<![CDATA[AVENUENIGHTS - THE AVENUENIGHTS SHOW]]>Sun, 22 Mar 2020 17:50:54 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[EPISODE VII - TRINITY HOUSE  | WEBSITE REDESIGN]]>Tue, 30 Apr 2019 21:14:14 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/episode-vii-trinity-house-group-homes-inc-website-redesignCreatures of the night! Good evening. And welcome to another episode of THE AVENUENIGHTS SHOW! Do you remember Marvel’s 2099 series? I do. I grew up in the heyday 90’s explosion of comic books.
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"Ah, the good ole days." X A X
In 1992, readers were treated to Marvel 2099 - a  futuristic take on pre-existing characters such as Spiderman, Dr. Doom, and The Hulk.
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"Miguel O' Hara - let's GO!" X A X
Today, I see the Marvel 2099 series like I see redesigns. And today, for various reasons, you see redesigns everywhere. Particularly, the website redesign. So for this episode, we will be going over the most recent website redesign I had the privilege of being a part of - Trinity House Group Homes Inc.   

Now for those of you who don’t know - Trinity House Group Homes Inc. is a residential treatment center for at-risk males. A couple years back, a change of leadership occurred. This meant a fresh rebranding for the website, logo, and marketing was vital. The facility is located in Oxnard, CA. Oxnard is known for its agriculture (strawberries), it’s sunny coastal weather, and seaside blue beaches.


​TRINITY HOUSE GROUP HOMES INC. | ORIGINAL WEBSITE

When I was hired to redesign Trinity House Group Home’s logo I also took a look at the website. What I saw was outdated, visually inconsistent, and untouched for many years. I knew that if I updated the logo and tried uploading it onto the original version of the site - I would run into problems. So, I convinced Josh the Administrator of Trinity House Group Homes Inc. to also let me redesign the website as well. Early on in the redesign phase - I decided that the calm, blue ocean of Oxnard would be the central visual theme for the redesign.
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Deer Creek Beach in Oxnard, California
It was important to me that the redesign continue the branding/telling the visual story of the organization. It was also important that the website itself had key features built-in including; SEO (search engine optimization), and mobile compatibility for the user. Thankfully, the original website was already using GoDaddy’s FREE GoCentral Website Builder.
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"The Future is HERE." X A X
Because the original site was using the GoCentral Website Builder all I needed to do was login, setup the SEO tools, play with the current templates, add the necessary photos, text, branding, and then publish the site for clients.

When redesigning this website, I was also keeping in mind the users of this site. For the Trinity site, the users will consist primarily of resident’s placement agencies (social security, probation, Community Care Licensing etc.). So the site needed to list pertinent information about the organization and be easy enough for users to contact management and the facility itself.


​TRINITY HOUSE GROUP HOMES INC. LANDING PAGE | BEFORE AND AFTER

As I stated earlier, I knew early on that the calm, blue ocean of Oxnard would be the universal theme for the website. I found some cool royalty free photos online. I particularly gravitated to this one.
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"Winner, winner, chicken dinner!" X A X
I really liked how this one looked like the beaches of Oxnard. I took the photo into Photoshop then did some color correction and curves adjusting. For the navigation, I wanted it to be top navigation, streamlined, and minimal. Any other additional information would be moved to subpages easily found on the website through the top bar navigation.
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Trinity House Group Homes | Landing Page | Before and After


​TRINITY HOUSE GROUP HOMES INC. | WEBSITE CONTENT

As far as content goes, I always create a Google Doc for the copywrite/ body text that I will populate onto the website. I call it my website script and like a movie script - I follow the script. Thankfully, the original site already had some great body text for me to work with.
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Copyright © 2019 Trinity House Group Homes Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
I also took advantage of GoDaddy’s FREE GoCentral Website Builder feature of using royalty free images. These images grab the users attention, tell the story, and pair nicely with the body text.

