Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dear New Employee

Welcome on your first day. Here is some information that will help you be a productive member of your new team.

You will be issued a security badge at some point in the future, but for now you need to sign in as a guest. You’ll be given a temporary badge that doesn’t do anything at all, so if you need to walk outside any of the electronically-locking doors on your floor, you’re not getting back in. Fortunately you have access to the bathrooms and kitchen, but if you need to use the stairs or elevators to go to any other floor, or if you want to go out of the building at lunchtime, you’re going to need an escort to get you back in. Sometime in the afternoon we may issue you a proper security badge. Don’t hold your breath.

If you’re lucky you’ll be on one of the floors which feature putty-colored 1990s industrial design reject desks and partitions. These are a step up from those horrifying fuzzy-walled cubicles in most offices, but let’s not let our imaginations get away from us and assume you’ll find the sort of quality furniture you expect to see in high tech firms at their pinnacle.

Notice how the fluorescent lighting and the putty furniture conspire to cast a lovely grayellow shade on everything around you? That is, of course, unless you are one of the few who is allowed to sit near a window, in which case the company cannot be held responsible for any negative reaction you may have to natural light. If you would like a lamp on your desk, please imagine how little we care.

When you arrive at your new desk you will observe that the top of of it is filthy, like it hasn’t been cleaned in years. This is because it hasn’t. The cleaning crew vacuums the hallways once a week (but not the floor of your workstation area), empties the garbage cans and recycling bins at every desk, and that’s about it. If you want your “new” desk to be clean, you have to go hunt for something to clean it with (it’s not like anybody’s going to supply you with cleaning equipment, or tell you where you might find some).

The phone on your desk might be plugged in. Might not. Just consider yourself lucky to have one. You can plug it in yourself, of course, but it might insist on telling you that it’s eight and-a-half hours ago and display nothing but a big red light and “Extension in use” at you. This is helpful, since you don’t know what your extension is anyway. At least you won’t have to touch the phone’s keypad, which has so much filthy scum on it, the once-gray buttons are now brown. You should probably just avoid looking too closely at the receiver, as the microscopic colony of beings that has been growing there for several months may not like being disturbed.

There will be no computer on your desk. Tough it out.

When the tech rolls his cart up to your desk sometime on your second day, you might feel a surge of hope. This emotion will be dashed to pieces when he informs you that the Mac Pro he’s bringing you has 3 GB of RAM, almost one quarter of what you’re used to working with, and a bare minimum to run crucial work apps in any useable way. The stock 19-inch monitor he’ll bring you is the default given to any employee, and they are required to bring it to you regardless of whether your manager’s hardware request specified a 24-inch monitor. It will require intervention from a higher authority — your manager or perhaps a lesser demigod — to persuade the tech to fulfill the original monitor request. Meantime, he will dutifully hook up your computer to the 19-inch, boot up, and walk away with a vague promise to “look for” another monitor.

A moment later, when the login screen appears, you’ll no doubt realize he didn’t actually give you a login or password yet, so there’s no way to actually use your computer. Should you wish to remedy this, please open a Help Desk ticket. What’s that? You can’t use your computer? Try calling IT. What? No phone? Send IT an email. What? No computer? Why did we hire you if you can’t do the most menial tasks?

By the morning of your third day you might get some software installed on your computer so you can actually do work. You’d better bring a laptop for a while, so you can actually get some things done.

Don’t expect to have access to any local servers or have an email account for a while. We’ll give you a company email address when we’re good and ready, pal. It might take two and a half days, but when it finally works, it’s glorious. You get to use Microsoft Entourage!

Once you are finally able to use your computer, you can do many fancy things with it (but not email yet). You can browse the internet. You can browse the employee intranets. You can look with awe and wonder at thousands of internal documents that are years out of date and totally and completely inaccurate.

When you look yourself up in the online employee directory, the workstation number listed for you will be at least one digit off, so no one will be able to locate you. This is handy should you be in the Witness Protection Program, but not very helpful if you are waiting for someone to, for example, come fix your phone. It would be easy enough if the workstations were laid out and numbered in a logical numeric order, because then one could assume that workstation #1163 would be next to workstation #1162, but if you squint very intently at the miniscule text on the floor map on the wall in the most darkened corridor, you’ll notice that the numbers were apportioned by a patient in a mental hospital.

