Mediocrity in Design

Mediocrity in Design

Mediocrity. Hard to not fall into that level, and even harder to break away from it. but Mediocrity can be used to a designers (really anybody’s) advantage. It really all relates to the individual perspective of the person. Mediocre is defined as “of moderate quality; not very good.” Then that means that mediocrity is “the state of being or having the quality of being mediocre.” It’s hard to not be mediocre. Mediocre work happens in every field. Design is what I most reference here because I stick to what i know. Logical, right?  As designers and consultants, we have all seen things that we think are mediocre. Usually we can instantly tell if it is mediocre, but the hard part is as to why it is mediocre. Sometimes we can see it right away.  Other times we can’t pinpoint it, but we know something is off. That’s just what we do. I’ve heard it called “The Designer’s Eye”, “Knowing What you Do”, and even “Being a Dick.” But how does mediocrity happen? There are many reasons mediocrity can happen. For example:
  • The client doesn’t have any vision of what they want as an end result.
  • The designer doesn’t have enough knowledge to expand on ideas.
  • The designer my not have the experience to have the execution of what they wanted to do.
  • The constant changes in trends and styles.
  • Laziness. Plain and Simple.
  • Trying to make a quick couple dollars
That is only a couple of the reasons. All those points could be avoided easily. Solving those issues is how you break away from mediocrity.
  • Stay upon trends.
  • Don’t be lazy.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Work with clients closely.
  • Be a Mentor.
That will solve a lot of issues. Become a student of your work. Try to push yourself and learn with every new project you have. Just don’t half ass it along the way. There are Millions of great resources out there. From blogs to books to tutorials. Youtube. Other professionals in your field. Endless sources for improvement to go outside your comfort zone. When you leave your comfort zone you start growing. but it’s not an overnight thing, it takes years to achieve anything worth noting. Including creating your own style of work. Many designers I know out running with no humility and never improve because they think they are the best designer ever. You need to have your ego bruised. HAVE TO. It keeps you in check, and makes you take a realistic perspective on things. It happens to all of us at some point. Just like the Needy Client I mentioned before. Now that my rant about mediocrity is over, I want to let you know that mediocrity is necessarily a bad thing.  If everything is mediocre, you can use that to your advantage. It’s like using the rainy days to make a sunny day stand out as something special. Complexity does not set work apart. it is the quality of the work. The details make all the difference. Those detail are what can take a good design and make it great.  As long as we continue to push ourselves to get better and increase our knowledge of what we do and how we do it, we will continue to overcome the burden of being mediocre.  

Here are some great reads about mediocrity in design:

Mediocrity vs. Excellence: What Separates Good From Great?
The Role of Mediocrity in Graphic Design
Avoiding the pitfalls of mediocrity
  Are you hungry? No. Not burgers and fries hungry. Drive. What are you willing to do to achieve that coveted spot you want in whatever you do? How far are you willing to go and push against the restrains? That kind of hunger. That is the defining factor in how much you can overcome mediocrity.  You only get out what you put in.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.
WordPress: Security

WordPress: Security

Now that you know what WordPress is, Why you should use it, and why Mr. D studios uses it, we are going to discuss the elephant in the room. Security. Recently WordPress has been under scrutiny because of the security issues it had with older versions. Many WordPress users actually went unfazed because of regular updating of the WordPress core system through the WordPress admin panel. The security issue raised it’s ugly head in November of 2014, However, the bug that created the issue was already solved in WordPress 4.0 which released a month before that issue. WordPress 4.0.1 at the end of November 2014 released with updates, but since the security issue didn’t exist, it contained all the other updates that needed fixed. As WordPress explains rather bluntly in its Release Archive, (where you can get every build back to 0.71 from June 2003)

“none of these are safe to use, except the latest in the 4.0 series, which is actively maintained.”

