Creating R2 meant creating a community of people that were there to help other people trying to make their ideas, concepts and dreams a reality. I have been friends with Chelsea Carter since the first day of middle school and we are in an everlasting friendship. Chelsea is the type of person who does what she is passionate about and has contributed more to the artistic and performing arts community than I have. Not only does she work full time as a dance instructor, but she also has a band: Jane of Arc.
Today, they released their first full-length album and I could not be more proud of Chelsea.
Chelsea first brought me into the Jane of Arc collaboration late summer 2013 to design an emblem for them. We sat on my wrap around front porch, light fading in the distance and she descirbed to me what she wanted and I was able to design it right then and there. (Disclosure: this is not always the case – it was quite amazing though!)
We then started collaborating on a website. She knew the style she wanted and I went to work. I built the Jane of Arc website on the WordPress platform using the Muse theme. Certain elements of the theme were customized for Jane of Arc and styling and initial slideshow design was done by R2. Because Chelsea was able to convey her vision for the website so clearly and with passion, delivery was quick.
From the onset I knew they would be handing all further updates on the site, Jane of Arc band-mate Elida Quesada has an extensive tech background and has since grown the website to what it is today – BEAUTIFUL. I don’t gush much, but just go through their slideshow, that is all Elida (+ the incredible artist who created the JOA “Freedom in Falling” album artwork).
We could not be more happy for Chelsea, Elida and everyone involved in making the Jane of Arc album – congrats & cheers!
Created by the design guru’s over at Paper Leaf, this Quick Reference Guide to Elements of Design is great for designers or someone who wants to know the foundational elements of design. This is something we show clients who want a more in-depth look at the core of their design.
Even with a decade of experience in design, we love this cheat sheet/poster/guide and think you will too.
Click the picture to download for your own use, it’s free to use, just don’t pass it off as your own!
We recently read an article from Portland-based web design studio, 420 Creative, about what top construction websites have in common and are excited to say that what we did for one of our clients, MDG Enterprises, a commercial contracting firm, hit every mark. Here is a breakdown of the seven common items 420 Creative highlighted in their article and how we at R2 applied them to MDG’s website.
1. Professional Web Design & Development
R2 uses the WordPress platform to build our websites because it offers incredible flexibility in design, features, is very customizable and has a huge open-source network of genius developers. Having the ability to build from theme’s allows for the foundational elements of a website to already be tested and allows us to spend our time and resources tailoring the site to exactly what our clients need. Overall style and giving MDG’s content a clean and contemporary look was paramount, highlighting media and the most important thing to their business: the high-quality and scale of work MDG is capable of performing.
2. Professional Copywriting
R2’s Managing Partner and Creative Director, Dustin Rourke, is an award-winning photographer, layout designer and copy editor from the Michigan and Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s. For MDG, we worked directly with the Vice President on the copy needed for the site. MDG was extremely particular about what needed to be said and where it needed to be placed, we then took and edited all of the copy so that it read easily and was targeted to potential clients, sub contractors and professionals seeking employment.
3. Professional Photography
R2 offers professional photography services, but luckily MDG has a semi-professional photographer on staff as a Project Manager who took stunning images that creatively showcase the scale and scope of work MDG performs.
4. Business & Site Goals
When evaluating new and potential projects, R2 always takes a personal approach. MDG Enterprises was an important project for us, because we believe that the construction industry was one of the fastest to adapt to the web, but slowest to update from Web 1.0. That being said, we used MDG as a case study to better target the construction industry and show them how a website can be an incredible tool to expand their business.
Site Engine Optimization (SEO) is how people find you on the web. All of our websites are SEO optimized and utilize key words and meta tags to ensure that people are finding you on the web. For MDG, the SEO is targeted to allow for further expansion as a nationwide carpentry contractor. We also find it extremely important to utilize Google’s incredible analytic and business listing tools.
6. Service Pages
An extremely important part of any website is that it is search engine friendly, as well as readable. MDG’s services are highlighted in multiple sections throughout their site, while the “Services” page offers a little more in-depth look into where MDG currently has projects and what services they offer.
7. Site Features
Project/Photo Gallery – R2 went above just a project/photo gallery for MDG, we also incorporated a customizable slideshow for the home page that shows off the projects. The “Project” pages for MDG feature large images in a simple slideshow that can be opened in a lightbox. There is also an area to give the scope of work and highlight project information.
Clear Calls to Action – MDG is always looking for qualified professionals and new clients, so we utilized multiple calls to action depending on what they viewer is looking for. This allows the site to be versatile depending on what purpose it is being viewed for and for someone to find exactly what they are looking for in just a few clicks.
Easily Accesible Contact Information – Contact information on the MDG website is easy to find depending on the purpose. For someone who knows who in the company they need to contact, they have direct access to emails and phone numbers, but for someone who just needs general information or inquiries, they can submit their request via a form that is sent to MDG.
Simple, yet eloquent. Tasteful. Spot on. This font says it all without having to lift a finger. It has a natural design element that allows for stand-alone text to look like it was strategically manipulated to look just that way. Turn all of your documents into documents that demand attention, just through the use of Didot. My resume is all Didot, and when I can spice things up at work by straying away from Verdana, Didot is my go to man. And as surprising as this may be, Didot is simply a standard font that comes installed in Microsoft. Am I tad infatuated with this font, yes, but there’s no shame. I enjoy the little pleasures beautiful fonts offer.
Stop what you are doing right now and put “the WAR of ART” at the top of your ‘books to read’ list. In fact, I’m not over exaggerating in the least bit when I say: Go out and buy this book right now. For all of us who need that helpful reminder – or kick in the ass, as the cover so matter-of-factly states, this is the book to do just that. There are a million different reasons for procrastination, or resistance, in Pressfield’s words – but let’s make a toast right here, right now: Here’s to today being the last day we let resistance get in the way of our dreams, ambitions, goals, plans, desires, objectives and passions. Today, let’s start writing book number one, let’s go back to school, let’s learn how to play guitar or start a business… because we’ve already let so much time pass us by.
Oh, and go pick up “the WAR of ART.” You’ll read it in a single day, and be so thankful you did. BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON!
By all means, if a client truly, 100%, has a deep down love of Comic Sans, we at R2 would
certainly possibly use this font. However, as a designer, I loathe this over used type. There is a difference between classic fonts and this circus act. Plus, you can now replace Comic Sans with a lot of free (much better looking) fonts!
Courtney Michalik, from Ann Arbor, Michigan photographs marine life in San Francisco, California. Seafood 2048 is an ongoing project that showcases the potential crash of commercial fish and seafood species. Scientists have researched that at this current rate, marine ecosystems will crash by 2048. Courtney is pushing for change to raise awareness in order to save these ecosystems. To follow this project, among others, visit her website at courtneymichalik.com
ON A TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY DANIEL COLLOPY FOUND HIS SUBJECT
Exploring the city, Daniel started to hone in on Bikes and began to capture them everywhere he went.
Finding himself in Brooklyn, he photographed bikes in motion, on the street, chained to a light post or in a rack.
Each bike has their own personality and finds itself bound, moving only when it’s of use.
Daniel is a prolific creative mind, visit his website.
This is the first post by R2 Creative Studio. We want this blog to be a reflection of who we are and what we love. Whether it be good design, one of our local businesses, a product that caught our eye or a piece of artwork – this blog is a place to share who we are personally and the things that shape our point of view.
We are a creative collaborative of young professionals working to have our own slice in the world – there is a passion that we share for aesthetically pleasing and functional design. Our approach is also different because it’s personal for us. We are excited for what’s to come and are always looking forward. Check out our portfolio, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog!