Category Archives: Work

Print is dead! Long live the print!

Recently I’ve found myself doing more and more print work. This is scary as I’ve never had any formal training in all things print  related (or not print related for that matter) so I’m always slightly nervous. Especially so when the adverts are half page adverts.

Sunday Business Post Blacknight Office 365 pub

Still I think that they’ve been coming out rather nicely even if I am biased.

The above is currently running in the Sunday Business Post and it’s for Office 365 through Blacknight.

The below was running in one of the supplements recently

Thanks to Gianni for the photos ( You just can’t seem to pick up copies of the Irish papers here :P )

Blacknight Sunday Business Post Open For Business Pub

They seem to be turning out quite well so far. Let me know what you think in the comments below! ( oooh I went there )

Blacknight Open for Business Advert

The Stress!!!

The Stress Button

If you know what the above picture is then you possibly know the stress that comes with pressing it. When you’re writing / designing  a newsletter  you hope that you don’t screw up anything in it. Sure a spelling mistake isn’t a big deal / or is it? Does it make things look unprofessional to some people? Are all the links working. That last minute change … did it break something else. Are all the offers right? because you know someone will take an issue if it says something and they can’t get it at that price … PHEW

We sent out the Blacknight newsletter the other day (Click to read it)

Blacknight Newsletter September 2015

Lots happening chez Blacknight with a new Site Builder .. Office 365 being launched … Ranking Coach if you’re trying to get to number one in Google search … the new Status Blog and ALL of the domains. There’s a promo on .irish as well in case that’s your kinda thing.

Game Of Domains

The Blacknight SME Awards Design

SME Awards Design

You know when you can only say for so long that you don’t do print design? :)

I guess I can’t say that anymore.

This weekend saw my 4m x 3m baby unrolled at the Blacknight SME Awards in Cork. I have to say WOW it’s a nice feeling to see your work at that size. Mental note … check check and quadruple check your work zoomed at max. That awkward moment when you see a small issue after everything has gone to print = ARGH

Oh well you can see the stage design (Though it’s rather dark) as well as a few of the popups / swords and other props I put together. All in all it was pretty great to work with Gianni Ponzi on this. Good feedback / Great ideas (could we do cutouts) and even if he was screaming for Blood … we left that out.

Personally I think with the launch of the recent season of Game of Thrones my Game of Domains concept was rather fun. It’s always tough to make domains “sexy” and to make people think outside of the .com or ccTLD ( .ie / .fr )

Game Of Domains

PS: In case some people ended up with some bizarre heat sensitive mugs, they weren’t meant to be given away at the awards. They were concepts / experiments I was running. ( le sigh )

Enter the SME Awards today!

SME Awards Minifigs

In case you didn’t know we’re the headline sponsor for the . I fixed up this image yesterday. If you’re in the know well Blacknight .. a “dragon” with a heart? a business man and what the hell a unicorn for good measure :) It makes sense right? :)

I also worked on the advert in the Sunday Business Post last weekend which came out rather nicely even if I do say so myself. It’s always a relief when things print out ok and especially when there are last minute changes.

SBP Awards Advert in the Sunday Business Post

If you’re running a business in Ireland you might like to enter. It’s free to enter and potentially a great PR event for you and networking event and who knows where it goes. You might even win!

Enter before Valentines day over on

Modal Window Content for the Galway Film Society

The Galway Film Society Website is Live

I went and updated the Galway Film Society website this morning.

It’s based on their brochure that is created by another design crowd. So this is simply a place to go to find out about the movies / link into the Town Hall Theatre Galway another three letter .ie website I still maintain :)

Galway Film Society Brochure

Does it work? I quite like it I should probably update the version of Foundation I’m using in it but personally I think it works well. I could of course try to reduce file sizes a bit more and go optimizing it to high hell and back.

Could lots of other things be added to it? No doubt.

Galway Film Society Website

However for a 1 page micro website I’m quite happy with it :)

Modal Window Content for the Galway Film Society

So like it or hate it feel free to comment and if you have someone “close” in Galway and are stuck for a Christmas present for them you can’t go wrong with a season ticket for the Galway Film Society. That’s 10 movies for €45.

The new domain name game

The New Domain Game

I’m working for the leading Irish web hosting company Blacknight and so get to deal with domains a lot. In the domain name industry we’re living in slightly exciting times. We’re about to see the launch of 100s of new extensions. The original number of applications was up around 1930 with a number of collisions in the applications so the actual figure was looking a lot more like 1409. There were 1179 applications with only 1 applicant for the extension. Want more fun facts / stats you can see a few on the website I created a while back.

Yesterday saw the launch of the sunrise period for a number of the new extensions and you can see what’s going to be coming online over the next year or so. The big question for me is obviously going to be what are they going to cost? Whether or not they succeed or fail I’d suspect will be based on their pricing to some extent. Take .camera for example would a photographer get that? or would they wait for .photography to come online or what about .photo or .photos? You’ve suddenly got 4 extensions already in competition with each other unless I’m going crazy… but wait … there’s more what about .shop if you’re a shop or .lighting if you’re involved in photography lighting or .equipment? Confused yet? I know I am :) Will people just stick with the well known and trusted .com or opt for their local country code tld or what about the extension for the city you live in? (Yes there are a number of regional and city specific TLDs coming online as well)

Interesting times indeed … the roll out of the new extensions is looking something like …

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

Early 2014

Late 2014

The other big question is who’ll be able to supply them all? It’s not just as simple when you’re a registrar as saying hey we offer these you need to integrate them into your system. You need to have a balance of money deposited with them and what’s more you need to give them product placement and meet goals in order to be able to get reductions on pricing …

OK I’m going to stop now I’m giving myself a headache!!!

