Welcome to The Acorn, the blog section of Oaktree Creative, the freelance design studio of Chuck Mallott. That's me. Welcome to my new site. You may or may not be familiar with my old site, Teleraña. The old site is now off-line due to a business decision by the hosting company to discontinue free hosted sites. Which is just as well anyway, since the creation and launch of Oaktree Creative has been long in the making. I've had the domain for about 3 years, but this is the first real website that has been served. Now oaktreecreative.com is hosting by the excellent Dream Host and this blog is powered by WordPress.
I've spent the last 2-3 months fine-tuning the visual design of this site and over the past month, I've figured out enough about WordPress to get this blog working with my own theme. There may be a few bugs floating around out there and I'm aware of a couple of them, but for the most part, this is a fully functional blog/website.
The main reason I have this site is to be the face of my freelance business and provide a place to showcase portfolio work. The other reason for this site's existence is the blog, which I'll use to publish articles, observations and opinions, mostly about web design and the internet world.
I'm almost embarrassed to say just how long it has taken me to get the Oaktree Creative brand designed. I have found that designing for yourself is immensely more difficult than designing for someone else. Not sure why that is, but for me, it has been true. I can't even begin to count how many design iterations the Oaktree Creative brand has had, none of them really ever seeing the light of day. I'd spend my free time working on a design, but not have enough time to fully develop it and implement it on a website. Then I wouldn't do anything with it for a couple weeks and then the next time I had some free time, I'd hate what I started working on before and start over again. This went on for a couple of years I think.
So what made it stick this time? Well, a couple of months ago, while I was at SXSW in Austin, I attended a presentation by Jason Santa Maria and Rob Weychert titled, After the Brief: A Field Guide to Design Inspiration. They said that one of the best sources of inspiration were "constraints". I had never thought of this before. Constraints, such as a project deadline, are a normal part of real-world projects that, if embraced by designers, can lead to success.
So basically that's all I did - put constraints around the idea of actually developing and launching this site. I gave myself a deadline and broke the project up into smaller, consumable tasks and tackled it that way, just like a real world project. That's really the only difference and I'm glad I finally have it ready to launch, because other side projects are starting to call my name again.
This wraps up the inaugural entry of The Acorn. Don't forget to bookmark this site, feel free to link me to your site and definitely be sure to check out the RSS feed.