Bookshelf: Dale Carnegie Collection

One of my goals for 2014 is to reignite an old passion for reading, one that fell dormant in college when I was forced to read textbooks and the dreaded poetry. (Queue music from Psycho.) I started this year off right and finished one book within the first few days of the new year. I kicked off with How to Win Friends and Influence People by the amazing author, Mr. Dale Carnegie. Here I will discuss my reading of both this and another book that carries his name (though wasn’t written by him), Make Yourself Unforgettable: How to Become the Person Everyone Remembers and No One Can Resist.

High Fives: A Toast to Dribbble

We love Dribbble. Ok, that’s an understatement. The fact of the matter is Dribbble alone helped grow our two-man company to a team of 14 in just a couple of years. And our Dribbble networking was likewise responsible for introducing us to some stellar clients and industry peers. Easily, half of our recent output is attributable in some way to our Dribbble presence. Last year alone, Dribbble leads accounted for $800k of our revenue. (If I’m being honest, it drives more potential than that; we’re limited in the amount of work we can take on.) We—and the greater design community—are blessed to access an affordable platform that can turn a couple hundred dollar membership investment into nearly $1 million in revenue. Other industries would kill to have an outlet like that. Forget that it’s actually fun to post and monitor.

How We Do | We Work OUT

Our 2014 company resolution is Fitness this year. We kicked off the new year with office planking challenges in January, 30-day fit challenges for February, and the office ladies have also started running as a group. Our next challenge we thought, how about a race?

Table of Contents


After Hours: In the Garden

Spring has sprung in Savannah and, with it, the beginning of my gardening season. I am by no means Farmer Rocky; after taking a year off of having a backyard garden, I am throwing my hat into the ring once again.

3 days ago - by Rocky Roark

Musings: The Trendy Slippery Slope

I often ponder the industry that we are in and how it operates. My recent thoughts have lead me to speculate about trends. I’ve noticed that the design industry gets caught up with trends. I understand where they come from and why they exist, but at what point do they become detrimental to our work? Is work of poor quality if it doesn’t “trend” on Behance or dribbble?

5 days ago - by Sam Stratton

Spotlight: Myles in Minneapolis

I’ve restarted this blog post now probably half a dozen times. Each with mildly entertaining introductions about stories from my past. And as the night progressed, I found it unnecessary to talk about how I grew up in a town of less than 300. Or to explain how my high school years were spent in a van with four other smelly dudes playing music. I thought it was counter—productive to ramble about how my best friends and I skipped junior prom to play Splinter Cell until the sun came up. Chugging Mountain Dew until we went into cardiac arrest. I thought to myself, “No one wants to hear about how the majority of your childhood was spent effectively avoiding security guards while on a skateboard.” I then took a step back and realized being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up, and if I wanted to keep this short and to the point I had better fast-forward 20 years. So here’s the post I decided to write…

2 weeks ago - by Myles Kedrowski

Spotlight: Kellie, Take 3

Hey there, hi there, ho there! I’m Kellie Groover, one of the newbies here in Focus Lab Land. I’m the behind-the-scenes office lady, resident mouseketeer, backstage manager, special forces teammate, pretty much whatever-I-can-do-to-make-everyone’s-life-easier, go-to gal. Think of me as a fairy godmother for the Focus Lab team.

2 weeks ago - by Kellie Groover

We Go Places: Creative South Speakers

We’re pumped about speaking as a team at the Creative South Conference. Four of us will take the stage at this awesome design conference to talk about the moving parts that we’ve needed during our rapid growth over a three year trajectory.

2 weeks ago - by Bill Kenney

Portfolio: PinkBlush Maternity

PinkBlush is an online-exclusive maternity and fashion wear boutique based out of California. They’ve been serving up tasteful and sincere clothing for several years without a tailored brand image. That’s where we came in. We rebranded PinkBlush with a purpose that really sets them apart and positions them well on their continued path of growth.

3 weeks ago - by Matt Yow

Erik Reagan, COME ON DOWN: Our co-founder’s adventure on The Price is Right

Erik’s traveling and otherwise slammed with work or else he’d be reporting this to our blogosphere directly. And, well, we just couldn’t contain ourselves any longer from sharing this awesome announcement. Our very own Erik Reagan got to compete last month on none other than The Price is Right (aired 3/28)!!!

