WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious” Unleashed

I’m super duper, mega excited about the new WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious” release. I love WordPress and the ease in which it can be themed and customized for various clients, needs and purposes. Sometimes I had to do the odd hack here and there but with the new release, I can do even more natively. I’m so excited, I’m going to have a brainslosion!

Just the tip of the iceberg of features that I’m ♥ loving ♥:

  1. New user registration for installation: Solves the tedious extra step of having to manually edit the default “admin” username for security purposes.
  2. Custom post types: In previous releases, we only had the ability to designate a content item as either a “post” or “page” and site architecture planning had to work around these limits. For a review blog, now I can set content items to “movies”, “books” and “music” without having to hack with categories and tags.
  3. Custom taxonomies: In the same vein as the previous point, this ability now allows content to be more extensible, easily and natively. A common example would be to add a custom taxonomy “Rating” and set R, PG-13, PG, G for the reviews.
  4. Multi-site capability: Personally, this one would make my life super duper easy by allowing me to manage WordPress websites through the development cycle without going through the hassle of setting up each one on its own. I could set up websites either with as “subdomain.domain.com” or “domain.com/subdirectory”. I haven’t worked much with networked websites but I still see the major benefit of this in the future.
  5. Menu management: Oh yeah! They finally added this feature which allows you to create multiple menus, categories, external and internal links right in the admin user interface. Sweet jebus! I’m in heaven.
  6. Get Shortlink: Build your own shortened, branded URLs natively to share with your friends in social media.
  7. New “Twentyten” default theme: Easily set custom header and background images in the admin user interface.

Have a quick look at this WordPress 3.0 video tour to wrap your head around this awesome release.

Read the official release. Get started and download WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious”.

Now, I just have to test this upgrade and hope it doesn’t break anything. Have a delicious day folks.

Sprinkle hearts and cupcakes!

A Few Free Fun Fonts To Download

As a designer, I collect a lot of assets that I find online, in magazines and promotional materials, and from other people. Through my wanderings online, I have found that there are plenty of websites that offer free downloads of icons, images, brushes, textures, and even typefaces! I bookmark, download, doodle and clip everything that I find inspirational for future use.

Depending on the project or budget, things can start to get expensive when you start to calculate the cost of typeface licenses and stock photography. Fortunately there are plenty of resources online that offer free assets. In the case of free images, one should be wary of using them in branding projects because they are free, more people will likely use the same images and negate your uniqueness.

20100520-free-fonts

These are a few fonts I found at www.urbanfonts.com that I really like.

  1. Franciscan
  2. Mighty Zeo
  3. Swing Set
  4. Saginaw
  5. Komika Display
  6. Komika Axis
  7. Komika Title (There were other Komika styles but I didn’t like them as much)

I don’t often peruse font libraries but on this particular evening, I found a few that I thought were pretty clean, well-made and very readable. I always found that the trouble with free fonts is that there are so many that are poorly made, illegible and just not pleasing to my eye. Now these ones, I’m not saying that they’re perfect, but I do consider them a gem amongst the rest.

Don’t forget to be sparing when using decorative typefaces! Use only for special occasions and if possible, don’t use more than 3 different typefaces for one project.

Keep trucking, good looking!

Interview with Designer Selene M. Bowlby of iDesign Studios at Michaelbox.net

I’m a big fan of Selene and she’s currently being featured on Michael Beckwith’s website, Michaelbox.net. I don’t even remember how long ago I came across her website, iDesign Studios but since then she’s been an inspiration and helpful guide to me. You can look back on her portfolio and blog to see her beautiful work and informative posts on the process of design of which I can closely align to how I personally work.

Don’t forget to check her out on Twitter @idesignstudios, she’s pretty fun!

Exciting New Chapter of Growth and Inspiration

I’ve recently embarked on a recent journey that has taken me across the world to Brisbane, Australia. I’m super excited to take on this new adventure and the challenges that come with being out of my own element. Certainly there are doubts and questions in my mind, but I ask the universe for divine inspiration and strength to make this experience a wonderful and fulfilling new chapter in my life. This is my chance to really become a more inspired person, professionally and spiritually.

Thank you for coming along with me during this transition!

Think Twice Before Using Letterpress Text Effect

CSS3 has loads of new effects to help beef up your designs with less work. Though the new styling features look neat and easy to implement, it does not necessarily mean they should be used all willy nilly. Just like Photoshop default effects, be careful of their use and make sure they are relevant to your design.

One particular CSS3 technique, the letterpress, embossed text effect is so, very cool right now and can be achieved by using the text-shadow property (see Line25’s Tutorial Create a Letterpress Effect with CSS Text-Shadow). I recommend that you keep this effect to headlines and short amount of text because instead of looking cool, it can be visually jarring similar to print text with incorrect registration. Be aware that by limiting and properly using this effect, you can increase readability and decrease eye fatigue.

