So one of my side projects I am constantly working on is our custom template system we use up here at Old Hat.  It is an easy to install system and helps with small projects that do not require a Content Management System (CMS) or with projects so customized it is better to develop them outside of Drupal.  I am very proud of this system as I began the basis for it years before starting at Old Hat.  It has slowly grown in its versatility and is now taking on the life of an actual CMS with modules that are easy to turn on and off and can run with or without a database (if the module allows).  This gives us the greatest flexibility for building better sites and still being able to easily customize them.

With this new code, it gives us a chance to ask you an important question.  What website features do you dream about having on your site?  Leave a comment and it may make the final module list. :D

Ever seen this website

It was pointed out to me a couple months back as a funny site with some interesting technology.  After wasting an hour or so trying to be more dog, the question became, what can I do with this?  

This website allows you to sync a mobile device with a computer.  Once the devices are synced, your interactions on the mobile device controls how the cat on the computer behaves.  There are so many possibilities for this technology.  Yes, it requires two devices to interact with the site, but most people have multiple devices available that they could use.  This is something I want Old Hat Creative to use for one of our clients.  It is a fun site and something our Interactive team would enjoy programming.

This is a lot of what I do.  In essence, I surf the web.  There are so many websites out there doing unique work that I have not found.  If I find something that works, looks cool, or behaves in a way I have never seen before, I want to find a way to use that technique.  Whether it be on the Old Hat Creative website or on a clients website, I want my team doing work that challenges them and helps our department get better.  

I was looking through a lot of my old blogs this week and realized how often I repeat certain themes.  Today, I am doing it again. I want my department to always be challenged and pushing themselves to be better.  Not everything we do will be cutting edge, but as long as we are improving and constantly getting better at what we do, we will prosper.    As much as certain professors annoyed me at times, the good ones always did or said something that sticks with me and is on my mind frequently.  I want Old Hat Creative to always be sharpening its axe.  There is so much talent in this office it can be intimidating, but everyone can still be better.  Whether taking the small steps to use a new programming language or designing a poster using a method that has not been used frequently, we can do the things that make us better and make us the company that everyone wants to use.  All we have to do is keep sharpening our axes and we will be fine.

We created this avatar creator card for the Washington Wizards. We have also used these in the past to help our clients celebrate their birthday. With this type of site your main goal is showing your appreciation.  Almost anything on this site can be customized. Have a specific character or mascot you want to use? Not a problem. Need to let fans choose last years championship trophy as a hat? We can do that. Want to allow you fans to create their avatar in your arena or on a beach? We will make that happen. 

The Avatar Creator allows you to customize just about anything while giving your fans something they will enjoy playing with. Add in the fact that if used correctly it can help promote your organization and you have an awesome Happy Holiday message. The best part is, you never had to lick a stamp. 

Customization is key with this holiday video site.  If you were to send a letter or email to your fan base few will read it.  Most will have to dig through a spam folder or a pile of junk mail just to find it.  Will they read it?  Maybe, but why take the risk?  With a dedicated site like this you have a captive audience to tell your story.  With the customization of the video you can share any story you'd like with your fans!  Win a championship or play in a memorable game that year? Highlight the memories in this video and thank your fans for being a part of the experience. 

Fans get emails and letters all the time.  Do something unique this year to say thank you and show them you care. 

Your fans will flip for this card. Wait, wait... that is wrong. This card will flip for your fans. 

Lets be honest, we all get enough junk mail. I actually wish I have the time to sit in my front yard and throw the circulars back at the guy who tosses them in my driveway. 

This card is the perfect combination of that great feeling you get when opening a Christmas card and the great feeling of not having to dig through junk mail to find what actually matters. 

Sometimes you want to customize the message to your fans a little more. There may be a specific message you want to deliver and a few words of text will not cut it. For this we have the Holiday Flip Card. 

My first blog at Old Hat Creative will slightly resemble something from Geoff's recent entries. (Or Zac's.)  A little bit of everything. That is a phrase I've repeated many times the past few months when asked how I felt about the new job, the wedding or marriage. It's been a wild ride for me this summer. A quick recap - got engaged and got a job offer from Old Hat on Memorial Day weekend. Quit my job(s) in Missouri, packed up and moved to Oklahoma two weeks later. Found an apartment in Norman. Started at Old Hat in mid-June. Got married in early August. Moved my wife Andrea into the apartment. Attempted to fit my stuff, her stuff, and wedding stuff into the tiny apartment. Adjusted to married life after being single for a long time. All in all, lots of big changes for a guy who previously didn't like a lot of change. I had lived in Missouri my entire life, up until about 2 1/2 months ago. Saying goodbye to family and friends and everything familiar to me was and is hard. But it's also exciting at the same time to dive into these new chapters in my life.

