Vintage Designs Brought Back to Life, Hand-screening at Griswold

My client, Griswold Textile, is a hand-screening fabric mill in Rhode Island.  Griswold’s long history in textile manufacturing means they have some treasures from the past in the building.  The Fabric company Duralee discovered the antique screens of Griffin and Bailey and decided to revitalize the designs.  Here is their story…


Get a sneak peak behind the making of Bailey & Griffin’s debut collection with Robin Gordon, VP of marketing and advertising for Duralee; Anne Hahn, interior designer and consultant for Duralee; and Jack Wilson, Manager at Griswold Printworks in Westerly, Rhode Island.

Hand Printed Fabric Blog

Easy, Online Graphic Design

We all know great design when we see it but creating great design takes talent and practice.  Adobe Illustrator is a powerful tool for creating graphics for your site but it also has a very steep learning curve.  Recently, I began using an online graphic design tool, CANVA.COM , to create simple graphics and my impression so far is that it is easy and fun.  Canva is a creation of Guy Kawasaki,  a former evangelist of Apple and Motorola.  Guy presented at Hubspot’s INBOUND 2015 and was a relaxed and amusing  presence.  He has a twitter account that seems to post thousands of tweets a week, keeping a small cadre of graphic designers busy just to keep up.  I immediately checked out Canva and much to my delight it really does simplify the graphic design process in many ways.

First, you select your platform and began working in a pre-formatted canvas. Every type of social media canvas is represented including posters and infographics.  You then choose elements for background, text etc.  Canva is very flexible in allowing you to upload your own elements or choose from free and $1 canva elements. The text elements are pre-designed elements, just waiting for you to drop in your text.  In this image I used a photo of mine from Rock Harbor Cape Cod and a Canva text element.  While it looks simple, that circular pattern is not easy to create from scratch. Proportion of design elements is already determined allowing for modern and clean balance…


I often struggle to collect professional photos from companies that represent products, location, staff. One excellent, professional photo can do a lot of heavy lifting on a site, presenting brand and other messaging with ease.  One of the freeing aspects of Canva is that you learn you can create infographics, postings and headers using many other sources for backgrounds.  While these may not be appropriate for main site images they are really useful for social media and other quick turnaround channels.  Twitter posts with a great, but not site specific, image are very captivating when done with attention to layout.  Canva text is pre-designed for appeal with font details carefully determined. Here is an infographic I had fun with, it illustrates the difference between just brand traffic and great search traffic.

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Combined with a source of free images, such as, you can really create some high level looks in a flash.  Here is an UNSPLASH city scene and Canva graphics, basic of course but also lightning fast… and free!  No monthly SAS fees, no expensive content purchases.  The text design components are just where they should be.


Carousel Images

These images illustrate the Gallery function of WordPress combined with the Jetpack plugin. Click on an image and see how it has a large, clean, modern presentation…

Posts are not like art but they do take time!

Writers Block – the curse of blogging! Sometimes sitting down to log into your WordPress Site to create a blog post can feel like an overwhelming task.  The pressure to create a masterpiece and then the realization that this one is a doodle at best feels unmotivating.  Storing great ideas for later can help overcome the problems of poor content ideas and writer’s block.

Shortcut to Creating Great Posts – The “Press This”

Often, while surfing the internet, you may come across information you would like to represent in your blog, but don’t want to focus on blogging at the moment. The Press This bookmarklet, a tiny bookmark button for your browser tab, is an easy way to add content to your blog. For WordPress users, this handy shortcut helps you create posts immediately. Go to the Admin Dashboard/Settings/Writing and locate the small, gray Press This button”.  By dragging the little Press This button onto your browser’s bookmark, or tab area, you can use it whenever you see material you’d like to post. It will automatically sign into your blog and open the “New Post” window. But it does a lot more than that!



Grab Some Text from a Site

Just highlight the text that interests you and then click Press This from your browser bookmark or favorites tab.  The post will appear in a new window ready for editing with the highlighted text and a nice link to the original site.  (You may need to sign in to your WordPress Admin )[message type=”info”]This is a great way to store interesting posts for later.  Just Press This the info you want and then rather than PUBLISH just save as DRAFT.  Edit it later when you are ready to complete.[/message]

Grab an Image from a Site

Having already hit Press This you are looking at a fresh blog post.  Select the picture frame from above the editing box and all the image options from the article will be available for adding to your post.  If you are not sure about image use and copyrights then Google “Fair Use and Copyright Issues” or other appropriate search terms for guidance on when it is acceptable to duplicate material. Tin Eye is a great resource for tracking images online including your own.  IStockPhoto (paid) and Unsplash (free) are good sources for high-level stock photos should you need them to illustrate your post.

Grab a Link

While on the site of interest just click Press This and you’ll get a post with a link only.  Publish in simple form or save as a draft for later.