The kindness of strangers

Lately I've been kind of bumming about the state of our society today: rude, obnoxious people who are in such a rush that they become oblivious to the world functioning around them. It seems lately I've stumbled across all kinds: the woman on her cell phone (not hands-free) in the monsterous SUV who tried to cut me off and pass me on the left--on a one lane road, mind you; the senior citizen that couldn't get out of the market fast enough and almost mowed me down in the process (I know I'm moving a little slower nowadays, but the 5 people in front of me weren't exactly moving at a jackrabbit's pace, either); the woman who interrupted my little one's Enchanted Castle experience because she just couldn't let her voice mail pick up (instead, she answered her phone with a quick, "I'm at the Enchanted Castle, can I call you back?" Seriously, you couldn't turn the ringer off for a half hour and let voice mail do your dirty work?)

All of this, combined with a few other choice incidents have really bummed me out of late. Are people so self-absorbed nowadays that they can't see beyond their own needs?

Well, I got a little attitude adjustment today, courtesy of a problem I was having with a website I'm working on. The site--which isn't live yet, so I can't go into too much detail--has a main menu going across the top of the page; each category has it's own drop down menu. Directly below that is a flash movie--nothing fancy, just 5 photographic fades. Problem is, the drop down menus are created in javascript, and the flash movie is, well, duh, it's flash. And little did I know, but certain web browsers (ahem, PC web browsers) layer flash as the top most layer--which means that my fancy little drop down menus were hidden behind the flash movie. Not exactly what the client was looking for (or me, for that matter).

So I spent a good part of yesterday looking for the solution; fortunately, this is a common problem (whew, it's not just me!). Unfortunately, the common fixes I found weren't doing anything to remedy this problem. I even enlisted Mattio in the process (during halftime, of course), and he kept coming up empty as well. So I turned to a flash forum.

I wasn't expecting much, to tell the truth; but I posted my problem (as well as the numerous solutions I had tried), and within hours I got a response. The genius behind the response hooked me up with a clever little download, as well as some fancy script. Mattio tutored me on where to put it in my code, and voila! In 5 minutes we had the site working the way it should.

So thank you, strange genius on the flash forum, for not only helping me solve a complex problem with your javascript/flash wisdom, but also reaffirming my faith in the kindness of strangers. Now, if only there was a forum in cell phone etiquette...



Just a quick note to apologize for not keeping up with the blog the past few weeks. I've been trying to finish up some bigger projects before the baby comes (3 more weeks), on top of the fact that I have officially hit that 10th month slump. I hope that once I tie up a few more loose ends, I'll find myself with a little more time to devote to the blog. That is, until our newest addition arrives :)



About nine months ago, my pal Cyndy (of art + interiors) came to me asking if I could help her with a marketing email she was planning on sending out once a month. The email was going to be along the same lines as the kate spade favorites email we both get: in this case, instead of a sampling of accessories, Cyndy is showcasing her artist's works.

She's sent out about 6 monthly "favorites" emails so far, and the idea has been well-received. She uses Constant Contact to actually do most the legwork for her: once the email is designed and coded, Constant Contact sends it to the addresses in her address book that she specifies, stores the email and photos, keeps track of who opens the email (even multiple times!)... it's really a great service.

But I have to say, it's pretty refreshing on my end to sit down with her once a month and go over her artist's works--sometimes it's hard to choose work to showcase (only 4 artists are in the email each month), and sometimes--like this past month--we see a piece of work and the ideas just come to us.

If you're ever in the market for fine art, I would strongly suggest getting in touch with Cyndy--her artists are amazingly talented, and she has a great eye for talent.



Due to lack of space, my home office the past few years has been the dining room table (unfortunately, I've found that too many people share my concept of "office space;" I feel for you, I really do). However, all that changed today when the UPS man came and delivered my new desk!

(That's not the photo of my actual desk, rather the photo from the West Elm catalog. My desk is actually in a stain called "chocolate." Hey, I'm pregnant--of course I'm ordering furniture in colors named after food!)

Part of the appeal of this desk is that the bottom half slides out from underneath it, almost doubling it in size--perfect for our "cozy" little space--when I'm done for the day, I can slide the desk back together and it will be out of the way.

I can't wait to start using it. I'm even more excited that when people come to my house--as the dining room is the first room you walk into--the first thing people see won't be the traciedesigns office :)


You get what you pay for

So this morning Mattio alerted me to what I refer to as a design chop shop--basically, an assembly line of "designers" (term used loosely) doing logos, business cards, websites, etc... for a ridiculously low price. Now, don't get me wrong; I am all for saving money--however, I don't do it at the expense of my business, and neither should you.

This place--which I won't name--is designing logos for $200. And you know what? You're getting a $200 logo. The only attention-getting thing about these logos is how bad they are (I won't even get into the websites--it's just wrong on so many levels). A lot of times, your company's identity is the first thing people see, it's like the welcome mat to your business.

Maybe I'm a design snob (OK, there shouldn't be a maybe at all in that sentence!), but if I had a choice between 2 companies offering the exact same service--one with a well-designed logo, and one with a logo that was just thrown together--I'm starting with the company with the well-designed logo, no doubt about it. My reasoning (besides the whole design-snob bit)? This company has obviously taken the time and spent a little money to ensure that they look like professionals. If they're doing that for their own company, imagine the level of service they can provide for me.

Just another case of you get what you pay for...