TRINITY HOUSE GROUP HOMES INC. | WEBSITE MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES

In the original version of the website, Trinity’s Mission, Trinity’s Vision, and Trinity’s Values were all listed on individual web pages. For the user, I felt this was tedious and unnecessary for the user to have to go to each page. So I consolidated the information to one web page - showcasing Trinity’s Mission, Vision, and Values.
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Trinity House Group Homes | Mission, Vision, And Values | Before and After


​TRINITY HOUSE GROUP HOMES INC. | SECONDARY PAGES

https://www.trinityhouseinc.org is a “company brochure” type website. The idea is to market what Trinity can offer to potential agencies and I kept this in mind when redesigning. I wanted to make it very easy for the user to the get the information they need effortlessly and immediately. This was the thought behind using a bold and modern typeface for page titles.
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Trinity House Group Homes | What We Believe | Before and After
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Trinity House Group Homes | Our Staff | Before and After
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Trinity House Group Homes | Philosophy and Referrals | Before and After
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Trinity House Group Homes | Treatment | Before and After
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Trinity House Group Homes | Contact Us | Before and After


​CLOSING THOUGHTS

I had fun learning and building a website using GoDaddy’s FREE GoCentral Website Builder. It was super easy to make changes, responsive, and allowed room for future implementation of assets, webpages, etc.

I also know that it can be tough for clients to give up the reigns per say and allow someone to redesign their visual identity. That’s why I am very grateful that Josh was so open to the idea. Thank you Trinity House Group Homes Inc. for the opportunity and privilege to serve you and help rebrand your visual identity.

Images are nice but I encourage you to visit: trinityhouseinc.org and navigate the redesign for yourself. And if there’s something in particular you find on the site that can be better or improved on - let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for tuning in to another episode. This is THE AVENUENIGHTS SHOW. Stay tuned!
X A X
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Copyright © 2019 AVENUENIGHTS | AJ RAMOS - All Rights Reserved.
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<![CDATA[The AVENUENIGHTS Show - EPISODE VI - Welcome To The Jungle]]>Fri, 29 Mar 2019 18:31:18 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/the-avenuenights-show-episode-vi-welcome-to-the-jungleCreatures of the night! Good evening. I hope your 2019 is off to a great start. If not, don’t worry. There is plenty of time to get it right. In the meantime, pull up a chair (if you are not sitting already) and let’s talk art styles.

I think of designing as sort of like surviving in the wild. Creatures like the owl, the uroplatus gecko, and seahorse must learn to adapt to their environment and camouflage.

I wouldn’t dare label myself as an artist. But if I had to categorize my art style I would say that my true design style lies somewhere in between modern retro pop art utilizing negative space, and black/white noir stylings. So when someone recently asked me about my steelo and if I am comfortable with designing for cheeky lines like “Hello Kitty” or kawaii - “cuteness."
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That’s Not The Hello Kitty, I Remember!

​To be honest,
(because I am an honest person) I told this fellow - “Cuteness is not my cup of tea. I prefer to work on projects that are a little more rough around the edges.” But, if a design calls for something that’s not my bag - like the owl, the gecko or the seahorse, I know how to adapt. So today, I wanted to showcase my diversity. I am going to be showing off some past designs that aren’t your traditional AVENUENIGHTS projects.

IT’S A BOY

Back in 2016, I learned that I was going to be a father. This was awesome news because I always wanted to be a dad someday. So I wanted a subtle way to tease this information to the family. 
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Coming Soon!

BABY SHOWER

Now of course our brand new baby meant brand new responsibilities, diapers, diapers, diapers, and of course a baby shower! My wife, Keri and I decided early on that mustache’s would be the theme for our little man’s baby shower. We chose the mustache because it is a longstanding symbol of virility, and masculinity. Our color palette was a traditional baby shower combination of vibrant blues and whites.
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I moustache you a question.
​Here is a baby shower registry card and a countdown image that I designed to promote Sebastian’s baby shower.
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Shave it for later.
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Sebastian’s Baby Shower Hype Poster by AVENUENIGHTS.