Trying to see if you can fix the workstation number yourself, you’ll notice that the intranet lets you log in with your name and password, but then welcomes you with the message “Hello (none) (none),” and half the pages complain you must be logged in to view them, even if it indicates you are already logged in.

Opening a help desk ticket for this will be an interesting intelligence test, as the help desk tool appears to have no way to actually create a ticket. You’ll puzzle over this for several minutes, reading and re-reading everything on the screen, before giving up and asking your manager what you’re missing, and hoping it’s not your sanity. They’ll log in to the help desk on their own computer, wondering if they made a terrible mistake hiring you, and you’ll see a menu on the left side that you’re certain did not appear on your own screen. Back at your desk, you’ll confirm that the necessary menu isn’t there, and that your sanity is indeed intact. Several minutes later it will dawn on you that the problem is a simple one that should have occurred to you: The help desk tool doesn’t work properly in Firefox.

Getting your computer to recognize one of the nearby printers is a mysterious black art that has been lost to the mists of time. Should you need to print something on paper, you might want to weigh the efficiency of drawing it in full color by hand versus the time you will spend figuring out the Mac’s printing dialogs and walking back and forth to various printers on your floor to see if anything is happening. It’s best to look at it as good physical exercise. To connect your computer to a printer, you are expected to know the difference between Line Printer Daemon, IP printing, IPP printing, Windows, AppleTalk, Bluetooth and Bonjour printing, plus you’re expected to know how to find the IP address of the printer you want to connect to, as well as various other obscure settings. If you actually are able to print a document you will be branded a witch and may be burned at the stake.

On the afternoon of your fourth day a new phone will be delivered to you. Following the instructions that were emailed to you earlier will allow you to activate the phone. Good thing you can finally access your email account.

By the end of the week, if you’re particularly industrious, you may have:

• Scrounged a chair from an empty desk somewhere else in the building.
• Played with the phone long enough to realize it’s pointless (wasting an hour or so).
• Poked through cabinets in dark conference rooms until you found a stray network cable, so you could actually plug your laptop in and get a little work started.
• Figured out how to log in to your finally-delievered desktop computer.
• Liberated a decent mouse from another empty desk.
• Downloaded Firefox and customized it with proper settings and a bare minimum of add-ons to get some professional work started.
• Set up your Photoshop workspace, keyboard shortcuts, and preferences twice (doing it the first time surely caused the computer gods to notice that you were likely to get some actual work done soon, so they sent your computer into a kernal panic that promptly wiped out half your customizations).
• Scrounged a desk lamp from someone who wasn’t using theirs anymore and said you could have it.
Downloaded and installed enough applications to remedially customize your computer enough to actually be productive.
• Spent some time trying to comprehend some of the absurdities of corporate logic.
• Completed about five hours of actual work.


• The coffee’s better than it used to be.
• Biking to and from work is the best part of the day.
• It was nice to see a few people again who I really like here.
• Learned the nice Security lady’s name is Lucia.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Last day at CNET

Friday was my last day at CNET Networks.

When I woke my computer at work on Friday morning, Entourage had popped one of its helpful event reminders up on the screen for me (Entourage is Microsoft's Mac version of Outlook, for you PC people).

I thought the choice of wording was somewhat ironic. It had marked it "Overdue" since the event was scheduled in the calendar to begin at 9 am, and didn't arrive until later in the morning.

Anyway, it was a somewhat melancholy day. I was at the same time sad to be leaving and also excited that I'd soon be able to take advantage of the "time off" to work on my own projects.

I walked around the six floors of the building saying goodbye to various people I'd worked with over the past 3+ years. I had a last coffee with my coworker Anne, signed all the official severance paperwork, and then I handed in my badge to security and walked around the corner to the pub where I'd invited everybody for happy hour.

I learned a great deal and worked with some spectacularly smart and talented people there, and those things I will miss. Of course, no place is perfect and there were plenty of things I won't miss. But mostly I'll miss the great people I worked with and the great work we did.

Oh well, I suppose it's just time to do some of my own great work now.

But I'm-a takin' a couple weeks off first ; )

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Friday, November 02, 2007


Last week I returned to the office from a web design conference to learn that Webshots had been sold by CNET Networks to American Greetings Interactive.

