The Cheese Hub – site launch

Cheese and websites … two of my favourite things, and brought together so wonderfully with this deceptively simple little ecommerce project: The Cheese Hub.  

Cheese Hub

They’re business based in Leitrim that have some lovely looking hampers and a really interesting business in cheese maturation for local producers.  

Shelves and shelves of maturing cheese line their walls – a great way to support local businesses who might be wanting to diversify their farm-based income.  Those producers can now outsource the labour intensive and space demanding ripening, maturing, cutting and packaging functions of the operation.  Good stuff. (I’m hoping I’m saying all the right things here and that maybe a little cheese might come my way this Christmas …)

Check out the site – both on your computer, and your hand held device of choice.

New work and upcoming projects

It’s shaping up to be a busy summer at TickTockDesign … and I’m not talking about the kids being off school for 9 weeks.  (NINE!)

About to hit the streets is the new website for Claremont Insurance Companies – a General Insurance agency based in Walnut Creek, California.  There is some connection in this … for about a year I lived in Walnut Creek, California (it’s in Northern California – east of San Francisco) and made many great friends there.  Sometimes friends come back with work for you – and that was the case here.

The design is nice and fresh – giving the corporate image a much needed lift.  The whole site has been developed using WordPress which has become my go-to content management system thanks to it’s increasingly flexible approach to content management.  Augmented by a couple of excellent plugins (Easy Content Types and Advanced Custom Fields) there really is very little it can’t do.

The new design is responsive – it’ll adapt to smaller screen sizes, although primarily optimised for the iPad and iPhone it’ll behave nicely with Android phones and tablets too.  I’ve got before and after shots here:

Old Design


New Design


And on the iPhone


Next on the block …

Claremont should go live in the next week or so.  Following that a couple of projects shrouded in mystery (oooh …. )  Sort of.  I’ve got one project for the manufacturer of a specialist cycling product.  It’s good working with inventors – they’re passionate, knowledgeable and focused.  This project won’t see the light of day until January at the earliest I’d estimate – but it’s a fun one to be involved with and lots of interesting design possibilities.

The next is a huge, sprawling website for an event organiser.  In a previous life I worked at a couple of conference companies … now, I’m working on a site to launch a new one.  It’s exciting – the energy of the start up and an industry with which I’m extremely familiar.  Lots of WordPress-y goodness with this one too.

In between times, I’m doing some work for the crowd that manufacturers the engine for the new Morgan 3 Wheeler … If I can wangle a test drive, I’ll let you know!  For now, the design will have to suffice:


So, that’s about all that’s happening.  As I say, a busy summer ahead.  WIll keep you posted as the sites progress and launch!

The post-it note desk

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Design | No Comments

Oh I love this desk!  Furniture that demands to be doodled on … 

For those who constantly forget to wear their Post-it watches, and like to take down notes on their desks, Milan-based design firm SoupStudio created an almost-ideal workstation for designers that always give you access to reminders and free doodling space. 

Post-It-Note Desk


The BBC Weather Website

Posted by on Jun 17, 2012 in Design | No Comments

The BBC Weather website really has become a thing of beauty.  The weather itself, less so.  But I love their latest innovation … a rising, falling, musical scale of the temperature.  Super.


Creating e-books from existing web content

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Design, On the interwebs | No Comments

This. Is. Awesome.

Readlist allows you to create ebooks from existing web content – and have that sent to your Kindle / iWhatever.  That’s just going to fit so nicely in with my life that I’m nearly weeping at the thought of it.  

For example, I spend the morning surfing the internet researching an upcoming project … I create a Read List, add to it some articles about the client, some industry articles, some design articles … save that list, pick it up on my Kindle, and head to the coffee shop to read the content (without adverts) and enjoy one of Tom’s delicious scones.

What’s a Readlist? A group of web pages – articles, recipes, course materials, anything – bundled into an e-book you can send to your Kindle, iPad or iPhone.

Go check it out.

Read Lists

The Hold On Tight Shelf

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Design, On the interwebs | No Comments

Love this great book shelf … currently the favoured solution for our kitchen bookshelves that are causing our current gargoyle bookends an undue amount of stress. (more info.  via)



Great to see so much responsive web design going on

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in Design, HTML5, Mobile | No Comments

It’s great to see more and more responsive web design going on … and this wonderful showcase highlights some of the best current work.