Interested in knowing more you can always signup for information on the Blacknight website.

Update 13:49 (GMT+1): Andrew from .wiki got in contact and it has been moved from the December 2013 to the early 2014 section.

Year Of The Cloud 2

Branding your blog posts

We all know that content is king. We’re continually bombarded by the message on all the SEO sites we visit. I am however one of those people who need both written content and visual content.

A few years back I sent on Michele a silly graphic relating to a dot EU promotion that Blacknight was running. I’d been taking pictures of the cat with my new camera and working as a freelancer from home always means that a slight cabin fever situation kicks in from time to time and hey presto he loved the graphic. Personally I don’t think it’s that great today but it was a start.

Kitty needed the munnies

I think a week or two later and Michele used another picture on the site (he had been adding stock images to all his posts to make them as I said a bit more visual) and this time I ended up branding up that image a little bit and changing the size to fit in with the blog design. I came up with the slogan as well which I was rather proud of. Again it was for a domain promotion.

To .Be or not to .Be

Shortly after that I ended up coming up with a standard design we’ve used on most of the blog graphics (not all the time … time factors into things sometimes) and also started sourcing most of the images we use on the blog graphics and not to mention coming up with silly captions and marketing ideas for them.

Standard Blacknight Blog Graphic Format

Well it’s a while on and I’ve ended up making a lot of these graphics taken a few photos .. used pictures of the cat as well :) The big question sometimes for me is just how much time do you invest in them. For us the answer seems to be a bit sometimes it’s a 5 minute job other times it takes quite a bit more time.

Blog Graphics

It can be a pretty time consuming process sourcing images. Coming up with an idea. Finding an image within the budget. Trying to make things fun bring a smile to peoples faces and ultimately we hope lead to the Blacknight brand becoming stronger. Personally it’s something I enjoy a lot and we’ve gotten good feedback in the past whether it’s for the blog images the newsletters or adverts we run.

So what do you think is it worth the effort we put in? Do you even notice or care?

The recent Year of the Cloud promotion for example starts as a “I need a blog graphic for a promotion promo code cloudyear

O … K … ? :) (generally my usual response to these kinda requests)

Moving on and I have a think about it while doing a few other bits and pieces … and we get to this stage … still a mockup

Year Of The Cloud

Obviously I’m thinking Chinese new year here which is I think on the 23rd of January. Bit boring it’d be fine liked where I was going with the Year of the Cloud / Dragon thing … BUT Michele says … can we get a dragon in there somewhere and hey presto I go searching for a bit sourcing imagery … another iteration / idea … scrap that another idea … nope and … finally and we end up with

Year Of The Cloud 2

Add in a silly byline and people seem to love it big question for me is will it convert to sales and make our brand stronger. I’d love to hear some peoples thoughts. Is it worth the effort we go to?

(By the way shameless sales pitch why not get a great discount on cloud hosting over on the Blacknight Blog)


I can’t remove “jQuery Lightbox Plugin (balupton edition)” from lightbox popup

Currently using the jquery-lightbox plugin and finding that show_linkback and <script type=”text/javascript” src=”jquery.lightbox.min.js?show_linkback=false”></script> doesn’t seem to be disabling it.

I don’t have time to go messing about and seeing why it isn’t working at the moment so the quick solution is editing the jquery.lightbox.min.js file

Find the bit show_linkback:true in there and change it to show_linkback:false


Black and white to colour in photoshop

black and white to colour header

So I ended up playing with the converting of a black and white photo to colour (color for any american english people out there) in photoshop yesterday,

I’ve actually thought about doing it for ages but saw a link to a tutorial on it which turned out to be a dead link. Anyways I needed a decent Black and White photo (to start with anyways I’ve plans to convert a few old photos once I get the knack of things) I did a quick search and who could be more perfect to do than Google Image search for Marilyn Monroe. You’ve got colour and black and white photos so you’ve go something to base things on (also some really high res images which is nice)

Selected my photo .. and basically means selecting the various areas you want with the lasso tool (I used the polygonal lasso tool for it’s clicky goodness) add a slight feather to the selected area copy and paste as a new layer. Then up to Layers and Adjustment layer -> Hue/Saturation

Adjustment Layer

Then make sure to tick use previous layer to create clipping mask

Use previous layer to create clipping mask

And hey presto .. it’s slightly pain staking cutting out the bits but so cool to start seeing the results once you start adjusting the Hue / Saturation levels ( make sure to tick colorize or you may be wondering why nothing is happening)

Hue / Saturation

And so you start to see some results … my first looking something like Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe … Second version appearing a bit more like a technicolor version but I’m preferring it.


And finally adding a vignette and a gradient mask onto the image and I got the result I wanted.

Final Version of Monroe

Hair seems to be have been the trickiest part of this for me and yes I’ve left it rough in a few places hope you like the tips (though maybe they could be a bit clearer)

And of course once you’ve got all the areas mapped out it’s quite handy to tweak any colours to your hearts content

Marilyn Monroe Red Dress

Edit: Should add a video tutorial on this is available at Black and White to Colour Video obviously goes into more detail about extracting things ended up pretty much following the first few steps and go the inspiration for photo character from it as well :)