Since this is Labor Day, I want to take a moment to acknowledge all the hard work that goes on here. From a newbie's perspective, it really is amazing to see the sheer amount of quality projects that come out of this place. Just watching college football this weekend, many times I would catch myself saying "they're one of our clients." In fact, there were several matchups where both teams were clients - Texas Tech at SMU, Rice at Texas A&M, Central Michigan at Michigan, UNC at South Carolina, etc. to name a few. Being a print guy, I see the great projects that our designers turn out. It's also great to get to view the awesome stuff from other departments, such as intro videos, websites or photography. There are lots of incredibly talented individuals I have the privilege of working alongside of here at Old Hat.

Random thoughts to close this one out: I participated in several fantasy football drafts this weekend. Fantasy sports and football specifically are a multi-billion industry.  
(Click image to see a larger version)
Fantasy Football Real Money
Fantasy Football Real Money [INFOGRAPHIC] via H&R Block

(Side note: While we didn't produce this infographic, we can do them just as good or better for your school or business.)

Lots of upsets this weekend: Several Old Hatters' favorite school that wears purple and resides just one state north took it on the chin on Friday night. But they weren't alone. Not only did several BCS schools lose, but they had to pay those smaller schools big bank to come in for the home games. Double whammy!

Oh, and the song behind the title...

Can you feel it?  Can you feel the optimism and anticipation that fans all over the country are feeling leading up to this weekend?  No one has lost a game and everyone thinks or hopes his or her team will stay that way all season.  That wont happen to most, a few teams… maybe. Possibly, none.  But at this point in the year every one can be optimistic.  

So while fans are figuring out what time to start tailgating, what the main course will be or what beer they want to drink this weekend, at Old Hat Creative, things are a bit different.  This time of year we are crazy busy trying to finalize everything that needs to be done by kick off.  Wait, not kick off, the day before or weeks before or at least when the team enters the field…

Check out what we will be doing this last week leading up to kickoff…

17 intro videos

4 websites

30 Posters

25 Schedule cards

13 ticket designs

6 Programs


I wanted to end this with a line asking everyone to think about all that goes into these games for fans entertainment but I am not going to do that.  In fact, I am going to do the opposite.  Do not think about any of this stuff!  

Old Hat Creative is here to amplify the sports experience, you just enjoy the game!

We are just mere weeks away from the start of sports season.  I know, I know, baseball has been going on all summer…..woo. The real sports season begin, I mean. 

This weekend the English Premier League kicks off with the Community Shield.  The annual worthless game that is the official start of the season.  The reigning league champions face off against the cup winners from the previous season.  This year it is Manchester United vs Wigan.  This will be the first official game for Man United with out their legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson.  Yea, he was a knight.  The actual season kicks off the following week so I am just a few days away from having something to do every Saturday morning again.  

Three weeks away is college football season.  I was really excited about this year but, the off season has been an annoyance.  Will Johnathon Manziel play?  Who knows?  Well… actually I do.  He will play and win the Heisman, again.  But not as who you think.  He will suit up as Victor Chandler.  Yep…. This guy….

No, he is not Johnny Manziel, obviously. Victor Chandler is #2, a mobile quarterback, plays for Texas A&M, and is freakishly good.  Sure fooled me EA Sports.

In all seriousness, with the season only a few weeks away, we are busy at Old Hat Creative.  Posters, videos, schedule cards, and websites all have to be done in the next few weeks.   Check out some of the work we have done so far….


James Madison Football Poster

North Texas Football Commercial 2013

Rice Football Poster 2013 

Wyoming Cowboys Football Commercial 2013

Virginia Football 2013 Website

As we get closer to the season starting more posters, videos, and websites will be released.  Stay tuned!!

The time has come where I have finally have a place of my own! Over the past seven years that I've lived away from home, I've either been in a dorm or a student living apartment complex. I am anxious for this change because I have a space to decorate and make my own! But there is one problem, I have NO furniture yet. I only have a bed, and my couch should be arriving today. 

