Building the New Year

sun chasing clouds

For years now I've used the concept of a light table for my site. And for me, it stood the test of time. My content was simplified to the max, just one single timeline, and in one glance you could see what was going on with me and my work at any given moment. It even simplified the way I would work in the field: "create the story, Anton, don't think about anything else".

But lately I've been struggling to fit in the different types of things that I do within a story, and at the same time the different ways that I'd like to communicate within a story. The site had just one timeline, and therefore just one possibility. I could not hold any attention to things that had to remain out there longer than being the most recent post, and there was no visual difference between "am important post" and "a little b-roll image".

I ended up posting farther and farther between, always trying to make a new post at least as important as the previous one.... but that obviously quickly became something of an impossible situation.

Now...  A New Year, new resolutions, and also time to change this... sorry about the tech talk below, but I need to get this off my chest.

What's the plan?

My main goal is to keep my images on my own server, and to have multiple "streams":

  • the core of it all is, and always will be, the blog, but now the categories and tags will be put to use in a better way
  • I'll create room for "works/products" that are relatively time-independent, and displayed in a different way
  • I'll create room for "project overviews", even more time-independent, and displayed in yet another way
  • I need the possibility to draw attention to things (whatever they are) in a separated-from-the-blog-timeline kind of way.
  • A final "nice to have" is a separate tumblr like stream of inspiration images and little things, that are in a timeline stream, but separate from all the rest

That's all i wish for... plus the usual good SEO, integration of social media (fb, twitter, etc) and a shopping cart.

I chose to shop around for the best possible premium theme I could find with a good mix of typography and room for images (the so called "photography themes", while great for images, sadly often neglect the text/typography part). No need to reinvent the wheel... let me focus on the content instead. There are so many amazing themes out there that are a perfect base to start from. I ended up purchasing the Echo theme by Onioneye over on themeforest. Nice and light and I suspect perfectly suited for my needs.

The structure

This is the structure for my way of working, which I hope will stand the test of time as well: each project has its own overview page, its own blog category (with posts on a timeline, a blog like we all know), and also its own product category (also with posts, but styled differently, as "products"). Sounds pretty obvious now that I read it, but it took me a while to figure out :-/ will be the landing page for a project (like YAKUZA), where I describe the project in general terms, show a few images, and link to the following two things: the projectx-category in the blog section, and the projectx-category in the product section:

antonkusters/category/projectx/ projectx category in the blog section

antonkusters/post-about-something-going-on-in-projectx/ single blog posts will always be only %post-name% to optimize SEO as much as possible (since WP 3.3 this has no more performance issues)

antonkusters/portfolio-category/projectx/ for all the work/products (tangible things, like the ODO YAKUZA TOKYO book) that are part of projectx

antonkusters/portfolio-category/product-typex/ for all the work/products (tangible things) that are categorized as a product-type (books, prints, publications, exhibits,...)

antonkusters/portfolio/productx for a specific product (which obviously always must belong to a project)

I could have (maybe should have?) made a distinction between "pages" and "posts" by adding /blog/ for all posts. But I want blog posts and (timeless) pages to be as important as one another, thus on the same level URL wise, and SEO wise.

Phew, that's it.

Enough with all the behind the scenes tech stuff. I guess I just needed to write this to seek your opinions, and to get it out of my head as well... Tell me, what do you think, does the above sound like a good structure to build upon? If you want to show multiple long term projects, talk about each of them along they way, and each yielding different "products" at different times?

Yes... I know... I should be concentrating on the thing the REALLY matters... creating new work. But for me, knowing that I have the structure behind my work down, gives me tremendous peace of mind to go out an do what I love.

Even if I know that above all, creating new work scares the heck out of me. Standing in front of that fresh empty new canvas, knowing that yes, NOW, I have to deliver. But that's food for thought a next post.

Damn.... I can't wait to get out there.... and I hope you'll be joining me in my journeys in 2012. I sure as hell love having you around. I promise I'll post much more often this year :o)

My best wishes for this new year, may it make your wildest dreams come true,


Editor's Note:

In the mean time, my switch to squarespace has rendered this post obsolete. Well, sort of... I still use three "journals" to : a general "news" (me talking about my projects), "appearances" (listing everywhere my projects - and I - appear) and "things" (listing the things I create within any given project, like a book, posters, an exhibit,...) Of course all of these journals are categorized by project whenever needed.

cheers, a