Responsive Design – Small Business Group Mock Project

For one recent assignment it was necessary to create a site for a fictitious local city small business group. I chose to use my own photography and graphics for this project. Additional features include:

  • Fully Responsive Design
  • Banner Header photo on each page with Button Call to action
  • Featured Business List with Cards and Hover Over Lift and Shading
  • Hover Over Underline Decoration on the Navigation Menu
  • The ability to pull from a database for a frontpage Calendar Information Area
  • Local weather on the screen
  • Current Date as well as Date Last Modified
  • Page showing the member organizations (Links aren’t active as it is Mock Site)
  • A Form to Join the organization as well as a contact form
  • Placeholders for social media links

I really love where I live which helped make this a fun project to do.

Here are a couple of screenshots from the site:

You can check out the full finished site at the link below.

Mock Responsive Design Local Small Business Group

Mustang – Go Further, In Reverse

Ford created some ad campaigns several years ago at the same time they were set to release a redesign of one of it’s most popular cars several years ago. This was one of those campaigns. It featured a bold splash of color as the background and the car, in this case the Ford Mustang, prominently featured on the page or billboard. Very little else was actually stated in the ad other than the words, “Go Further”, somewhere on the page. The idea being to accent the car itself in a bold way. While I was able to find this ad, as well as others within this campaign, in use by car dealerships, I wasn’t able to find a link to the original ad or information about the designer. This ad, in it’s simplicity has to speak to a certain audience. So, how does it do that?

Repetition & Typography

There are two things you notice first in the ad. One is the car. It is the subject of the ad and the star. Right behind the car is the Ford name. The actual logo has been repeated so that it is instantly recognizable. The word, “Mustang,” is there next to the Ford logo. The san serif font helps it stand out as well as not compete with the Ford logo. Down in the bottom corner the words, “Go Further,” are in proximity to the Ford logo implying you can go further with Ford.


How else do they use proximity? Again the large Ford logo comes into play. It is placed directly behind and touching the car. The idea is to think of Ford when you think of cars.


Alignment is used a couple of ways in the ad, but this is one of my favorites. By aligning the bottom of the letters of the word, “Mustang” with with the curl in the line of the, “F” and the mid-line of the grill (which is also where the Mustang logo is) they divide the ad into thirds. It’s a subtle use of the “Rule of Thirds”.

Contrast & Color

The blue splash background creates contrast in the ad. The Ford logo is in white against the the blue background. Additionally, the yellow car is a complimentary color of the blue background creating some drama in the ad.

My Campaign Addition

My assignment was to create an ad that would fit into the campaign. I chose to do a similar ad for the Ford Mustang Shelby edition. I kept the same repetition of the of the typography and the Ford Logo.

I also wanted to maintain the same alignment within the ad and use that to draw attention to the name of the vehicle as well as the car.

Lastly, I wanted to keep the overall feel of the ad campaign, so, I kept the contrast of a large splash of color as the background. Because the vehicle was a different color however, I chose to mimic the colors of the sunset in this ad to create drama against the black car. I also kept the proximity of the large Ford logo to the car to draw attention to the Ford name in connection with the car.

The overall feel of the campaign is a car poster ad. It’s meant to feature the car and little else. In this case, it’s a Mustang. It’s iconic.

What’s in a Design? – Double Page Magazine Spread

The Architectural Review 1404 February 2014

Just as with ads, how an article is designed conveys a message and draws the eye of the reader. The use of typography, the type of photos as well as their placement create a mood and communicate ideas.



The above double page spread utilizes typography in three different ways. The first is the the most noticeable. The title, done in a bold sans serif all caps font. In fact, except for some extremely slight deviation in the letter “R”, every letter in the title is without decoration and it is presented in black. It creates a strong statement taking up almost the entire third of the page opposite the photograph. The choices for the sub-heading are the second choice . In this case it is set above the main title, the text is smaller than the title and a serif font is used. The third option on the page is in the caption. They use a san serif font. The font size is a little smaller than the sub-heading, but it is a red color instead of black, helping it to stand out on the page.

The Photo

The photo in the article uses a couple photography methods to draw the eye.

The students in the photo are placed at the cross-juncture in the bottom third of the photo. Their age is inferred in the photo and having them at that point alludes to the possible subject of the article, even though they are blurry and you can’t see their faces.

The leading lines of the street draw the eye forward. In this case the lines draw your eye toward the other focal point of the photo, the light.

Alternate Photos

Black and White street scene photo of a girl walking through a tunnel
Black and White Photo of a street with strong leading lines
Black and white photo of a busy street

The top photo closely recreates the same general feeling for this article. It has the same leading lines created with being in a tunnel. There is a difference with the placement of the subject of the photo in a different location being centered in the photo. However, the overall feeling is closely matched.

The second photo is also a “street scene” and has the same leading lines but a different subject. The leading lines of the buildings on the side draw the reader to the subject in the center.

The last street scene has leading lines from the median down the center of the street and the buildings on the side of the street.

Each of these are general enough that I think they could be swapped out of the layout, though I believe the first one is the most effective of the three.

