Billboard Design

Image Editing Billboard Design 3 Penguins DesignBillboard Design: It’s always fun to work on something new so when I (3 Penguins Design) received a call from Andy at AJ Design to collaborate on a billboard, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve done large print format projects before but never a billboard.

On this particular project I was in charge of editing the images. All the photos needed the athletes masked out so that Andy could composite them.

Photography: Michael Dropps
Image Editing: 3 Penguins Design
Compositing and Layout: AJ Design
Art Direction: Debbie Turner

How Will Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update Affect Your Website? – April 21st

Is your website design mobile-friendly? It’s a question many people are asking. Google hopes the answer is a resounding “Yes!”  My sites are. passed passed

It’s such an important topic, that in its latest algorithm update, Google announced it would be taking preference to sites that have a mobile-friendly design. Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly by April 21, 2015 will likely see a significant dip in their Google search rankings.  If you haven’t made plans to transition to a mobile-friendly design or you’re just unaware of the requirements, don’t panic.

What You Will Learn:

In this post we’ll layout what you need to know about the update and the changes you need to make.

  • About the Update
  • Why Is This Mobile-Friendly Update Important?
  • What Are My Mobile-Friendly Design Options?
  • How Do I know If My Site Meets Google’s Standards?

[read more]

Helvetica – the documentary

Why would one watch a documentary about the font Helvetica? Well it is much more than that. It’s a documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs — and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit’s unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, a font whose readability has made it the most popular font in the world. (Netflix)

This movie is NOT just for typographers or graphic designers.  It’s a bit geeky but very interesting.  This font changed the world in many ways.

Netflix has it available to rent on DVD but not streaming.  I found it on YouTube (


Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designer Max Miedinger with input from Edouard Hoffmann. It is a neo-grotesque or realist design, one influenced by the famous 19th century typeface Akzidenz-Grotesk and other German and Swiss designs. One of the most popular typefaces of the 20th century, its use became a hallmark of the International Typographic Style that emerged from the work of Swiss designers in the 1950s and 60s. Over the years a wide range of variants have been released in different weights, widths and sizes, as well as matching designs for a range of non-Latin alphabets. Notable features of Helvetica include the termination of all strokes on exactly horizontal or vertical lines and unusually tight letter spacing, which give it a dense, compact appearance. (more)

New Graphic for Church Media Page


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Church Media Page (Online Sermons) Graphic

Effective and clear communication in both written and graphical forms is essential for websites & blogs.  Visitors don’t stay around long enough to search through the vastness that engulfs many online sites today.

These final four graphics where design for a church media page, specifically for their online sermons.  The graphic was necessary, not only to identify the page for visitors but for a graphic that will embed into social media posts.

Colors came from branded color palette.


SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is not SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

There is a very common misconception that SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are interchangeable terms, that they are the same thing.

More accurately, SEO can fall under SEM. Both are tools for gaining traffic from search engines.

In the simplest of terms (because the process is not as easy as one may think) SEO is optimizing the the content and meta data of a website to boost search engine ranking in an organic manner.

SEM, on the other hand, encompasses other tools including paid tools such as Google AdWords and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising. This, if done incorrectly can quickly become very expensive without getting the desired results. On the other hand, it can be a powerful tool in the hands of an expert.

Caveat – if you get a call or email from anyone claiming to GUARANTEE top Google ranking – RUN!

For more information about SEO and SEM, contact us today. We are here to assist you.

– Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Design


Images for Lent: Case Study

Mocks for LentDesign is a process. Rarely does the first thing that comes to mind end up as the final design.  In this case, the client, Holy Trinity Church, needed a graphic for the Season of Lent.  In talking with their pastor that oversees beauty, also an accomplished fine artist, I was given enough information to begin the search for an image.  The first image (top) I brought to the table turned out to be their choice.  That is not always the case.

The next step was to incorporate the copy (text) in a way that attracted attention yet did not distract from the image.  In the image to the right, you see just a few of the many options given.  We tried different fonts, color, gradations and locations for the copy. I won’t tell you which one they chose.  My suspicions is that many of you may chose a different one, and that’s okay.  It’s what design is all about.

