I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a free Alt Channel class this coming Saturday on how best to organize your time at Alt! (I can’t believe it’s almost here either, only two weeks to go!) I’ll be talking about planning your time at the conference before you ever set foot in Salt Lake City – everything from wardrobe planning to best managing all those class options – with a few downloads tossed into the mix to help things flow smoothly. I hope you’ll join me for what’s sure to be an informative hour with some laughing thrown in for good measure (because I can’t manage to be serious for more than ten minutes)! Trust me, a little bit of organization can make this your best Alt Summit yet! Sign up to attend right here.
Well, did I surprise you?! I’ve been working with Cooper House since September on this shiny new version of Design Crush and it’s been tough to keep my mouth shut, but I thought New Year’s Day would be the perfect start for a new and improved site!
You’ll notice a few new additions that should make the site a little more intuitive. My favorites are the Share/Tweet/Pin icons that you’ll find at the bottom of each and every post. We stayed true to the drop down Categories and Archive menus in the sidebar and added icons for About and Press. You can also see we switched back to the white background. The dark grey was a fun experiment, but I’m a minimal girl at heart!
There may be a few glitches during the first day or so until everything gets ironed out, please feel free to let us know if anything isn’t functioning properly for you. I hope you love this new look as much as I do!
A few weeks ago I was taking a look through the past year in posts and decided to put together a Top 40 collection for 2012. I had hoped to spread it out over a few days and organize everything a bit, but a family death and extended stay in Pennsylvania over the holidays set me back and I had to lump it all together. Thank you so much for continuing to help make this site such an amazing part of my daily life – here’s to 2013!
I’m really excited/humbled/overwhelmed that Design Crush is turning 5 next week. That’s like a grandma in blog years! I never could have made it this far without all of your support and dedication, honestly. I’m thankful for each and every one of you. </end sapfest>
I’m also really thrilled to announce that there will be a party to celebrate the occasion!!! Thanks to the always-on-top-of-it Engage OKC, we’ll be commandeering the Wedge on Western Avenue July 8th at 6pm. There’ll be a cake by Cookie + Kate and goodies galore! Head on over to check out the goings on and make sure to RSVP by July 4th. I hope to see lots of you there – I’ll be the girl in the pink dress with black polka dots. xo
UPDATE: Due to the awesomeness of the Oklahoma City Thunder and their place in the NBA Finals, the party has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 8th. Now you have no reason not to make an appearance. *wink, wink*
01/ I love the idea of updating jewelry with paint
02/ get ready for spring flowers with these wood + stoneware vases
03/ super smart clothing styling
04/ I’d totally get cozy under this quilt
05/ this app let’s you type + walk safely all at the same time
06/ dying to do a food swap after reading this
07/ our Growing Your Readership panel from Alt – illustrated!
PHOTO: Justin Hackworth
This is my last Alt post. Promise. But I told you all I’d share what I learned, so here it is. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of the conference, there are several hour long sessions throughout the day. During each session you have three panel options to choose from, I chose to attend the ones that I thought I could get the most out of professionally. And while it’s impossible to attend all of the panels, you can search #altsummit on Twitter and get a pretty good idea of what went down in most of them.
• it’s okay to say no
• find someone with similar aesthetics, but who brings fresh eyes and a new perspective
• honesty and communication are key
• manage conflict with integrity and grace
• know what you want out of the collaboration up front and communicate that
• even good partnerships come to an end
• it’s okay to walk away if you’re not getting what you need or pulling your weight
• don’t air your gripes online
• it’s human nature to want to share
• make the most of chance encounters
• reach out locally
• don’t be afraid to take it offline
• make it easy for the other person to say yes
• all someone can do is say no
• it’s possible to do it yourself
• have a media kit readily available
• people you want to work with will work with you
• you’re responsible for creating something for yourself
• figure out and meet your community
• know your brand and your value
• advertising is about you
• test the waters – use trial and error and your moral compass
• sponsors should only be adding to your site
• always ask for what you want, be proactive
• the crazier the pitch, the better
• consider your complete online presence
• give brands something to get excited about
• follow up
• consider legal obligations
• have a debriefing sessions afterwards
• send snail mail thank you notes
• picture where you want to be in two years and create the building blocks to get yourself there
• look into media training, it’s highly attractive
• read contracts over carefully
• understand what doing something for free means for you
• build relationships that last
• clean layouts are important
• focus on your content, what does it say about you?
• facilitate authentic conversations
• know your CPM, CPC
• mobile sites are an important piece of the puzzle
• online currency = views and legitimacies
• very few companies do both well
• there is no easy transition
• they’re not mutually exclusive
• pretty pictures aren’t enough
• build a personality through your words
• use your voice honestly
• create a platform to succeed
• use WordPress’s Buddypress
• “Intellectual Property” is a broad term – it includes photography, art, music, words, poetry, recipes, etc.
