Buy my Books!

The Sketchnote Workbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, showing how to use sketchnotes in new ways, along with advanced tips and techniques.
Learn about and buy the book →
Download a FREE chapter →
Watch a FREE video sample →

The Sketchnote Handbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, designed to teach regular people how to create sketchnotes.
Learn about and buy the book →
Download a FREE chapter →

Mike Rohde (Color - Square)

ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
Read more about Mike →

SIGN UP! Get the Rohdesign Newsletter.

Entries in Family (11)


Hello Landon John Rohde!

Landon john

On Wednesday afternoon around 2:04 PM, Landon John arrived and joined the Rohde clan.

Weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20.5 inches long, Landon is the biggest and tallest baby we've produced of our 3 children. He is also the 3rd of our 3 kids to arrive on a Wednesday.

We love you, little guy!


Linnea's Baby Room Design

img_1354small-200x300.jpgWhen Gail and I found out we were going to have our 2nd child, a baby girl, we knew we wanted to hire Aga Artka to design and guide us through the process of making it Linnea's room happen.

Hiring Aga has been an excellent decision in so many ways. Let me share them with you.

About Aga Artka

Aga Artka and her husband Brian have been friends a bit over 2 years. In that time I've watched Aga make a huge transition from full-time interior design employee to an interior design business owner.

It's been exciting to watch her take charge of her life while doing great design work for clients.

The Design Process

The process began with Gail and I sharing aesthetics we liked and were contemplating for the new room design with Aga, and a visit to the space she would be designing. Aga took our input, made measurements and created a plan for our review.

The plan included colors, furniture suggestions, and drawings Aga made of the room to give us a better idea how the space would be used and look.

I created a Basecamp project for the room design, which really made it easy for Gail, Aga and I to share ideas and links in messages, to create to do lists and manage the milestones of the project from start to finish. Basecamp was especially handy for accessing information (e.g. paint color, product URLs) when we needed it most.

We took Aga's plan and suggestions for paint color and other details and began to build the room out. Initially we thought about re-using Nathan's crib but in the end decided to upgrade to a new crib and changing table/dresser with better functionality and a look that better suited the room design.

Linnea's name graces the wall, from Chatty Walls, a small company who creates custom vinyl names. They did a great job creating the lettering, which was pretty easy to apply on the wall.

Our family also added a personal touch with hand-painted art to match Linnea's bedding and window treatments. I drew out the shapes in pencil, then Nathan, Gail and I worked together to paint 3 canvases that hang above the changing table.


Why Hire a Pro?

Having Aga there to set direction and take our random thoughts and make them into a cohesive direction was wonderful to experience.

Rather than slapping a coat of paint on the walls and buying some pieces and parts, we felt there was a direction to refer to as we went along.

Also, being able to ask questions as we built the room out was invaluable. On several shopping trips for chairs or cribs, I took photos of items with my iPhone and uploaded them to Basecamp for her review and commentary.

An important detail to note: when hiring a design specialist like Aga, having her available for questions and direction through the project is in my view, nearly as valuable as the initial design thinking and work is.

Experiencing this process was especially good for me as a design consultant. I was able see the design process from the client's perspective and understand how to better serve my own clients on design projects.

The FInished Room

This weekend Aga and Brian stopped over to see and take photos of the finished room. We're incredibly pleased with how the room turned out. It's comfortable and flows well for such a small space.


We love the new space and are confident Linnea will love it as she grows up.

Read the details of the process from Aga's perspective on her blog. She shares more on the technical specs and talks about the before and after aspects of the project.

Go Hire Aga!

If you have a space that needs design and some direction from a professional, contact Aga Artka. She listens and knows her stuff. She's amazing!

Find her at @agartka on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or on her company blog or website contact form.

Thanks Aga!

Photos: Brian Artka

Related Links
37signals Product Blog: Interior designer and client use Basecamp to collaborate on design of new baby room


Pizzas on the Grill

After mentioning on Twitter that I was going to make pizzas on the grill for friends today, I decided to record the process on video:

Making pizzas on the grill is great for small or large groups and is especially fun for kids. Everyone gets to participate, yet each person can be an individual within the group. Even better, they taste great!

Give 'em a try while you can still fire up the grill!


The MilwaukeeDevHouse Experience

2333772887_9473dfd861_m.jpgLast night, Nathan and I packed up the MacBook, Canon scanner, 27 of his "transportation" themed drawings and headed downtown.

We were off to take part in the first ever MilwaukeeDevHouse at Bucketworks — an opportunity to hang out with a bunch of local Milwaukee tech geeks, doing stuff together.

When we arrived, Bucketworks was already hopping! I counted 30 people, and I may have missed some attendees wandering around Bucketworks (not to mention those who came after we left at 9pm).

2334510917_cd798e2924_t.jpgWe found a spot at one of the tables and setup the MacBook and scanner, then Nathan and I worked together as a team to scan, tune and upload his drawings on Transportation to Flickr.

Today I asked Nathan his thoughts on the event, and he said:

"I liked the people and the noise and the food. I liked pushing the buttons to scan my drawings. I liked everything there!"

This was an excellent experience for us both on many levels:

  • We shared quality father and son time in a fun, shared environment
  • I was able to encourage Nathan in his creative work by scanning his art
  • Nathan met a variety of Web414 pals and learned how to interact with others
  • We were able to build a memorable experience with tangible results
What's MilwaukeeDevHouse?
In a nutshell, a DevHouse is a space where people can work on serious or fun projects, either by themselves or in a team. Here's the official description:

MilwaukeeDevHouse aims to be the premier regularly scheduled hackathon event that combines serious and not-so-serious productivity with a fun and exciting party atmosphere.

If you’re a coder, designer, or just someone who enjoys software and technology development, MilwaukeeDevHouse was made for you...

MilwaukeeDevHouse is intended for passionate and creative technical people that want to have some fun, learn new things, and meet new people.

If you have the chance to check out a DevHouse locally, do it! Our experience was wonderful. Even better, start a local DevHouse in your area.

Special thanks to Pete Prodoehl, one of the leaders of MilwaukeeDevHouse.

We're already looking forward to MilwaukeeDevHouse2! :-)

Related Links
MilwaukeeDevHouse1 Photos on Flickr
Nathan's Transportation Drawings:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


Give a Kid a Camera...

Nathan Self Portrait: SmileThis is what happens when a 4 year old boy gets hold of your camera.

My wife and I were cracking up as we imported some of the images he made of himself and surrounding objects while we attended a Milwaukee Brewer's baseball game last Friday night.

I've been impressed with Nathan's eye with a camera. He's very serious when shooting, and often seems to deliberately frame shots, though many times his shows seem less than intentional.

Sky Blue TextureI quite liked his set of blurred and gradated background images, which I might come in handy for future design projects. I especially like the blue gradation background shown on the left. Those make me want to set him loose with a digital camera and a 2GB card just to see what he comes up with! :-)

I'm planning to work with Nathan on his camera skills, so he can better understand what he's doing. Whatever the case, I find a deep, unexplainable enjoyment as I watch him explore his world and express himself through a camera lens.