SEBASTIAN’S 1ST BIRTHDAY

After Seabass was born, Keri and I decided to work opposite shifts. We decided to work opposite shifts to 1) avoid paying for a babysitter and 2) so we can both spend quality time with our son on our own time. When I was at home at with Seabass, we would watch The Super Hero Squad Show.
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“Hero UP!”
So it was only fitting that our next birthday party theme for Seabass be a superhero themed party. Here’s some of the artwork I put together for our invitations that year.
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Assemble!
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Me as Wolverine. Keri as Jean Grey. Sebastian's first time having cake. He was not a fan.
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The family that heros together, stays together.
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If you are wondering - yes Sebastian is available for modeling. For booking please email me: aj@avenuenights.design

SEBASTIAN’S 2ND BIRTHDAY

Keri and I just finished watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with the kids when we came up with a Willy Wonka themed birthday party for Seabass.
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“Welcome my friends. Welcome to my chocolate factory.”
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“Pure Imagination.”
We stuck to the 1971 version and sent our special guests golden tickets. We then turned the downstairs portion of our house into a chocolate factory. I saved a bunch of cardboard boxes and slapped Wonka stickers on them. Keri borrowed a chocolate fountain and together we created giant makeshift lollipops and stuck button candies on the wall for the kids to re-enact the candy wallpaper scene.
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“The strawberries taste like strawberries. The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”
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“We have so much time and so little to see. Wait a minute! Strike that, reverse it.”
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“We are the music-makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
In our living room, we had the film playing on repeat while the party went on in the backyard to the tune of the Willy Wonka movie soundtrack in the background.
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“You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!”
Here’s a SAVE THE DATE promo image I designed to hype up the party.
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“The suspense is terrible...I hope it’ll last.”
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Cake Time! And this time Sebastian was ready!! Photo Credit: Anthony Mehlhaff

SEBASTIAN’S 3RD BIRTHDAY

I’m a wear my son on my arm kinda dad..No really...I am.
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“Kick his ass Seabass!” Credit: Jesse Smith at Ventura Tattoo
This year, Keri was gung ho about having an animal and reptile party for Seabass’ 3rd Birthday. For those that don’t know an animal man (or woman) comes to your home and brings a bunch of exotic animals for the kiddos to play with and learn about. It’s an educational, fun, and wild experience. And it happens to be the perfect event for our in the jungle theme.

When Keri mentioned her jungle theme, the 8 year old child in me immediately thought of JUMANJI and the iconic board game. For those of you who have not seen the movie, do yourself a favor - stop reading my blog and go watch JUMANJI now...Now...like right NOW!
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“ADVENTURERS BEWARE: DO NOT BEGIN UNLESS YOU INTEND TO FINISH!”
After the mood board was complete, I got to work on the board game block out.
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“JUMANJI - A Game For Those Who Seek To Find A Way To Leave Their World Behind.”
Once I was happy with the block out it was time to begin adding some preliminary detail. I referenced my mood board for visual guidance.
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“In The Jungle You Must Wait, Until The Dice Read Five Or Eight.”
Next, I added text and “save the date” copy write.
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“Did someone roll a five or an eight?”
To finish it off, I gave the design some final polish, some text treatments and last minute tweaks. Here is the finished result.
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“Welcome To The Jungle.”
So what’s the take away? Yes, I can design for cute, whimsical, kids parties, you name it. And I can find the challenge in designing for the adorbs that’s going to keep me absorbed in pushing a design to the finish line because I am, adaptable. And I also like doing it BIG for Sebastian.

BUSINESS IS A BOOMIN’

Previously on The AVENUENIGHTS Show, I presented you with my final business design. I am happy to report that my printed business cards from MOO have arrived. And here they are!
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Big thanks to the kinds folks at MOO and for the super sexy sheen on these bad boys.
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This is a static age. A very static age! Need business cards, or graphics? I got you! Email me at aj@avenuenights.design

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS

Once again, big, BIG thanks to 3D Artist Mark Nunez for his design consultation. Check out Mark’s work here: mark_nunez.artstation.com/

Thank you to Anthony Mehlhaff for his always awesome photography work. If you are looking for a professional photographer then check out Anthony’s personal website here: https://anthonymehlhaff.myportfolio.com

Special thanks to Jesse Smith over at Ventura Tattoo. Check out Jesse’s Instagram | @jessedidit

Most of all, thank you for tuning in to another episode.
This is The AVENUENIGHTS Show. Stay tuned!
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<![CDATA[The AVENUENIGHTS Show - EPISODE V - Business Is A-Boomin’]]>Thu, 28 Feb 2019 18:40:27 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/the-avenuenights-show-episode-v-business-is-a-boominCreatures of the night! Welcome back to another design filled episode of The AVENUENIGHTS Show!! This is Episode V - Business Is A Boomin’. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. My memory, sucks. And I am pretty sure that there are others out there who like me have a hard time with cognitive recollection. Thankfully, we have - the business card!
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“New card. Whaddya think?"

