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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.

SharePoint Saturday Huntsville

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The time has almost come and I am almost ready.  Are you ready?

SharePoint Saturday Huntsville will be here in just 2 short weeks. On May 1st lots of great SharePoint knowledge will be shared for free with any and all who wish to attend.

I have had the pleasure of heading up this great event this year for our first foray into the SharePoint Saturday club here in Huntsville.

It is a lot of work, but I am happy to work hard to get so many great speakers here for the community. We will have speakers on a wide variety of topics from administration, search, business intelligence, infopath, and even social networking.

Where else in Alabama can you hear Bill English, Ben Curry, and Robert Cain – all MVPs speak about SharePoint? And to top that off we have speakers from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, and New Jersey coming here to share their knowledge with us. 

Make sure you register to attend this great event if you are in the area. (only 1 1/2 hours from both Birmingham and Nashville, and a short drive from Atlanta and Memphis.

I look forward to seeing faces old and new on May 1, 2010!

Becoming a Member of the Summit 7 Systems team

So I wanted to s
Post a little note about a really exciting change for me. I have just joined the Summit 7 Systems team.

I am looking forward to working with this great group of people and learning even more about SharePoint.

I will be working with all forms of SharePoint and making it look not like SharePoint. So that won’t change. The only change will be my location, but only slightly.

My location, you may be asking yourself, what does that mean? Well I’m going to be moving to Huntsville, AL in the very near future. I’m looking for where I am going to be living, and will be working towards this move in my spare time.

I am still going to be very involved with the SharePoint community, so that won’t change. I enjoy speaking about SharePoint branding and meeting all of you.

In the next few months, I will be at SharePoint Saturday New Orleans the last weekend in February. I’m currently scheduled to do one 2010 session and 2 2007 branding sessions.

After that I am speaking at the SharePoint Evolutions Conference in London in April.

So just a slight change, but one I am very excited to make!!

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.

AcousticSoup2010WebVersion

Childrens Dance Foundation Mad Hatter Tea Party Ad

Childrens Dance Foundation Mad Hatter Tea Party Ad

SharePoint Saturday Kansas City

So, I was lucky enough to present at my 9th SharePoint Saturday this past weekend in Kansas City. It was a great event with over 200 people in attendance with attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers.  Kudos go out to Becky Isserman (@mosslover) and Kevin Hughes (@sharepointkevin) for putting on this spectacular event!

 If you get the opportunity to either attend or present at one of the SharePoint Saturday events, I highly encourage you to do so.  The events really are a great way to meet other people working with SharePoint and to ask questions and even just learn how others are using the product.

This time around, I again gave a new presentation.  This one was a 2010 SharePoint branding presentation all about how I think that some of the new branding components will allow end users to become more empowered and take ownership of their sites. 

This was a first stab at this presentation and I got lots of great feedback from other speakers as well as attendees about changes that I will be making to the presentation as I go forward.

Here is a link to my presentation

So, you want to know about the event?  Well, I will tell you a little bit about my trip and the great time that I had in Kansas City (MO and KS).

On Friday I made it to Kansas City and was lucky that Joy Earles (@joyknows) came to pick me up at the airport. (Thanks Joy!!!)  We made our way to the hotel and checked in.  With just a short time before the speaker dinner it was great to spend some time with Mark Rackley (@mrackley).  Then it was on to the speaker dinner.

This was a great feast in the hotel.  There were so many new speakers for me to meet.  And I was excited to see some familiar faces.  After this great meal, it was time for an adventure.  I always like going on local adventures while in the town. 

This time, I was glad to see some other adventurers in the group.  So it was time for our little group to head out.  The group was Joel Oleson (@joeloleson), Eric Harlan (@ericharlan), Mark Rackley and myself. 

What would our first stop be? If any of you follow Joel’s many adventures on twitter you would know that this past week he was also in St. Louis.  He wanted to compare St. Louis Barbecue to Kansas City Barbecue.   So we were off on our search for some BBQ in Kansas City that was still open late. (You see it was after 8 when we left our hotel on this adventure.)