A Few More Tips To Build Better Links

It’s still annoying surprising that there are plenty out there who insist on creating websites without taking into consideration usability and accessibility, in particular building better links. Smashing Magazine has a very useful article on improving the links in your website. Read The Definitive Guide to Styling Web Links and help make the web a user-friendlier place.

My favourite tips:

  1. Apply padding (Improves usability by increasing the user’s clickable area)
  2. Make anchor text descriptive (Removes the need to read the link’s context before understanding where the link goes)
  3. Don’t open new windows (Let the user decide how they want to interact with your site, unexpected actions are a turnoff)

Exceptions are always applicable, but why bother messing with a good thing?

Great Introduction to the Best Open Source CMS

The Best Open Source CMS Mainly Used for Blogging

Posted by Ray Cheung as Framework

All websites require their content to showcase in a very professional manner. Since it is very hard for a single person or team to do it by himself/herself, they look for help in designing and maintaining the websites. This is where the importance of CMS systems props up. These systems not only help in creating a good website but also help in managing and updating the website. Given below are some of the very Best Free CMS which are Mainly used for Blogging Purposes.

This is a very cool introduction to many open source CMS which are mainly used for blogging. Some of which I am familiar with and some I am now interested in looking into, simply wondering if it will improve development.

In this article, Ray covers the following:

Unless you’re creating a simple brochure site in which the content hardly change, you may not need a CMS at all. And if you were looking to develop a rather complicated and comprehensive website/portal then you may want to have a more in-depth research on these CMS. Some of these platforms range from what I would consider light (easy and straightforward) to heavy (complicated and will do much more than just building a blog).

So do your own research, try them out and see what fits your needs.

Starting Fresh by Paul Gallant

Last week I was interviewed by Paul Gallant for an article he was writing about FreshBooks, an online invoicing service. I have been a client of theirs for a very long time, and actually recall when they were rebranded to FreshBooks from 2ndSite with a neat Brand Murder Mystery, so it was really neat to offer my experiences with Paul.

Of course, being interviewed makes me a bit nervous but Paul listened well and the interview started to feel more like a casual conversation. I explained as best as I could on how easy it was to use the service, how much easier it made my life and the very awesome support I received when things didn’t go as expected (which were few and far between) with support tickets and forum discussions.

“FreshBooks was not a tech company, it was a service company…”

Mike McDerment, The President and CEO (Co-Founder) of FreshBooks is a great guy too. He’s been really active in the digital technology community in Toronto and has a vision of Toronto being “start-up minded as California’s Silicone Valley” which I’m in total agreement with, Toronto has so much talent and potential. I also recall a very awesome Meetup back in 2007, Billable Hours, where Mike discussed the secrets and hurdles to creative success!

FreshBooks Co-Founder, Mike McDerment - Tanja Tiziana

So yeah, I’m a client and a fan of FreshBooks and the people behind that company. They provide super easy solution to send, track and collect payments quickly! It is so perfect for a freelancer like me.

Read Starting Fresh by Paul Gallant.

Inspired to Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes I can get too busy being busy that I hardly ever give time to myself, time to mentally relax from juggling projects for other people in my brain and re-ignite the passion and inspiration that I have for design. As humble as I can be, I really want to showcase a lot of what I have done and show everyone the potential that I have, to do more and be more. I hope to get this website completed and launched for tomorrow, to finally share the work that I have done independently and as an integral team member of Casco Design and Communications.

For the longest time I have hesitated and shelved this website because I could never settle on the direction or format it should take. I argued with myself that it should be more professional, more personal, less words, more visuals. I just couldn’t decide for myself what I wanted or needed.

Well, I just don’t feel like I can put this off any longer and for now, I want to keep moving forward and put it out there. I design and develop some pretty damn good websites and people oughta know it. I consider this my step into finally having a platform and purpose for this site, to share my work and inspiration in design. Thanks for sticking around.

Cheerios!

Kick in the Pants!

Nothing like the start of a new year to motivate people into making resolutions, taking up goals and generally pushing themselves into doing and being better which is what I am going to do.

Just a bit before the holidays, I finally got around to watching Mad Men – something I should have done when it first came out – and couldn’t stop watching until today, when I finished that last episode of season three. It’s an amazing show and there’s one particular scene (season three, episode seven), that stands out from the rest for me. It’s essentially a scene where Don Draper takes out his frustrations on Peggy Olson by ripping her a new one but after that he tells her “You’re good. Get better.” Without over analyzing the scene itself, those few lines really hit me hard.

I consider myself pretty humble, and as talented as I can be or possibly think that I am, I am constantly striving to be better. So with Don Draper’s words in my head, I feel like I can take pride in that I am good, and that I can still be better. Now that’s a kick in the pants!