So why wouldn’t you update the WordPress core? Analysis of WordPress usage at shows that only 58% of user updated to 4.0 or better. That means that 42% of  WordPress sites are still running 3.9 or earlier. Leaving them wide open to these security issues. The Image Below is the table from their site: Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 1.23.36 PM OK, You have updated the core of WordPress and are still paranoid about security. I get that. This is where the Having options is a great Idea. Plugins and third-party  security service are the solutions to those issues. I recommend the Ithemes plugin,  iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) and Sucuri Security. Ithemes offers Security with their plugin, iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security). With over 4 Million downloads, this is a very strong choice. “Themes Security (formerly Better WP Security) gives you over 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. On average, 30,000 new websites get hacked each day. WordPress sites are easy targets for attacks because of plugin vulnerabilities, weak passwords and obsolete software.” Themes offers security with regular updates, monitoring, and support if something goes wrong. If that isn’t enough there is a paid pro version. The Pro Version offers another two tiers of features if you really want to put your site on lockdown. Element Themes has written a great overview of the Ithemes Security Plugin here. It is a little time-consuming to set up, but well worth it’s weight. If plugins aren’t your thing, or you want to stack security of your site, then Sucuri Security is the option recommended by Mr. D Studios. Sucuri is round the clock monitoring of a site. They have partnered with many hosting clients to offer unparalleled security for websites. They have a numerous amount of features including:
  • Professional Security Analysts
  • Malware Scanning and Detection
  • Malware Cleanup
  • Website Blacklist Removal and Repair
  • Repair Dirty Blackhat SEO
  • Security Monitoring
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Mitigation
  • Stop Website Attacks and Hacks
  • Malware Prevention
  • Zero Day Response Mechanism
  • Performance Optimization
  • Platform Agnostic Simple Configuration
Well worth $100 a year for any business on the internet.  Sucuri also has a comprehensive support staff to help you plan the best option for you business. If you aren’t sure about your site, you can check at Sucuri Sitecheck can might be the best first step to you owning a more secure website. There are Mr. D Studios’ recommendations to help you tighten the collar on your WordPress site, and have a better experience owning and maintaining a website. Hopefully This helped to put your mind at ease with the recent security scare with WordPress.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.
WordPress: SEO and Why to Use It

WordPress: SEO and Why to Use It

What is Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is clean use of keywords and content to increase rankings on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.  Since WordPress uses a “call and response” PHP base, SEO isn’t as easy to use as it is with HTML and CSS. However, there are several options to include SEO into WordPress very easily. The ways that SEO gets added WordPress vary depending on method of creation. Some themes have SEO capabilities built into them. These themes are good, however to what extent the SEO included isn’t always clear. Many designers and developers, including Mr. D Studios, use SEO plugins. The two most used are SEO by Yoast and All In One SEO. Both have a free version, and several levels of premium options. The Studios here uses WordPress SEO due to simpler interface, and what appears as more features in the free version.  

***However it is a matter of personal Preference. ***

  Along side some of the themes and plugins, there are other tools that can help with SEO rankings and keywords.  

Blogging – The blog setup of WordPress is a great way to add extra SEO value to your site. Writing more about your business and what you do or what you know can help drive traffic to your site. Also it can increase keyword rankings greatly.  Best part, it’s free.

Google Webmaster Tools – GWMT is Google’s own way of helping someone analyze a site’s SEO from the search engine perspective. Most Used Keywords, indexing, and structured data and very handy features among other things. It gets better, it’s free too.

Countless SEO Firms –  Perhaps you know some SEO practices, but want to move further with it. Achieve that higher ranking. Having an SEO firm set it up for you is always an option. However, the cost can vary greatly depending on two factors: The depth of requested services and the cost the firm charges.

I am sure there are far more options than I listed, but those are the best ways I include SEO into a wordpress site.  

But what is the point of Search Engine Optimization?

Now that we have discussed the tools of SEO in WordPress, there is one thing to know: What the true point of SEO is. Put simply, The point of SEO is to make what you do or offer more accessible to your audience, by making you rank higher more easily in their searches online. Every business’s audience has one need, and are trying to find a solution. SEO makes it so when they are looking on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or other search engines, you and your solution come up sooner than your competition. Hopefully thank help to explain SEO at a glance.  If you have any questions or comments let me know via comments, email, or on twitter.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.

WordPress:Why MR.D Studios uses it

Why do I use WordPress for businesses, entrepreneur, non-profit sites.The answer: Options and Speed. If you are reading this, you know what WordPress is. If not I recommend going back and visiting: What Is WordPress.
“The best choice you can make in life is the choice with the most options.”
Makes sense if you pigeon-hole yourself into one thing with no options, then there is no room to change or expand if the situation changes. However, If there are more options you have limitless possibilities. Enter WordPress. As mentioned before, WordPress for Your New Website, offers so many options it’s unreal. With the open organic structure, themes and limitless plugins, a WordPress site can change and rapidly and be modified or updated to meet any need. Let’s look at those three things and see what they mean in detail. WordPress has an organic structure that is universal. It gives what you are building a strong foundation. WordPress provides a stable platform and avid support for you to grow and build exactly how you want to. If it were a car, it is the base model. Themes are a major reason in the options of your site. Themes are like the cosmetic changes to the car. It’s the paint job and body kit.  A theme for a WordPress site not only establishes visual appearance, but it is also what dictates the what the site functions for the user. Certain themes have some capabilities that others do not.  the trick is finding a solid theme that supports your end goal and business persona the best. Lastly plugins. With the scale of the ways WordPress expands, there is no limit on expansion. Even though the theme itself doesn’t contain the every element that you want, Plugins still make it possible for you to add that extra abilities to your site. Complete project management, Social Media Sharing, and custom admin panel appearance are only a couple of the things plugins make possible. Plugins are like the aftermarket parts for your website. With three tiers of options expansion is limitless. It can meet any need that initially, and more importantly it can meet any need that arises. adaptability makes WordPress an organic site that can always be enhanced to give you stronger web presence. All with minimal hard-coding.  The level of easy adaptability and customization dramatically cuts down the time it takes to create a new WordPress site. I use WordPress because i deliver for businesses with a rapid rate of turn around time. Quality product at blazing production speed. WordPress is why I average a 3 weeks  turn around. Together it is a highly adaptable websites that is easy to use and change as your business does. All while providing businesses, entrepreneur, non-profits with a quality results and service. It allows Mr. D Studios as a whole to offer a completely different kind of partnership to businesses. After all, Mr. D Studios is only as successful as the businesses, entrepreneur, non-profits it helps succeed.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.
WordPress for Your New Website