This example from the University of California in San Diego is lovely – a good, strict responsive grid.  It doesn’t try to do too much, but each screen resolution looks native and as if it were built specifically for that screen size.  Perhaps the navigation, at the smallest width, is a bit clunky – but it’s very effective and overall a really good example.


You might expect it from dConstruct – a digital media conference that takes place in Brighton each year – but this is still a wonderful example.  If you define responsive web design as having fluid grid, flexible images, and media queries – then this does the lot extremely well.  A nice example all round.


I’ll be keeping an eye on the Media Queries gallery for sure.

Grid apps, bookmarks and coffee tables

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Design, Everything Else | 2 Comments

There are many things that consistently vex me.  Solutions for three of them presented themselves this rainy Tuesday morning – too good not to share.


I don’t have a problem with bookmarks.  (We’re talking about the physical book mark here – something you use to keep your place in a real, physical, book).  My wife however very much does.  I’ve started printing business cards just so she can use them as book marks.  She gets through so many and nobody knows where they go.  However, and via Swiss Miss, the solution has presented itself: The Albatross Bookmark.  Looks perfect.

Coffee Tables

Our current coffee table is functional.  It’s big, it’s the right height, it’s fine.  But it’s not a thing of beauty.  And a coffee table should be a thing of beauty.  At least once you learn not to put hot mugs of tea on top of it – which might happen one day.  And when that does happen, then this coffee table will be waiting for me:


coffee-table more here

Until that day, I may just have to ‘put up’ with this:

Zerino Coffee Table

more here

Grid Apps

Developing grid systems for responsive web sites is a pain in the butt.  I’ve used a couple of frameworks before – some of them have been really good, but when Mark Boulton proposes a new tool, you sit up and listen. Mark is working on a web based app for creating flexible grid systems.  This is awesome news.  It’s not another framework – this is something that we’ll be able to tinker with and customise for our own purposes.  As he says:

Gridset is a tool for making grids. It lets you create whatever type of grid you want: columnar, asymmetrical, ratio, compound, fixed, fluid, responsive and more. It serves multiple grids to your site based on breakpoints for different devices. Using it is as simple as embedding a link.

There’s more here and the app itself will be available here later in the year.  Good stuff.


Round up of recent responsive web design articles

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Design, Responsive Web Design | No Comments

So, most of these links and articles are concerning Responsive Web Design – a particular focus of mine at the moment as my second large responsive project gets underway.  The first was for a Fermanagh based hotel – the second for a new project from the people behind Donegal Cottage Holidays which is going to be based entirely around WordPress.  Using WordPress for Responsive Design does not inherently cause any problems … you can create themes for it without the CMS part of WordPress getting in the way.  The bigger challenge however is that this website will be opened up to users who – to a degree – will be able to add their own content and edit their images etc.  So, keeping it responsive will be the challenge.

Anyway, this has been my recent reading:

5 tips for building a responsive wordpress site – as you can imagine, this is required reading for me right now!

Working out a responsive web design workflow is also hugely challenging.  The old methods of wire framing, designing and coding aren’t necessarily appropriate.  Mark Boulton here gives his thoughts as clearly as ever.

Some responsive navigation patterns nicely explained by Brad Frost.  In short – what do you do with all that navigation when you’re working a smaller screen?

A massive list of Mobile Design Resources – does exactly what it says on the tin.

Luke Wroblewski wrote the excellent Mobile First book and he’s as prolific as ever over on his blog with a series of excellent conference notes: The future of CSS, Adaptive Web Content and Busting Mobile Myths – all talks given (not by Luke) at recent events that Luke has then typed up for those of us unable to, y’know, just fly to Seattle for these things.


Finally, recently on The Big Web Show – a great podcast covering ‘all things web’, Kristofer Layon joined Jeffrey Zeldman and talked about ‘Mobilizing Web Sites: Strategies for Mobile Web Implementation‘ – Kristofer’s recent book.

So, plenty of reading to do!

Everybody’s favourite Duluthian

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Design, Everything Else, On the interwebs | No Comments

Everybody’s favourite Duluthian now has an Etsy store.  You can spend days looking through the lovingly made bits and pieces on Etsy … but you’d be hard pushed to find anything more joyful than this work by Marian Lansky (from Kenspeckle Letterpress fame).

Marian Lansky on Etsy