. Cleansing breath. Ace Ventura face. Forehead wipe. Ok - better.
It also happens that 2015 is bringing about some ginormous changes, and I've been thinking back to how we got here. Needless to say there were lots of things that were thought, and the thinking gave me a few nuggets that I'd like to start sharing with you.
First up? Perspective.
When we start out we do it for the love of the craft. Mine was art and design - and soon became clean, standards based front-end markup that evolved into a full stack process from branding all the way to a finished content-managed site.
My drive was to do an excellent job artistically and technically, making a truly awesome brand and website for my clients.
While this obviously still exists, I've come to realize it's not the most important thing. (You may be having trouble computing this statement. Bear with me, keep reading. I'll get there.)
Alright, it's almost March. So that means you've got those feeble New Years Resolutions wrapped up and you've got your googly-eyed Valentine's Day mushy stuff taken care of for the year. What does that mean? It means it's business time!
That's why we (FortySeven Media and Bright Newt) are all kinds of excited to tell you that our newest business course is available! This is a streamlined, focused look at making the most money your business can make. What's it called? Freakishly Profitable.
We get asked all the time how we get leads for new jobs. For those of you just starting out, it's really daunting. Overwhelming, really. Hopefully we can give you a few tips and places to start. But whatever you do - have a plan! Be proactive and work hard for it. Sitting around and waiting won't get you anywhere.
Do great work
First of all, let me get this out of the way: If you're doing bad or even mediocre work you have to get better. Nothing else I say will help if your product sucks. We get so many emails from people asking us, “How do I get better stuff in my portfolio if I don't have the work to add to it?” It's like the chicken/egg problem, right?
It sounds hopeless, but there are lots of ways to do this. Try working on passion projects – or find a cause or community you believe in and hone your skills there. We're not advocating for you to do all your work for free, but you have to take action if you want to get better. Don't sit around and wait on clients to magically appear out of thin air. They won't. Don't sit around waiting on awesome portfolio project to show up, either. Make your own. Also, see Branding down below ↓.
Today is an exciting day for us. Why? Because it's today that we realize a goal we've had for FortySeven Media right from the start.
Since the early days, we've been building some of the best looking and hardest working websites around. But once you have one, it is inconstant need of fresh content to really draw and keep people's attention. Which, let's be honest, can really be a pain. Who has the extra time and brain power to write and shoot a product overview video, or capture the right images to portray what it's like to stay in that exotic resort you run?
If you do a lot of Responsive Web Design you know how much of a pain it can be to change font sizes and line heights at all your different breakpoints. Thankfully the guys at SimpleFocus have come up with a really cool solution: FlowType.JS.
According to them: “FlowType.JS eases this difficulty by changing the font-size—and subsequently the line-height—based on a specific element's width. This allows for a perfect character count per line at any screen width.”
The Bullet Journal system is a really well thought out setup for using an analog notebook in really cool, useful ways. The table of contents tip alone made me say, “Holy crap why I have I never done this? I can't find anything in my notebooks!”
There's lots more than just this video. Check out the site where Ryder Carrol, the creator has documented every tip and trick imaginable.
This isn't web related at all, but it's a superhydrophobic spray-on coating that repels water, mud, ice and other liquids. Say what? Yeah it's as crazy as it sounds. Just watch. It's like science fiction!
I've started illustrating my thoughts. This is one from today.
Inside your head, everything is a good idea. It's a magical place where you are always doing awesome things, having awesome ideas, and generally high fiving yourself all the time at how awesome you are.
Outside your head is the awesome crushing or confirming world of reality.
The only way an idea is going to do anything, is when it gets out of your head and into the heads of other people. Those other people will then confirm your awesomeness, or crush it with the multi-smashular sledgehammer known as honest criticism. Which is a very kind thing even though it is super painful.
Jon does this for me all the time. My brain is a fountain of crazy vision. He stands by with said sledgehammer, helping me weed them down through survival of the fittest. It is then that I can tell others about this or begin making whatever it was.
Got an idea? Let it enter the ring below in the comments.
This has been out for a while, but it's still super cool. IdeaPaint CLEAR lets you create a whiteboard on top of any wall without turning it white! So if you have a rad neon orange wall that you'd like to be able to write on with dry erase markers this will make it happen. It's not cheap, but if your high end hipster office needs some functionality on top of the meticulously chosen colored walls go get some IdeaPaint!
I don't think I've ever seen a more patient, talented and humble craftsman. This video of how John Mayer found David Smith and commissioned him to do the artwork for the cover of his album is just astounding. Not only does David come up with the album artwork, but also creates two beautiful reverse glass panels and the whole thing is documented for you to see.
The sketches alone at the end of this video make me want to never pick up a pencil again, but the level of detail and artistry that goes into each of David's pieces is just mind blowing. It's a must watch!
For Christmas last year, Nate and I wanted to do something special for our clients. We pondered and thought and decided, “what better way to show our clients we love them than to send them a custom designed t-shirt that says we love them!?!?!?!” Clearly because we are geniuses.
After much sketching, hand crafting and designing we came up with “Two Hairy Guys in Tennessee Love Me.”
Chad Mazzola at Beautiful Web Type has put together a page showing off and pairing the best typefaces from Google's Web Fonts Directory. Which is great, because it can be a little hard to find good typefaces there. Because most of them suck.
Fortunately, Chad has great taste and has given me hope that I, too may one day use Google Web Fonts. Thanks, Chris!
Here's the cool thing, though - this will be the first time Nate Croft, Jon Longnecker and our new Kicktastic partner Austin Church will be discussing businessy things live on the internet. You will laugh. You will cry. You'll probably never talk to us again. Or you might just fall in love with our weirdness.
But you won't know for sure unless you tune in Friday at 1pm EST.