3 weeks ago - by Summer Teal Simpson

Bookshelf: Dale Carnegie Collection

One of my goals for 2014 is to reignite an old passion for reading, one that fell dormant in college when I was forced to read textbooks and the dreaded poetry. (Queue music from Psycho.) I started this year off right and finished one book within the first few days of the new year. I kicked off with How to Win Friends and Influence People by the amazing author, Mr. Dale Carnegie. Here I will discuss my reading of both this and another book that carries his name (though wasn’t written by him), Make Yourself Unforgettable: How to Become the Person Everyone Remembers and No One Can Resist.

on March 26, 2014 - by Rocky Roark

High Fives: A Toast to Dribbble

We love Dribbble. Ok, that’s an understatement. The fact of the matter is Dribbble alone helped grow our two-man company to a team of 14 in just a couple of years. And our Dribbble networking was likewise responsible for introducing us to some stellar clients and industry peers. Easily, half of our recent output is attributable in some way to our Dribbble presence. Last year alone, Dribbble leads accounted for $800k of our revenue. (If I’m being honest, it drives more potential than that; we’re limited in the amount of work we can take on.) We—and the greater design community—are blessed to access an affordable platform that can turn a couple hundred dollar membership investment into nearly $1 million in revenue. Other industries would kill to have an outlet like that. Forget that it’s actually fun to post and monitor.

on March 19, 2014 - by Bill Kenney

How We Do | We Work OUT

Our 2014 company resolution is Fitness this year. We kicked off the new year with office planking challenges in January, 30-day fit challenges for February, and the office ladies have also started running as a group. Our next challenge we thought, how about a race?

on March 14, 2014 - by Kellie Groover

2013 Recap

It’s time to ring in another New Year. I don’t know about you, but I’m still occasionally putting 2012 down on paper. (Literally, Bill put 2012 on the cover of a photobook holiday gift. Doh.)

on December 20, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

Climbing in the Clown Car

Given that this is my blog debut, let me start out with a hearty “Hello, everyone.” I’m Summer Teal Simpson, brand strategist, copywriter, and newest addition to the Focus Lab team.

on December 11, 2013 - by Summer Teal Simpson

A TV. On wheels. A step-by-step ‘How To’ guide.

If you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past couple months, you may have missed our obsessive Tweetstagrams on the evolution of our new office. One of our big-deal, new features is a 65” LED TV that rolls along the back wall of our conference room/playroom. Since this has easily been the most asked-about feature, let me give you a rundown on the reasoning behind it and how we pulled it off.

on October 31, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

This is Where the Magic Happens

A Photographic Tour of the New Focus Lab Digs This week has been one of hoots, high fives, and hot-cha’s. We’ve been doing the proverbial end zone dance for 24 straight hours. Why? Well, for one we just launched our shiny new website. But, just on the heels of that, we also opened our doors to hundreds of our local friends and colleagues for our first party in the new space. The party, which is more of a commemoration, comes about two a half months into our occupation of the space and roughly four months after demolition took place on structures remaining from previous occupants.

on October 25, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

A new year. A new story.

So, here we are. Another year in, and our team is stronger than ever. It may go without saying but we have been super duper, crazy busy. So busy in fact that we designed our own new website a year ago and we just got around to making it a real thing. A good problem to have, many would say. We would argue that, knowing in our industry the importance of accurately reflecting our company culture, values, and portfolio. Precisely the qualities that we wanted to tractor beam with our new website.

on October 24, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

Building a Web Shop for Success

The 2013 ExpressionEngine Conference was held this week in Portland, OR. I was in the speaker lineup but was unfortunately unable to make it in person. I’m thrilled to say that what kept me back home is that I had a baby boy join the family a few weeks ago. Rather than travel across the country, I stayed home to help out my wife in and around the house.

on October 16, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

We Likes to Party

It’s been many months in the making, but now that we’re putting the spit-shine finishing touches on our new space, it’s time to throw a PARTY! Friends, family, and colleagues, please help us celebrate two great announcements: our new office digs on the second floor of the Old Landmark Building AND the launch of our brand-spanking-new website on the same date.

