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Image: Sierra Earthfest web pageView Web Site
Fan Connectivity

This site is focused on a clean, dynamic, upscale business look while also using every opportunity to show interconnectedness, the main theme of the company’s purpose. The eye-catching and dramatic red and black color palette is meant to grab the visitor's attention and lead them through the page.

Since the desired site clientele is primarily entertainment properties, much attention was given to the types of details a producer or marketing department would be looking for when considering a company of this type. Five clearly defined “pillars” are the heart of the site, with the testimonial and contact pages separate yet still easily accessible from anywhere. Even with its staggered and connected elements, the site navigation remains simple and clear, encouraging the visitor to explore the site.

Image: Sierra Earthfest web pageView Web Site
Ginger Pauley

Ginger Pauley is an accomplished actress, singer, and dancer who needed a proper web site to professionally represent her to entertainment industry contacts. Since Ginger's talents span multiple disciplines, Acorn Heads worked with Ginger to identify the site visitors she was most interested in targeting, and what she wished to communicate to them.

Ginger definitely wanted a vintage Art Deco "period" look for her site... but only to a point. She wanted to evoke the period, but not be limited by historic accuracy. The site needed to be clean, easy to read, easy to navigate, but have a fun vintage feel. We decided on a design that reproduced the period movie poster marquees that graced the lobbies of the grand theaters of the era... a time when a talent such as Ginger might still be seen singing, dancing, and acting in a Vaudeville revue, before the "talkies" took over the theaters.

While we co-ordinate with Ginger and her publicist for the site's final information architecture and content, we have provided her with this temporary web site in order to provide her interim visitors with links to her pertinent professional information.

Image: Sierra Earthfest web pageView Web Site
Oso Hostel

Oso Hostel opened it's doors in early 2013 in one of the busiest tourist corridors in America: along Highway 120, the northern entrance to Yosemite National Park. They needed a professional web site to integrate with their reservation booking system, and advertise their European-style hostel to international travelers.

Discussions of their business needs and clientele resulted in some basic design requirements: a simple site structure with a graphic design to appeal to their mostly young site visitors, and that utilized the client's existing logo. We created a design that is meant to evoke a vacation at one of the historic camps in the area, but with a youthful twist. The photo on the front page of a group enjoying a drink on the porch sets the friendly, communal tone of the hostel, while the crowning image of Half Dome immediately alerts visitors that they have arrived at a web site that caters to Yosemite Valley visitors.

Mountain Sage Music Series

This site was created to promote the annual music series that is held at Mountain Sage every summer. This project presented a couple of unique challenges. First was the fact that the content and scheduled events would change on a yearly basis. The second was that the event is marketed via a beautiful new poster each year... however the design is always different, so the web site must be easily adaptable to the yearly changes. In order to present a unified event 'identity' and build public recognition, the poster and web site designs should be as complimentary as possible.

Acorn Heads created a web site design that is easily updated to match the current event poster, with the site's design centered on the poster itself. Only the graphic of the poster in the corner and a handful of other elements need be changed each year to make the web site closely match the event poster.

The site was also built to be as reusable as possible in terms of the data and content, so as little new coding has to be done as possible. This saves both time and cost to the client.

Image: Robb Hirsch Photography's web pageView Web Site
Robb Hirsch Photography

Robb Hirsch is a talented nature photographer whose work is featured in the prestigious Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park.  He wanted a professional web site with a simple and elegant design to highlight and promote his photography business.

We worked closely with Robb to identify and understand the needs of his customers, which is the first and most important step in creating an effective web site.  The design is kept simple and elegant to direct the visitor's attention to his photos.  The use of granite as a background echoes Robb's natural subject matter, with the overall effect giving the impression of a stately museum, the subtle tones supporting, rather than distracting from, his powerful images.

We designed the photo purchasing pages to be extremely visual and interactive, and give the customer a sense of the experience of purchasing a fine art photograph from a prestigious gallery. Care was taken to highlight the quality of the materials.

We also provided Robb with an administration area where he can maintain many important aspects of his web site himself, with little knowledge of HTML or web development, including updating page text, how images are displayed during the purchasing process, and details of his e-commerce gateway.

On-going improvements include a content management area where Robb can manage his own links, and photo gallery details.

Image: IndieWave web pageView Design
Indiewave

Acorn Heads provided all of the programming expertise, web server configuration, and security to make realize this web property that allowed musicians from all over the world to promote their recordings and performances. We built all of the functionality, content, and strategic partnerships for this web property from the ground up. We built, administered, and provided electronic security for IndieWave's custom configured web server.

Indiewave artists created a templated mini-website that included pages for biographical information, playing their music via streaming audio, displaying live performance schedules (along with street directions and dynamic maps), and for soliciting subscriptions to artists' mailing lists. The most popular artists were tracked by the Charts page which listed the most active Indiewave Artists in order.

