Shopify Design Challenge – Neighbourhood Crest

Today’s design challenge at Shopify was to create a crest for a neighbourhood in Ottawa.

I chose Byward, and when I think Byward I think Beavertails, so I started sketching a beaver:

We didn’t have too much time to finalize, but here’s my submission:

Montreal Meets Two

Montreal Meets by Aoiro Studios

Last weekend I went over to Montreal to check out Montreal Meets with my good buddy Grant Lucas. Montreal Meets is an event organized by Aoiro Studios where several designers from around the world give talks on design and their experience as a designer.

Ottawa Ruby

Just a quick post about a Ottawa Ruby, a website that I recently made for my good friend and coworker Ed O. Gooding.

If you’re in Ottawa and love Ruby, come out to the next meetup!

Shingo Hairstylist logo

This past week I worked on a logo for a good friend of mine, Shingo. Shingo is a hairstylist from Japan, and he’s here in Ottawa to study english. He asked me to design a logo for him so that he could make business cards later down the road.

Shingo Fukuda, hairstylist.

One thing that I learned from this exercise is that scissors are really freaking hard to draw. I must have drawn scissors dozens of times before getting it right. I would often screw up the proportion ratio between the blade and the ring, and the scissors would end up looking phallic (as silly as that sounds, haha).

A book that I picked up last week called Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artork helped me a lot with my workflow. I’m not finished reading it but I took some tips from it as I worked on Shingo’s logo. In particular, Von Glitschka’s advice on going back-and-forth between analog and digital (i.e. from pencil on paper to the pen tool in Illustrator, and vice versa). I’m planning on writing a full review of the book later on, but it’s definitely pretty awesome so far.

What are your thoughts on the logo? Any feedback/criticism would be awesome 🙂

Dudebox Launch!

Yesterday, a site that I really admire called Dudebox made their launch. I first found about Dudebox when their web developer contacted me regarding the Hipster theme, which they are using for their site.

Dudebox, as they put in their own words, “is a team of fanatics on a mission.” On their blog, they feature really talented artists from around the world and showcase some of the coolest vinyl toys I’ve ever seen. They also hold cool competitions for designers and artists., using the Hipster theme for Shopify.

I gotta say, it’s the best implementation of Hipster I’ve seen so far. It’s also exactly the kind of niche market that I was hoping Hipster would be used for.

It’s super-cool to see my theme being used as a showcase of amazing artists, and by a group of really cool individuals. Best of luck Dudebox, and looking forward to your shop launch in 2012!

New Design (Now with Responsive Goodness!)

A few months ago I stumbled across this awesome book called Responsive Web Design. No lies, this book seriously changed my life. It changed the way I looked at websites, and I was absolutely fascinated by the way media queries and responsive web sites work. I found myself looking at responsive websites and resizing the browser window for hours on end seeing how the site adjusted to the viewport size.

Ethan Marcotte's Responsive Web Design

Are you remotely interested in web design? Do you like smartphones? FUCKING BUY THIS BOOK.

That’s why I spent the last month or so working on a responsive web site that I could call my own. At the same time I decided to ‘re-brand’ my site to “tetchi” (my nickname since I was a kid) because it sounds way more wicked than “tetsutakara”. Today, I’m releasing my responsive web site out in the wild!

I’m currently working on a boilerplate for Shopify, which is based off of the excellent HTML5 Boilerplate. The goal is to make it easier for Shopify theme authors to start building a theme from scratch. I then plan on building a super-basic theme with it and an up-to-date “How to build a theme from scratch” screencast for it.

Anyway, hope my first responsive website works as it should. Please leave a comment if it looks funky on your device!

PS: I may have lost some recent comments as I transitioned to this new site… sorry! Please leave another comment and I’ll try to get back to you.


On Sunday I attended a workshop run by Spins & Needles called “Silkscreening 101”. At this workshop, we learned how to make our own silkscreen frames and use them for printing. We were to bring one black & white design to the workshop, so I decided to bring my Move Your Mountain design. I’ve always wanted to make my own silkscreen so I was super-excited for this workshop!

The first step was to build the frame. The frames were put together, and then the screen was stapled onto the frame so that it was really tight on the frame.

The screen

Frame complete!

I forgot to take a picture, but after we built our frame we applied a thin layer of photo emulsion onto our silkscreen. While we waited for the emulsion to dry, we took a walk to Katari on Elgin Street and got our designs printed on an acetate sheet.

MYM logo on acetate sheet

Move Your Mountain design on an acetate sheet

Shopify Propaganda Poster

At Shopify, we have “design challenges” every now and then. This week’s challenge was to create a propaganda poster. Below is the poster that I designed, I’m pretty proud of it 🙂

Shopify Propaganda

Shopify Propaganda Poster

New Design!

Just today I launched the new design of my blog. I had been upset over my old design for a while; I couldn’t really put my finger on why, but I just felt that the design was really messy and unprofessional. One of things that REALLY bugged me is that the colours looked awful on Windows machines. For the new design, I decided to play it safe and stick with mostly grayscale colours.


The old design…ew!!

I grabbed the background pattern that I created last year, and used it as a foundation of the new design. I didn’t want it to be too distracting so I toned down its opacity quite a bit. I’d like to work on a new background sometime soon because I feel this one is a bit too disorganized.


My repeatable background pattern

I went through various variations of the design, getting feedback from friends and coworkers. Mark Dunkley gave me a lot of quality feedback, as usual. I really liked the idea of having a 100% width <div>’s for the headers and footers. Later on I felt that having multiple <div>’s spanning across the page was a bit overkill, so I decided to keep it for just the footer.

Big props to Steve Hatcher’s CSS Sticky Footer, which I’m using using for this site. I can’t even think of how much time I would have spent if I were to figure out how to make a sticky footer on my own. Thank you, Mr. Hatcher!!


An earlier version of the new design

I think now I can finally say that I’m content with the design of my blog. Any feedback/comments would be greatly appreciated! I also have a pretty kick-ass Shopify tutorial coming up, so stay tuned!

UPDATE (11/20/2009): Taking Caroline’s advice, I decided to make it so that my logo is only present on the index page. This should make it easier for visitors with smaller laptops to browse my site :). Also, created a 404 page.

Hello! First Post!

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting my blog!

I know I know, it’s looking rather empty in here right now, but starting this month, I’ll be writing about web design, music, art… pretty much anything that I think is awesome.

I’ll also be writing a lot about Shopify. I plan on writing a lot of tips & tutorials on using Shopify’s Liquid templating system. I think Shopify is the best e-commerce solution out there, and my goal is to help more people get started with their Shopify stores.

By no means am I a web design or e-commerce expert. However, I think I have enough knowledge on both of these topics to help those who might be a little nervous to start out on their own. With that said, if you see something in my code that you think can be improved, please feel free to notify me. I enjoy learning as much as I enjoy teaching!

Thanks again for dropping by – don’t forget to check back!