on October 14, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

UI Position / Hiring

We need help. Not the kind where you’re worried about us. The kind that results from a high demand of awesome projects. We want you to join our team to help us produce even more great work.

on October 10, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

Leadership, Part II

We now return to the LeaderCast post series, already in progress… You can read Part I here.

on October 10, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

Leadership, Part I

Two months ago I traveled to Atlanta with copilots and fellow Focus Lab team members Erik Reagan and Alicja Colon. We ventured north to attend what turned out to be an extremely inspiring conference called LeaderCast. This year’s conference theme was “Simply Lead,” and upon leaving Atlanta at the event’s end, I found myself facing a rather giant list of areas where I needed to grow. Most importantly, I fully realized the importance of not taking the leadership role - and the skills that demands - lightly.

on October 8, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

Speaker Highlight | Circles Twenty13: Matt Stevens

The past month has been a series of firsts for me, including my first time flying in a plane and my first visit to an Apple store. (True story.) It was also the first time that our design team attended the Circles Conference. The annual two-day event takes place outside of Dallas and features some of the design industry’s key players speaking about design, as well as life outside of work. I’d be hard pressed to pinpoint a favorite speaker, but the talent and exuberance of Matt Stevens really stood out.

on October 3, 2013 - by Rocky Roark

UI Photography Part 2

The previous installment of this two-part series reviewed why custom UI photography is a splendid thing. Today, we’ll go over the obstacles to creating beautiful UI shots.

on September 19, 2013 - by Alicja Colon

Illustration Process

Those who follow the Focus Lab team on Dribbble may have seen the recent shot I posted that showcases my current illustration process. (I distinguish “current” since every process I undertake, whether design or illustration oriented, is ever evolving over time.) The shot’s popularity led me to this post, step-by-step, the methods behind my creative madness.

on September 17, 2013 - by Rocky Roark

Grow Yourself

What would you say if I told you I knew of a one-stop resource that could help you grow yourself, grow your team, and grow your profits? What if I told you that resource was free?

on September 13, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

UI Photography Part 1

Can you feel the excitement jumping off the computer screen?! You should. Because it is with great enthusiasm and overwhelming joy that I take off my project management hat and chat instead about… (drumroll)… photography.

on September 10, 2013 - by Alicja Colon

Setting up Artboards in Illustrator

We’ve received a flood of inquiries about presentation style for our branding process. Inquiring minds want to know: How does Focus Lab lay out frames to showcase a deck of work. I know some designers use InDesign; others have found Keynote to be helpful. We use Illustrator for our presentations. Of course, we’re always seeking new ways to improve our process but, for now, our methods are simple and effective. I’ve included a few screenshots to better explain the process.

on September 5, 2013 - by Matt Yow

Layers - they’re not just in cakes

The day has finally come for me to outline the layering process we’ve adopted at Focus Lab. This system emerged to help me organize my thoughts and flush hand-drawn wireframes into Photoshop before going in and pushing pixels. It also allows multiple designers or developers to navigate robust PSD files quickly and easily. Further, it is convenient for designers who like to work more freely within a PSD, providing for a certain level of structure without impeding freeform design processes.

on September 3, 2013 - by Charlie Waite

Kickstarting at Focus Lab

Hello all. I’m Rocky, the newest addition to the Focus Lab design team. I’ve logged a little over two months here and, well, I love it. What a cool experience it’s been transitioning from being on the outside looking in to being a behind-the-scenes magic maker.

on August 29, 2013 - by Rocky Roark

Personality

One basic thesis is to build brand identities with imbued personality rather than risk them being inherited via consumer experience. In other words, intentionally ascribe personification to brand identities. This idea surely blurs the line between marketing/advertising and basic visual brand identity design, but infusing personality is an important component of visual brand element creation.

on August 22, 2013 - by Matt Yow

The UI/UX Endorphin Theory

My name is Sam Stratton, and I’m one of the new designers here at Focus Lab. I have an idea, a theory, about application experiences that I’d like to share today. This isn’t a theory that has been extensively tested or researched. It’s more of a conversation I’d like to start; one that I haven’t seen much of yet.

