Portfolio – Samples

Magazine & Newspaper Articles

This sampling of my articles shows the breadth of my writing. Some are highly technical, and others much lighter. Topics range from microelectronics to history to cattle to beer. These are from magazines & newspapers, but I’ve also written paid articles for encyclopedias, websites, and anthologies.

In “Closed Captions, V-Chip, and Other Line 21 Data,” I explained the technical side of closed captioning to readers of Nuts & Volts magazine.
My Acres USA article is about a breed of cattle few people are familiar with: Corrientes.
I wrote this article, “Guarding the Record: Transmitting Court Documents Safely,” for Law Technology News.
This is one of my “Beer Snob” columns for the Local Rag monthly newspaper.
This article for the Journal of Court Reporting discusses the many ways to measure quality of closed captioning — a theme I covered in my TED talk.
In my early days in the integrated circuit world, I wrote this article about using behavioral modeling in logic simulators for VLSI Design magazine.
My “History of the Kilt” article for Renaissance magazine explains just how recent our current concept of a kilt is.
This is a one of the “Gary Robson on Captioning” columns I wrote for a newspaper called Newswaves for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People.
I wrote “The Origins of Phreaking” for Blacklisted! 411, a magazine about computer hacking and phone phreaking.

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UX Design

I have been designing and building websites since 1996 — before there was CSS! Though UX didn’t have a name back then, it’s always been part of the design process and philosophy for me. Content is vitally important (I am a writer, after all), but it’s useless if visitors can’t find it or don’t want to spend time on the site.

The navigation on this page uses simple CSS code to colorize the buttons when you roll over them, making it clear what’s clickable. Combining icons with carefully-chosen text makes it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Hover over the image above to see it work.
My Ferret in a Lab Coat webcomic broke new ground in UX. Hover over a character to see who they are. Click for a bio. Each image is full of live links, and a transcript below each comic makes it searchable.
When asking for donations for a project, the important information needs to be quickly recognizable and easy to understand. On Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary’s site, I gave each project page a fundraising thermometer, list of major donors, project description, and donation form all on one page.

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Branding & Style Guides

As a prolific freelance writer, I got used to working with the classic style guides (e.g., Associated Press and Chicago Manual of Style) and a lot of house styles. In the business and nonprofit world, I often ended up creating the branding and style guides. I’m comfortable in either environment.

I’ve designed a variety of logos, both in teams and working alone. This one, for Phoenix Pearl Tea & Games, is my design.
I created a full style guide for Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, and then made this single-page summary for reporters and consultants.
Working with the Red Lodge Convention & Visitors Bureau branding team, we created this logo and the Base Camp badge to go with it.

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Book Design

Designing a book means creating a consistent look and feel, just as branding does. I’ve written 29 books and 6 technical manuals. I’ve also done the design for many of them. I’ve also designed covers, styles, and interiors for dozens of other books. Genres I’ve worked in include fiction, history, reference, children’s literature, journals, and more.

In this “how-to” guide, I made everything easy to find with a nested table of contents and an index that includes every book & author I mentioned. I used a simple, straightforward layout and highlighted the “tips and tricks” sidebars to make them stand out.
Aimed at more casual readers, this book uses a softer layout, following each story with facts about the tea variety in the story and instructions for preparing a perfect cup. Since readers may not know a lot about tea varieties, I included a glossary.
This was one of my more technical projects. It is used as a college textbook and a reference for professionals. The publisher limited me to 400 pages, so I had to pack in a great deal of information using illustrations and cross-referenced text. To make sure everything was easy to find, I included a comprehensive index, detailed glossary, nested table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables.

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Marketing Materials

I have created the full gamut of collateral materials: brochures, white papers, business cards, blogs, press releases, landing pages, product packaging, catalogs, sell sheets, newsletters, ebooks, and more.

Make no mistake: an annual report is definitely a marketing document! Nobody wants to read dry, boring annual reports that feel like they were written by an accountant. Annual reports are important marketing tools and I prefer to make them vibrant and exciting!
When I designed these co-op fact sheets, I made sure they had obvious differences. They all follow the branding, but they’re aimed at different audiences so the color differences make it much less likely that the wrong document will be sent out.
The email newsletter uses colorful pictures featuring people and cute animals. It has clear calls to action (the two light-blue buttons) and it shows the public what the organization is doing with donations.
I want to make sure reporters and interviewers get their facts right with a good profile sheet. If you want them to use it, you had better be able to fit everything on one page!
Sell sheets are even more important for small presses and indie authors. I made this sheet for one of my own books. It has all of the crucial information on one page in an eye-catching format.
A rack card or brochure that will be sitting on a table or in a rack accomplishes nothing unless people pick it up. For these wildlife sanctuary cards, I use large photos of their animals and change the front every year.

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