The Art & Science of Jaded Love

Posted by on Feb 3, 2011 in Backstory, Journal | No Comments

Philip Norris is a country rock artist who had success in the 1980’s. He was interested in pulling his career together by creating a retrospective album and a website that highlighted his work and life when he was at his best.

The Science

I was keenly interested in the project because I wanted to create a website hands on myself. By hands on, I don’t mean I wanted to hand code a website. I wanted to design it in Dreamweaver, which I recently taught myself with Total Training and Lynda.com videos. And, I wanted to push my skills by including some cool functionality.

I was never completely comfortable in the past directing web developers when I didn’t fully understand code. There’s only one way to really learn CSS and HTML: by designing and developing a website hands on. I already knew some basis HTML. It was hard not to. Even selling something on ebay required it. And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it easy to learn new programs with training like Lynda.com if you know your way around Adobe programs.

Because the site was going to be a personal site, it was going to feature alot of photography, but I wanted the site to be more than just a site that looked good. I wanted it to work for my client. I wanted it to be dynamic. I wanted it to help him in all areas of his life.

The native Texan quickly signed off on the Americana look and feel I created. But it took a little push to sell him on the idea of being commercial beyond just having a link to purchase his new album. I eventually got him to agree to also having a store where he could sell Philip Norris merchandise. And he had a nice recording studio in his big, beautiful home that wasn’t being used, so why not try to rent it out through the site?

 philip

So, the Home page was set. But what about the internal pages? How could I best use my new developer skills? More on the developer skills in a bit…

First, I wanted to write his biography. I like to write, but I wanted to challenge myself to write Norris’ bio from the list of chronological life events he sent me as reference. I wanted his story to be descriptive and emotional like a romance novel. But with a folksy, down home tone.

To organize all the music and video and music charts content, I used Spry Frameworks’ Spry Accordions. It was a nice way to keep everything above the fold and avoid scrolling. So, I had the Spry Accordions widget used on a Music page, a Media page and a Charts page. They looked good and worked well, so I also used Spry Tabbed Panels to display the photos of the recording studio.

So, I ramped myself up technically with Dreamweaver. I know more about code, how it works and what is possible. And Philip Norris loved where his new website was going and was looking forward to launching it. I just had to design his retrospective album. That would have a new set of challenges.

The Art

My client was quite certain about what he wanted regarding the album. He wanted a DVD to showcase his photography and videos collected over the years to accompany the CD. And he had a favorite photo of himself he wanted to use on the cover. The photo had a nice sepia toned, antique feel. But Norris was insistent that I colorize the photo.

I had no experience colorizing a photo and I never liked how they colorized old black and white films. But I got it. It was metaphorical. We were breathing new life into into his career. Looking old was not the right direction. It needed to look fresh and current. Turns out the final result looked pretty natural and realistic. See the final album cover below next to the original photo. You can click on the image to see more detail.

split-screen

I had also never created a DVD menu before. But it was very easy once I spoke with the guy who was going to program it. The final is shown below.

DVD-Menu_final

Jaded Love was good to go. The final package is shown below.

CDrenderedThe social media pages came together quickly using the design elements from the website. The Facebook page proved to be very important. He reconnected with hundreds of fans and old friends. And the page drove them to the website.

Philip_social_media

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