on August 20, 2013 - by Sam Stratton

Focus Friday Chats

If you’ve been following @focuslabllc on twitter you’ve probably seen us tweet about something we’re calling Focus Friday Chat. For a handful of weeks in July, we opened our virtual doors for an hour each Friday to answer questions and general industry chit chat.

on August 15, 2013 - by Bill Kenney

New Office: Beta

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram you’ve noticed we’ve spent the past couple of months planning for and building out a new office space. This past Monday was our first day working from the new space so we wanted to share a little bit about it with you fine folks. We’re doing an official office launch party in late October, after we’ve actually finished building things out to our spec. That doesn’t mean we have to wait until October to share some pics though!

on August 15, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

A Project Manager’s Dream App

As Focus Lab grows, so too do our project management application needs. Juggling more projects, team members and their varied schedules is becoming increasingly demanding. As the one responsible for this balancing act, I’m always on the prowl for a solution that will jump through all the hoops I need. My selfish intent in authoring this post is too see what you use and what items you are most concerned with in a PM app.

on July 23, 2013 - by Alicja Colon

FuneralOne

To my right, there’s a man with a beard and glasses; to the left, another with a beard, but bald and no glasses. Who are these guys? Well if you’re familiar with our gang, you’d recognize it’s Matt and Bill, Focus Lab’s lead brand designer and creative director, respectively.

on July 16, 2013 - by Alicja Colon

The Sidecar That Never Was

Five months ago I made a decision to no longer pursue one of my dreams from a few years ago. The decision stung. It wasn’t an easy one to make. But as I write this five months postmortem, I am confident it was the right decision.

on May 17, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

Always Learning

I’ve had an idea for a while to do a series of posts describing the mechanics of what we do at Focus Lab. Not a series about our craft or techniques, but instead about what keeps our engine running, how we change the oil and what type of oil we use. This will be the first post in a scattered series entitled “How We Roll.”

on May 7, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

Origins

Lately I’ve been thinking about where Focus is today compared to where we started from. After going through some old emails, I thought it would be fun to share my first contact with Bill along with how we got the Focus ball rolling.

on March 26, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

What’s your job title?

What’s your job title? You know, that word or phrase on your business card that so succinctly tells the world what you do. Today mine is Technical Director. It’s accurate-ish.

on March 19, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

What is my role?

You know that conversation you have with your mom? The one you’ve had about 20 times because she doesn’t truly understand what you do at work. “So… you’re a designer?” she asks.

on March 13, 2013 - by Alicja Colon

On Goals

At the beginning of each year we seem to hear more people talk about goals than any other time. There must be something about the change back to a single-digit on the calendar that encourages people to stand up straight and say “I’m going to do something different this year.” Or maybe it’s just marketing.

on January 22, 2013 - by Erik Reagan

2012 Recap

Wow. It’s hard to believe that 2012 is already coming to an end. As I write this, Focus Lab has already ceased all client work for the year. We’re wrapping up some things internally as we prepare to take about ten days off to enjoy the holidays with friends and family. Like last year, we wanted to recap how 2012 went for the Focus team

on December 28, 2012 - by Erik Reagan

Form Building Add-ons in ExpressionEngine

Recently we published a post that reviewed member profile add-ons in ExpressionEngine. At that time, we promised a similar review of form management add-ons as a complementary piece. This post will review three such forms add-ons that make HTML forms in ExpressionEngine easy, fun, powerful and beautiful. We couldn’t pack in every feature of every add-on but aimed to walk through high-level features and, ultimately, our recommendation of which to choose.

on November 13, 2012 - by Jonathan McGaha

Branding Snappy

We are excited to spotlight one of our newest branding and User Interface projects for a product called Snappy. Snappy is a new Help Desk web application being developed by the amazing folks over at UserScape (the creators of HelpSpot). Ian Landsman and his team approached us to help bring their idea of a lightweight and speedy Help Desk to life. Throughout the process we’ve found that the UserScape team is a design firm’s ideal client. Not only are they amazing people that understand the design process, but they are also open to any and all ideas, no matter how ridiculous (see: Snappy underwear).

