Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Craziness! Christmas List and the Future

It seems to me that each year Cyber Monday has a stronger and stronger impact on holiday shopping. Malls and other retail stores won't go out of business because they are too convenient, but I am sure one of the reasons for starting Black Friday at midnight (in my town) was one of their ways to combat the overwhelming market moving toward the internet to buy their holiday gifts so they won't have to wait in those dreadful lines. The stores were packed at first, but around 3 a.m. they had cleared up which made me a fairly happy customer at Rivertown Crossings Mall in Grandville, MI.

Even though I think the local retail stores did a good job in combating with the long lines that people hate in order to draw customers, I think the online holiday purchases will grow this year. With that said, I am happy to know that my career choice in college is technology based. Lately, I've been diversifying my skills by tapping into coding with HTML, CSS, PHP, and Java so I will know the development side along with the artistic side of design.

Recently I created two websites. One website was for school and the other is my personal website to show a gallery of my works and for potential employers and customers to get in touch with me. The intention of my website for school was to create an online cookbook. I decided to create mine with a twist. I made the website into more of a contest for college students to win gifts cards by submitting their recipes that could be featured for a week.

The website can be found through school by going to  Simple College Eats Website .

Although my personal website is a long way from complete, I have been enjoying learning new techniques as I go. The aesthetics of the website work, but as I have been reading more and observing professional websites, I realize that gradients and the use of shadows in the contents of my webpage look unprofessional. I'll be changing the website around soon, so you may see a different website in the near future. The link to my online portfolio (personal website) is Andrew Russo Designs Website .

As I have been using Adobe Dreamweaver and can confirm to you that this software is truly a useful tool. I am fairly new to developing, so for us "newbies" Dreamweaver is beneficial. I'm sure it has it great benefits for advanced users as while, so I will let you know when I'm caught up to that point or you can comment below to fill us in. The software undoubtedly helps me keep organized with my code. When I first started, I had a knack for string all of the code together and finding myself lost in it.


Reverting back to Cyber Monday, I of course did my research and found three things that I will be putting on my Christmas List this year. Now that I am advancing skills in design and dipping my toes into development, I am looking forward to start creating an e-commerce website where I can sell t-shirts with graphics screen printed onto them. This would be a hobby on the side that I would do on my spare time. With that said, I was checking out new printing equipment to print positives for screen printing.  I watched a few tutorials and found Cat Spit Productions to be the most insightful. The screen printer I am looking for would be something small for personal use and I happened to find one just like it at Hobby Lobby.  It was called a Speedball screen printer. Since I have no experience with the product, I can't provide you with any detail on its quality, but from watching the YouTube video above you can see for yourself its potential.

The next thing I came across when I was shopping at Best Buy were Epson printers. I knew that if I ever want to make quality screen printed t-shirts and any quality designs for customers or school then I need to get a quality printer. The students at CMU have printers provided for them, but the cost to print  is extremely expensive at over $3 per print for an 8.5" x 11" print no matter how much ink is used. I have probably spent enough money to buy a quality printer at that cost. Another reason for purchasing my  own quality printer would be for if I ever begin to get an increased traffic flow of t-shirt purchases.

As a beginning designer living in a rather small apartment I'd definitely choose one of these two options to kick things into gear:

The printer above is the Epson Artisan 730 Color Inkjet All-in-One and from the high reviews I think it would be a designer or even photographer that is running a small business or needs to produce quality work for school projects. It also has wireless capabilities which would be amazing because I like to move around the area and could print from anywhere on a smart phone, tablet, and of course on my lap top.

This next printer is the Epson Artisan 837 and is my personal favorite. The major differences that suck me in are that the LCD screen is bigger and that it can print rather fast but still holds its quality from the video reviews I watched. We all have those last minute projects that need to be completed so it that could definitely come in handy. It is also wireless and has a scanner like the printer above.

Lastly, during my perusing through the ads today, I came across this awesome stylus for the tablet
called the Sensu Brush. It is literally a paintbrush that works on a tablet. It also has a normal stylus pen that you can flip around for drawing.

"The rubber stylus is exposed when the brush is closed. This stylus is great for sketching and writing or as a general navigation tool. Grasp Sensu near the nib section and pull it out of the protective cap. You will reveal the capacitive bristles of the artist brush. Insert the rubber stylus into the cap and the cap becomes a handle for your brush." -

Check Out The Sensu Brush For Yourself!

As for my current projects, I am working on an animation for school and for a ficticious raincoat company called "Rubber's Raincoats". You can check out the poster I've created so far on the images section of my Twitter. Check Out My Twitter .

Feel free to follow me and or contact me at anytime! Take care everyone.

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