Grand Rapids Griffins 20th Season Logo Concept

The Grand Rapids Griffins unveiled their 20th season logo today and my immediate reaction was of serious disappointment.  Not like when I wasn’t happy about what choices they made for their “fan designed” jersey contest.  This was professionally designed.  There’s no excuse for this.

The Griffins say the following about the design:

The logo, designed by the Griffins with input from Reebok, consists primarily of a silver shield dominated by a “frozen” numeral 20. Silver, a secondary color for the franchise since its inception, is given prominence due to its similarity to platinum, a modern theme for 20th anniversary gifts. Red, which the Griffins began to feature significantly in 2002 when they cemented their affiliation with the Detroit Red Wings, serves as an accent in the logo’s border.

I say the “frozen” 20 looks less like it’s covered in ice and more like it’s dripping.  The over-use of silver makes the logo look like a photocopy.  The use of red without any of the Griffins’ other colors is something I’ve ranted about repeatedly, as I hate seeing the Griffins defer to the Red Wings’ branding.  The Griffins’ primary color is blue.  They should use it.

I re-drew the logo the way I think it should have been.  Here’s the comparison.

Side-by-side comparison of the Griffins' 20th season logo and my take on it.
Side-by-side comparison of the Griffins’ 20th season logo (left) and my take on it (right).

I’ve removed the “drip” and the unnecessary bevel from the 20.  The black shield is replaced with the Griffins’ standard blue and the full-color Griffin logo is added.  The silver used is the same as is already part of the team’s identity.  Red stays as an accent color and the black outline becomes blue.

Disclaimer: My version is a slightly-incorrect trace of the original, so some of the shapes aren’t quite right.  I wasn’t trying to change them, just too lazy to get it right.

Now, I still don’t think this is a fantastic logo.  Aside from the colors, the only part of the Griffins’ identity used in this is the primary logo, which is partially obscured.  The Griffins have a unique jersey number font, I’d love to have seen that used.  I do think my version is better, though.


Update: By request, I drew up a version that keeps the bevel.  I think it might look better than my original idea.

An updated version of my Griffins 20th season logo.
An updated version of my Griffins 20th season logo.

On Salary Requirements

A friend of mine who’s actively looking for a job pinged me yesterday morning looking for advice on what salary to request.  My friend’s requested salary was a required field on the application form.  I don’t like this, and I said as much via Twitter.

Another friend called me out on that, so allow me to explain a bit further.

I’m a firm believer in the hiring process being a two-way street.  It’s as much an opportunity for a company to vet an applicant as it is for the applicant to confirm that he or she actually wants to work at that company.  By naming a dollar amount up front, the applicant is forced to do so without any of the information that would be gathered during the interview process.

All jobs are not created equal.  Maybe I’ll take less money from your company because you’ve got some really cool technology I want to work with or you’re closer to my house or there’s a good restaurant across the street.  Maybe I want more from you than I would someone else because you have an open office plan or you give less time off or I’m going to have an awful commute to get to the office.

I will say that this doesn’t account for job postings that include a salary range, which would seemingly be the company stating up front what they’re willing to offer, without knowing anything about the candidate.  In my friend’s case, there was no range given.  That means they were asking “You know nothing about the job, you know nothing about how much we’re offering, what’s your price?”

That said, I don’t really think companies should bother with a salary range.  I can go on Glassdoor and see what the range I can expect to get for a given job is.  So can the company.  Both sides should know what to expect without spelling it out ahead of time.  I think that the interview process is a valuable enough learning experience that I’m willing to take the chance on getting a lower-than-expected offer if I apply somewhere and it turns out we’re not on the same page.

Maybe some people – and some companies – aren’t willing to take that chance.  That’s a mistake.

On Social Media Terminology

I’ve got a high school reunion coming up, which means I’ve been added to a group for it on Facebook, which has immediately been followed by a small avalanche of friend requests from people I haven’t spoken to in years. It got me thinking about the different terminology that social media sites use.

