Some Assembly Required!

Smalltown Design recently purchased a Riley Hopkins screen press from 

From Steal Like An Artist - Austin Kleon (if you do not have it buy it!):

"If I'd waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started "being creative," well, I'd still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my expereience, it's in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are. You're ready. Start making stuff".

We are taking the advice! There is also great inspiration in "getting your hands dirty" as part of the creative process - so we went ahead and invested in a screen press. Not to become a screen printer (we have really good venders for that), but to create one-offs and limited runs (up to 60 pieces)  for unique projects. We also simply want to try out designs - see them come to life through a wearable medium.  

We also found a vender for Made in the USA, organic apparel, delivery of initial order is tomorrow! More on that in an upcoming post. 


Product Research - Part 2

The second product Smalltown Design is currently evaluating is Freshdesk. Freshdesk is built as an Online Customer Service solution, focused primarily on IT support and General Customer Support. 

Product Research - Part 1 Social Media Management "Hootsuite"

Smalltown has taken advantage of custom options built into Freshdesk to provide larger volume customers the online ability to request new projects, monitor project progress, and produce productivity reports. 

Once a client request is placed, Smalltown connects directly with the requester through an ongoing online chat, providing convenience and a centralized project management point (no looking for random emails!).     

Online Client Project Request Portal

Online Client Project Request Portal


Product Research - Excuse Our Dust!

Product Research in Process at Smalltown! Testing out two new tools this month:

Tool #1 - Social Media Management tool Hootsuite

During a recent process review it became clear the time had come for a Social Media Management solution. Smalltown Designs, LLC. manages, or consults through administrator level permissions 15+ Social Media profiles, with many of these profiles consisting of 2-3 Social Media accounts (Twitter/Facebook/Google+/Etc.). So one "post" often needs to be scheduled to post on multiple channels, and mentions be monitored from each of those channels. 

Through input from professional partners, and doing the requisite Google "reviews" search, the list was narrowed to 3 potential Tools: Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout. All three options present a wide variety of features and surprisingly different approaches to Social Media Management. Sprout was the most highly recommended by the professional and may end up as the long term solution, but it is a bit pricey for our initial introduction. So Smalltown decided on the most popular solution and has begun a trial with the Pro Version of Hootsuite.  

Will update on the trial process!

Update: Initial scheduled post through Hootsuite to 3 Smalltown Design social media accounts. 

Update: Initial scheduled post through Hootsuite to 3 Smalltown Design social media accounts. 


Coming soon: Tool #2 - Online Project Management  Tool - Creating a portal for high volume clients to submit project requests online and monitor project process online (submission-concept approval-production-shipping-in hand!).

I Can Personally Confirm...They Do Build It Right!

Smalltown Design has launched Fulton Quality Construction's new website. Tim and Annette Fulton, their son Rob, and the entire Fulton crew are the people you want for new construction and remodel projects - the best parts of our home have been remodeled by Fulton Quality Construction!  

Happy Birthday!

Design Cuts is a great site specializing in bundled graphic resources - fonts/vectors/textures/stock images/digital goodies. In celebrating their 1 year anniversary, Design Cuts is re-running their best deals from 2014 - smart! They have me considering making additional purchases from them! You will be surprised by the volume of resources you can get for >$50. Specials run for the next 10 days so check 'em out! - Jason

Color...No it's Kuler

Standing in front of the color wall at Home Depot trying to find that 3rd accent color to paint your living room trim? Need a 5 color palette right now for a dead-lined design project? Maybe you are just curious as to what Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complimentary, Compound, or Shade colors match perfectly with your favorite color? ( I had to look up the definition of "Analogous" =P)

Adobe's free Kuler website (apps available also) is a great resource...and a great toy to just explore color! 

Click on the Explore link and view the "most popular palettes", "most used", or search by your personal color choice. You pros can search by CMYK or RGB values or be a kid again and search for colors with names like "crayon blue".

In case your are curious my favorite color is Hook 'Em burnt orange!

Thanks to Lance Abyeta for tuning me into Kuler! 

- Jason


Non-Profit Giving Platform

If you are a church, missionary, or other non-profit organization and are looking to add a digital giving platform take a look @ Mogiv. I have set up Mogiv for clients and it is simple for admins and givers alike, includes social media options, and offers very competitive set up costs and flat transaction fees. Online Giving...check...Mobile Giving...check...Text Giving, Recurring Giving, Gift Receipts, "Like" and "Follow" Campaigns, Real Time Account Reporting...Check! 

Kent, and the rest of the staff at Mogiv offer exceptional support and truly care about the success of the product for your organization. 

Oh! And simple to add to your website! 1 line of code! Check out a recent embedded install to Smalltown client Follow & Fish or a multi-campaign option like the one for Casa Blanca Retreat Center


Multi-Media Business Card

Took more than a year to identify a cost-effective option for a new spin on business cards - finally found it! Flashbay is a great option for customized business card flash drives. Pricing for limited runs, with custom full color designs (no set up fees and they COLOR MATCH!) is on par with what overseas venders are charging for large quantity runs. 

Specifically, the Wafer/Alloy product makes for a striking business card - full color/2 sided logo on a 2GB flash drive that can hold all of your company information (product catalogs/manuals/images/contact info). These cards do not replace the traditional business cards that you hand out by the hundreds, but are an impressive option for specific potential clients and presentations. 

They are also an option for churches wanting to distribute sermon series (examples above from Mountain Springs Church, Bonners Ferry, Idaho). Faster production, less-expensive, and more content options than CD sets. 

Interested? Contact Smalltown Designs!

- Jason

Delivered from Addiction

Tired of searching through 1000's of low grade fonts?...Yes, font addiction does eventually get tedious (you know who you are =)! If you want to save time and look through only professional grade fonts check out the Collaborative Digital Type Foundry Lost Type Co-Op

If I need something specific for a new project Lost Type is my 1st, and usually only, stop for fonts. Look close...many of the fonts on Lost Type are what you see everywhere in print/video/web designs and $30.00 will usually get you a commercial license. The price is worth every penny in quality and time saved, just ask Nike, Starbucks, and Disney!

- Jason 

Show Up And Do Your Thing...EveryDay

Reading: Steal Like An Artist 

Author: Austin Kleon

"You might be scared to start. That’s natural. There’s this very real thing that runs rampant in educated people. It’s called “impostor syndrome.”

The clinical definition is a “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” It means that you feel like a phony, like you’re just winging it, that you really don’t have any idea what you’re doing.

Guess what: None of us do. Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell you the truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day." Pg. 27-28

"Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work" – Painter Chuck Close

Creative, teacher, parent, what ever you do... "show up...every day" - great reminder for all of us. - Jason

"A writer who draws" - Austin Kleon

"A writer who draws" - Austin Kleon

Reading: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

While on the Oregon coast with the family I wandered into Beach Books in Seaside. Hey, it's the Oregon coast, expect to need some rainy day reading material right? This book title caught my eye so I picked it up. We ended up having AMAZING weather so I did not open it until we got back home...then I devoured it! Great read for any one who is hiding! 

"Art is theft" - Pablo Picasso

"There is nothing new under the sun" - God: Ecclesiastes 1:9

"Your job (as an artist) is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by." Page 14

Italics added by me!