I really didn't see this coming, so it was a slight shock to learn that my job was ending. I'll remain here through the end of January as part of a transition team that will ensure assets and knowledge get appropriately transferred to the new owners. But a few of my colleagues got two weeks notice, which was a bummer to say the least. There are severance packages and whatnot, but that only goes so far when you're suddenly out of job.

The Webshots purchase is probably a very good move for American Greetings Interactive, and maybe it's a good move for CNET Networks too. But it doesn't lessen my bad feelings that we won't be able to finish all of the projects we had planned.

That said, I'm proud of (most) of the work I've done at Webshots, I've learned a lot and worked with some great people.

So now I'm faced with the prospect of trying to figure out what to do next. There are a lot of options, among them (in no particular order):
  • Finish the transition here, then take some time off to consider my next career move
  • Go freelance again
  • Join a startup
  • Join a design firm that I respect
  • Start some other kind of company (I have a few ideas)
  • Dabble in side projects
  • Write a book or two
  • Stay at CNET Networks, at some other business unit
  • Join one of the other up-and-coming social sites, or *gasp* even a big company
  • Join some other sort of tech company
  • Go back to the nonprofit world *double-gasp*
...and others.

Now I just gotta figure out which one I really want to do. It's going to be an interesting winter.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

CNET finally shows some love for the Mac

CNET Networks has acquired the TechTracker Network, comprising the sites,,, and a few ancillary domains.

This marks a significant shift for CNET's tech offerings, since the majority of TechTracker's visitors are Mac users.

While CNET has covered Apple a lot on and, their Reviews section has historically been so-so at best with regard to Mac hardware, and's Mac software offerings have always been pretty lackluster compared to the competition. This acquisition could mark a turning point.

The announcement of the acquisition has garnered a lot of negative comments regarding CNET on the VersionTracker Blog. It's a little sad to see how much general ill-will the commenters have for CNET. More sad, however, is that the majority of the commenters are critically misinformed. *sigh* Either way, it looks like CNET has a long way to go to fix a reputation in the Mac market.

"The Macintosh may only have 10% of the market, but it is clearly the top 10%."
– Douglas Adams

UPDATE: I just noticed that TechTracker also has a little site called, created "to institute and promote sustainable practices and reduce TechTracker’s overall energy imprint." I hope it will survive the changes the CNET purchase will bring.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Small world

I'm wearing my Cicero's Pizza T-shirt today at work and I had three people in the space of about two hours say they knew Cicero's. Pretty funny, considering A) I've worn this shirt at work many times and that's never happened even once, and B) Cicero's is like 50 miles from here.

Turns out they all grew up down in the same are where I did and all knew this Cupertino institution.

But it gets weirder... It turns out that one of the coworkers who knew Cicero's is married to a guy I went to grade school with! Totally small world. Or at least a small Bay Area.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Webby Awards

Webshots was named an Official Honoree in the category of "Best Visual Design – Function" in the 11th Annual Webby Awards.

I'm not exactly sure what an Official Honoree is, but the site says...

"As a result of the superior quantity and quality of sites entered, the 11th Annual Webby Awards recognized sites and teams that demonstrated a standard of excellence."

"Of the more than 8,000 entries submitted to the 11th Annual Webby Awards, fewer than 15% were distinguished as an Official Honoree. This honor signifies an outstanding caliber of work. Congratulations to all of our Official Honoree selections!"

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Know your potential client

Doing freelance design for 20 years has enabled me to hone my client selection skills over time.

What does that mean? It means knowing how to spot whether a potential new client will be easy to work with or hard to work with.

When you're starting out as a freelancer you're often living month to month and it seems like you can't possibly turn any paying client away. But trust me, one of the best things I've done in my career is to hone my skills at determining what kind of client each new referral will be. It has saved me a lot of headaches over the years.

Of course, you don't always know if that person is going to be a micromanaging meddler, or a waffling mind-changer, or any of the other 379 types of clients, but with attention and experience you can learn how to get it mostly right most of the time, and pick clients who will both help you pay your bills and not drive you completely insane.

Perusing the stories at made me think of this one time recently, though, that I slipped up and didn't let the signals and flags alert me to the fact that I had an asshat for a client.

