I usually hate “best of” lists.
But this one, 40 Amazing Ecommerce Websites (via Oberlo) is a good example of what happens when you stop using templates and get very, very creative.
As I become more interested in Print on Demand (PoD) technology, I also find that my design and creative mind is along for the journey
I am not a graphic designer. Or a designer at all. I’m a language guy. I’m finding that design and art function a lot like language. I’m also beginning to understand how very, critically important design is.
Almost all the items created by cgk.ink are sourced from the web. I approach design from my mind, first. I am, right now, fascinated by Islamic art. The fact that it is based on three shapes: circle, triangle, and square, blows my mind. These elaborate, sophisticated designs show us how the human mind can excel at imagination.
Loyal & Royal
The major trick in doing this is not to violate another artist’s intellectual property. I, personally, would be very annoyed if someone were to take an article I have written and claim it as their own — let alone profiting from it. So, I am very careful where I get my images and designs. I’ve created fantastic, long-lived relationships with other designers who are masters of their craft. And I’m happy to state that we both benefit.
For other designs, I find that I continually return to Unsplash.com. It is a completely utopic site for people like me. High resolution, incredible work by artists and completely royalty-free and public domain. I know, unbelievable. Impossibly cool. They are the ultimate enabler for design junkies. They even have a very eloquent manifesto:
In 2013, we started Unsplash by giving away 10 images we had leftover from a photoshoot. Instead of letting our photos sit dead in a folder somewhere, we thought it would be much better if they were put to use to move other creative projects forward.
Unsplash was formed as the antithesis to the stock media experiences available at the time. Instead of vast libraries, licensed and presented for commercial buyers, we focused on pushing the impact of photography further than ever before by making original, high-resolution images available for anyone to use for anything.
Today, Unsplash has become a platform fueled by creators who have generously gifted hundreds of thousands of photos to be used openly for anything. We’ve seen Unsplash images inspire millions of creations, from multi-platinum recording artists to world-renowned writers.
Our aim is to celebrate the gifts Unsplash contributors make by extending the connection to their photography as far as we can. Images connect on an emotional level. They are not only how we self-express but also how we understand all kinds of information. The creative spirit is one of exploration. If creativity is a form of exploration, then an image is the perfect start.
From the beginning, Unsplash has held a particular view on the future of creativity, and our vision remains unchanged. We believe everyone is creative and that we have a responsibility to empower everyone to create. Creativity is a fundamental human need that is essential not only for progress but for feeling connected to the world and oneself. Our world is evolving rapidly. Manual to automated. Physical to digital. Earth to Mars. While we don’t know exactly where everything is headed, what we do know is creativity will be how we get there.
- Share. Remix, rework, recreate. This only works if we all take part. So share, manipulate, and reshare.
- Care. While the Unsplash License allows you to share without the limitations of copyright, this doesn’t mean we should ignore the work of our contributors if we can help it. It is not required but when possible, support artists willing to offer their work by giving credit.
- Create. Art only exists because of other art. What you build becomes the next material that inspires the next artist. Without creation we have nothing so go make something.
Pretty fucking cool.
I try to attribute credit to the artists whose work I use in my store. Due to the sheer volume, I can not always achieve this. So what I do is make sure that the source file always remains unaltered so that the attribution is within the code. I could do better and I am actively exploring ways to do that without impeding the production process.
And, in the same spirit, I also believe that “without creation, we have nothing so go make something.” This is why I welcome collaboration, experimentation and I’m happy to talk to anyone who would like to replicate what I’m doing on this site. You can contact me here.
Is DRM Dead?
Looks like the market just corrected that error:
Getty Images is Going All Royalty Free, and That Sucks for Photographers
A client recently requested that they move off Shopify and onto WordPress. I’m happy to help with technical issues for my clients, but as I dug around for hosting plans and domain registrations, a few things became very clear:
Managed WordPress Hosting
For years, I have used a hosting company. As my site grew and required more resources, it became evident that I needed to get serious about my host and amove to a managed WordPress host. What’s the difference? Regular hosting companies allocate their servers across multiple platforms. They often have their own, branded HTML editor as well as myriad other platforms. A managed WordPress host focuses strictly on WordPress and nothing else.
The benefits are significant. Servers are configured correctly for WordPress. This is no light task. Setting WP up is a really unpleasant experience. You’ll experience faster responses, tech support that knows their stuff and can determine WP-specific errors and fix them quickly. Further, since the focus is on WP, you’ll be able to avoid conflicting security plug-ins, access development tools and add higher levels of performance such as CDN (content delivery network) and easily set up staging and collaborative workspaces. And there’s a triple bonus: free site migration (yes)!
I recommend Flywheel as a preferred managed WordPress host. Their response rate is phenomenal and their pricing is very competitive, Further, they offer a seriously easy to use interface and tools that let me focus on client relations and design instead of technical problems.
Last month, Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine. From their press release:
WP Engine, as Brunner describes it, focuses largely on mid-market and larger businesses, while Flywheel — founded and currently based out of Omaha — has focused on smaller businesses. That makes the two natural complements to each other, but Brunner notes that there will be more gained from the union.
“The team there is very product-focused,” she noted. “They’ve built a suite that we feel has been focused around small agencies, but they are also the types of tools that larger agencies will benefit from.” She is referring to the product Local by Flywheel, a local development application used by more than 150,000 developers.
Flywheel, founded in 2012, had only raised around $6 million in funding, including a $4 million round several years ago. The economies of scale of throwing in its lot with WP Engine will give it a much wider exposure and access to new customers.
If you’re shopping for a managed WP host, Flywheel definitely ranks. It would be worth your while to try their trial to evaluate how easy they make developing WP sites.
Here’s the formal pitch:
Flywheel Platform Video
Renewing your domain is probably the most important detail of your online store. And the least sexy. I’ve chosen a .ink domain which made renewing it previously an expensive chore.
Until I found porkbun.com. Yes, the name is snicker-worthy, but this Portland, Oregon-based registrar is by far the cheapest when renewing esoteric domains (.ink, .abagado, .bar, etc.). I easily saved 50% off which made renewing a little bit less painful.
As mentioned earlier, the internet has seen a new generation of top-level domains known as “new generic TLDs” or simply, ngTLDs. These are top-level domains that have been introduced by ICANN in recent years and don’t fit the same mold as a .com or .net. In October of 2013, ICANN announced that the first batch of ngTLDs was delegated into the internet’s root zone (the top of the DNS hierarchy which contains all of the delegations for top-level domains).
The very first ngTLD was .guru, and it was made available to the public in February of 2014. Following the success of .guru, a number of ngTLDs like .club and .link were introduced and were welcomed by new domain buyers. In June of 2014, .xyz was introduced, and two years later, more than six million domains were registered using this ngTLD.
— Source: DreamHost.com