Cypher System



When you are promoting a product with great art online, you really have to leverage the assets you have to their best advantage. When Charles at Monte Cook Games approached me about building a new promotional site for the Cypher System, I knew that the art was going to be a key selling point. That meant it needed a site that was going to help display it well.


  • Simple, Clean Look
  • Responsive Design To Accommodate Multiple Screen Sizes
  • Emphasis on the incredible art
  • Clean information display
  • WordPress background for easy updating


The Cypher System website was built in bits and pieces. Much of the art was not yet available and the text was not yet written. I knew the main requirements were going to drop while I was traveling and unable to devote my full attention to the site. Knowing this, I worked to build all the structures with placeholders so that Charles or other MCG staff could update it as they needed. When the art and content were finalized, it was during a time I couldn’t be available to insert the final pieces. Charles was able to use the roadmaps I’d provided and insert the content based on what I’d set up. Knowing the client’s capabilities and being able to work with them, I knew we could work it out so that it could be done by the deadline they wanted. I just had to provide the right tools and options.



A masonry style art gallery whets fans appetites for the book.

Click images to enlarge


It Starts With Discovery

Early in every project I do is a discovery phase, where I search out the options and get information based on the client’s needs. Every hour spent here saves many hours down the road. In this discovery phase, I searched out themes in WordPress that would allow the site’s content and art to shine. I knew there wasn’t enough time to create a theme from scratch, and so many of the themes out there had unique ways of displaying art that would take me a significant amount of time to create from scratch. Knowing the time and budget constraints, I spent my hours searching for the right solution rather than trying to code it from scratch. I suggested multiple themes to Charles and found one that showcased the site in a way that really made it shine.

Using The Right Tools

With a good baseline theme in hand, and knowing how the schedule would likely intersect with my availability, I set about to build enough of the structures with stock art and content display so that MCG could easily update the site once final art and content were done. I knew they had the capability, and WordPress was a solid choice to keep the tech expertise and time required to a manageable level with all of the other things on their plate. With the right tools and roadmaps firmly in hand, Charles was able to finish most of the site’s content while I was on the road. I was able to come in and make a few tweaks, then declare it ready to go. It’s important to know what all resources are available on a project and to not be afraid to use them to complete a project successfully – whether they are the right technical tools, the right people, or the right video tutorials to fill in the knowledge gaps.


Click images to enlarge


Every Project Is Unique

Every project is unique and requires a different approach. The cypher system website is one that required more flash than other websites. The content is promotional and leads to other places. Monte Cook Games might have made due with a simple page on their main site, but they wanted people searching for more information about it to land someplace that really showed off the product in a dynamic way. The framework we used is extensible and capable of handling much more, and this allows for the site to serve multiple purposes – a dynamic landing location now and maybe an information archive for cypher system licensees in the future. That’s why every project has a discovery phase at the front. You need to determine what is unique and necessary for that project in order to make it successful.