Ghost – A Blogging Platform

Ghost Screeenshot

At Whitehouse & Company we believe in Open Source technology. We use WordPress for almost every website we design as it is a rock solid CMS which allows our clients to actually use their websites to interact with audiences, rather than create static experiences.

WordPress started, back in 2003 when we were still using the free blogging system Movable Type. Unfortunately in 2004 Movable type decided to tighten their licensing and start charging for use of their software and stop distributing a free version. This fundamental change made us jump ship and swim over to WordPress, which at that point was a huge switch in our process. We had never fooled around with PHP and having to learn, albeit superficially, a programming language was a huge undertaking for busy graphic designers. Movable Type later realized the error of their ways and created a free version for personal use, but by that point it was too late, we were addicted to the open source WordPress. Almost 10 years later we are still happy WordPress users and have donated, on behalf of ourselves and clients, hundreds of dollars to the application’s development.

However, WordPress is now arguably more CMS than blog software. For our client’s professional sites, this is a good thing, but when you compare WordPress to the ease of use of Tumblr for blogging, it falls short. It lacks the “get out of your way” mentality that Tumblr uses to spotlight content and spur conversation. WordPress is a wonderful website creation tool, but as a blogging system — it is a little overwhelming for a quick post. Tumblr, however, is not open source, nor can it be hosted on your own server and the content owned exclusively by you.

Ghost Kickstarter screenshot

In light of this, and in the interest of supporting options in the Open Source community, today we have backed the Kickstarter campaign for Ghost, a new platform for blogging. It looks both beautifully designed and elegant. Best of all, Ghost will be free (if fully funded) for anyone to try, use, experiment and most importantly — express themselves.

Give it a look, and if you agree with their mission, donate a few pounds… they’re English.


Even in the short space of time from yesterday to today, the Kickstarter has rocketed from £7,000 when we funded it, to an impressive £45,000. So it looks like Ghost will be a successful reality for everyone. They are still raising money and if they raise enough they will add benefits to supporters. Go help them out if you haven’t already.


Website Update, Part 2 (a Year Later)

Website Update Part 2

Website redesigns are hard — especially your own. Sure we can create websites for our clients over a coffee-infused weekend, but having yourself as a client? Well, that can be plain crippling. It ultimately comes down to wanting to make the best product possible, but when you are working for yourself often ideas multiply and before you know it, you are redesigning the browser instead of your website.

Ultimately the best incentive for a website launch is to say “We are going to launch our site on X day” and stick to it. Regardless of if the design is finished, launch the site. What is the worst that can happen? Well, I guess it could Titanic on you, and all aboard could be sent sprawling into the cold seas of the information superhighway. Or more realistically, the worst that can happen is visitors see an unfinished product. At least they are seeing something, and having your incomplete site “live” is the best incentive to get it done.

“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

– Grace Hopper

And so, just shy of a year of our original post, we finally launch the second major iteration of our website in its almost completed form. Feel free to head up to the observation deck, but be careful leaning over the railings, they are a little loose.


Website Update

The original site – for posterity.

Back in 2002, the web was a fairly volatile place. Web standards had just been introduced, and the internet was in flux with new coding strategies and methodologies. Since 2002 we have seen incredible advances in both the way websites are made as well as a substantial change in what they are made out of.

This website was originally designed in 2002. It was, at the time, pretty cutting edge using WordPress as its internal content management system. Now in 2012, that is standard practice for most websites on the internet. As such we have decided at Whitehouse & Company to redesign using the latest standards, HTML5 and CSS3. To bring our blog and portfolio into the twenty-teens.

It is something we are very excited about and a journey we will share in posts about what we learn along the way.


Help Japan

W+K Studio is donating all of the profits of their Help Japan Poster for relief support. Buy one today.


Gap Rebrands. Default Gradients Everywhere Rejoice

Dropping its time tested and 20 year old logo, The Gap (now simply GAP) has re-branded with what may be the most boring re-brand since… ever really. Dropping their iconic stretched serif logo for one which is remarkably like American Apparel’s logo (also Helvetica, also black, and also tightly kerned)

What I find most confusing that during this economic decline, why they would decide to throw out something which will require millions of dollars in new signs, promotional materials, clothing labels, etc. Not to mention as environmental graphic designers, we have no idea how one might apply this mark 3 dimensionally without creating a fairly ugly sign box for the gradient?

All in all, we are not impressed with GAP’s re-brand and think it’s more of a marketing stunt (Ala Tropicana’s terrible re-brand of months back) than an actual graphic design solution.

Events Geekery

2010 SEGD Twitter Updates

If you can’t make it to the SEGD national conference this year or want to see what we are up up to in D.C., you might want to follow the Whitehouse & Company Twitter feed. We’ll be updating throughout the event and bringing our unique view of the show.

There will also be tons of spelling errors, because there is no spell check on the iPhone, so you’ll have that to look forward to as well.

Let’s get environmental.


Packing up for 2010 SEGD Conference

Whitehouse & Company will be closed during the 2010 SEGD National Conference down in Washington D.C. June 2nd – June 5th. We hope to see you there and please feel free to say hello to Ben or Roger.

We will also be live tweeting during the conference, so please be sure to check back to find out what find interesting in our nations capital.


St. Paul’s, St. Paul’s

Some interesting illuminations in London photographed on my visit there with Ben this month. The inset shows St. Pauls in Covent Garden, known as the actor’s church – the Christmas tree silhouette, projected from the market building, is a great example of low-cost high-visibility environmental graphic design. When I was a student at the AA in the late 50’s, and when this was a real market, we often used to visit an all-night pie stall which lived on the right of the church entrance under the stained-glass window. The other image shows the more well known St. Pauls in the background, behind the National Theatre on the South Bank, whose lighting changes color from day to day. All different and festive examples of creative lighting design.


ASISTS Web Design

We have recently put the finishing touches on a web appliction for the New York State Department of Education. Developed in association with the Literacy Assistance Center in New York, the ASISTS site allows teachers to record the progress and history of students, and to be able to access this information and update it at any location. Being database driven, it can automatically prepare statistical analyses within any specified parameters, for reporting purposes.

Literacy Assistance Center ASISTS

For the technically minded, the site features:

  • XHTML Strict compliance
  • CSS Styled
  • Cross browser compatibility
  • Small bandwidth footprint

All of which means that it is state-of the-art, as well as having a clear graphic hierarchy to enable users to easily navigate and understand this otherwise complex and extensive site.


About People


We recently completed this branding program, in association with DK Holland, for the Morningside Center for Social Responsisbility; a wonderful group who, among other things, foster conflict resolution in our school system. The use of an anthropomorphic M in the mark, and silhouettes in their outreach materials, underlines their core mission. Shown here are boxes for teaching aids for a range of grades, their website, and a bookmark.