​Now this might just be me but I prefer a business card versus whipping out a smartphone. Yes, smartphones dominate when it comes to the exchanging of information but sometimes technology can be, disconnected and impersonal. With a business card you make the other person you are chatting it up with feel - connected to you and your brand identity. That’s right. Your business card is free advertising and a chance for your business to really shine! So today, I am going to share with you my process for my current business card.


​THE PROCESS

The process always starts like most of my other creative endeavours; I begin with research. I looked at business cards, then I looked at more, then I looked at more. What I came to understand is that every business card has its own unique personality. But also each card contains vital information.
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"Business is a boomin!"


​VERSION 1.0

Last time I designed a business card for my own ventures was in 2010. I was a bit rusty. For whatever reason, I decided to wing Version 1.0 and use zero art direction. For me, version 1.0 turned out to be bland, lackluster and isn’t even a very effective business card. On the front side, it was missing key information, the tagline was forced, and overall the design was clunky. I just looked at dozens and dozens of business card then hoped to design something - cool. This was the result.
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"..meh"
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“INSERT THE PRICE IS RIGHT FAIL HORN SOUND”


​VERSION 2.0

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"After getting bored with banging my head against the wall."

​I decided to give my creative brain a rest. I was checking my email when I came across Avenged Sevenfold’s Breakdown Series. I watched one of the videos on YouTube. At the end of the video, came this awesome glitchy monochrome TV bumper for the band.
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"Been an A7X fan since Sounding The Seventh Trumpet."

​It reminded me of The Twilight Zone and Poltergeist all wrapped up in this fractured but visually arresting 10 second video package. And that’s when the light bulb went off in my head! I finally had my art direction for version 2.0 of my business card.
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"The aha! moment."

​Spurred on by this new found determination and vigor, I got to work on recreating my reference and nailing my art direction for the card. I downloaded a template from MOO and began arting up the television that will serve as framing for the card. I am an 80’s kid and I grew up watching TV, playing video games, and watching scary movies on an old school CRT television. It’s no surprise that CRT’s continue to slip further and further into obsolescence. But the CRT is a long-standing piece of timeless digital history. In fact, CRT’s are still used in fighting game tournaments, arcades, and retro gaming. I also figured that the CRT television would fit perfectly with the rounded corners template I chose.
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"There is nothing wrong with your television set."

​Next, was to design the actual content visible on the television screen. When I watched the Super Bowl this year, the one thing that stuck out to me was the CBS ad for the rebooting of The Twilight Zone hosted by Jordan Peele. I got so excited for this ad and I think that commercial's imagery was still fresh in my mind.
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"Witness an empty space. Filled with thousands of screaming people. A man both nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Answers are new questions. The unthinkable is the expected. When truth is not the truth, what dimension are you even in?"

​I started off with a starry space backdrop then removed all the saturation from the image. Next, I added the iconic hypno circle from The Twilight Zone 1961 Season Three opening. To top it off - I over layed the TV screen with static, scanlines, and noise to give it that nostalgic broadcast feel.
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"Submitted for your approval..."

​Once I was happy with the look of CRT television, it was time to add the business card information. Looking back, I should have probably started with the text first but I was inspired by the pop culture visuals and felt compelled to complete those first.
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"You are about to enter another dimension..."


​ITERATIONS

At this point it was time to take a step back and seek feedback. My good buddy Mark helped me out BIG time with the iteration process. Thanks again Mark. ;) Here’s just a couple of the iterations we came up with.
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"A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind..."
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"A journey into a wondrous land of imagination."