On LinkedIn, the people you know are “connections.”  It’s an unassuming word that makes a lot of sense to me.  You know that person, they know you, there is some kind of undefined connection between the two of you.

On Google+, they don’t even label these connections.  You place people in circles, which you then get to label yourself.  Maybe you have a “People I Hate” circle for some reason.  Maybe you have a “Family” circle.  Google+ is agnostic to your labels.

Twitter is my favorite.  As a broadcast medium, on Twitter you simply have “followers.”  Maybe they’re friends, maybe they’re family, maybe you don’t even know them.  The only connection is that they follow you (you don’t even have to be following them back).

But Facebook sticks with “friends” as their label.  Maybe it’s borne out of their initial battle for social media supremacy with MySpace (“The Place for Friends”), I don’t know.  And while Facebook includes the ability to group your connections, even people in a “People I Hate” group are still labeled as friends.

Maybe it’s a small thing.  I follow tons of people I don’t know on Twitter.  I’ve got connections with recruiters I’ve never actually met on LinkedIn.  Facebook?  Almost entirely people I’m actually friends with (plus a couple people who used to be friends).

Talking About the Weather

I was staring in anger at my car thermometer this morning when I had a little bit of a revelation.

You think about the weather and, in general, people understand concepts.  Hot and cold.  Dry and wet.  We’ve attached numbers to them and we know what they mean but only because we’ve made this association between the number and experience.

Okay, nothing groundbreaking but as I was staring at this “-9” in my dashboard, I got to doing the math.

We generally consider 70 degrees to be a pretty nice temperature.  Maybe 75.  Whatever.

And freezing is, of course, pretty cold.  Kinda miserable.

Today we are just as far from freezing as 70 is, only in the opposite damn direction.

I’m cold just thinking about it.

Retro Portfolio: Pine Ridge Condo Association

The site for the Pine Ridge Condo Association was developed with communication in mind.

Prior to the site’s creation, all electronic communication between the neighborhood residents was handled via email, with no single contact list maintained. Members of the Board of Directors had the most accurate lists but, in the interest of privacy, those weren’t made available to the neighborhood as a whole.

The Pine Ridge web site, combined with an associated Facebook page, provided another location where communication could occur. Post to the Facebook page were automatically pulled to the site’s home page. Site administrators could then flag important messages as news, which would give them more space on the home page and make them available in an RSS feed.

Additionally, each resident of the neighborhood was given an account on the site where they could log in to manage their contact preferences.

Their email address and phone number remained visible only to the board, but they could opt in to a mailing list based on the data in this user-managed directory. Any messages sent to a specific email address would be forwarded to all of the neighborhood homeowners. To protect against spammers, only messages from email addresses already on the list would be forwarded on.

By creating the web site, a place for static information was also made available. Documents such as the association bylaws – public documents but sometimes hard to find – were given a home on the site to be more accessible.


The above text and images were copied directly from the portfolio of my former development company, O6 Web Services, as I imported it over to this blog. It was not updated for re-publishing. This project launched in October 2012.

Retro Portfolio: Eastern Michigan University LOEX

The Library Orientation Exchange program at Eastern Michigan University had come to O6 in 2007 to turn their then-static listing of resources into a database-driven, searchable index. When it came time for a site redesign, they came back to us.

While LOEX’s “mothersite” was the primary focus of the project, much of the design was driven by their newer web property, the site for their annual conference.

The existing design for the conference site was deemed to be acceptable, however we wanted to take the time to create a unified brand shared across the conference site and the primary site.

We started by taking the horizontal navigation and locale-specific images of the conference site and adding in the LOEX branding. A spot for the LOEX Twitter feed was added to the home page to provide fresher content.

The template was built out in such a way that it could be used for each year’s conference by swapping out a couple images and changing a handful of colors.

With the conference site updated, that design was pulled over to the primary site. The colors were updated to match those of EMU and the locale-specific parts of the conference design were replaced by a section showing how users could interact with LOEX via social media.


The above text and images were copied directly from the portfolio of my former development company, O6 Web Services, as I imported it over to this blog. It was not updated for re-publishing. This project launched in September 2012.

