The Chalkboard is a collection of Grain & Mortar news, events, latest work, and helpful advice.


August 8th | News

We’re hiring a front-end developer!

Grain & Mortar is in need of a full-time front-end developer to bring our designs to life on the internet. Your main responsibility will be taking mockups and wireframes and turning them into beautiful, responsive, modern websites. Motivation and initiative are a must.

We’re looking for someone that takes the lead on his / her projects, and is skilled at managing the project’s budgets and timelines effectively. You will also be working closely with eight other creatives, so it’s important that you can work as a team. Besides a passion for good design and fire in your belly, we need someone with a strong grasp of CSS, HTML, JavaScript/jQuery and PHP. E-commerce and WordPress experience is a major plus.

We love collaboration, so your days will be spent working with us at the Grain & Mortar studio, in the Mastercraft Building in North Downtown Omaha. If you’re looking to hone your craft in a fast-paced, design-centric studio environment, seek no further.

 

Requirements:

  • At least one year of experience building and launching websites
  • Solid grasp on CSS/HTML, JavaScript/jQuery, and PHP
  • Experience using SVG, CSS3, HTML5 (including video), and using jQuery to manipulate content
  • Familiarity with the WordPress platform and underlying codebase
  • Experience coding for multiple devices, from smartphones to tablets to desktops
  • Strong understanding of web design standards, responsive design, and UI/UX principles
  • Must work on location in Omaha, NE

 

Bonus Points:

  • Experience with graphic design/illustration
  • Familiar with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Comfortable tinkering with the WordPress codebase (writing/modifying plugins, creating custom post types, optimization, etc.)
  • Experience doing animations for web using CSS3 and JavaScript
  • Basic understanding of how various web technologies work (AJAX, GETing/POSTing data, DOM)

Apply here.

| August 8th | News

ooh... me Likey


August 8th | News

We are excited to announce that Nicholas will be joining the team at Grain & Mortar!

Nicholas brings with him full-scale ad agency experience, but more importantly, a strong love for typography and design as well as front-end development skills.

Nicholas views design as a tool of communication, and enjoys finding simple solutions to design problems, or more specifically, creating simple and efficient solutions to represent complex ideas. He’s professed his love for the typeface DIN on more than one occasion.

Nicholas has served on the board of AIGA Nebraska as Show Chair, and most recently Director of Finance. He’s an avid supporter of Arsenal FC (English soccer team), and has participated in one Seinfeldathon, with plans to do another in near future. As the creator and primary advocate of Pizza Friday, Nicholas encourages everyone to have pizza each week. On Friday.

When he’s not eating pizza, watching soccer, or designing, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and her two cats.

 

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| August 8th | News

ooh... me Likey


August 8th | News

We’ve been dreaming about painting a sign on this particular brick wall in our studio for about a year now.

It’s just the perfect spot for a big, striking piece of art. After seeing the quality of sign painter Sharon Davis’ work around Omaha, we knew she’d be the perfect person to bring our design to life.

We love supporting and collaborating with small local companies, specifically creatives. It’s always interesting to work with a different type of designer or artist, and to see their unique approach they take in applying their craft.

We went back and forth on the design, finally deciding against a large logo on the wall, and choosing instead, “We Are Midwest Made.” We chose this statement, seen throughout our site and some of our work, to portray our values and represent our company culture. It inspires us, and reminds us each day who we are and why we’re here.

 

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Sharon had a stencil of the artwork created.

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Sharon taped the enormous stencil to the wall, making sure it was completely level, and began transferring the design onto the wall with charcoal

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Once everything was transferred, she painted the outlines and filled it all in with matte black paint.

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All in all, it took approx. 10-12 hours to complete. Thanks Sharon! We couldn’t be happier with the results!

| August 8th | News

ooh... me Likey


July 22nd | News

We are excited to announce that Miranda Bouck has been promoted to Art Director.

It’s been a joy to watch Miranda grow professionally by refining her skills in design, illustration, and development. She is a huge asset to the G&M team, and we’re excited for the amazing things she’ll accomplish as Art Director!