​Overall, I am very satisfied with the final product. Visually, I feel like I accomplished my objective of fusing contemporary design aesthetics with my endearing love of pop culture. Specifically, in regards to pop culture that tackles the themes of darkness, science, the supernatural, and the pit of man’s collective fears.
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"I'm here."
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"Generally, the traditional business card was left blank on the back for the user to take notes. I added black notepad lines on the back specifically for this purpose. I continue the TV motif as if the user is now looking close up at the TV screen."

​Later this week, I will send out the final design to MOO for shipping. I for one think that all creative professionals who need to network and build clientele should have a business card. And if you need a business card? Contact me and let’s do this! Shout out to 3D Artist Mark Nunez for helping me out with this one. Check out his work at:
mark_nunez.artstation.com/

​This is the AVENUENIGHTS show. Stay tuned!
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<![CDATA[The AVENUENIGHTS Show - EPISODE IV - AVENUENIGHTS]]>Thu, 31 Jan 2019 02:36:47 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/the-avenuenights-show-episode-iv-avenuenightsCreatures of the night! Happy new year and welcome to the AVENUENIGHTS Show!! I always wondered this and folks hopefully someone can answer this - but can you still say “Happy New Year” even though we are at the end of January? Somebody get back to me on that.

Anyhow, let’s get on with it. I wanted this episode to focus on MY creative workflow in regards to graphics. Now I know there’s a lot of different ways of approaching design work. But for this episode I’m going to show you my creative process from beginning to end. So if you are ready - let’s get started!

My Creative Workflow

Creative Brief

My process always begins with the Creative Brief. The Creative Brief works as a blueprint document that allows me to keep in mind my creative strategy. When designing, I need boundaries. These boundaries or limits allow me to keep the “big picture” in mind. Depending on the scale of the project, my Creative Brief can be 1-2 pages or 4-7 pages long.

Research

After I’ve taken some time to document my creative direction with the Creative Brief the next step is Research. Yes, I am a designer but I am also an investigator. During the Research phase I investigate and look at visuals. I’m talking a bunch offff visuals. I save any images that pertain to the direction I want to go or motifs/tropes I want to stay away from. Depending on my timeline, I will design a moodboard at this step as well. After I am visually satisfied with the direction I want to move into and refrain from - I move onto step 3 - Sketching.

Sketching

Now I am a no concept or pre-vis artist. In fact, my sketches are trash because I can’t draw. But at this stage, it’s not about polishing and it’s not about savoring a lot of time on tiny details. On the contrary, I keep my sketches light, quick, and super simple. Sketching helps me brainstorm and lay down the groundwork for the Design phase.

Design

By this point and time I am very confident and solidified in the direction/strategy that I want to proceed in. In the Design phase, it’s about translating my ideas from paper to digital. I start in a vector-based software such as Illustrator because a vector-based graphic will never lose it’s definition. Even if the graphic is blown up or scaled down. When I am satisfied with the graphic in Illustrator I will modify and edit that same graphic in Photoshop. And it’s in Photoshop where I move on to my next phase in my creative workflow - presentation.

Presentation

Now we come to my favorite part in my creative design workflow - Presentation. I had a college professor who used to say, “Presentation is everything.” Carefully thought out presentation can make or break any design strategy. This is why I take my time looking at composition and framing so I can get my presentation just right. Once the presentation is locked in, I move onto getting feedback from my network.

Feedback

When it comes to design I seek feedback from clients, family, friends, and colleagues that I have had the privilege to network with over the years. Taking a step back and having an extra set of eyes scan your work helps you with your collaborative working environment skills. If you are communicating with your client every step of the way, your client is less likely to ask for endless revisions. Stepping back also allows you to see your designs from a different perspective. This stage of the game, also gives my creative brain a chance to recover (which is very important too.)    
​ 

Corrections

This workflow started with a specific design strategy and I set visual boundaries and limits for myself. So, if I feel like certain feedback I am receiving is counter to those boundaries and limits - I am less likely to implement that feedback into my final design. Once I have implemented the feedback I have chosen, I begin to finalize my artwork. Any polish or small details will be added here.