About two and a half years ago, I had decided to take the plunge and look for a "real" job with a "real" company and to stop freelancing. I was sending out my résumé to lots of places and going on interviews and all that stuff. I applied for a Senior Designer or Art Director or something position at this interactive design firm in San Francisco that I'd never heard of, but they called me for an interview, and I drove up to meet them.

I'd looked at this company's site and the work was alright, but I wasn't all that impressed. However, it was a potential job. I was living off a couple small contracts and tiny side projects but was spending most of my time looking for full-time employment and working on my woefully outdated portfolio, so money was going to run out in a few months and I figured I'd better go to any interview that came along.

I probably should have been more selective and maybe put more weight into the fact that their site was not that impressive. Their client list was, however, so I decided what the hell.

I met with the CEO and we had a good interview and I thought it was going well. We talked about my online portfolio a bit and then he asked me for the URL again and I spelled it out for him as he typed it on his keyboard. He was using a Mac, I don't remember what model or anything, but I recall he had a rather old Apple large-screen CRT. I didn't think much about this at the time, until he said my site wasn't displaying right and I came around the side of his desk to see what the trouble was.

For starters, he was using System 9. By this time, System 9 was pretty much an antique OS, so I was a little surprised to say the least. The following flashed through my mind: "WTF is this CEO of an international design company doing using System 9?" but I was in the middle of an interview and didn't want to get distracted by what my mind was saying to me. Mistake #1.

Oh, did I mention that he was also using Internet Explorer on System 9? Okay, 'nuff said.

So the interview continues, I show him some of my print stuff and he likes it, but he says he's not quite ready to hire someone, he's got a few candidates he's considering, including me, and he kind of apologetically asks me if I'd do a contract job for him to sort of test the waters. Five hundred bucks or something, to do one design with three page mockups for one of his clients that needs a website redesign.

I thought this was actually a great idea, because I would get to test the waters too. And while I ordinarily would charge somewhere between $3,000 and $30,000 for such a project, he wasn't actually expecting all the research and associated work I'd normally do, just some quick mockups and only a single design. Plus it was a bit of cash, and I wasn't in a position to say no to any cash, no matter how little. Mistake #2.

He was probably having a couple of his other interviewees do the same thing; then he'd have three or four design directions to present to his client, and he'd only have to pay $1,500 or $2,000 to do them. Ordinarily, I'd frown on this sort of thing, but I made a compromise in this case, thinking, hey it might lead to a job. Mistake #3.

It turned out the client was one of the world's biggest manufacturers of Flash memory, but they had a totally non-impressive website considering this status. So I headed home, reviewed their site, and with basically no direction and no assets, I created three really good page designs. I delivered them via email to the design firm, and they really liked them, and told me they'd get back to me in a few days, after their meeting with the client.

I uploaded a tiny screenshot of the homepage mockup to my blog and wrote a brief post about it. I sent my bill to the design firm and went back to sending out résumés and working on my online portfolio.

A week or two later I get this angry email from the design firm's CEO, saying that "somehow" the client had come across my post on my blog, and they were angry and it was unprofessional of me to post it and implying that the client was threatening to sue him and demanding that I take it down right away. And oh, by the way, we haven't gotten your bill yet, can you send that right away? Thanks.

First off, I'm thinking, "They 'somehow' came across it? Have you ever heard of a keyword alert, dumbass? Like Google Alerts?"

Then I'm thinking, what exactly is this company worried about? I put a homepage design on the web. A homepage design. Not a product schematic. Not the plans for a nuclear device. Not their patents for the past ten years.

The homepage mockup contains absolutely no sensitive information. In fact it only contains text that's on their currently live homepage! Plus some improved copy that I wrote. And their logo. And a photo. A photo that I had to get from my collection, you asshats who didn't give me anything to work with.

I reread the email and I realized that he'd mentioned that my post was "insulting as hell," which must've been because I slandered them oh so mightily by describing the client as "the market leader in Flash memory, although you wouldn't believe it from their current website".

Which was, um, true. Their site was really bad. This was a multi-billion dollar international company. And their site barely functioned. Not just ugly. Barely worked.

