| Products | Marketing | Illustration | Development | Design
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Shaun McNicholas

Tips & Tricks

Products

Marketing

Illustration

Development

Design

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I periodically email my fans with tips and tricks as well as new product announcements, new projects I am undertaking or involved in. As well as announcements for shows or programs where I will be presenting. I promise these are very infrequent email communications.

I create many different types of products from my artwork. Some of the items in my store front here online are ordered through several different fulfillment houses. I try to keep a good selection of products in stock and update the available options as I discover new ways to bring color into people's lives. Below is a small selection of products I've created from some of my artwork. If you go through my online product availability you will discover many thousands of products for every conceivable purpose.

Image of Angel Framed Archival Paper Print 18 x 24 inches

Illustrated Angel 18 x 24 inch print with a 3 inch white mat with a black core, then in a 3 inch black frame with a small gold inset. Final size approximately 25 x 31 inches.

Image of Eyes of Fire Framed Archival Paper Print 16 x 24 inches

Eyes of Fire 16 x 24 inch print with a 3 inch glossy black and gold wood frame and 4 inch maroon mat with a second black 1/4" inner border. Final size approximately 30 x 38 inches.

Image of Tree of Life Framed Archival Paper Print 24 x 18 inches

Tree of Life 24 x 18 inch print with a 3 inch black and gold wood frame and 3 inch indigo double mat with a white border. Final size approximately 31 x 25 inches.

Marketing

The intersection where marketing, branding, design and data meet with technology is where I like to live, and it is where I have the greatest impact on my friends, partners, clients and colleagues. Having grown up in the 1970s and ‘80s I have had to re-invent myself several times over the last several decades. My experience ranges a broad spectrum of environments, markets and industries. I learned person to person and business to business marketing and advertising, beginning in the creative arts and crafts world and then in retail industries and then moving into business-to-business strategies and events through a series of experiences. It is far more than could be explained in an article, summary or even an interview. However, I wanted to simply explain my perspective on marketing here to give a little context behind how and why I do what I do for the companies I am proud to partner with.

In the early days of my career, marketing consisted of business cards and person to person communication, either face to face or over a telephone, and advertising was purchasing ads in the newspaper or the yellow pages, billboards or magazines. If you were lucky enough to succeed, then as the budgets grew you would expand into radio, television and events.

No matter what industry, audience or environment you do business in, it all still boils down to storytelling. If you have a well-established brand, then everything down to your logo tells a story and produces a response of emotion good or bad. Every headline, every paragraph and every second your brand is in eye view of your audience has an impact on your success or failure. Technology can either help you become a better storyteller through test driven, data driven methods of experimentation; or, technology is a barrier, a virtual brick wall, in your way causing you to waste time and money investing in and building things that have no return on investment and are simply draining your company of its profits because your people are wasting time trying to learn how to convert the mounds of data into an intelligent graph that explains why your business in not turning a profit.

My love-of and relationship-with technology as well as my passion for advertising and marketing have given me a unique relationship with technology and a broad understanding of what does and does not return positive results in any and every type of environment. I can very quickly help you spend less and produce more and help you get your teams focused on those parts of technology that will tell you the story you need to hear, while helping you to tell the story your customers want and perhaps need to hear.

Here are my personal brands with marketing and marketing related technologies and processes in use.

Designed on a standard set of tools using Bootstrap 4 as the design grid foundation, using a current version of jQuery for any necessary client side scripting and Umbraco as the foundation for the CMS, each has multiple blog pathways which are each fully customizable on their own, a custom and flexible e-commerce system built entirely within the CMS platform and utilizing PayPal's custom cart engine, each has its own mailing list configuration and templating system and each use versions of Facebook Pixels, Google Tag Manager and Facebook Messenger for chat. Each site with very little customization and effort is configured to use its own engine for analytics and marketing applications integration and reporting structure. Analytics and reporting are both driven from Google’s analytics platforms as well as Facebook’s business reporting system, each are constantly growing and improving on their own without my involvement.

I've been building out these platforms so that I have a point of reference for what can be accomplished when the executive and leadership teams have a single focus and the necessary time and resources to deliver a technology infrastructure that builds to and supports a single focus.

Illustration

Creation

Illustration done on illustration board using a mixture of colored pencil, led pencil, acrylic paint and airbrush.

Fashion '92

Illustration done on cotton illustration paper using colored pencil and black marker.

Hot Jazz

Illustration done on canvas using acrylic paint.

I do illustration work using a variety of mediums and processes each to uniquely demonstrate an idea or a feeling specific to an audience. I’ve learned to utilize a broad mixture of mediums, tools and materials to create pieces that enhance and enlighten the space in which each piece is intended to live. From large scale mural designs that enhance an atmosphere, to book or print illustration, to abstract patterns intended for fabrics and interior design pieces.