-Eric, Mike, Kristin

- – -

In the fall of 2011, I reached out to the newly established Grain & Mortar to see if I could do an afternoon job shadow. They had just set up shop and and were still kicking it at CAMP Coworking. I was ready and excited to learn, but wasn’t sure what to expect from this new design studio, just that they had an affinity for mustaches.

Like all big milestones in life, I had no idea that walking into CAMP that day would mark the beginning of my next big adventure.

It was clear from the beginning my style and G&M’s complimented each other. I was honored when Kristin asked me to be their intern a month later and I was eager to experience design life at a studio. It was a completely different world from my (then) full-time job as an in-house designer for a recreational vehicle aftermarket company.

Time progressed, and G&M hired me on as a part-time designer. I honed my design skills, and quickly realized I wanted to learn how to code. Learning HTML / CSS, and fully engrossing myself in responsive design was a welcome challenge. Mike and Eric were consistently passing on their expertise to me: working with Illustrator shortcuts, writing cleaner code, and how to design for web. At the same time, Kristin was showing me the ropes in client relations, the art of pushing back, and how to communicate clearly and effectively.

 

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I graduated, interned, drank Red Bull, began part-time, switched to coffee, learned to develop, began full time, drank more coffee, and became an Art Director!

 

In July of 2012, I accepted a full-time position as a designer and developer and I finally left my other in-house job of eight years. It was a risk, but the benefits outweighed the costs. As I transitioned into my new role, Eric, Mike, and Kristin sat down with me to outline expectations of my new responsibilities, define checkpoints, and guide me as I helped G&M continue to push out fantastic work. Collaboration is a huge part of our process, and I began to work with the team to bring our creative visions to life. For the first time, I had the freedom to express my creativity and just “go for it.” I got to try some crazy things: parallax scrolling, wicked color palettes, and they put me on my own first project, Maud Boutique.

Now, two years later, I move on to my next journey at G&M: Art Director. I would never have been ready for this position if I hadn’t relied so heavily on the advice and leadership from the Grain & Mortar team. The important skills I’ve learned over the last three years have built a solid foundation for me to grow from. I couldn’t be more excited or grateful for this opportunity. The trust and faith Eric, Mike, and Kristin have had in me as I have grown as a person and as a leader is so humbling. It’s that time again…to go for it!

– Miranda Bouck

 

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It’s official when you get a desk plate with your title on it…thanks MTRL Design!

| July 22nd | News

ooh... me Likey


June 18th | Work

We’re a diverse bunch here at Grain & Mortar. Snowboarding to body building, calligraphy to cooking, we all have our passions and hobbies.

After the launch of our new website, we decided that we wanted some way of showcasing what we all do outside the studio. After some discussion, we settled on creating a real-time feed of our posts from Instagram and Dribbble. I had the opportunity to bring it to life through code.

Dribbble and Instagram both have robust APIs that allow you to access a huge set of data around the content you post. My first job was to get the endpoints figured out, and set up API access. Dribbble has an open API, so getting data was as simple as a quick GET request. Instagram requires you to sign up for a developer account, which in turn gives you an authorized way of retrieving user data. Once I had gathered everyone’s usernames and IDs, I set to work building the page.

When you open the page, Javascript retrieves the last 100 posts from each person’s Instagram and Dribbble account. It then arranges them into a date-sorted list. The first version of the page loaded all the results at once, which bogged down mobile browsers. I ended up changing it so the pages displays only the first 24. As you scroll down the page and reach the bottom, it automatically loads the next 24 results. This allowed us to keep the page size small on first load, and it drastically cuts the up-front load time.

I did the initial design work, getting everything to fit in the responsive grid layout. Responsive web design can be a bear when you’re trying to make a page look good on every screen size from 320px up to 2400px. Thankfully, the images that Instagram and Dribbble give you to work with are over 600px wide, which allowed us to have large, crisp images at all screen sizes. After the grid was set, Jesse and Mike did a bit of tweaking to the design of the information overlay on each image, and within about 48 hours, the page was done.

All in all, it was a fun side project that gave me a chance to play around with two different kinds of APIs. Check it out here.

 

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| June 18th | Work

ooh... me Likey