Writer John Schulian
Blog, business, graphic design, portfolio

New website launched for writer John Schulian

A confession: my wife and I loved watching Xena: Warrior Princess when it was on TV back in the ’90s. So when a friend introduced me to the co-creator of that series, I kinda geeked out. And then he asked me to build him a website!

So…my newest website is for John Schulian, who is promoting his first novel after writing magazine columns and editing books and crafting screenplays for the past few decades. For someone who is writing hard-boiled noir, and has covered bloody sports (he has some great articles on boxing), John is a wonderful human being — we end up talking about life, music, favorite books, and film every time we get together.

My aims in building the website were:

  • reflect the gritty quality of the novel, as well as the iconic L.A. skyline that graces the book’s cover
  • create an easy-to-navigate, responsive website that encouraged sales of the book
  • honor (and capitalize on) the body of work that John has amassed through books, magazines, and online stories


I think the initial website is very successful here, and we will keep adding more content to the site as the book drops — signing and reading dates, sales, reviews and endorsements, and more.

As the web continues to evolve, it becomes more and more important to recognize the specific needs of each client. Do we need a static website? Do we need dynamic content? Is some sort of interaction warranted? How does what’s online affect the overall brand? As a marketing expert, these are the questions that I ask at the beginning of every project. Beautiful websites (or any design, for that matter) are secondary to the ultimate goal: achieving increased sales, donations, or overall market share. What we do is innovate in such a way that your company — be it one author or a major company — can attract eyeballs…and sales.

Blog, business, graphic design

MySQL in trouble?

You probably don’t see it every day, but, if you are running a blog or forum, or any web application running on a database, you might have implemented MySQL on your server. I had heard about Sun and Oracle, but I hadn’t heard about what it could mean for MySQL:

Even before the Oracle buyout, there were signs of strain within the MySQL community. Not long after Sun acquired MySQL in 2008, key MySQL employees began exiting the company, including CEO Mårten Mickos and cofounder Monty Widenius. Widenius, in particular, was vocally critical of the MySQL development process under Sun’s stewardship, citing rushed release cycles and poor quality control. Another MySQL cofounder, David Axmark, left out of frustration with the bureaucracy and tedium of Sun’s buttoned-down corporate culture.

Funny: I was just thinking a few days ago on how dependent my work has become on other’s software: I use Adobe products exclusively for graphic design (InDesign and Illustrator and Photoshop), Apple products for film and video (Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro), Digidesign’s ProTools for audio, and now WordPress/MySQL for websites. What happens when one of these major tools stumbles? Let’s look at a case study: Quark XPress.

From 1990 until 2004, I was producing all of my print design using a wonderfully powerful program called Quark XPress. The toll was lean, fast, and tool advantage of Apple and Adobe’s strong support of PostScript — the language that ran every laser printer in the world. And then, the company got cocky. Knowing that they had no competition, Quark took five years to release an update to the program. Their technical support was horrible. It got to the point where I would rather have left graphic design than continue working with their software. So, with a bit of research and some soul-searching, I dropped Quark XPress for Adobe’s InDesign. Within a few months, I was producing all print projects on InDesign, and loving it. The migration costs were mostly calculated in time spent learning new software, and my clients saw a seamless workflow transition from my office.

All that to say: technology moves quickly. If MySQL transforms into something else, or morphs into something that needs more support, we will be ready. It’s easy to forget some software program that’s in the background, but all of these programs are the lifeblood of what we do at Hearken Creative. So we will keep on top of all developments, and make the necessary transitions to whatever is the most recent, workable software solution.