I imagined the scenario that set this guy off. He's sitting in his office, in front of Internet Explorer running on System 9, and the client calls him up and says, "Who the hell is this designer writing about our company and our website all over the Internet and putting up the mockup you just showed us last Tuesday?!"

And the design firm CEO guy can only say, "Huh? I have no idea what you're talking about! What? Where? On a blog? What blog? How do I get to a blog? Can I see it on my Internet Explorer?"

And he goes and (with some difficulty, I'm guessing — probably by following a link in an email sent by the client, and certainly not by doing a search to find it, or, y'know, actually knowing I had a blog in the first place) finds my post, and reads it, and sees the tiny little mockup there, and fires off this angry email at me because he felt like a complete dope for being embarrassed in front of his client.

Which I can understand. I'd be embarrassed too.

But I mean, c'mon. Let's not overreact here.

A) I put up a tiny mockup. That I designed. For starters, that entire design, with the exception of the client's logo in the corner, is owned by me under U.S. copyright law until I get paid for it, buster. Which you haven't done yet. You are a professional in the graphic design industry, are you not? You do understand copyright law, do you not? Asshat?

B) My post was insulting? As hell? What, by implying that a huge company such as your client should by all accounts have a very professional website and it's surprising that they don't? Well excuse the hell out of me for being honest. I can see how they'd be rightfully ashamed, but insulted? Methinks you need to examine your emotions a little bit more closely, friends.

C) What exactly were you angriest about? That you looked like a fool in front of your client because you'd hired some contractor to do your work for you? Or that you looked like a fool in front of the client when you didn't know that it's pretty common for designers these days to actually have a blog, and *gasp* even discuss their work on their blogs! Or was it that you were embarrassed that you hadn't asked me to sign any sort of nondisclosure agreement or even implied in any way that this homepage mockup design was some ultra-secret project that had to be kept from the world at all costs?

Look pal, I could understand them and you being upset if I'd posted something important, but it's a damn homepage with a couple paragraphs of marketingese on it. Get a grip.

(Mistake #4: Not realizing that a guy who uses Internet Explorer on System 9 is probably a few years out of touch with the way the design community — and in fact, the world — operates these days. It's about transparency, pal. It's about sharing, and community, and writing about what you do.)

Okay, so I took the screenshot down, and I deleted the client's name from the post, but I'd be damned if I was going to censor my own (truthful) post. At that point, job be damned, it was pretty evident that I didn't want to work for this asshat if this was the way he did business.

Luckily, I never had to work with him again. Although it was many months before I finally got my measly $500 out of him.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday top 5
This is why it could sometimes be verrrry frustrating working at a certain other place I used to work at, with a few certain other people I used to work with. It's also why I really like working at CNET. You almost never hear these sorts of things from your co-workers here.

So what really is in a McDonald's Chicken McNugget?

Funny test answers

Spotted dick
This is a real food product. You can get it at Safeway.

Cock soup
Oh my, it keeps getting better, doesn't it?

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mark Bult Design master client list

I’ve been in business for 21 years (or more, depending on how you look at it), and I’ve had a lot of clients over those years. I think this list is pretty accurate, but every once in a while I come across some really old file on an archive disk that reminds me of yet another small company I worked with 15 years ago or something.

I’ve been trying to categorize the list, but I’m not sure these categories make the most sense. I may have to revise them soon.

Arts & Entertainment (Art, Design, Film, Photo, Music, & Dance)

African Odyssey
Alice in Chains
AML Rehearsal Studios
Atlantic Records
Big House
Cactus Club
California Concerts
Caroline Records
Columbia Records
Diane Choplin, photographer
The Dandy Warhols
Elektra Records
EMI Records
Enigma Records
Friday Night Films
Funky Junction
Gargoyle Records
Gilbert Zapp’s
Golden Poppy Productions
Graphic Artists Guild
Green Blues
J.D. Wolfe Productions
Island Records
Chris Kinney, photographer
Dave Lepori, photographer
Magellan & Co.
Main Event
Mark Ritch / Mark’s Art
Metal Blade Records
Olya Milenkaya, artist
Monét Music Management
Moneytalk Productions
Multiplex Studios
Niles Hard Rock Station
Noise International/BMG
Dave Oneto, photographer
One Step Beyond
Ossum Possum Records
Brad Owen, photographer
Pop Life Studios
Rebeka Jaqua
Shur-Sound & Sight
Sony Pictures
Studio 47
The Stone
The Omni
Thumper Studios
Tony Alves Photography
Vicious Rumors
Warner Bros. Records
World Peace Music Awards
ZZ Top



Communications & Media


Construction & Manufacturing

GI Concrete Construction
Kilgore Electric
Polyethylene Industries
Recycled Lumber Co.

