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Diary of a Maui Web Designer

Branding Strategy

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Your brand is your company’s platform or face that shows who you are, what you do, and whom you service. As we all know, first impressions are so important, especially since people tend to make snap judgements based on initial reaction. These judgements turn into snap decisions about things based on how things are perceived. Branding shows your face to the world, so let’s put your best face forward. Branding is not merely just something you design, there are layers of meaning and planning that go into it.

There is a whole process of creating the perfect brand that captures what your company is all about. It is a process of strategic steps, and each step builds upon the next to finally get to the most sublime visual story of your company. Here are the steps we use along the way:

Step 1: Who are you?
This step involves identifying your uniqueness. Who are you, what do you do, whom do you serve, and what makes you different or stand out from the rest of the pack? These are the key questions that must be answered first to come to an understanding of who you are and what your goals are, then the branding can begin.

Step 2: Logo Legwork
Using the answers from step 1, create a logo. A logo is a simple, yet complex representation of who your company is. Establishing the logo helps define the style of your brand and will showcase to people your company’s face, or what you are about.

Step 3: Build Collateral
From the logo design, you will be able to use it for business cards, letterheads and other collateral. This involves a bit more development of the look and feel of your company’s brand. Best design is one that translates your message clearly. It helps build your company’s reputation.

Step 4: Web Presence
Using the first three steps, it is now time to create a website that captures the look and feel of your company’s brand. Web presence is so important, and having your branding design in place on the web will allow your company to position itself in the most visible place on the planet.

Step 5: Strong Company Brand
Now you have established a brand that can be held as the guiding force of your company. You can take on more business, more clients, with a clear sense of who you are and where you are positioned. This leads to a more focused productivity and increases on many different levels.

In order to reach the level of having a strong company brand, these steps need to be followed in order since they lead into each other. Once your company has a strong brand concept, it filters through everything your company does to make contact with the world. People remember companies that have a strong branding presence.

How To Make Dinner Rolls

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home-made dinner rolls

Hi Gang,

What does your favorite web designer like to do after she finishes a huge website project?  That’s right!!  She heads to the kitchen! We just added the last finishing touches on a new website which we should be launching soon. We also just recently launched a website for Maui artist, Connie Adams. Yesss… we’ve been really busy around here. But for now…..

Time for another tasty recipe from the kitchen!  This dinner roll recipe comes from my Mom, who is a fantastic cook.  These dinner rolls are light and fluffy and tasty.  I think the trick is adding the beaten egg whites into the dough a little bit after it’s been mixing for a while.  Mom says it makes the rolls fluffier.  This is a traditional Croatian recipe, so please don’t mind the European measurements.

Kiflice ( Croatian Bread Rolls)

½ liter milk (heat up to 105 degrees)
3 tsp yeast
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 Kilo flour
½ cup oil
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs (separated)

Warm the milk in a saucepan with the sugar on medium-low heat until warm enough.  Place in a bowl.  Add 3 tsp. yeast and mix a little.  Let it sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the flour.

In mixer bowl add flour, oil, salt, and egg yolks.  Beat the egg whites until white and fluffy and keep to the side.  Start mixer and add milk-yeast mixture.  Mix dough for three minutes, then add the egg whites.  Mix for another three minutes until dough is nice and elastic.
Place in (slightly oiled) bowl and let dough rise for one hour.
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.

Then cut the dough into 6 even pieces and roll each  into a ball between your palms.  Take one ball and roll out into a circle (about 8 or 9 inches).  Cut it into 8 wedges, like a pizza pie.  Roll each wedge up into a roll.  Place on greased cookie sheet (or use silpat).  Roll up the rest.  Depending on the size of your cookie sheet, you should be able to get two dough balls on one cookie sheet.

Bake it for 24 minutes at 340 degrees F.  Let cool on wire rack.

SEO: WWW or No WWW? Which is better?

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A question that comes up often from clients is, “Which is better for SEO, using www in my web address or not?”  It’s a great question, and here are my thoughts.
I think more and more, people are opting for a cleaner and shorter domain address by going with the non-www address.  You’ll notice our website doesn’t use the www.  It’s just http://dzinepod.com.  We chose this way for DzinePOD because we like short and concise, but I have to admit that using www is probably a better idea, especially if your website uses eCommerce or any other fanciness.

