Bilingual WordPress for Aromatherapy Wales

Welsh School of Aromatherapy : Ysgol Aromatherapi CymruWe’re always pleased when jobs come along that require us to stretch our knowledge and learn new skills, so when the Welsh School of Aromatherapy rang to ask if we would be interested in building a bilingual site (Welsh and English) for them, we were only too pleased to help.

We’ve done lots of bilingual websites in the past of course, but this was the first time we’d tried to apply our skills using WordPress as a CMS, in two languages and with direct translation from one page to its equivalent in the other language.

The plugin we opted for in the end was xLanguage by the extremely helpful HelloSam which, whilst our php skills weren’t really prepared for such a steep learning curve (and with several very supportive pointers in the right direction from Sam), did eventually do exactly what we wanted it to do. In the process we also ended up creating a welsh version of Mike Cherim’s excellent Secure Contact Form. There’s a few bits in the welsh language file which still need translating, but once we find someone to do those, we’ll send Mike the finished version to add to the download. In the meantime if anyone wants the incomplete version (it’s just missing a few error messages) drop us a line. You can see the file in action on the Aromatherapy Wales site.

Thankfully, the work wasn’t all coding and we did find time to have fun with some of the School’s ideas for a logo. The first go at this was a graphic version of a narcissus which, whilst it worked fine, didn’t really hit the spot. But salvation came in the form of David Attenborough, as usual, whose beautiful show Amazing Rare Things at the Queen’s Gallery included an illustration of a poet’s narcissus, apparently the first narcissus to arrive on British shores way back when.

We’re also planning to make the theme available along with some instructions as to how to set up xlanguage to work in Welsh and English (if only to remind us how to do it). More on that story later.

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Book Launch at Canolfan Pentre Ifan

Box of CrwydroOver a month ago now we took delivery of a box of lovely new books. As with any of our book jobs, we were thrilled to be able to finally leaf through something which we had only seen on screen during the design process.

Unfortunately they then sat in a box whilst ointment decided how best to release them into the wild. Fittingly enough, the launch is to take place in the location where the project started in the first place – Ty Canol woods in Pembrokeshire (a National Nature Reserve with 400 species of lichen amongst other things). And what better way to launch a book about artists walking, than with a selection of walks.

It all kicks off at 2pm on 26th July 2008, at the Urdd Centre, Canolfan Pentre Ifan, Felindre Farchog, Crymych, Pembrokeshire SA41 3XE with a selection of walks including: botanising; meanderthal; elasticated; outdoor philosophy and short, followed by the launch of the book and some ‘light refreshments’ – biscuits, booze or both.

All you need to do to take part is to let ointment know, by emailing enquiries[at]

Update: for those of you who simply can’t wait till then, you can now buy the book on amazon

Ros Tennyson – site launch

Illustration by Maria HayesAfter a bit of a lull whilst we got on with a load of projects, we’re very pleased to see our hard graft come to fruition with the launch of a new site for Ros Tennyson. Ros works in the field of international development, for organisations such as the International Business Leader’s Forum and the Partnering Initiative.

Ros wanted to set up an informal but informative personal website to help spread the word about the work she’s doing internationally for the IBLF, Trigonos and others as well as to set up a platform for her other interests, writings and publications. Ros had also come across Maria Hayes, a North Wales based illustrator and artist (and client of papergecko) and commissioned Maria to produce a series of illustrations to use on the site and the associated publicity material.

The website address is:

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Working for Wobage

Back in the Summer of 2007, we did a spot of work for pottery course providers Workshops at Wobage, automating their booking form and trying to wrangle their html to improve search engine rankings for their key search phrases. The work was pretty successful, with fully booked courses and a brief spot at Number One (on Google for “Summer Pottery Courses” – they’ve slipped to number 5 in the meantime, but we hope to address that soon).

So, when Wobage came to update their site for the 2008 ceramics course syllabus, they got back in touch. We suggested that, rather than having to pay a web designer every time they need to update the site, we could redesign the site from scratch and build a user-friendly Content Management System at the same time.

We’re currently finalising colour schemes and page layout, and hope to relaunch a standards-based, accessible, user and search engine friendly site in the coming months.

Crwydro / Marcheurs des bois

Crwydro / Marcheurs des bois CoverFor about six months now we’ve been working on a great project which has thrown up some very interesting, if problematic design challenges. The project is an international, trilingual (English, Welsh and French) book called Crwydro / Marcheurs des bois.

The book documents an exchange between west Wales based artists collective ointment and Boreal Art/Nature, who are based in the wilds of Quebec. The exchange involved two residencies: one in the stunning, moss covered Ty Canol woods near Pentre Ifan in Pembrokeshire in a balmy April; the other in the ice-bound frozen landscape of Reserve Faunique Rouge Matawin, Quebec, in February.

The book gives the projects a new dimension, continuing some of the discussions begun during the residencies and enabling the artists to revisit and reflect on their various working processes.

One thing we’re very pleased about is the book format, which avoids standard practice for artist’s catalogues, instead opting for a pocket sized, 112 x 180mm. Shrinking the format necessitated an increase in the page count and, at 116 pages there’s plenty of room for an exchange of views.

We’re hoping to go to print early in February and will, of course, post details as soon as the publication is ready.

Website Update

We’re very pleased to announce the launch of our new website. As with most designers, keeping your own website fresh and current normally has to take a back seat to working for clients, but we’ve managed to squeeze in a couple of days in order to revamp the site.

The new site makes extensive use of WordPress, our favourite publishing tool, which provides ready made RSS feeds amongst other things. Other updates include a handy downloadable vcard so you can store all our address details at one click, a more elegant enquiry form and some accessibility tweaks.

There’s still a bit to do, including uploading all the books we helped to publish in 2007, and providing links so you can buy them from Amazon.