Beauty in the Brown

Yesterday I was in Reedsburg, Wisconsin for a client meeting. Geologically speaking, this is an interesting area of the state. It’s tucked between the glaciated hills of the Baraboo Range and the unglaciated ruggedness of the Driftless Area. As I drove the backroads, I chided myself for breaking a photographer’s number one rule: never be without your camera. Thank goodness for cell phones.

Sauk County, WIsconsin in spring

Even though everything is brown at this time of year (including the unmelted snow), there’s a unique beauty in the monotones of spring.

Irrigation in Sauk County, WI

There’s beauty in repetition right?

Country road in Sauk County, WI

Or the hopeful expectation of a curved road up ahead.

Abandoned farmhouse in Sauk County, WIThere’s even a forlorn beauty in an abandoned farmhouse.

Mailbox decorated for Easter in Sauk County, WIAnd just when you think you’ve seen enough brown, you come upon a mailbox such as this. How fun it is!

So my new project is exciting! It’s going to involve these very fields of Sauk County, Wisconsin, along with good food and awesome art. Stay tuned in the months ahead, there’s more to come!

 

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Responsive Web, Inverted Pyramids and Door County, Wisconsin

Cave Point, Door County, Wisconsin

If there’s anything that reinforces the need for good web design, it’s a 4-day weekend in the boondocks. Think about it: If you’ve got the who, what, where, when and why right in front of you, you’re pretty much good to go no matter where you happen to be.

Like Door County, Wisconsin. In February.

Door County is an almost 500-square-mile jut of land between the Green Bay and Lake Michigan. My husband and I were there last weekend for our anniversary. We love going at this time of year because it’s the quiet season. We can snowshoe in the many parks, find miles and miles of diverse shoreline and visit cozy, lakeside villages, all free of the crowds that make them a hot spot in summer.

That’s Cave Point in the picture. Isn’t it stunning? Often, the crashing Lake Michigan waves cover the rocks with sprays of water. This day everything—I mean, everything— was so very still. With temperatures well below zero, the water was a frigid wonder of clarity.

But Door County Wi-Fi? Understandably, not so clear.

Even though Door County is  more commercially developed than it was decades ago (sadly so, in my opinion), it’s still rather remote, especially when it comes to the internet. As we randomly zig-zagged the peninsula on country backroads, I perused my iPhone in search of the next cool place to stop. One minute there was reception, the next there wasn’t. Knowing it could give out at any time, I really appreciated a well-designed website.

I appreciated responsive websites even more.

Nowadays, a responsive website is a necessity for good business. Responsive web design is like the inverted pyramid of the old journalism days; it puts the most important information up front for optimal viewing no matter what device is being used.

Here are three sites I found helpful while in Door County. Two are simply well-designed and put the necessary information where it needs to be. The third is a fully responsive site that properly rearranges itself according to the order of importance and size of the device.

Wild Tomato Pizza, Fish Creek, WI

Here’s the Wild Tomato Restaurant and how it appears on my iPhone. Mmmm, this looks good, doesn’t it?

Many Door County businesses are closed for the winter. Yet when I googled “Door County pizza,” I found right here on Wild Tomato’s home page that they are open, where they’re located and their phone number. The fact that they link to a beer menu tells me they have artisan beers even if I don’t take the time to click into it.

Good business? You bet. The restaurant was super fun and the food was delicious!

St. John Lutheran Church, Door County, WI

Most churches don’t think of themselves as a business. Yet sometimes they need to act like one; for example, when they want to reach out to the tourists of their unique vacation community.

St. John does just that with its website. Right there on the home page I found the 5 W’s needed for knowing about the congregation and how we could attend its services. And yes, the members of this beautiful church in the country were as warm and welcoming as their website!

Door County, WIsconsin

So here’s the fully responsive site: The Door County Visitor Bureau. Check it out on your computer, then check it out on your iPod or smartphone. Notice how it’s packed full of interesting information and rather than proportionately shrinking it en masse for small devices, which would make it way too small to read, its responsiveness vertically rearranges the contents into segments in order of their importance.

That, my dears, is responsive web design and that’s what brings people to Door County, even in the dead of winter!


What about your website? How does it look on a smartphone? Can viewers clearly find what they need to know? Here’s a completely responsive website Adunate did for a Donny’s Girl Supper Club. Contact me if you’d like the same exposure for your business.


 

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Wednesday Webs: Earth Day

Earth Day garden plant

I think we should make Earth Day a weeklong event. One day a year simply is not a big enough nod to the importance of taking care of our Earth. Our very beautiful Earth!

So I’m extending my Earth Day celebrations all week.

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Earth Day and the Ultimate Designer

Do you ever do mood boards? Graphic designers often do them. So do interior designers and fashion designers. They put together these collages of images, type, color, texture and anything else that helps them visualize a sense of style for the project they’re working on.

So it being Earth Day and all, I couldn’t help thinking of mood boards as my husband and I hauled wood. I’m always amazed how the elements of design actually are elements of nature. Even in this monochromatic, pre-spring time of year, there is artistic beauty everywhere I look.

God, the Creator of our Earth, is truly the ultimate designer!

colors of split wood

It’s fascinating how the colors of nature naturally go together. Here, I loaded my photo in Photoshop and touched the eyedropper tool to various points. Eureka! A very Arts and Crafts color scheme.

 

split wood shows color scheme

Historically, brown is considered to be down-to-earth, wholesome, stable and of substance. Yet, combined with black and near-white hues, these browns takes on a luscious and upscale image. Think ambrosial chocolates or a richly-paneled law firm.

 

natural rock shows complimentary colorsCheck out this rock from one of my gardens. The pinks and greens are opposite each other on the color wheel, meaning they are complimentary colors. Such a demure and romantic color scheme, yes? Perhaps a women’s clothing boutique or a hotel master suite.

 

lichens growing on a cut of wood

Aren’t the lichens growing on this slice of wood beautiful? So delicate and interlaced. And then there’s the blue with brown, a color scheme that’s rather ubiquitous these days.

So, here you have it. Mood boards straight from nature! This week, in celebration of Earth Day, take a walk outside and really open your eyes. Check out work of the ultimate designer!

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Market Now for Business Ahead

cuttingWood

Here in Wisconsin winter is finally loosening its hold on us. See there in the right corner of my picture, there’s even a tinge of green poking through the ground.

That’s my husband cutting wood. We burn wood for nearly all our heat so he spends many weekends sawing away. I know, with spring around the corner you wouldn’t think he’d need to do this, but the guy just never sits still. He’s also the epitome of planning ahead. Our wood storage is always filled and what he’s cutting now won’t be used until next year, or maybe even the year after that.

I posted this picture because Earth Day is coming up in two weeks. It also reminds me that I need to keep up with my marketing.

I’ve noticed an interesting pattern in the eight years I’ve been in business for myself. It seems to take a good 6-12 months to see results on my marketing efforts. This means the projects I’m working on right now are a result of the marketing I did last summer. And whether or not I have projects in my pipeline next winter depends on how much marketing I do now. Obviously, I need to keep my saws sharpened and running!

What do you think? Have any of you noticed this in your business?

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