Consulting & Misc.

Carolyn’s Cooking
Castle Consulting
Cavalli & Cribbs
Fenton Communications
Grass Roots Productions
Laura Stec Innovative Cuisine
Learning by Design
Magellan & Co.
Next Generation
Storefront Political Media

Consumer Goods, Furnishings, & Clothes

Ozark Handspun
Procter & Gamble


Crimson Finch Project
De Anza College
Northwestern University
Palo Alto Adult School
Stanford Centennial
Stickney Flight School


African Odyssey
Anne Frank Center
Bay Area Earth Day
Bay to Breakfast
Black & White Ball
Business Environmental Awards
Deep Green Global Training
Earth Circus Productions
Eastern Front Day on the Dirt
Friday Night Films
Funky Junction
Grass Roots Productions
The Great Halloween Pumpkin Carving Massacre
Green Blues
Howling Halloween
Northern California Masters Games
Palo Alto Centennial
Palo Alto Chili Cook-Off
Peninsula Environmental Forum
Rockin’ Relief for Costa Rica
Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards
Stanford Centennial
The Rodney Open
TGIF Fun Run
Western Front Benefit Showcase
Western Front News Party!
Western Front News Springtime Jam
Wine 101
Wine, Women & Shoes
World Peace Music Awards

Food, Health, Medical, Sports, & Fitness

50-Plus Fitness Association
Align Technology, Inc.
Amstel Light
Bay to Breakfast
Blue Heron Health Center
Carolyn's Cooking
Crest Whitestrips
Decathlon Sports Club
Dr. Claire Dupré
Laura Stec Innovative Cuisine
Lotus Healing Arts Center
Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital
Northern California Masters Games
Peninsula Healing Arts Center
Rodney Open
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
Stanford University (Center for Research in Disease Prevention)
Willam T. Watkins DDS
Women’s Outdoor Network

Government & Political

California Secretary of State
Citizens for Alternative Planning, Yes on Measure R
City of Palo Alto
City of Palo Alto Arts & Culture
City of Palo Alto City Manager’s Office
City of Palo Alto Community Services
City of Palo Alto Golf Course
City of Palo Alto Human Resources
City of Palo Alto Junior Museum
City of Palo Alto Parks & Golf
City of Palo Alto Police Department
City of Palo Alto Public Works & Recycling
City of Palo Alto Recreation, Open Space & Sciences
City of Palo Alto Recycling Program
City of Palo Alto Utilities
City of Palo Alto Utilities, Resource Conservation
City of Palo Alto Volunteer Graffiti Management Program
Measure M: Santa Clara County Open Space Initiative
Micki Schneider for Palo Alto City Council
MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District
Palo Alto Centennial
Peter Drekmeier for Palo Alto City Council
Regional Water Quality Control Plant
Santa Clara County Open Space Initiative
Sara Amir for CA State Assembly
Storefront Political Media

Law & Finance

Bank of America
Hanson Bridgett Marcus Vlahos Rudy LLP
Greater Bay Bank
RSF Social Finance
Seiler & Company, LLP


Animal Welfare Institute
Arastradero Preserve Stewardship Project
Bay Area Action
Bay Area Earth Day
Business Environmental Network & Awards
Committee for Green Foothills
Deep Green Global Training
Earth Circus Productions
Eco Kids
El Bosque Pumalin Foundation
Friends of Huddart & Wunderlich Parks
Green Foothills Foundation
GreenTeam Project
Headwaters Forest Coalition
Headwaters Sanctuary Project
MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District
Peninsula Conservation Center
Peninsula Environmental Forum
People for Land and Nature
Rainforest Action Network
ReThink Paper
San Francisquito Watershed Council
Save the Redwoods League
Sierra Club
Silicon Valley EcoCampus
Sustainable Mountain View
Trees Foundation
YEA! (Youth Environmental Action)

Nonprofit, Misc.