We ended up at Oklahoma Joe’s.  This was a great experience and it turns out that it was featured by Anthony Bourdain’s 13 Places to Eat Before You Die article in Men’s Health Magazine. We ordered 2 different combo plates (recommended by the waitress). 

 

This is the framed article on the wall in Oklahoma Joes BBQ.

This is the framed article on the wall in Oklahoma Joes BBQ.

 

The sign on the outside of Oklahoma Joe's BBQ.  The building is actually a functioning gas station as well.

The sign on the outside of Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. The building is actually a functioning gas station as well.

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This is the combo meal with the Beef Brisket. We also chose the potato salad and the spicy coleslaw to go along with it.

 

This is the pork combo meal.  We got their famous pulled pork and the best in Kansas City French Fries with this combo.

This is the pork combo meal. We got their famous pulled pork and the best in Kansas City French Fries with this combo.

 

That is a lot of food on the table.  See even Eric agrees.

That is a lot of food on the table. See even Eric agrees.

 

See, I was there.  The waitress took the group picture for us.  But Joel and Eric were making faces.  I'm surprised that I don't have bunny ears.

See, I was there. The waitress took the group picture for us. But Joel and Eric were making faces. I'm surprised that I don't have bunny ears.

 

This is the rest of the store.  You can see they were ready for us to leave :-)

This is the rest of the store. You can see they were ready for us to leave 🙂

 

We were all trying to figure out where we were going next.  I'm pretty sure Eric was telling them that Joel was the driver.

We were all trying to figure out where we were going next. I'm pretty sure Eric was telling them that Joel was the driver.

 

So that was our first adventure of the night.  You might think that it was enough already with eating two meals, but we needed to go find some other fun in Kansas City.  So we were off again.  After a tour of some of the holiday lights in the town, we headed down to Independence, MO to see a temple that has some really neat architecture.  It was too dark for the pictures to turn out.  But it was nice to see it.

After that adventure we were off to the Power and Light District for a little time out on the town.  We went to a club called “PBR Big Sky.”  It was a lot of fun.  The band was good, not too country for the city boys with us. 😉  I kept waiting for Joel to jump on the mechanical bull and go for a ride, but it didn’t happen. 

At the end of Friday night, I felt like I had already been on an adventure.  The next day was the event and it was sure to be a great one.

And then on Sunday we got to do another couple of unique to Kansas City experiences.  Eric Harlan, Joy Earles, Becky Isserman, John Ennion and I went to lunch.  We went to one of Becky and John’s favorite restaurants for lunch.  Then some of us went on to Boulevard Brewery for a tour.  It was a lot of fun. 

After this it was time for me to head home.  It was a great trip and I really have enjoyed spending time in each different SharePoint Saturday city this year. 

Thanks to everyone involved in each of them!

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:

Women'sHomeLogoColor

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.

Conclusions

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.

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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.

November and December Events

So, now that the SharePoint Conference is over, I can start of focus on my upcoming events.  So what is next for me.  I think we all have figured out that I like to travel and that I especially like to travel when SharePoint is involved.

Next up for me is SharePoint Saturday in Tampa on November 14th. This will be a great event and if you live in that area, I encourage you to attend.

After Tampa, I am going to be participating in SharePoint Saturday in Phoenix, AZ on November 21st.  

This next week is Thanksgiving and I will be travelling to spend time with my family in Mobile, AL.

Then I am off to SharePoint Saturday DC/Northern Virginia on December 5th.

After that is SharePoint Saturday Kansas City on December 12th.

Wow, it looks like I am going to be quite busy in the next few months with lots of SharePointand lots of great information to share with everyone.

I imagine that at some point in all of this that I will be posting some new blog posts on SharePoint 2010 branding.  At least that is my goal.  I am also working on a SharePoint2010 book with a group of people, which is great as well.

I’m always open to any questions or topics that you would like to see me present.  So leave me a comment on my blog if you have any suggestions for me.