Recap: Portland Bloggers Back to Design School Event

0.backtobloggingschool_introLast Saturday, the Portland Bloggers group met for our annual Back to School Event at Portland Community College. With a schoolhouse theme (cue 2B yellow pencils, lined paper, gold spray-painted clipboards, and polished red apples), the event focused on blog design and unifying the look and feel of your online presence.

backtobloggingschool_audiencebacktobloggingschool_beeAfter a short meet-and-greet and welcome from Portland Bloggers founder Jenni Bost from A Well-Crafted Party, Suzannah Hamlin-Stanley from Create/Enjoy spoke to the group about what branding actually is. (Hint: it’s different from marketing and is a more subtle pull of your audience, rather than an overt push, of your message.)

backtobloggingschool_brandingWith a background in advertising and years running the successful blog Adventures in Dressmaking, Suzannah helped impart a better understanding of how branding impacts your blog.


Left: Portland Bloggers’ founder Jenni from A Well Crafted Party, Right: Suzannah from Create/Enjoy working the camera for our “class” photos.

backtobloggingschool_snacks2 Designer Sze Wa Cheung then spoke about blog design, segmenting current blog design trends into 2 major ones: the Infinite Scroll design (think Pinterest) vs. the Category Showcase design, and offering notes about good design (like effective use of font, white space, thinking about the readability of your blog, your post-dividers, and your color palette).

backtobloggingschool_carlyAfter a short break I then took the podium and presented my talk on How to Create a Style Guide for Your Blog. I also announced the top secret project I’ve been working on for awhile! (I’ll be sharing the full announcement here tomorrow!!)

backtobloggingschool_bloggersWe then had a final wrap-up with a number of questions from our fellow bloggers: where to find technical help resources online (Answer: Google is best for a specific question, and the Help/Forums for your specific platform, but W3Schools is always helpful for coding!), whether to start on Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, or Squarespace (Answer: keep your end goal in mind; if you want to turn it into a money-making business and are okay with a learning curve in the beginning, I’d recommend WordPress, but if you’re blogging as a hobby or want the simplest interface, choose Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, or Wix), ways to add text to images or edit graphics (Photoshop, PicMonkey), where to get on-brand social media icons (the answer to that TOMORROW!), how to ensure color consistency when printing your logo vs. how your logo looks online (choose CMYK color profile in creating your for-print logos/branding; try to choose PANTONE colors whenever possible).

backtobloggingschool_takingphotosAll the slides that were presented at the event will soon be available to view.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out for the event – it was wonderful to meet all of you and get to know some fellow Portland Bloggers better!

Hope to see you at the next event!


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2012 Portland Mini-Maker Faire

So I visited the Mini-Maker Faire last week, and in the confusion of upgrading to an iPhone 5 (yes, I finally bit the bullet and switched from my beloved Blackberry!!  Ugh, touchscreens…), I didn’t transfer my phone photos quickly enough.  But here they finally are!

The Mini-Maker Faire is a smaller version of the yearly Maker Faire (sponsored by MAKE Magazine and Intel), a celebration of makers in all their forms.  It’s also the first Faire hosted here in Portland!  It’s a hotbed of creativity, a platform for geekiness, and an amazing source of inspiration for everything from crafts to home improvement to just plain wacky inventions.

This Klein Tools canvas bag, $80, available from Hand-Eye Supply in Portland, may be a storage bag for tools but I think it’s total industrial-chic.  Imagine paired with a trenchcoat and dark corduroys and using it as your handbag!  Awesome.

The trebuchets were quite popular, and hurled rotten pumpkins and foam balls (on the kiddie versions).

An 8-person bicycle-driven vehicle, which was steered by a guy wearing a pair of butt-less acid-wash jeans, displaying his bright red panties.  I kid you not.

Steampunk-style custom goggles by

3D-printed objects.  I believe that is Yoda’s head in the foreground.

Side tables made of welded copper pipe.

Lil Tot tested out an iPad drawing program for spaceships using geometric figures, pioneered by Make Space Ship.

Fiber arts using colorful wool spun into chunky yarns.

Lil Tot also made a chocolate penguin out of modeling chocolate.

And learned some archery with Trackers PDX, a group that he had Ninja Camp over the Summer with.

And he drove a robot using a Playstation controller.

It was a super-fun day for him, and we definitely saw some neat things, though I would have preferred to see more crafting and fashion-related items.  I’m hoping that they expand into a full-fledged Maker Faire for next year!  (And you just might see me there at a booth too!;-)


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