The making of the Stevens Pass anniversary logo, and its hidden memorial

stevens-pass-75-years Near the end of my 11th season designing for Stevens Pass, it came time to design a logo, badge, emblem… that encompassed the resort’s 75th anniversary. Little did we know how much life would change by the time it was done. The project ended up being one of the most emotional designs I’ve worked on, and one that ultimately ended in me taking creative work from someone else and not telling anyone.

Although this project had more iterations than most projects – including eight major redesigns – that’s not what set this apart. It wasn’t that this was a big anniversary, or that there were a lot of thoughts on what it should be. Those were all factors, but not the major hurdle. The challenge came as we lost the Ambassador of All Things Rad – Chris Rudolph. He was the effervescent 30-year-old marketing director for Stevens Pass.

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Starting a “visual refresh”

If the site looks a little unfinished to you… it always is. Add to that, right now I’m making some incremental tweaks to it. I started using WordPress about a decade ago and had some favorite design techniques that others weren’t using. Now they’re pretty common. Having been an early adopter of DSLRs, back then I also wanted to showcase my photography. This designed showed a lot of that.

Now there’s mobile, responsive, even better web typography (I was using sIFR back then)… Previously I was having to do PNG hacks to get alpha transparency to work in IE6. As I refresh, I already have plans for techniques that will “gracefully degrade” in Edge.

This site is always a testing ground for me. Hence the SVG mask over on the side. But I wanted to make a special mention that I’m overhauling some stuff.

Google’s Chromebook, are my expectations really that high?

Asus ChromebookWhat I’m comparing it to

My wife often uses an old 2006 MacBook Pro for web surfing, Google Docs, YouTube and a few other tasks that are generally considered lightweight by today’s standards. The MA610LL model came with a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo (dual core for those who’ve forgotten that processor), 667MHz system bus and even one of those spinny things that dies and has to be replaced. A DVD player, yeah, one of those.

To be fair, I did upgrade it to 4GB of RAM and put in a pretty snappy HDD – 7200RPM and can do well over 100MB/s r/w. Well, snappy by 2009 standards when I put it in there.

The screen is old, yellowed and looks like some of the backlight might be out. The CPU often runs at about 75%.

A Chromebook, that can run all Google’s stuff, right?

It would only make sense that a Google Chromebook could play 720p video off of YouTube. I mean, if this over eight year old Mac can do it, shouldn’t a current model Chromebook? Continue reading

“The surprising truth about what motivates us”

Sometimes I find myself in discussions where I’ve brought up a half-baked idea that I’m not confident about. So today, on an email list of 2000 people I posted something. Normally I’d want to have it more thought out, but it seemed a good fit for a discussion. So I tossed the idea out there and it started getting picked apart. A discussion ensued and I enjoyed the constructive criticism that was given. As part of the discussion, this link was sent to me and I found it extremely valuable.

Over the years I’ve heard many reasons on what motivates us. This one does a great job of explaining why some of those reasons don’t always work. Better still, it gets to the core of the issue rather than creating superfluous reasoning.

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United Airlines breaks stuff, including guitars

For several years I was flying on average about once per month. Sometimes that included United Airlines. Always with my luggage I am very careful packing. Even still, more than any other airline, United broke things more often than not. One of the best examples was a brand new hard sided suitcase that was on its second ever segment. One corner was totally crunched and the case was deformed quite badly.

It seems like I’m not alone in my experience that United Airline is a champion at breaking stuff.