on April 20, 2437 - by Charlie Waite

Member Profile Add-ons in ExpressionEngine

My name is Jonathan McGaha, and I’m a developer who has worked with Focus Lab for a little over a year. As we prepare to start a new project, we realized that a review of the available options for member management and form management would be valuable for us as well as other members of our community. This post will look at the currently available add-ons for creating and editing member profiles in ExpressionEngine, while a post reviewing form management add-ons will follow in the next few weeks.

on October 23, 2012 - by Jonathan McGaha

An Interview with Mark Croxton

We’re kicking off a new type of entry to the Focus Lab blog. Today I interview Mark Croxton, partner at Hallmark Design in Brighton, UK. I first became familiar with Mark by using his ExpressionEngine add-on called Stash. He’s a developer with a bit of design chops as well. We took some time to get to know Mark better.

on October 2, 2012 - by Erik Reagan

A Question for You

I have had a thought and want to see what you think.

on April 20, 7362 - by Bill Kenney

Branding Cyber Reliant

Cyber Reliant is an innovative information technology systems and applications networks company. The partners of the company came to us with some awesome goals for the brand, and were eager for us to start developing it. They were great to work with, and helped us to understand that their seemingly complex business model could be distilled into a straightforward statement: “We streamline communication within organizations by using software to bypass the traditional ‘silos’.” Future company goals include implementing their software in the Department of Defense, as well as in the private sector, in the banking and health industries.

on August 28, 2012 - by Matt Yow

The Four Controls

Hey Gang! I’m Alicja, one of the newest members of Focus Lab, and this is my first blog post. I’m going to be writing about the project management skills I have developed over my years in the creative industry, providing a little perspective on how all of these Focus Lab projects actually get done. Since starting work here, the attention-to-detail, focus and solutions brought to the table by the team have been awe-inspiring. I look forward to sharing insights on how we manage our workload, outline our processes and keep clients up to date.

on August 7, 2012 - by Alicja Colon

Branding a Lawyer

As a family and divorce attorney with a growing practice in Chicago, Illinois, Marie Fahnert knew her brand was in need of a new visual identity. Needing to hire more attorneys and paralegals to handle increasing demand for service, the time seemed right to undertake this project as well. After receiving a referral from law-colleague Laura Hastay, Ms Fahnert approached Focus Lab with her needs.

on July 25, 2012 - by Matt Yow

Branding a Photographer

We recently undertook a design project for photographer Kelly MacDonald to help her overhaul the visual brand of her photography company. After a short meeting, it was evident that we had a solid professional rapport, and this would be a great project. The most interesting and challenging part of the project was that Kelly is also a designer. Although she had struggled creating her own brand identity (a struggle we can greatly identify with), we knew our design would have to go above and beyond to please someone who had worked a long time to find a solution. So she passed the torch to our team and we hit the ground running.

on July 25, 2012 - by Bill Kenney

The Anatomy of an ExpressionEngine Extension

In this post, we’re talking about ExpressionEngine extensions. If you’ve used ExpressionEngine long enough to have a few support threads in the forums, you’ve more than likely seen the word extensions come up. Chances are, you’ve also installed an extension or two if you’ve used EE for more than a few weeks.

on May 29, 2012 - by Erik Reagan

A Simple Experiment

So recently we decided to do something a little different with the new version of the Focus Lab business cards. So far our experiment has elicited both rave reviews and confused head tilts from recipients of the card. This is because we stripped all but the most essential content from the card in order to let our brand deliver the message we are trying to convey. Risky? Maybe. Effective? We think so.

on May 22, 2012 - by Bill Kenney

The office Egg Drop

A few months ago I stumbled across this video and got pretty excited. The coworking space the Focus Lab office is in had been looking to put on an event to engage members, and I realized this was exactly what we needed. I shared the link with a few people, and we were off and running with plans for the ThincSavannah Egg Drop.

on April 20, 8352 - by Bill Kenney

We need help…again

We need help. Not the kind where you call someone because you’re worried about us. The kind where we have awesome projects and you want to be a part of them. Read along and see if you think that might be you.

