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Starting out 2012

As I was sitting around trying to decide what to start out 2012 with when it comes to my blog posts I decided that I would go ahead and edit both my About Me page and my Design Portfolio page. 

This allows me to share some of my work with all of you and gives me some feedback on what people are looking for.

Please check out those updates and give me some feedback.

Catherine Dew Resume 2012

SharePointCat Portfolio

Also I am excited to announce that I will be working with a stellar group of people to create some great sessions for the International SharePoint Conference in London in April of this year.  Be sure to register to attend this conference if you can. It is one of the best shows that I have ever participated with, and we are excited to introduce a new format this year that is solution based.

International SharePoint Conference London 2012

If you can’t make it to London, but are going to be at SPTechCon at the end of February, please come find me and let’s chat.  I am not speaking, but am happy to be attending the conference to hostess a Women In SharePoint luncheon. This lunch will give the ladies who work in our industry a place to gather and discuss hot topic issues that we face.

I’m working on my speaking schedule for the rest of the year, so keep an eye out for me in a town near you this year.  And if you have requests, please let me know about those and I will try to accommodate them. (Simply comment on this post with those requests)

There is also a new blog post quite soon on the horizon titled “I Walk the Line” about designing SharePoint sites for “what people need” and not just “what they want”.

SharePoint Saturday the Conference–Recap

Let me start this blog post out with a gigantic thank you to all the organizers and sponsors for this amazing event! Without all of their hard work and dedication to the SharePoint community this event never would have happened.

Next up, a giant thank you to everyone who attended this event.  I am always surprised at just how many people come out to learn about SharePoint. And I am humbled every time someone comes to hear me speak.

At SharePoint Saturday the Conference – DC I was able to present a full day workshop: SharePoint Branding 101.  This workshop was exciting for me to try and fit in as much branding goodness into 6 hours as I could.  It was certainly a challenge.

During the day we discussed a full range of topics from Requirements Gathering for Branding all the way through to Implementation and Deployment of Features.

Now that we have all had a moment to take a breath and recover a bit from this very full day of branding learning. I wanted to post out a few things for you.  First up are the slides from the presentation.  Hopefully they will help some of you out as you approach projects in the future. (Thanks for the feedback from a few of you I helped already, it certainly makes me happy to share)

SharePoint Branding 101 Presentation

I really enjoyed spending the day with those of you who were able to join my session in DC. I look forward to meeting many more of the SharePoint Branding intrepid over the next few months!

I am sorry for the delay in posting this.  I also wanted to add a quick listing of helpful tools and items I mentioned in the session.


Balsamiq Mockups – This is a for purchase application, not free

Visio Graphic Stencils – These are a free download

Visio User Interface Stencils – These are for purchase, not free.

SharePoint Design: (both of these are great and a huge undertaking for both of the creators!)

Starter Master Pages Courtesy of Randy Drisgill – A Gigantic Thanks to Randy

SharePoint 2010 CSS Chart Courtesy of Heather Solomon – A Gigantic Thanks to Heather

Best Practices Conference is coming up!

I’m going to be at the Best Practices Conference, will you?

I am excited to have been accepted as a speaker for the Best Practices Conference in August. This time there will be no ash cloud from speaking at my first major conference!

After all DC is a driveable distance from Alabama!!! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to participate in this event.

And not only will I be speaking in the regular conference sessions, but I am joining some of the other Summit 7 team in the post conference session.

So make sure you register to attend this great conference and come listen to me talk about some great SharePoint branding information that you will want to hear about!

And if you are bringing a laptop with you, please help out the Women in SharePoint group by signing up and helping us Live Blog the conference.

What a crazy year!

Wow, many of you may have wondered where I have been. I haven’t written anything new for you on here for a long time. I am truly sorry for that and I intend to make up for it.

So it has been a crazy year so far in 2010 for me. I changed jobs, moved and am working on a new book project. I have barely had time to breathe.

