I like to take on a handful of projects for friends & family. It’s a chance to learn about different kinds of businesses, work on projects you’ve never tried before, and help people you care about. I mostly do these pro-bono.
Prairie Fire Glass
My dad’s been running a glassblowing studio since 2002, and I’ve been spinning up branding and websites for it every few years since then.
For most of that time, the site was mainly a portfolio and reference for customers.
In 2020, everything locked down, and we worried that all the usual ways of doing art sales (in-person retail, art shows, and so on) were all out the window, which is a rather bad existential crisis for an art business.
So I quickly converted the website over to Shopify, and we transitioned to selling and shipping work online, with promotion through social networks. Managed to end a tough year in excellent shape!
Traverso’s is a family-owned neighborhood Italian restaurant, serving up heritage family recipes. They have the best ravioli ever.
I started helping them with their website a few years ago, after their previous provider stopped supporting their old site. I redesigned it from scratch and built it on Jekyll. My favorite aspect of this project is that the entire menu is available as a regular old web page—no illegible PDFs or clunky ordering systems here.
The other best thing: we mostly just trade web work for food, and don’t really bother with exchanging payments very often. Strongly recommended.
Save the Antioch Theatre
In 2014, my uncle Tim was considering investing in an historic local movie theater that had closed its doors for good. He wanted to restore and reopen it, but he wasn’t sure if the community still cared enough about this place to justify the effort.
To figure it out, he decided to try a Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource some of the investment, and he called me to see if I could help out with design. That sounded exactly like my jam, so I agreed right away.
I designed flyers, branding, and a website. A huge banner went up on the theater, and Tim’s local team spread the word.
Long story short: the campaign was a big success, the funding goals were met, and the theater got renovated (with architectural work from my other uncle, Mark.) A true family affair. The theater’s been open ever since.
More on this project in this post.