on April 23, 2012 - by Erik Reagan

Sun'n'Fun

We were approached by Sun ‘n’ Fun Rentals to refresh their brand and redefine the personality of a business that has been in operation for 30 years. The look they were utilizing was tired and lacked cohesion due to the addition of elements over the years. They were in need of a team that had a true understanding of their market and the creative talent to deliver on all fronts.

on March 20, 2012 - by Matt Yow

Why You Should Learn to Build EE Add-ons

At Focus Lab, one service we offer our clients is custom add-on development for ExpressionEngine. We started dabbling in add-on development about a year after first using EE. It was a foreign land for quite some time, but eventually we noticed the positive impact it was having on our business. Over time, we found ourselves able to say “Yes, EE can do that,” to far more requests than we once thought possible. Eventually, our add-on work led to Focus Lab partnering up with Train-ee to provide add-on development training in the classroom.

on March 7, 2012 - by Erik Reagan

Focus Lab: Old vs New: Design

The new year brought a more polished look for Focus Lab. Since 2011 was so great for us, we were excited and anxious to rework our website to spotlight new team members, refined service offerings and our latest portfolio of work. Although the the overall aesthetic is similar, the site is quite different in the details. In this post I will explain the new design changes and the reasoning behind them.

on February 7, 2012 - by Bill Kenney

Monocle Man Challenge Winners

Well, it seems that our challenge, although tricky, was not hard enough to outwork the super sleuth team of Nick Benson and Than Thibbetts. They were the first person / team to successfully locate all 7 Monocle Men and provide the visual proof. A big hat-tip to them for their determination.

on April 20, 1380 - by Bill Kenney

The Monocle Man Challenge

We’re almost a month into 2012, and what a start this year is off to! We couldn’t be more excited to show off our new team and revamped portfolio on our brand-new website. Last year was amazing in so many ways- we worked on some awesome projects, we added a few rock stars to our team and focused a lot of effort on refining our skills and focusing on our areas of expertise. But, we aren’t resting on our laurels. Onward and upward! Since encouragement and positive feedback from our peers has played a huge role in our success, we decided to launch the new site with a nerdy challenge, just for you!

on April 20, 5020 - by Erik Reagan

2011 Recap

Here we are the end of 2011, and it has been an amazing year. It was great for us both in things that we learned as well as company growth. We wanted to take a minute to breathe and reflect on how it all went down, what we learned, and to share some insight and show some love.

on December 14, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Turkey Day Dribbble Giveaway

Thanksgiving just got a whole lot better! We have 2 dribbble invites to give away and we are calling all turkeys to spread the word & wow us with your work.

on November 23, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Knowing is Half the Battle

We recently prepared a presentation for Geekend, a conference geared toward the young creative, technical and entrepreneurial demographics. The presentation entitled “Knowing is Half the Battle,” discussed what we feel are a few of the essential points to starting and maintaining a successful business. Over the past three years, we have learned countless lessons - both good and bad - and wanted to share part of our story and detail some of those lessons. Keep in mind this is told through the eyes of a designer and developer, neither of us considered ourselves “businessmen” when we started. Since we entered this venture with numerous blind spots, we now want to shine some light on what we have learned to help others who are going through the process.

on November 10, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Win 1 of 3 tickets to Geekend

We are happy to announce that we have 3 badges to this year’s Geekend conference in Savannah and we are giving them away for FREE! We love to give back to our peeps while creating a fun “geeky” contest. In the end there will be 3 happy geeks going to a great event.

on October 31, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

The ABC’s of EE Add-on Development: Part 2

Today we continue our ABC’s of Add-on Development series. If you recall from the first post, this will be a 6-part series covering various aspects of ExpressionEngine add-on development in which we will cover one topic for each letter of the alphabet. My friend and fellow developer Tom Jaeger is assisting along the way. He and I will cover the next set of letters today, B-F.

on October 27, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

EECI2011: Environments and Version Control in ExpressionEngine

Last week I had the honor of presenting at EECI 2011 in Brooklyn, NY. In the time that I’ve been using ExpressionEngine I had only met (in person) about ten people from the community. Attending such an event was long overdue and I was thrilled to be there. The content and speaker lineup was fantastic and it only solidified the fact that we use awesome software. My presentation was a lot to soak in, so I’m following up with some additional resources, my slides and most importantly - our EE config setup (as promised).