But now that I travel more again I can get back to my blogging on planes habit. What can you expect from me?

Well I’m going to finish my design series and even give you information on branding for SharePoint 2010 as well.

I’m working on my branding section of the SharePoint Six-in-One book for Wrox due out later this year. I am blessed to be part of a great team of writers and we are all giving you our best expertise on our individual parts of SharePoint 2010.

Where can you come see me? Well I will be at the Baton Rouge SharePoint Users Group for their August meeting. (the 5th I think)

Next up is the Best Practices Conference  in Washington DC August 24- 27. I’m speaking on branding there and also working in the Summit 7 Systems booth and with the Women in SharePoint group.

After that I will be at SharePoint Saturday Baltimore again (fingers crossed I will be speaking).

 And I plan to head out to Vancouver in September to speak and participate in the SharePoint Saturday event there.

Also I’m going to post more information for you here. So keep an eye out for a few more posts in the next few days about events and then some content on Design again soon.

Busy December and January

So I have been working on the next installment of my blog post, and many of you may have wondered where it is. I should have it completed soon, don’t worry it is coming.  I just need to finish the graphics.

But what have I been up to other than blog writing.  Well December is always a busy month with the holidays.  This past year I travelled the first two weekends of the month, leaving myself only one weekend to get all of my shopping done.  So that made it a bit of a challenge to write the blog post.

Then with the holiday’s and traveling to visit my family (okay so I know they are just a short car trip from Birmingham to Mobile away) took up some of the other time.

I also have been working to write my chapters for a new SharePoint 2010 book from Wrox.  A few of us are putting together a “SharePoint for All” book that will house 6 different sections on 6 different topics within SharePoint 2010.  So that has taken some time from my blog as well.

Then to top it all off, I am involved with two wonderful charity groups in Birmingham, AL.  Both of these groups are having events in the near future for fundraising.  In fact, one of the events is next Thursday night.  For these groups, I not only volunteer, but I also donate my design services to create the graphics for the events.  Below, I have included the art work that I have created for these two events.

I will be finishing up the next in the series of blog posts in the next day or so.  Tomorrow I am speaking at the Alabama Code Camp in Mobile, Alabama.  I am presenting 3 sessions on SharePoint Branding.  2 on SharePoint 2007 and one on SharePoint 2010.


Childrens Dance Foundation Mad Hatter Tea Party Ad

Childrens Dance Foundation Mad Hatter Tea Party Ad

Logo Design – The Basics (at least in my opinion)

So, I want to preface this first design series post with saying that the concepts I am stating in this post come from my own experiences and my own opinions. While I went to art school and have worked as a graphic designer for 10 years, there are always other ways to do any part of design. That is what makes design so great and so broad. It is creative and subjective. Everyone has their own methods and their own tastes.

So let’s talk about logo design.

What are the basics of a logo?
You can create logos from either type/text or an image mark, or a combination of both. Let me define a couple of these terms for you.

An image mark is the visual component of a logo.

What makes a successful logo?
Three Questions to Ask
1. Does it work in one color?
2. Can you easily identify the name?
3. Does the mark make sense (if one was used)?

All three of these questions don’t have to be answered yes, but at least two should.

When designing a logo, we must consider all uses of the logo. This can include: web, print, business cards, signage, logo items, tv, etc. This is one reason it is important for a logo to function in only one color.   I start all of my logo designs in just one color.  If it is successful in this aspect then it will work for all of your needs.

For me, questions 2 and 3 aren’t deal breakers either way, but they do have some importance.  You should be able to tell from a logo what the name of the product or company is.  You should also be able to identify the logo mark.

In many cases a logo is used as pieces and not only as a whole.  You can use just the mark or just the text.  Each of the pieces of the whole can be used to emphasize something different or for different designs.

For example you might use just the logo mark on the back of a business card for emphasis.