Final Presentation

We are coming to the end of my workflow. At this phase, I am personally satisfied with the direction and the final product. Now it’s about getting the idea across to the client. Thank you for reading. I hope you learned a new thing or two that you can use in your creative approach to design!
This is the AVENUENIGHTS show. Stay tuned!
X A X
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<![CDATA[The AVENUENIGHTS Show - EPISODE III - THE FAMILY SIGN]]>Wed, 02 Jan 2019 23:00:00 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/the-avenuenights-show-episode-iii-the-family-signCreatures of the night, welcome to a very special Christmas edition of the AVENUENIGHTS Show! You are probably saying to yourself - but wait AVENUENIGHTS...it’s January. Yes, you are right. It is January and I am posting this in 2019. Beginning December 29 2018, I was experiencing technical difficulties on the backend of my website. I want to apologize to any visitors or future clients who attempted accessing avenuenights.design and were met with 404 or privacy errors. I am happy to report that those issues have been resolved. If you are continuing to experience any issues - please be sure to hit refresh on your browser. So with that said, on with the show!

We begin our December episode with family. Afterall, it's this time of the year that we open our homes to our family. We invite our family over to celebrate Christmas and the holidays. No matter who you are or where you come from - we as a human society are all united by the simple fact that we all come from a family. And no family is perfect.

Families argue. Families cry and families fight. Families grow. And every single family has experienced both highs and lows. Whether you love or hate yours - all families are connected by one singularity: blood. So I figured the holiday season was the PERFECT time to update my family tree/genogram.

What the heck is a genogram - you ask? Well a genogram is a visual arrangement of an individual's hereditary relationships and psychological elements that exist between the family and the individual. Basically, it’s a way to track the dynamics of a family tree, visually. In addition, to finishing up my genogram I also designed our family’s Christmas party invitation. Tune in next month as I shed light on my journey on designing my own brand and increasing my brand identity.
This is the AVENUENIGHTS show. Stay tuned!

X A X
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<![CDATA[The AVENUENIGHTS Show - EPISODE II - LUCHA! LUCHA! LUCHA!]]>Fri, 30 Nov 2018 07:44:03 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/the-avenuenights-show-episode-ii-lucha-lucha-luchaGood evening creatures of the night. And welcome back to the AVENUENIGHTS show! If you are just tuning in, this is my second entry and I thank you for joining me on this perceptible journey. For those of you who do not know, I am a BIG fan of wrasslin’ and lucha libre. I remember when I was a child, watching wrestling with my stepfather. My stepfather would trade VHS tapes with his friends at work. When he would get home, we would sit together and watch Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, Wrestlemania or whatever tape he just happen to be bringing home.

Wrestling became tradition in my family. Even as a child, I always found myself gravitating toward the more darker and scarier wrestlers. Wrestlers such as the The Undertaker, Papa Shango, and Jake The Snake. In my teenage years I was still watching wrestling. During those years (the attitude years), I gravitated toward wrestlers like Kane, Gangrel and Sting when he did his crow gimmick. Out of all these wrestlers on of my personal favorite was - Vampiro.

For those that don’t know, Vampiro is this 6’2, 250 lbs. ghoulish punk rock lucha libre megastar who could move like some of the best cruiserweights. When I was a teen, I thought Vampiro had one of the coolest gimmicks a pro wrestler could have. Recently, I just finished watching Vampiro’s face off against Pentagon JR on Lucha Underground. It was an incredible match and this artwork is to commemorate Vampiro’s 27 year legacy of brutality - a true icon of hardcore. Here’s to 28 more!
This is the AVENUENIGHTS show. Stay tuned!
X A X
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<![CDATA[EPISODE I - ALL HALLOWS EVE]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 14:37:45 GMThttp://avenuenights.design/blog/episode-i-all-hallows-eveGood evening creatures of the night. And welcome to the AVENUENIGHTS show! If you are just tuning in, this is my first entry and I thank you for joining me on this inward journey. We begin our introductory entry with a visual digest of artwork by yours truly from this month. HALLOWEEN is my favorite time of the year. Forgive me for being cliche, but I can not even begin to describe in words how much this holiday means to me. Instead, allow me to present to you visually my undying endearment for All Hallows Eve. Afterall, as the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words. 
This is the AVENUENIGHTS show. Have a Happy Halloween and stay tuned!
X A X
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