• Link With Love
• commenting shows appreciation, don’t promote yourself or your giveaway
• if you’re monetizing, you need to ask yourself what using a photo is doing
• giving credit benefits you, pay it forward
• don’t air your dirty laundry, settle things in private
• original content is safest
• add a disclaimer
• create awareness, set standards, it has to start somewhere
• pause before you post, don’t just grab and do
• create a community that words together
• copyright use: remember that online does not mean “public domain” – ask permission, give credit
• copyright infringement: when someone uses your materials without permission start with a call or email, proceed through DMCA takedown notice and/or use of lawyer if that doesn’t work
• website legal terms: have them, keep them up to date
• trademarks: protects your business and gives you a defined legal asset, also use other brands correctly and with credit where due
• advertising law: follow the FTC guidelines for bloggers
• contracts: use written contracts with sponsors and contributors
• employment law: be extra careful when it comes to using paid help, use written agreements and file all tax documents
• corporate law: the bigger you get, the more you need to plan ahead
• giveaways: check state laws against private lotteries and have official rules easily available
• position yourself uniquely
• everything you put out defines you
• fine a niche
• lay the foundation to get paid
• write a branding statement
• checklist: business cards, consistent visuals, get social, headshot
• showcase who you are more than what you do
• own who you are
• love me or hate me, make people feel something
• perfect your elevator pitch
• educate your readers, keep them in the loop
• trust your instincts
• original content is key, if using someone else’s put your own spin on it
• a clean and polished look is necessary these days, it’s your starting point
• looking bigger than you are is important, dressing for the job you want applies
• being part of a community helps build your readership
• consistency in posting is key
• blogging is an ever-evolving experiment
• your site’s design should be intuitive and user friendly
• don’t focus on your stats, put your energy elsewhere
• go with your gut
• meaningful commenting is a good tactic
• write in your own voice
• if you have a great idea, put it out there in a minimal way just to get started
• say thank you if you contribute to someone else’s site
• investing in your blog is incredibly important
• stop treating it like a hobby
• track + participate in the conversation you’re creating
• don’t neglect Facebook, many people use it as their RSS reader
• handpicked related posts at the bottom of each post increase traffic
• know the way people engage and cater to them
Nicole put together a great collection of tweets from our panel right here if you’re hungry for more.
To start off I’ll tell you something you didn’t already know, Alt Design Summit is/was amazing.
After two prior years of flying in at the crack of dawn, I smartened up this January and took a (direct!) afternoon flight into Salt Lake City. Let me tell you, totally worth the extra $30. I’d somehow managed to cram five days of necessities and a queen-sized air mattress into my carry-on and personal item and was ready to roll when my Alt-sponsored ride swung up curbside and took me to the Grand America.
I settled in at the hotel for a luxurious thirty minutes or so, then it was off to Dinner With at J.Wong’s Asian Bistro. That’s me in the very back!
After a few hours of chatting, spring rolls, chicken lo mein, and a few ginger mojitoes it was off to Christophers for a cocktail party for the speakers. I love these limited edition, hand numbered coasters that were waiting for us on the tables. (PS: I do!) The wine was flowing and it was so loud with hellos and old friends, so much fun!
Thursday morning started with room service (Irish oatmeal!) and signing in at the registration desk, where I was presented with my name tag as well as a sizable and seriously heavy box of swag. I didn’t say no.
The day was full of some of the best panels I’ve sat down to in three years of the conference. I learned a bunch and I promise to share it with you all, in detail, later in the week.
Lunch was sponsored by Cargoh, and all 500 of us sat down to a gorgeously packaged surprise at our place setting. I later learned that each one had been hand wrapped and stamped! The keynote that followed was by Ben Silberman of Pinterest fame, and was easily one of the best talks I’ve ever been privy to. I think everyone walked out of that dining room with a little bit of a crush.
Thursday evening was the much talked about Winter Wonderland Party where everyone was asked to wear white. And did they ever. Outfits ranged from prom dress-worthy to simple tunics.
I wore a 60s-inspired sleeveless number that I’d picked up this past summer. Carina wore awesome.
Friday my panel – Growing Your Readership – was up and the room was packed!
As in standing/sitting room only.
It was a pleasure to speak with ladies I have the utmost respect for! After a few more panels, a fantastic lunch keynote by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Deborah Needleman, and Pilar Guzman, and an ending keynote from The Happiness Project‘s Gretchen Rubin IT WAS TIME TO PARTY. Again.
The ceilings and lighting were my favorite parts. As were the swag bags my roomies and I conquered like Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving. *blush*
Aaand just a small sampling of the photobooth whorage that took place. (NOTE: No, I did not chop my hair off. It’s just pulled back.)
Saturday was my only free-ish day. I went to a sponsored brunch and took a calligraphy class before having a completely relaxing dinner with three friends. Sunday brought about a morning flight home and my body catching up to the meager hours of sleep I’d had.
I’ll be back later this week with specifics that I learned as well as my favorite business cards!
ORIGINAL PHOTO: Conde Nast Traveler
In a few short hours I’m off for the third year in a row to Alt Summit in Salt Lake City! This year I’ll be speaking on a panel with Nicole Balch, Jordan Ferney, and Maggie Mason about growing your readership. I’m so looking forward to seeing all of my blogger friends who I only get to touch base with a few times a year. Little sleep and lots of chatting are in the plans, I like to call it blogger camp. Don’t fret, I have posts lined up while I’m away. I’ll be back at it Monday with lots of stories to tell!
Welcome to the latest incarnation of Design Crush!
Once again I had the pleasure of working with Cooper Multimedia during the three month process of giving the site a facelift. Tim and Erin are a dream and really helped me with making my vision a reality. When we started in July I thought I knew exactly how I wanted things to look, but it’s funny how they translate once they’re on screen versus a piece of paper. That’s something I will never get used to as a designer. But between the three of us we made it here and I am very, very happy.
Some new features:
• A press page! Still a work in progress and completely surreal to compile.
• Simplified horizontal navigation at the top of the page. (The rollovers are one of my favorite parts!)
• A new social media icon link to me on Pinterest.
IMAGE: PUBLIC SCHOOL
01/ looking forward to hoarding apples and making these apple ring fritters
02/ a mini version of this garden wall would look so good on a back porch or patio
03/ this hanger shelf is a brilliant use of space
04/ pretty DIY thread-wrapped hair combs
05/ Joy knows how to throw a cat a birthday party
06/ off-the-wall silkscreened paper masks
07/ typeface birdhouses!
08/ help the wildfire relief efforts in central Texas with these graphic tees
09/ all receipts should be this beautifully organized
10/ make an ombre denim button-up shirt