It’s been quite some time since my last “real” entry. I’ve been meaning to post some videos of the gig I played last Saturday, and also some funny stuff from me and Cheryl’s trip to Dallas (I rode a Segway!). But I’ve been so busy with life, serving the Church, and also with work. I figured, since work is at the forefront right now, and since I just finished a project I’ve been working on for a while, I’d write something about that.
The Immaculate Conception Chapel here at Seton Hall has been around since the 1800s. It’s old and beautiful. It just went through a major renovation, that took place over the past year, and so they requested a rennovation of their site, to accompany the renovation of the Chapel.
Here’s where things got a little tricky. The original site was pretty much empty, and the only direction was, “I like the color and the things going down the side.” So since there was basically carte blanche, I gave myself way too many options. It took almost 2 weeks to arrive at what I should’ve finished in 2 days! I figured I’d share the old mockups with you, a’la Rich Tu style, to show the amusement of the design process.
I didn’t design this. Someone, somewhere, a long time ago, made this site. Since then, it’s been updated by a priest and is actually very up to date.
You can see here that I was really going for a more modern, retro feel while keeping the elements of the original site. I started fooling around with keeping the sidebar and using it as a border for the header. And since Our Lady of Guadalupe is a sort of pop culture icon these days, I was trying to make that the centerpiece.
Believe it or not, I went back and forth on this one for a couple of days. And after the 2nd or 3rd day I stopped and said to myself, Ok, where is this going? It was starting to look like a bad postcard. So I was like ok screw it, and just completely started a new version.
Now this was definitely a swing and a miss. Usually I’ll start something and it’ll be garbage at first, but I’ll tell myself to keep working at it, and eventually it’ll turn into something really nice. This was not one of those times.
Again, I stopped and was like, Wow this is really ugly. Then I called in the rest of my coworkers and they stood around it and were like, Yea it’s really ugly. Mind you, this was after about a week (including time spent on the 1st mockup). So I took a break from it again and started working on some other projects. The next day I caught a bolt of inspiration and it lead to…
Ok, first lemme explain. You ever seen those backgrounds that come standard with Windows XP? There’s this one called Da Vinci. It’s basically a wallpaper with the same brown color as the page, with some sketches of his inventions in brown. I saw it the other day and I thought, Hey, that would be perfect to recreate in Illustrator, with the chapel being the sketch. So I went through the whole process in Illustrator, turned out the sketch, slapped it on a page in Photoshop, and took a look.
Fail. This looks like a church bulletin gone wrong.
Finally, I got it right. I kept the same imagery as the original site, and found a brush that was similar to the border that they liked. Then I made a little gradient mask out of the brush, so it was visible, but not intrusive like the original border. I learned that technique from my good buddy and print design guru Tim Chavez.
So my boss and coworkers really liked it. This final design held up to the ‘everyone stand around my monitor’ test. Tomorrow I’m presenting it to the priest who is in charge of the site. Now, let’s hope Father likes it, or else its on to Mockup #5!