“Design with Communication in Mind”

Vintage Coke Ad

Coke has been around for a long time and so have their ads. The shape of the bottle, the swish in the type, the color of their logo are all the things they used from the beginning to set their unique brand so that you instantly knew what drink you would want even if you couldn’t read anything in the ad. In this ad from 1947 their iconic emblem is traveling from the futuristic factory right into your hand. The ad is all about communicating to you that you can trust Coke to be a quality drink all the time and you want one. So what principles are they using to do that?

arrows on the ad showing repetition, proximity and alignment of the bottles in the ad

Repetition, Proximity & Alignment

Anything in a design can be repeated to add emphasis. It can be a:

  • word
  • object
  • ruled line
  • color
  • etc.

In this ad the bottle is the main element repeated. At the time it was the iconic shape associated with their drink and they wanted it instantly recognizable. Other design elements are used with the repeating bottle. They’ve used proximity to make the bottle travel from a futuristic looking factory to you, the customer in way that you could take it right off the page. There are water droplets glistening on the bottle to insinuate that it would be a cold drink on a hot day. The bottles are also aligned so they point at the ward “trust” emphasizing and drawing your eye to the caption.

Proximity is when related items are grouped together.

The bottles are grouped together. The creators also repeated the word “quality” and placed them in close proximity, to one another to emphasize it’s importance. They want you to associate quality and trust with the drink and believe that is what you will get every time you buy it. There is one more example of proximity on the page.

circles on quality showing repetition and proximity
arrows pointing the red sign and the price on the ad showing proximity

The price.

They wanted you to know instantly looking at the page how much it would cost to go get a cold bottle of Coke. The Coke sign, something everyone would have looked for at the time to find where Coke was sold, is right next to the price which is right next to the bottles. All communicating what to look for, how much it would cost and what they want you to want.

Color & Contrast

Color and Contrast are the final elements used in the ad. Coke has maintained a brand identity almost from the beginning. The red color with that particular font and swish are part of their trademark look. People also knew look for the green bottle. You can still find it on the shelves.

Contrast is used with the futuristic factory in the background. During this time mass production was still relatively new and considered the wave of the future. It was during WWII and there was a focus on moving toward a brighter time. The futuristic factory alludes to Coke being a part of that future.

color and contrast coke ad
Share a coke ad

Bringing it Forward

Coke HAS been around for a long time. In more recent ads they looked to remind people of that. They invoke the feeling of some of their vintage ads, they still have the red color, that swish of the font, and the shape of the bottle is still there. Things like repetition, proximity, color, alignment and contrast can be used not just in a single ad, but across the years to invoke a feeling and create a brand that people instantly recognize.

Summer Walkabouts : Arlington Cemetary

Summer has been busy here.  We’ve had family visiting from other places, gone to visit family ourselves, and had a wedding reception.  Most of that was within one month!  It’s been a great summer!

We took an opportunity when family was visiting to go with them to some of the sights nearby.  One place we visited was Arlington Cemetary.



The view of Washington, DC from Kennedy’s tomb is spectacular.

We also went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.



And saw the changing of the guard.  It was 95 degrees that day.  Not including the heat index.





There is someone guarding the tomb 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, rain, sleet, snow or sun.  The qualifications for the assignment are intense and those that receive it, take it very seriously.


We didn’t complain about the heat.


Street Art : Via Colori

Via Colori is of my favorite events each year in Downtown Fredericksburg.  They block off Sophia and Charlotte Streets and artists from around the area are given a section for a fee to draw with pastels on the pavement. The fees go to benefit The Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation. They have some excellent programs for families of pediatric cancer patients in the Fredericksburg area.

I LOVE this event!  I think the process is fascinating and the colors simply leap off the pavement.

There are artists of every age.





On of the featured artists, Iryna Hamill.  The attention to detail is amazing.



She was rather gleeful that her character looked “slightly off his rocker”.






Art with a message.










You can see some of the finished art on the Via Colori-Fredericksburg Facebook Page.


With all of that creativity I didn’t even care that it was hot.


Photochallenge : Animals

I spend my life surrounded by animals.  With 3 labs, a couple of whom are around 100 lbs.,  it’s difficult not to be.  Dogs everywhere.  And when it starts to warm up for the summer one place you can find Jackson is lying on top of the vent.



If his tongue is sticking out, then he’s really OUT!

However, if the dogs then go to get up and get up too quickly, turn their head or ….. Whatever it is they do, then their tags will get stuck in the vent. Then they end up wearing the vent like giant bling.





Sometimes they need to be rescued (like Maggie did here).  Others, they figure it out on their own.  We have come home to vents in strange locations.


Spotsylvania : Wilderness Battlefield

Fredericksburg and the surrounding area saw some of the worst battles during The Civil War.  The Civil War, like any war, is about more than one thing.  It’s complicated and messy.  At times brutal, others inspiring.  There was good and bad on both sides.  It was sad note in our history.

The Wilderness Battlefield was the site of the beginning of General Grants Overland Campaign.  Nearly 30,000 soldiers died during a battle that lasted 3 days and it led to another battle a few miles away at Spotsylvania Courthouse where another 30,000 would die.  The Battle of Wilderness is the 4th deadliest battle of The Civil War.

Whenever I visit it’s impossible not to imagine them walking across the fields










And wonder how they felt.