In the meantime, I've been playing a little golf...

... and spending a lot of time online at Overstock, Wayfair, Crate and Barrel (Chicago store pictured above), Pottery Barn and Target with multiple trips to Super Target in Norman. I see a lot of things that I like, but I can't tell if it will go with my new space. It always looks perfect in the ad, but I start to wonder, will I like this couch?

Or is this table too bright for my space?

Yesterday, I was looking through and came across an article titled "Virtually Furnish a Room with IKEA's Augmented Reality Catalog". Perfect timing, right? Back in December, Kevin gave us his thoughts on augumented reality and the lastest app at the time, Aurasma Lite. Eight months later, IKEA annouces their 2014 catalog, and how it was created to help ease people's indecisiveness on purchasing home furnishings.

The article instructs you to, "Simply place the catalog in the spot where you're considering adding a new piece of furniture, scan the catalog with the augmented reality app on your mobile device and select the desired item." The app then projects the item by layering it over a real-time view of your room that is captured by your devices's camera. 

Unforunately, I am not waiting until 2014 to decorate my space. I've decided to purcahse the bigger pieces (a bed and a couch) and design out. What do you think of this new feature? How do you think augmented reality could play a role in the sports industry?

While I wait for my furniture to be shipped, I'll be trying to improve my golf game!


Good morning!

I've been thinking about this topic for about a week now.  On July 2, Twitter updated some of its display requirements for tweets.  (These can be found here -  The main idea behind this is to allow for a more fluid user experience between Twitter and other sites using their API.  That's not a bad idea, right? Well yes and no.  

If you are going to make requirements for the displaying of your tweets, I believe you should be responsible for providing the information for those tweets.  For instance, one of the guidelines is to make every hash tag and username in a Tweet clickable.  Not tough, Twitter does this for you right.  Nope.  Not when using their API.  They return a string (message) with no html to you.  No links, no method for converting the links, nothing, nada.  They expect the developers using their API to do all of this processing on their own.  In other words, here's some more work for you to do if you want to use our product.  I'm sorry but that is pretty lame.  You already have the programming set up in your system.  Just return the string with the links already provided! It's not like I'm asking for anything difficult here!

Another requirement is to have the intents (favorite, retweet, follow, reply) links available.  They don't have to be shown immediately, but must be available to the user upon some action (hover, click, etc).  Cool. Great idea. NOT! Again more programming that they don't provide and what if I don't want people to reply from my site.  What if I'm using my Twitter account more as a news feed for my site, such as when this is done:

Well basically this is a no go.  It breaks the guidelines because it has no intents and links in its has tags, and user profile name or picture linked to the account.  Say what?! I also have to have my Twitter profile pictures and account name on there! And there are restrictions on where and how I can place these items too!  But what if I'm only displaying tweets from my account.  This is absurd.  If I want people to get to my Twitter account, I will link them to it with the little bird.  

This brings me to my next point on the guidelines.  No changing the color of the bird.  I really don't have a huge beef with this one as it is their logo and you are not supposed to change logos, but the unintended effect will be ugly Twitter icons that do not match your site design.

Yes a white bird would have technically worked in this feed, but it would not have been near as eye pleasing as one that blends flawlessly into the design.

And finally there is the whole date issue.  They have specific ways they want you to display the times.  That's great, but please provide a way to do so!  Don't make the people who are making you the platform to go to, do more work.  On top of that, it increases the chance that people may display them improperly.  

I rate these changes right up there with how I feel about Facebook changes.  And that's not too high.  I understand wanting a more fluid experience but sometimes not squishing people back into the box is the best way to make your product the number one item in your industry.  If you want everyone in a nice neat box, provide the packaging matterial to do so.  Don't make me go out and build the box that I am supposed to be shoved into.  If you are going to provide me with an API to get info from your site, let me do what I please with the info.  If not, don't give me access.

Twitter, do you feel these changes are really going to help your product?  I feel you are just hurting the people that helped you build your empire.  Are you really going to try to enforce these policies you are making?  If not, call them recommendations, not requirements.  And if you do enforce them... well expect to see a lot feeds disappearing from sites.  

So to recap, say goodbye to feeds like these and say goodbye to creativity:




I just wanted to let you all see what the new stands look like when all the tweets come from the same account.


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