on April 20, 3118 - by Erik Reagan

Branding an Attorney

Editor’s note: Matt Yow is the newest member of the Focus Lab team. He lives for design and is constantly expanding on his knowledge and design skills. He loves his morning Coffee, tweeting what’s on his mind, and sharing his work on dribbble. Stay tuned for more interesting articles by Mr. Yow and the Focus Lab team.

on April 20, 8800 - by Matt Yow

Branding Run26Two

We were approached a few months back about working with a local startup to create a logo/branding package for their new venture called Run26Two. They knew they were onto a good idea and also understood that branding was crucial to the overall foundation of the company. I can honestly say there is nothing we like more than starting from scratch with just a name and some small initial direction from the client. The freedom of running loose with your creativity allows for maximum exploration and ultimately helps leads to a successful final product. We were able to have a very open dialogue with the client throughout the entire process and this was crucial to our success.

on September 28, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Help shape my EECI2011 presentation

In two months I will be speaking at EECI 2011 along with some really awesome people. I have more notes compiled than I can share in the small amount of time we will have together. That in mind, I would like you to help shape the presentation by filling out a brief survey. Care to join me?

on August 23, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

What the Fluff

At what point did design take a turn from the clear and effective treatments that we saw in the modernist movement and turn into a mass-production of technology-reliant solutions full of gradients, bevels and unlimited fluff? Attention to detail has become attention to 35 different layer effects, and such reliance on software tricks is not good for our industry. As designers, it is our duty to create unique and effective visual solutions for our clients. To accomplish this we must constantly remind ourselves of the key framework within which we create, and carefully add new skills and thought processes upon that foundation.

on June 28, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Utilizing the Template Debugger in ExpressionEngine Add-ons

I like debugging. It’s weird, I know. Say what you want but I like hunting down bugs and squashing them flat. (The natural exception, of course, is debugging Internet Explorer issues.) Today I want to share a tiny bit of code that can help you and your add-on users in debugging templates.

on June 16, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Branding Fitzhugh

One of our recent projects was to create a brand for a local colleague named Fitz Haile. He recently started his own company specializing in the areas of web development and social media technology. This branding post will cover the process of how we started without a company name and transitioned through the design phases to create a cohesive brand for him to build his company around.

on April 20, 8006 - by Bill Kenney

Branding a Coffee Roaster

I must confess: I love coffee. In a way that may border on unhealthy, I meticulously choose the brew that will appear in my cup every morning. I enjoy learning about the roasting process, where the beans come from and the myriad other factors that make a good cup of coffee. When James Spano, owner of Cup to Cup Coffee Roasters in Savannah, approached us about redesigning his packaging label, I was thrilled to head up the project. James provides the beans for our morning brew at ThincSavannah (where the Focus Lab headquarters is located), so I was very familiar with his product. I would learn over the span of a couple months that he shares my obsession with coffee, which shows in the beans he sells, and needed to be reflected in the new design.

on April 20, 7600 - by Billy Steele

The ABC’s of EE Add-on Development

Are you trying to get into add-on development for ExpressionEngine? For those who are, I thought it might be handy to come up with a list of tools or concepts you’ll need to be familiar with when approaching add-ons. Some of these items are specific to EE while others are more general to PHP or CodeIgniter. The list will be delivered in a series of posts in which we will encourage you to look at the new terms and post any thoughts or followup questions in the comments.

on May 17, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Anniversary Giveathon

This past May 1st marked [what we consider] our full year all up in this business thang. We like to celebrate things here at Focus Lab, LLC. If you’ve ever celebrated anything yourself, you know it’s always more fun when other people are involved. That’s where you come in. We want to give away some free stuff. And we want to give it to you!

on May 10, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

We need help

We need help. Not the kind where you call someone because you’re worried about us. The kind where we have awesome projects and you want to be a part of them. Read along and see if you think that might be you.

