Making a website: The Commonwealth

The-Commonwealth--Desktop

A couple months ago, we in The Commonwealth launched our official website, which I personally designed and developed. It felt appropriate to have the website launch in promotion of Urban Soul and our newly found partnership with local label Cellar Door Records, but the real need for it was a practical one.

Since releasing Souvenir in 2011, Bandcamp was our primary connection to our listeners. As our first EP, making it completely on our own was an incredible challenge, and Bandcamp’s ease-of-use really attracted us because it took such a load off our backs when distributing the album digitally. Two LP’s later, and Bandcamp was effectively our main website; it had a good ranking in search engines, our contact info and music was immediately accessible and its tracking tools offered a lot of rich information. With Cellar Door Records, we knew that our distribution channels would be growing, but in some cases splitting on the user-experience side of things. We still wanted a singular site that summed up who we are.

Thankfully, Bandcamp affords the ability to embed any music it hosts into any other website with their player widget, even if they’re managed by different accounts. We had been using this method for sharing our music on social networks (and also this blog, as part of the sidebar), but I realized we could leverage it for our own website, virtually tying together our entire discography and band information into one place.

Months later, I thought I’d share my thought process over the short period of time it took to create The Commonwealth’s website (about two weeks). Continue reading

Bandcamp and The User Experience

Bandcamp is a website that invites independent musicians to freely distribute their music through it. At no charge (besides a 15% cut from each sale after the fact), a band can set up and customize their own page to stream, promote and sell their songs/albums/merchandise in a number of combinations. Once your music is up and available, you can track statistics as well for how many people are visiting, listening (which is broken down into full/partial/skipped plays too to give you meaningful insights) and buying. You set the prices and, if you’d like, your audience can too. It’s an incredibly powerful tool and it’s only getting better lately, especially in the department of interactive design. Continue reading

The Fox

I have never met a fox in my life, but I have drawn quite a few. Here’s the most recent one:

Web

My fascination with foxes comes entirely from the character The Fox in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. There’s a timeless story about friendship within the relationship between the fox and the little prince. Although the book’s carefree illustrations might suggest otherwise, it’s not an easy one.

Friendship is a complicated thing, especially with time and the older we grow. The fox to me has always represented a curiosity for something all of us yearn in that regard: company. He makes observations about people and why they do silly things, even though doing so might put him in harm’s way. He finds the time and courage to come out of his foxhole and get to know one of them (the little prince), and learns that getting to know someone comes at the rising cost of losing them someday, too.

It seems to give him some purpose.

The Fox is now available at Society 6 as a high-quality print, if you’re interested, which you can find here.

World of Vintage Postercraft

If you want broccoli on your pizza, I don’t care. If you’re looking for the person who made those vintage World of Warcraft posters PC Gamer published, you’ve come to the right place.

After spending an afternoon searching for instances of them being shared since PC Gamer’s online-reissuing (originally found in their August 2011 magazine), I was surprised to discover that a fair amount of people are actually interested in the posters, across a number of networks around the internet (Twitter, Tumblr, general blogs, etc.). And while I have no idea who Eric Hawkins is, stuff like this–and especially stuff like this–helps me believe that there’s some truth to what observations I’ve made. It also made me happy to gleam that they hit home with the sort of folks I was hoping: old-school WoW players.

I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly sure how I hope to achieve what I’d like to with this post: making a place for anyone who’s looking to learn more about the posters. Whatever that may be is more or less up to you, the reader–this is just one place to start, for me.  So, if you’re out there and curious, please feel welcome to ask anything and everything about them–I’ll edit/append this post accordingly.

In the meantime, I’ll answer the most frequently asked question I’ve gotten about the posters, that being, “Where can I buy them?” A selection of print options are now available, right here.

Lastly, while PC Gamer was generous enough to include an interview with me on top of the posters in their outlet (many thanks to Josh Augustine for that), there were a few more questions that didn’t run with the final article. So, here’s the rest of what they asked, and what I had to say:

How long have you been playing WoW?
All the way back to when it was just Vanilla, but I haven’t been back to Azeroth in quite some time actually. It’s always been on and off as close friends leave or return to the game. To be honest, it sort of became one of our primary means of keeping in touch when we were geographically split up during college. Continue reading