John Rainsford

The Bleed Edge

This article was posted on Monday, 18th October 2010

When I left my last employment position on 31st December 2007, one aspect of my new found freedom that I wanted to pursue, was to start blogging. I was already creating screen printed prints for exhibitions and for my own amusement. I wanted to write up the process- I was influenced by the Army of Cats process blog- so I began formulating a plan.

At the time, in early 2008, I was learning Ruby on Rails, and I decided to use a blog as a project to help with my learning. I agonised over the name- I wanted something print-related but still fairly abstract. Early contenders were 3mm Bleed (no domain, my dislike of numbers in domains) and The Bleed (too gruesome). I settled on a term that is not often used, The Bleed Edge. The description of what the bleed edge was, I thought was very apt- its the edge of the substrate where nothing important should be put, as it’s liable to get the chop when the prints are trimmed down.

Deploy, deploy

I got my blog launched and had a number of entries, but keeping a Rails app was proving more hassle than I wanted- I was using a shared Rails hosting environment and it kept updating Rails and breaking my blog, so I abandoned it, planning on opening a Wordpress blog or Blogger blog, to replace it. As it happened, I did reopen a blog but just kept it under my own name. I ported across the blog posts and they can be seen on the Wordpress v1 of this site.

When I was planning on the revamp of this site, I decided to use my own PHP CMS for the blogging engine and one aspect that I wanted to introduce was a shop- I still had screen prints and other stuff that I wanted to sell. I began working on it separately to the blog- I knew it’d take me longer to develop and I was going to keep it on a separate subdomain to the blog, something like

Genesis, without Phil Collins

The genesis of the shop utilised the basic design on this site but I chose an electric pink instead of the green- I don’t often get to use pink so I was definitely taking this opportunity! Half way through the project, I launched the revamped version of this blog, so I took stock of progress on the shop, and realised that if I left it as an add-on of this site, I’d be limited, in terms of branding, and products I could sell. For example, I am planning on selling products, like tshirts, for my company Pixelcode, and I would prefer to sell them from a dedicated shop rather than an add-on to another site (why wouldn’t I add on a shop to the Pixelcode website as well etc). So I resurrected the domain and incorporated the name into the design.

By design

I kept the same dimensions for the design as this site, changing the textures and the main navigation to run horizontally. I like these proportions and they add a certain amount of similarity between this site and I created an updated version of my PayPal integration scripts, which allows for better interaction between the site and PayPal. I also created a better shipping script, which I may go into detail on a later blog post. Basically my issue was having products like screen prints, which ship in tubes, and products that ship in envelopes. The products that ship in envelopes will not fit in tubes and vice versa.

On other shopping carts, the postage is worked out by weight, so I developed a way of distinguishing the shipping method, for each product, so if someone orders a product that’ll ship in a tube and one that ships in an envelope, they get charged an appropriate shipping fee for both. The shipping works out a bit more expensive if this situation arises, but it’s preferable to trying to ship the two together, which wouldn’t work.
I still have tweaks and fixes to make to both the design and development, but it’s quite sound. It actually works like a charm, so far.

You can check it out now, and if you want to keep informed of updates, follow @thebleededge Twitter account. I have a cool new product launching this week as well, which I will be writing it up here too- I’m very excited about them and I have been using them for a while and I find them really useful. As always, if you have any comments or queries, just let me know.

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