Search engines don’t really care either way, and choosing one over the other won’t effect your rankings.  The important thing to know is that you have to choose one or the other.  When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), the search engines see non-www and www pages as two separate pages instead of one.  So, you must tell the search engines to ignore the one and choose the other.  To do this, simply edit your .htaccess folder on your server.

To have people get redirected to your www site, type in this into the .htaccess folder. Be sure to replace “yourdomain” with your actual domain name:

RewriteEngine On
rewritecond %{http_host} ^yourdomain.com [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

To have people get redirected to your non-www site, type this into the .htaccess folder:

RewriteEngine On
rewritecond %{http_host} ^www.yourdomain.com [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://yourdomain.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

Then, go to your browser and type in your web address with the www and then without the www and you should see that it redirects to the preferred address.  Now you will have better SEO, since now there is just one doorway where all of your traffic must pass through, instead of two.  For good SEO, you want only one doorway.  Search engines count how many people come through that door, and so if you have two doors to come through, your traffic isn’t counted as high as it should be.

So, pick which way you’d like to go with using www or non-www and then be sure to set up the redirect.  Then you’ll be good to go!

Art=Mixx Maui – A Playground For The Senses


On Saturday, July 28th, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center spotlighted the days of early artistic media (Film Noir, optical illusions, and performance art) through its 4th Art=Mixx event. Art=Mixx Maui is a total and complete sensory indulgence, put together by Neida Bangerter, Trevor Arnholt, Toben Lindell, and Gabriel Mott, a group of incredibly talented and forward-thinking creators. This 21 and over FREE event is meant to connect people to Art in a fresh and stimulating way, from digital light shows, to pumping music, live performance and interactive art stations where you can create your own art on the fly.

On this night, the mandatory dress code was black and white, to carry the night’s theme. Many people were dressed up in funky black and white outfits which made the atmosphere that much more exhilarating. It was a pageantry of artistic display. There were many people entered into the Black and White costume contest, which had so many great entries that it was heart-breaking to have to choose between them all.

Black and White Theme ArtMixx Maui

Costume contest contestant

The Schaefer Art Gallery was transformed into a swirl of activity and wonders to discover. From the amazing art installations (especially the mannequins) to the Black and White Sticker board and Photo Booth, it was all about interacting and being a part of Art, rather than merely just an observer. What blew our minds was the “Room” which went beyond sensual perception. Only a few people at a time were led into a deep, dark room where you have the experience of diving into another dimension… or so it seemed.

black and white sticker board

The black and white sticker board

Outside of the gallery, people dancing, music throbbing, lights swaying and flashing, and people packed in and enjoying the experience. The pace of the night was punctuated with events on center stage. From break-dancers to the Great Kazoo Band to the costume contest, there was never a dull moment.

The Great Kazoo Band

A member of The Great Kazoo Band

What I thought was breath-taking were the three women majestically perched on extremely tall pedestals wearing beautiful flowing garments and incredible head-dresses of feathers and delicate details. The lighting and music and the graceful movements of these women were superb, which climaxed to flying doves being projected on their open white parasols. Beautiful… no… gorgeously stunning.

Jaisy Hanlon

Jaisy Hanlon – One of the beautiful “Tall Women”

Off to the side of the stage is a column of DJs and VJs working their boards to produce the techno music and light and video montages on giant screens and boxes. One such segment featured the old black and white film Metropolis, which I now have to watch again one day.

Rachel DeBoer

Rachel DeBoer – Winner of the costume contest

Art=Mixx Maui is a recurring free event for the 21+ crowd and a huge boost to the Maui social scene. We’re looking forward to the next one, which may be next month, or maybe even a bit later… nothing yet set in stone. Wonder what the next theme will be….


The Future of Dating


People of the past have looked to our time and envisioned all sorts of gadgets and technologies that would make up our world.  We used to watch the Jetsons as kids and seeing the computer Mrs. Jetson would use to order up her food, or the robot maid seemed so far-out and into the future.  Imagine if we had flying vehicles.  All seems a bit more possible these days.  Not so far-flung anymore, huh?

It’s amazing how quickly new technologies are forming.  Seems like every day there’s something new.  And when we think of the future, it might be like Minority Report, or some of the other futuristic movies we’ve seen.  These inventions are meant to make our lives easier or more enjoyable.  And some really change the way we do things on a day to day basis. How do you envision the future?

Imagine something like dating.  What will dating be like in the future?  Here’s a cool video to give you one perspective of just what might be.  What if?