Fewer wrinkles, thinner arms: TODAY anchors get Photoshopped

“Photoshop” – it’s become part of nearly conversation I have with clients these days (3 Penguins Photography). Can I? Yes. Do I? Most of the time, No! I, personally, like to capture real life. It’s what we look back at with fond memories. This is an interesting article. This topic seems to growing these days.

From Lena Dunham in Vogue to popular online videos, the difference between photo-shoot and Photoshop is becoming more evident. And with the rise of social media, there’s heightened interest in how images are manipulated — how you can go from a plain-looking photo to a glamorous cover shot.

There’s no limit to what can be done with Photoshop — the image editing program that whitens teeth and smooths away wrinkles, among many other features. As part of our Love Your Selfie body image series, TODAY anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales decided to take a look at the process with Cosmopolitan magazine to show how much an image can be Photoshopped. See how the keyboard, mouse and tablet work. [read]

Product Review: Adorama’s Flashpoint 180 Portable Monolight & Grand Softboxes

Here’s a review I recently did with friend and colleague, Jeff Foster (Pixel Painter).

Adorama’s own Flashpoint brand features products that range from cinematography gear to lighting systems for video and photo and are designed for student photographers and designers on a budget. With few exceptions, the new Flashpoint 180 Portable Monolight and the Glow Grand Softboxes fit that need with flying colors. I put these products to the test in my studio and then handed them off to my friend and colleague, Joe Randeen (3 Penguins Photography) to have a go at testing them as well and I’ll be including his comments and images as well in this article. [read review]

Reef Systems – Web Design

Reef Systems - After

Reef Systems – After

Putting the final touches on a rebuild of Reef Systems, Inc web page.  When we were approached their current web site was fine, for the time period in which it was designed.  They were in need of a more updated look and a Responsive Web Design that would keep them as current as their clients.


Reef Systems – Before

This new website is fully functional with current web browsers as well as on smart phones and tablets.

We are also working with their staff in regards to optimizing future content that will increase their social media presence.

It was a pleasure working with Reef Systems and we look forward to the future.

Reef Systems Website

WordPress – the pancea for web design?

When WP (WordPress) first came on the scene it was blogging platform.  Today, powerful websites and being used using this framework.  As a seasoned web designer this has been both a blessing and a curse.  This is mainly due to the fact that clients are somewhat misinformed as to when WP is the right choice.

Allow me to use a strange analogy.  Since pharmaceutical companies are now allowed to advertise on television (yes, there was a day when hard alcohol could and pharmaceuticals couldn’t advertise on TV) doctors are being TOLD when medications to prescribe – by the patients.  If they don’t the patient will just change doctors until they get what they want.  Now, back to the topic, today, clients are coming to web designers and the WANT a WP site whether or not it’s the best choice.

So, who is the best candidate for a WP?

The most obvious is the blogger.  WP is relatively easy to set-up.  Customizing is much more difficult.

Since it’s a CMS (Content Management System), it utilizes databases to retrieve information.  Thus, it’s a good choice for fairly large websites, say 20 plus pages. But, this also presents a ton of issues and potential problems.

WP also has access to a lot of plug-ins so you can customize your site by simply installing one of these plug-ins.

WP affords access to a slew of Themes (pre-built designs).  Some are free, most are inexpensive, in the $15-$150 range.

Just these few points would make WP a grand-slam for anyone choosing what platform to choose.  And there are SO MANY people who would to tar and feather me if I said anything different.


  • Easy to set-up. Some can do it without a web developer.
  • Tons of themes and plug-ins available for customization.
  • Good choice for large websites.
  • Most updates to the site you can do without having a real experience or training.


  • Customizing a WP site can get expensive really fast as you need to higher a web developer (not a web designer) to customize your site.  The interaction of CSS, PHP and Databases is not something a novice wants to tackle.
  • You will notice QUICKLY that WP, your Themes and Plug-ins will recommend that you UPDATE them quite regularly.  Your developer will probably tell you that this isn’t a problem BUT, it is.  I’ve seen, experienced and have heard thousands of stories of WP sites breaking due to upgrading one or more of these recommendations.  And when it does, you’ll spend a lot of money to have it fixed.
  • Back-up.  Backing up your WP site is not as easy as copying the site via FTP.  Since it interacts with a database, that too needs to be backed up – something many people either forget or don’t know to do until it’s too late.  Think about your 150 page WP online store going down and you having to rebuild it all because you forgot to backup the database.