Development

I’ve been programming in various capacities since high school in 1984 when computer programming and personal computers was a fairly new and immature concept. I’ve learned dozens of languages and frameworks over the years and can comfortably trouble shoot most source code and can build a CRM and CMS platform utilizing common frameworks or even from scratch using .Net, PHP or Cold Fusion. I’ve also been responsible for infrastructures and processes spanning most technologies and platforms, from small scale business offices when I was running wire and utilizing trace tools and punch down tools back in the ‘90s, to international point to point VPN networks utilizing point to point tunneling and encryption and internal applications and systems for proprietary data integrations. I utilize a design sprint style of communication with executive and leadership teams, and an Agile Scrum and Kanban style to drive process down to the development and integration teams and communicate back up the ladder to leadership for communication and transparency.

I thrive in the space that is occupied by a CIO or CTO, because I possess experience and training in so many different environments from small business to large scale enterprise networks. I can articulate the necessary methods and processes to an executive leadership team while also helping drive the hands-on code processes and standards and actually perform code reviews in most situations. My most valuable asset is my ability to understand the stress in every position and calmly navigate deadlines and unforeseen obstacles while finding creative paths for solutions that most others would not or could not see, while at the same time understanding the executive leadership’s need for speed, accuracy and transparency to deliver on promises made to investors and boards. Most development teams are led by a fantastically gifted developer or leader who knows either one specific product or process or a small set of products and processes that has allowed them to successfully build something in the past. However, moving from small and even startup processes and technologies requires a much broader understanding of the integrations that will be needed in order to fully realize a vision and break through that next revenue ceiling.

Having executed many of these high-level projects and communicating with large scale international teams to execute on various pieces of technologies and processes, I know what is required and how to execute that type of scale. The advantage of this experience is the ability to more accurately project the costs and scale, and more accurately estimate timelines that will be required for projects. If you would like to see some case studies for my previous experience I will be publishing those case studies specific to my technology experience on my development company website PSM Design LLC.

If you are reading this, then you are probably looking for some way to break through that next barrier in your business. Give me a call and lets talk about your needs, I may or may not want to actually join your executive team or board but at the very least I can help provide the necessary guided leadership to break through that next barrier, and probably sooner and costing less than you might think.

Design concepts for me go back to my childhood. My best friend and I used to dream about our future and purchase scientific magazines, fashion magazines and any type of magazine or book that caught our attention with good design or illustration to inspire our developing eyes and sensibilities. In high school my favorite publication was ELLE because I was also interested in photography and fashion and ELLE always had fantastic photography and great layout design in their publications. If you look through my early illustrations many of them are based on images I pulled out of the ELLE magazines.

Good design depends entirely on the situation and purpose. In today's world designing a publication is complex due to the different types of devices that your content is going to appear on. I've been a designer in one form or another for almost 40 years now and have done small- and large-scale projects for stage and theatre, print, online and print publications and trade-show booths, full scale events production, in store retail design among many other types of projects. My favorite design projects are those that require design concepts that touch multiple forms of media and print like trade shows and events.

This website is a great example of the combination of technologies combined to create a website that reflects my brand aesthetically while maintaining technology concepts that span e-commerce, marketing, systems integrations, analytics, social media, and today's communications tools. While remaining simple and clean this site is utilizing many of the lessons and tools, I've learned over the years in order to optimize the experience, while maintaining a level of security and complexity that will satisfy enterprise corporations with the need for integration and analytics. Click here for an explanation of all the tools I'm using on this site and explanation of why...

Web, Stage, Event, Print...

Whatever your needs are chances are I've done something similar to what you need. Just give me a call and we can discuss what you need to accomplish. I would be happy to provide samples, references, contacts and proposals.

Logo and Brand: A national treasure... Dr. Sasha is a full time physician, author, teacher and professional speaker.

Brand, Web and Print: ZenValve is one of those green focussed products that I am so proud to be part of. Working with their entire team I've had the pleasure of delivering many different types of projects for them from design sprint planning and organization to print and web.

Logo and Brand: Dragonfly Design, A graphic design agency based in Chicago, IL won a competition I ran on Facebook using a riddle. The prize awarded was a complete branding design or re-design package.

As a designer and art director one of the highlights of my creative career was when the company I worked for "Benchmark Imaging and Display" asked me to re-design their branding and advertising materials. As a company that sold design services, trade-show booths and printed panels, and printing services this was a very exciting project. Beginning with the materials that we sent in the mail inviting customers to visit our booths at the many events we attended throughout the year, and then designing the brochures, pamphlets, business cards, folders and other materials that people would eventually take home and add to their catalogue of possible vendors; and ending with the designs for the actual booths that would be assembled at each of the events. If you'd like to see the whole story you can read about it here.

The image above is the final conver design for a brochure we developed explaining our in house photography studio and the amount of work we put into making sure color acuracy was consistent throughout our entire process. I hand selected all the materials used in the brochure and then designed the sets and did the actual product photography and lighting for the project. I even hand painted the little tops in the photo myself after finding them in one of the many thrift shops around the Chicago area where our studio was located.

Theatre lighting, sound and stage design: Chicago Church of Christ, International Churches of Christ, Anchorpoint Tampa, Javits Center, Chicago Theatre, Conference Rooms and Theatres around the globe...