on May 9, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

A new look for Barcamp

We are at it again. Another branding project is in the books and we wanted to share the process. We were very excited to work on this project for the 1st annual Barcamp in Savannah, Georgia. Enjoy the read we’d love to hear your thoughts when you finish in the comments.

on May 2, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Measuring your glass

I recently came across a blog post by a colleague named David Bushell. His post titled “Design and Enjoy it” explores the dynamic we all face as designers in the vast world of talent, critique and accomplishment. In it, he talks about the roller coaster of creative acceptance, critique of your work and remaining positive throughout the process. After reading the post I was inspired to build off of his thoughts and inject some of my own.

on April 26, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Code sharing to come

One of the goals for having a company blog is to share some code snippets that we come across or write that might be useful to others or worthy of discussion. To kick off this category in the Focus Lab blog I thought it’d be fun to share some song in code. My fellow nerds can probably appreciate this.

on April 18, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Branding a Laundromat

Recently, we had the pleasure of taking on a branding project for the Savannah Soap Co., a unique laundromat here in Savannah. Branding a laundromat proved to be a unique and interesting task that provided challenges and opportunities for our creative expression. In this post I wanted to document all the the steps of the project including thought processes, version creation, color and final applications. Enjoy!

on April 15, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

What day is it?

It’s that time of year again. Fake engagement, breakup and pregnancy announcements galore on blogs and Facebook walls. Elaborate Google pranks and more. It’s April Fool’s day. I often enjoy seeing the creativity going into projects for days like this so I thought I’d share some of my favorites from today. It’s currently 10:30 a.m EST so I may update the post throughout the day.

on April 1, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Documenting EE Projects

Documentation is one of those things of which you don’t appreciate the value until you absolutely need the document itself. I think of it as a type of insurance to web projects; it’s the type of insurance you know you’ll need someday but you don’t necessarily want to invest in up front. Documentation is a form of risk management.

on March 1, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Our New Facelift

Now that we’re settled into our fancy new website I wanted to take some time to share our experience of branding Focus Lab, LLC. Branding is a term used in a number of ways but today we’re just going to look at our logo and our colors. Call me crazy because we moved into our new office with a new name and new look, but I decided to change it again. Here I will break down the process of why this decision was made, how we moved through the design process and where we are now.

on February 21, 2011 - by Bill Kenney

Troubleshooting ExpressionEngine

How many times have you been working on a site and poof! something doesn’t work the way you expected? For most developers this is just part of the process. There are some common ways to debug issues that are built right into ExpressionEngine. You just need to know how to use them. There are other things that aren’t necessarily tools but rather features that might be missed causing errors. Let’s dive in.

on February 10, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Importance of Curiousity & Exploration

I posted a link a while back, on my personal blog, to this post from Blaine Hogan on The Art of Curiosity. He speaks of how people he knows in their 20s that are no longer curious. He also talks about how the inability to stay curious will kill the process of creating any new work. Exploration is the key to a greater understanding of, and betterment of, just about anything. Relationships, work, hobbies, etc. can all be enhanced through our ability to remain curious.

on February 7, 2011 - by Billy Steele

Leafy Came to Visit

This may come as a surprise to some - but our favorite online invoicing software, Freshbooks, has an official mascot. His name is Leafy (seen above) and he paid us a visit last year. His trip was short but sweet. We did our best to play host and tried to do our city of Savannah justice by showing Leafy around to some cool spots.

on February 4, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Partnership with Train-ee

Focus Lab, LLC is proud to announce a partnership with Train-ee.com. We have been working with Mike Boyink to develop and offer an Advanced course alongside his already excellent Beginner to Intermediate classroom training for ExpressionEngine. The class aims to give students a deep understanding of how ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter work in the background of an EE site. Students will also learn to plan, build, test and deliver their own add-ons for ExpressionEngine. For more details about our first class check out the advanced class page on Train-ee.com.

on February 3, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

Manifesto

Hey there, and welcome to our humble abode on the interwebs. We’re glad you’ve decided to take a look at our shiny, new website. With our new site launch I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce Focus Lab, LLC and tell you a bit about who we are and how we got here.

on January 25, 2011 - by Erik Reagan

That’s all, folk. Go buy a book. :)