50-Plus Fitness Association
African Odyssey
Amnesty International
Animal Welfare Institute
Anne Frank Center
Bay to Breakfast
Congregation Sherith Israel
Direct Action Network
Ginetta Sagan Fund
Graphic Artists Guild
Housing America
Indians for Collective Action
International Committee for the Eritrean Blind
Marin Center for Peace and Justice
Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing
Neighbors Abroad of Palo Alto
Palo Alto Downtown Marketing Committee
Palo Alto Historical Association
Palo Alto Jaycees
Rudolf Steiner Foundation
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
Stevenson House
UAW Local 2865
Vernal Project
The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden
Women’s Outdoor Network
World Peace Music Awards
YMCA of San Francisco

Publishing & Printing

Broken Eagle Press
The Citizen
Columbia Printing
Fellowship of the Blizzard
Metro Newspapers
In Palo Alto
Prodigy Press
Spring Forward Press
USA Today
Western Front News


Bananas At Large
Best Buy
Blue Angel Compact Discs
Buffalo Trading Co.
CD Warehouse
China Girl
Dal Jeets
Hollywood’s Rock, Inc.
Leather Odyssey
Niles Music Corner
South Bay Music Works
Winterland’s Rock Express

American Greetings Interactive
Gazelle Software
Global Automation
Headmaster Repair Inc.
Medical Communication Systems
PC Tools
Sehda Inc.
Sony Ericsson
Software Xcellence
Spider Technologies
Spybot Search & Destroy
Tamarack Associates
Windows Marketplace
YieldUp International

Travel & Hospitality
Garden Court Hotel
Inn at Union Square

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

UrbanBaby 1.5 redesign goes live

Update (May 10, 2008):
Imagine my surprise to see a flood of comments on a single post today. And such lovely comments they are. If only these commenters had paid attention to the date of the original fucking post.

Attention all you infuriated but obviously not very observant people: I am not the current art director for UrbanBaby and the new redesign launched in May 2008 has nothing to do with me.

This was my redesign (over a year ago, in 2007):

This is the new design (not by me):

So, if you hate the new design, not my problem. If you want to offer the folks at UrbanBaby some constructive feedback, I'm sure they'd like to hear it. Constructive.

Original post (February 20, 2007):
UrbanBaby is one of the three sites for which I'm the art director.

We've been working on a redesign for a while and it launched today, but at present it has only resurfaced three pagetypes: the homepage, the local landing pages, and the registration page. Contrast those with the old site design to get an idea of just how outdated this property looked before.

I'm pretty happy with it so far, although there are some significant problems with the CSS not matching the mockups I provided. At least, they're serious to me and anyone aesthetically astute enough to notice them.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

2006 clients

Here's a brief list of clients I need to add to my portfolio page soon. I also want to write up case studies for a couple of these, but that's going to take some time.

Mark & Velma
Mark & Velma's Hitchin' Party
website, invitations, assorted collateral
website redesign
website redesign (in progress)
website redesign (in progress)

People for Land and Nature (PLAN)
Santa Clara County Land Conservation Initiative (Measure A)
campaign materials, logo, stationery

Palo Alto Historical Association
map for "Parks of Palo Alto" booklet

Animal Welfare Institute (with Fenton Communications)
brochure (in progress)

Wine, Women & Shoes (with Virginia Thurston Healing Garden)
event invitation, stationery, and assorted collateral

RSF Social Finance
website redsesign
subscription center page design
10th anniversary T-shirt design, web designs

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Weekly Standards spotlights redesign

The Weekly Standards is a website that features large corporate sites that have been redesigned using web standards. They approached us for an interview-via-email and luckily our new CSS wizard Greg Penhaligon took on the task of writing a full article [Update: The Weekly Standards went down for good, but you can still view this article on] for them. A few of my initial responses to TWS's interview questions are also included as pullquotes (the last paragraph, which begins with "My advice for other designers..." is also a pullquote from me, but they style it incorrectly so it lacks an attribution. I've let them know and it might be fixed by the time you look).

There's been more feedback on the web about the redesign, and I've been collecting links to all the various places where people have commented. I'll post a list soonish.

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