Artists could upload images, audio files, edit biographies and link lists, and manage their accounts with a web interface. Indiewave also provided artists with a shopping cart where they could sell their music and other merchandise via the artist's own PayPal account.

Acorn Heads also created solutions for Indiewave site administrators to such issues as managing Artist accounts, logging and tracking site and customer problems, and addressing intellectual property rights issues vis-a-vis the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

All of Indiewave's varied functionality was created via a battery of web pages and reusable library routines implemented with Active Server Pages (ASP), 4 relational databases, XML, XSLT, Windows Media Server, etc. Logo and graphics were created by graphic artist Sue Payne.

Image: Reg Smith Photography's web pageView Web Site
House Petrelli

This site began as a labor of love by Acorn Heads focused on the hit television drama Heroes. Although it started as a simple blog-style news outlet, the flexible nature of the site's functionality allowed it to be customized and grown as needed. The site's design was created around a set of custom character portraits created by notable German fantasy artist, Jenny Dolfen.

House Petrelli was noticed early on by NBC and the cast and crew of the show. Smaller interviews were scored, then bigger, until finally the principal actors and the show's creator himself, Tim Kring, were happy to be interviewed by what they themselves referred to as the “top fan site” for Heroes.

As a direct result of this professional, well-themed design, the House Petrelli contributors were asked to run the official show fan club. When actors, writers, and producers were asked if they were familiar with House Petrelli, they would usually reply, “Oh, yes, I know that site. It’s really well done.”

Image: Reg Smith Photography's web pageView Web Site
Reg Smith Photography

Reg Smith asked Acorn Heads to create his photography web site based on the strength of the work we did with Robb Hirsch. We worked with Reg to make sure his site design and functionality met his specified needs, then brainstormed through some new ideas with him.

We agreed that we should go with a design that would highlight the photos without competing with them. After talking with Reg about his ideas about photography and how he presents his photos in real life, we grabbed on to Reg's preference for high contrast matting and framing, and presented him with a very subtle design that featured his photos displayed against a high-contrast black background. Reg quite liked this presentation, and the final design closely matches our initial mockups.

Reg has been very pleased with his web site and the feedback he has received from site visitors and clients, and the site has contributed substantially to raising his profile as a respected professional photographer.

Image: Stacy Polson's web pageView Web Site
Stacy Polson's Needle-felt Art

Stacy needed a web site to promote and sell her needle felt artwork.  Being a visual artist, she already had a distinct idea of the clear, simple layout she wanted to highlight her colorful creations.  She asked us to implement her vision, and suggest ideas as to the specifics of how her gallery would look and function.

We were able to suggest an existing Flash-based photo album product that we felt would integrate well with her layout. We quickly worked out the details and implemented what you see today on her site.

The use of an existing product for her gallery greatly sped up development time and reduced cost for Stacy.  This can be an excellent strategy for many web sites, as existing “widgets” are fully developed and well tested… and many are even free!  The code is normally maintained by the company which develops the “widget,” allowing you to keep your site up-to-date while reducing your costs to that of the widget upgrade itself (if any), and the development time to install the upgrade.  This is often much less expensive than developing and maintaining your own code.

Image: Groveland Farmer's Market web pageView Web Site
Groveland's Farmer's Market

A small and friendly site, the design of the for the local farmer's market was intended to capture the hand-made, 'home-y' feel of the market, as well as the beautiful gardens at Mountain Sage in which the market is held.

Discussions with the client identified the likely site visitor as either a local or absentee property owner curious about the market's specifics (such as hours, vendors, etc.) or a media source researching information about the market for publication. The design was tailored to this information, and to the client's required content.

The vendor's page is intended to function as a 'virtual market,' where prospective visitors can browse through the vendors and their merchandise, and get a feel for what a trip to the market might be like.

 
Image:  Homesteading TV web siteView Design
Homesteading TV

Intended to reach out to both advertisers and viewers, the look and feel of the Homesteading TV website is as important as the content. Simple navigation and concise information are combined with a dramatic color scheme designed to highlight the natural beauty of the masthead image.

This portfolio entry represents a work in progress, and what you see here is indicative of a late-stage client mockup. A design at this stage has been presented to the client, whose feedback has been used to refine the design.

The next stage in developing this web property would be to translate the design seen here into a set of actual web pages on a staging server where all parties have access to the site as work is completed. Textual content needs to be finalized for all pages, as well as securing and optomizing all additional graphical content.

This is all part of the client-oriented development process adopted by Acorn Heads. As ideas are translated into "living and breathing" web sites, good ideas are recognized and reinforced, while any problems areas are flushed out and replaced with more suitable alternatives.