A couple of examples:


Full Color Design in 2 Colors

Logo Design in One Color

Logo Design in One Color

Just the Logo/Image Mark

Just the Logo/Image Mark

Just the Text of the Logo

Just the Text of the Logo

So you may be thinking, but how does this relate to SharePoint design?

I think that a successful intranet can be enhanced with a great Intranet logo design. If you work to identify a name for your site and then brand it with it’s own logo it can help you increase your end user adoption.

–Tip: Having a logo design for your SharePoint sites will allow you to target your internal marketing campaign around your site. —

Even if you are working with an existing logo, you can still learn many things about the corporate branding just from a logo.  You can determine what colors can be used. You can also start to determine things like “white space usage” and the elusive “feel” of the site.

Let’s look at the examples that I displayed earlier and see what we can determine about a site design from this logo.

The Women's Home Logo

The Women's Home Logo

Site Design Color Scheme:

We can tell that the primary colors will be green and pink.  This also helps us determine supporting colors. We now know what their primary colors are so we can use color theory to determine what else will work with the site.

We also learn by seeing that the logo functions in one color only that we can use the logo reversed out of a dark solid color or textured color.

Images to be used in the site:

We can determine that we can use a flower or rose theme throughout the site as the flower is part of their logo/image mark. Also another design aspect that we can explore is the circle.

Font Usage for Site:

By noticing the type in the logo we can assume that the client might want to use a serif (a type of font face) for headers and the navigation.


So you can see, something as simple as the logo can lead us to many conclusions and offshoots for the entire brand’s design. In breaking down design into smaller pieces it is my hope that I can give you some insight into a designers brain. This insight will also be paired with tips and hits for SharePoint branding.

The next post in this series will talk about Color Theory and Color Choices.  This one will be important as we move towards SharePoint 2010 and the Office Themes.


As I go through this design blog series I will be developing a site design for this group’s intranet.

I was lucky enough to develop this logo for the Women’s Home during my time at Edge Creative Strategies in Houston, Texas.  It is a fabulous non-profit group that I was privileged to work with.  Here is a little bit about them:

The Women’s Home is a multi-ethnic, non-denominational, non-profit United Way agency. Founded in Houston in 1957, The Home’s reputation has grown alongside its facilities in both size and stature.

At The Women’s Home, we envision a world in which every woman embraces her unique value and potential for a life filled with love, dignity and purpose.

SharePoint Evolution Conference

Wow, I am so honored.  I was recently selected to speak at the upcoming SharePoint Evolution Conference in London. I will be presenting a session on SharePoint 2010 Branding focused on how to Enable End Users to Modify Their Sites.

I’m looking forward to this conference a lot.  I will also get to check off one more place on my list of places to visit.


SharePoint Saturday Tampa

So, this past weekend (November 13th – 15th) I attended and was privileged to speak at SharePoint Saturday Tampa.  I got to meet so many great new people.  I really do like attending this community events! 

They are such a good way for me to connect with people in the SharePoint world and to meet other speakers. 

This event was really nice as it offered us beautiful waterfront views out of the conference rooms.  It was such a nice day that it was a little distracting to present.  But I managed to avoid running out to the beach and stay inside and learn lots of new things and even give my own presentation.

Here is a link to my presentation from this event:
SharePoint Branding 101 – What you need to know before you begin

Thanks to everyone who was at the event.  It was great to meet you all.

Design Series of Posts

I have been trying for a while trying to figure out what topics people would be interested in for me to write about concerning design.

SharePoint design is so much more than just code, so I thought that I would start off a series of blog posts.  These posts are going to be focused around basic design concepts and then cap off with how these concepts can be applied to SharePoint branding.

In my work I have spent time learning about User Experience and how basic design concepts can improve this experience.  I am not going to limit this series to any number of posts and I am going to try and write posts about many topics.  If you have requests please leave them as comments on any of the posts for me to write about.

First up is the Basics of Logo Design.