WordPress for Your New Website

In the last post, What is WordPress, I gave a brief overview of what WordPress is as a CMS platform. However, I wanted to give readers a good set of thing to consider about why a WordPress based website is better for them now and in the future. WordPress is by far the most popular content management system on the planet. It is responsible for over 60% of the sites that use CMS. It powers 1 of 5 sites on the internet. and It is uses as the ground work for over 100,000 new websites everyday. So what does that mean for you and your site? Tons of things.
Cost is Low.
WordPress is a free, open source system. So no first cost for the service. It gets updated and upgraded free. Which means it is extremely low maintenance. At most a couple clicks in the admin panel. All in all, WordPress itself costs nothing. Since there is no official owner of WordPress, there are 100s of thousands of developers around the world. This makes it constantly under development. The 24/7 development is what leads to the free upgrades. By the end the only costs are themes and hosting.
WordPress Hosting is everywhere.
So you have to pay for hosting? Good news, if you already have a site, then you have hosting. Bam, base covered.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have hosting, you are not screwed either. Many major hosting providers offer easy WordPress installs, and some even have dedicated WordPress hosting plans. As a bonus, WordPress can’t held hostage like an HTML site. It is easy to move to a new hosting provider if you need to.

WordPress is fully customizable.
WordPress has 4x as many enhancements as developers.
Themes, plugins, and CSS are all you need to create a site as beautiful and capable as you would ever need. Remember some of the biggest media outlets and corporations use WordPress, so it is easy to imagine that it can easily meet your needs. There are thousands of themes out there to use, both free and premium.  There are greater customization options with premium themes based on you price range.
Extensions that Make a Hairdresser Jealous (Plugins).
Since WordPress has gained immense popularity, it’s not surprising that a lot there are 100s plugins. They extend the core functionality of your website and save development time (which saves you money). There are plugins to handle everything from corporate level task management and organization to weather on a site page. The reach of possibilities is endless.
Organic. and Expandable.
With constant development, themes, and plugins, WordPress if very organic. It can start as a basic core website and continue to evolves and travel in any direction you choose. It is a great place to continue to adapt with the ever-changing world we live in.
WordPress even has multi-site abilities.
If you business needs a website for each department, or perhaps  several sites linked together under one parent person or business, you have to abilities to do that with WordPress. Many membership sites use this system to support a number of websites easily and effectively.
WordPress is search engine friendly.
Wanna come up in a google search? WordPress makes it easy to add SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) Some themes have built-in SEO options.  If the site doesn’t have SEO options, there are many plugins that exist. I prefer SEO by Yoast or All-in-one SEO. They are the two most used SEO plugins on the planet.Both integrate easily with Google Analytics and Google’s Webmaster Tools as well.
WordPress is Mature and Experienced.
With over 10 years of life under it’s belt, WordPress has undergone all the changes it needed to, and refine itself to a powerful clean system. That, along with the constant development, means that rarely do issues arise. If they do, they get solved in a very short period.
WordPress on the go.
Many WordPress themes have built-in responsive (mobile friendly) design. Since most of the world’s website viewing is on mobile devices, this is a NECESSITY for people and businesses of any level.  The WordPress admin area is also completely responsive so you can make a mandatory updates from you phone.
Readable by everyone.
WordPress has many linguistically features. Managing various sites in a variety of languages and time zones is a piece of cake. This is great if you have international business, or are in a region where languages are very diverse.
The most Powerful CMS on the Planet
WordPress is for sites that get millions of views per day. Some of them are Smashing Magazine, CNN, and even MTV. Overall, WordPress is a monster system with a deadly capacity for growth. it maybe exactly what you need to take you business to the next level. Need help with the switch over to a WordPress site? Want to improve an existing WordPress site? Contact Mr. D Studios today for a no-obligation conversation at 412.770.8512 or through the contact page.

Owner, Author, Designer, Consultant

Dylan “Mr. D” Roush is a graphic design professional with over 6 year experience. Based out of Pittsburgh,  Mr. D specializes in WordPress design, print design, typography and illustration.