Retro Portfolio: Captured Moments

Photographer Heather Bostater came to O6 in need of a web site that could showcase her work and allow potential clients to reach her.

We brought in Nick Gorsline of Pulp+Pixels to create the design, utilizing his experience to build a layout in which Heather’s photos could speak for themselves.

O6 turned Nick’s design into Adobe Dreamweaver templates and built out pages that Heather could edit in Adobe Contribute, giving her control of the small amount of text content on the site.

A custom tool was created to allow for the management of the site’s photo galleries. The front-end for those galleries was the open-source Galleria system.

Other bits of development included an email form allowing Heather to be contacted through the site and a system for randomly displaying a customer testimonial on the home page.


The above text and images were copied directly from the portfolio of my former development company, O6 Web Services, as I imported it over to this blog. It was not updated for re-publishing. This project launched in August 2011.

Retro Portfolio: Mythlogic E-commerce Checkout

O6 originally completed the e-commerce system for Mythlogic Computers in August of 2007 and by early 2011 it was time for an update.

The first Mythlogic checkout was a single page system, with shipping and billing information entered on the same page and immediately submitted for acceptance or rejection. The same address had to be used for billing and shipping and only credit cards were accepted. Additionally, all shipping charges were a flat rate.

The checkout updates broke that single page down into four steps with additional options and validation.

Separate billing and shipping addresses could be entered at the first step. A checkbox copied information from the billing address to the shipping address if the customer wanted them to be the same. Another new addition was support for international addresses.

The second step took the shipping address that was entered and used the UPS and USPS APIs to determine what shipping options were available and what each would cost.

Payment options were the third step. In addition to the previously-employed credit card option, the new checkout system supported check, wire transfer, and PayPal E-Check.

The fourth an final step was a confirmation page, allowing the customer to review their cart before submitting their order.

This front-end checkout system was also cloned into a back-end system that allowed Mythlogic employees to take offline sales.


The above text and images were copied directly from the portfolio of my former development company, O6 Web Services, as I imported it over to this blog. It was not updated for re-publishing. This project launched in April 2011.

Retro Portfolio: MissiveMitten

Note: O6 Web Services is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse any political party or entity.

MissiveMitten was the follow-up to the MDelegate site that O6 built in the lead up to the 2010 Michigan Gubernatorial election.

Following the election, the MDelegate team wanted to create a site for information dissemination in the mold of The Drudge Report or The Bean Walker.

Little design work was necessary, as a clone of the aforementioned sites was expected.

Tools were built to allow the site owners to manage the headlines displayed on the site, as well as additional links to news sources at the bottom of the home page. The tool for managing headlines allowed new headlines to be added or removed, with active headlines available to shift around a grid that represented the layout of the home page.


The above text and images were copied directly from the portfolio of my former development company, O6 Web Services, as I imported it over to this blog. It was not updated for re-publishing. This project launched in December 2010.

Retro Portfolio: MDelegate

Note: O6 Web Services is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse any political party or entity.

The MDelegate site was built in the lead up to the 2010 Michigan Gubernatorial election. It was part of a Republican grass-roots effort to share information and reach out to voters.

The basic site design was provided by the client, with O6 cleaning it up and fitting in content areas that hadn’t been accounted for.

The home page was centered around news distribution, with headlines pulled in from RSS feeds displayed and a space for posting news video hosted on YouTube.

In addition to static content pages, there was also a password-protected section where site users could see information about other users near them, including an events calendar, a map of their precinct, and other shared files. Users could submit their own events to the calendar through a form.

An administration system was built to allow the site owners to manage the dynamic elements of the site. Tools for managing users, moderating the event calendar, and adding/removing news feeds were part of the administration system.

The MDelegate home page, showing news headlines, a YouTube video, and a user login form.
The MDelegate home page, showing news headlines, a YouTube video, and a user login form.

The above text and image were copied directly from the portfolio of my former development company, O6 Web Services, as I imported it over to this blog. It was not updated for re-publishing. This project launched in October 2010.