In Spirit

When I was young, I went to Saint Josephs Catholic School in Mechanicsburg. It is a Catholic elementary and middle school right in town. I used to hear horror stories from my Dad about nuns cracking his knuckles with long wooden pointers. Lucky for me, that era was over and done with by the time I was in school, but something tells me that my Dad probably deserved a lot more than just a knuckle cracking (He proceeds to tell me about all the things he did and never got caught and he smiles a lot). There were a couple of rules to follow when in Catholic school. Forewarning, the following list is rude. Continue reading


During the last few days I’ve been listening to BoySetsFire’s latest album “While A Nation Sleeps”. The album came out in the summer of 2013 and is the first studio album since 2006. When I was in high school, BoySetsFire was one of the first hardcore bands that I started listening to. It wasn’t too long after listening to them that I discovered Strung Out, Sick of it All, Lag Wagon, Rise Against, Death By Stereo and A Fire Inside. The song “Bathory’s Sainthood” is still one of my favorite songs. It’s funny to me to be rediscovering something old and new at the same time. It’s been a recurring theme as of late. Lately, life has been all about transitions. Continue reading

Online Reputation Management

Many times when I sit with a client to discuss branding, some of my questions regarding their current marketing and assets take them off guard. A company’s brand identity is much more than a new logo and mission statement; it should be a progressive shift in culture, internally and externally. It’s your responsibility, as a designer and strategist, to analyze their effectiveness in relation to what they currently are doing versus what they want to be doing. One question, in particular, always takes pause.

“How do you currently manage and measure your online reputation?” Continue reading

Design is an Investment

Recently, I saw a post from a friend and professional colleague of mine, Marco Echevarria of Burn Creative, talking about requests from prospective clients who want their logo to be in the same style as another company. His example was the classic Drew Struzan Star Wars “A New Hope” poster with the type treatment in the same style as Google. Other than it looks completely ridiculous, it caused a well of emotion in me, and not the right kind.

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International House of Philadelphia: Experiences That Build Character

A few weeks back, I was in Philadelphia for WordCamp Philly. I was giving a presentation on using BuddyPress for enterprise solutions. BuddyPress, if you haven’t read any of my previous posts about it, can basically turn your WordPress site into a social media site. It’s a very powerful tool as it allows those on your site to connect with each others and share information. In the purest form of social media, you can connect with people and have meaningful conversations that distance and time can’t always allow for. As I rode the early morning train with my girlfriend watching the sunrise over Lancaster County, I was struck by an epiphany. Here I am taking the train as I did so much during my years in college and my coming back to a place that I called home for years, International House of Philadelphia. Continue reading

Start Small: CushyCMS

When I first started down the path of web design and development, I was quite lost. I knew what HTML was, kind of, but I had no idea how to write any of it. I was trained as a designer, technically focused more on print. When I first began my foray into writing code, I spent about 2 years at Harrisburg Area Community College and a vast amount of time on Night classes and online video training paid off for me, but there was still so much for me to learn. The only way I could start getting good practices down were through experience. Continue reading

A Weekend in Philadelphia

Waking up at 3am sucks. Your bed and body have conformed to each other to make your mind finally be at ease. Your breathing is long and deep, and occasionally loud. Sleep isn’t always pretty looking, but it is one of the few times where you feel completely comfortable. Then your alarm goes off, your eyes shoot open from the interruption of your blissful state and upon waking you grumble and emerge from the depths of slumber as a hulking, bleary-eyed entity not too dissimilar from those described in the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

At least, that’s how I wake up. Continue reading

Yo, WordCamp Philly…

I’ve been looking forward to heading back to Philly for a long time now. If you’ve read some of my past posts I make mention to alma mater, Hussian School of Art, a great deal. I was in one of the last classes to graduate before they changed owners. My time in Philadelphia taught me what I wanted in my professional career as a designer. I discovered AIGA and started participating in their meetings. Philadelphia also offered me the chance of a lifetime to live with students and interns from all over the world when I stayed at International House of Philadelphia in University City. My mentor, Dave Stencler, and his wife Ivy have a really cool place just on the cusp of South Philly and Old City. I always look forward to getting together with them and talking projects and trends, work and life. Continue reading

New Look, New Work

Well, this post got out a little bit later than I wanted but I’m glad to say that a lot of great stuff is happening with Azrael Group. First, you may notice the new look of the site? I thought it was time to update the look and rework the site a bit. I’ve been blogging a great deal and for those of you who subscribe to this blog (thank you by the way) know that I put out a new post once a week. Last weeks’ post on collected advice for design students was a doozy, but I received a lot of great feedback on it.
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Collected Advice for Design Students

In light of graduation happening soon, I’ve gone through some of my old work and notes and I’ve compiled some advice and insights that I have gained from some of the people who helped me make that transition. Consider this a sort of primer for jumping into the job market from design student to young professional. My hope is that the information will help you going forward in your career.

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Good things come to those who hustle

In my Asana task list, I have anywhere from 10-30 projects in various stages of development. There are tasks like optimizing my site images and filling out more descriptive text in the alt tags. One task is to finish my concepts for my witch board product line for Etsy, a substantial task by itself. Another task I have is to send out several invoices for work by Friday. And then there are the learning tasks.

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Slow Your Roll

When I was young, I was very ambitious. I wanted to be an architect like Frank Lloyd Wright, someone who is famous world over for organic architecture. I was always drawing futuristic buildings and making sci-fi bases and spaceships with my Legos. I remember my grandmother saying one day “You’re good at this building and drawing, you should become an architect when you get older”. To me, as an 8 year old, that sounded like as good advice as any. I equated being ambitious as successful. I thought that success meant respect, quality, and fame. I thought was famous would be cool. I also thought fame came quickly. To be an 8 year old again… Continue reading

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