The Portfolio of Derek Brooks

Graphic Design

I'm a much better programmer than designer, but I do really enjoy doing some design from time-to-time.

Here are 22 projects that I've worked on tagged Graphic Design.

Screenshot of is my general home page, online scrapbook, and development playground. Its primary purpose is to catalog my life and allow me to play with various APIs and web development technologies. It serves up thousands of photos, check-ins, microblogs, blogs, maps, videos, and various other data from my life. Since 2001, it has been a constantly evolving web application.

v8 - latest version

This is the first version of my site that I completely rebuilt in a new language and platform. I moved the entire site from a containerized LAMP stack to a server-side-rendered (SSR) Nuxt.js application that relies completely on the Broox API to power its content. I chose Nuxt and SSR in order to keep my SEO and open graph / social sharing meta tags intact while still providing a speedy, asynchronous client-side browsing experience.

Harper Soundboard

Screenshot of Harper Soundboard
Several years ago, my friend Harper Reed figured out a way to hack into my phone (from a few hundred miles away) and change my voicemail... and at the time of writing this app - I still hadn't changed it. So when Harper asked me to make an Android app for a little contest, I thought, what could be better than a soundboard about hacking phones? So this was my app... it's pretty dumb, but it was a great intro to Android development. Plus, I got to brush up on some Java. I published this app to the Android market as a free app. Within the first week, I had around 250 downloads, about 60% of which uninstalled the application shortly after playing with it, haha. However, I did have an average rating of 4.5 stars... they were all my friends I'm sure.

Five Point Studios

Screenshot of Five Point Studios
Five point studios was a professional piercing and custom tattoo shop in Johnston, IA. I was hired to revamp their severely outdated website and built them a custom content management so the shop could manage any page as well as manage staff members and portfolios. I incorporated one of the shop's tattoo sketches into the design along with a fancy font that they requested. As with any website, if the visitors don't have that font installed, they won't see your fancy text. So, using PHP's GD library, I wrote functionality to dynamically load their font and create fancy title images on the fly. The site was much more successful in allowing Five Point to showcase the incredible work that consistently came out of their shop.

515 Alive

Screenshot of 515 Alive
515 Alive is an urban music festival that takes place in Des Moines, IA. We donated this simple dynamic informational site to relay event times and locations. The site's simplicity was largely due to the very short deadline and last minute event changes. I worked closely with a local designer for some of the elements.

Aeon Grey

Screenshot of Aeon Grey
I built this site for Aeon Grey, a Des Moines hip hop artist, to promote both himself and his 5th solo album: Primate Curriculum. Aeon Grey wanted a very lite site that would include a forum and also allow him to publish photos, videos, and mp3s. The site's news was integrated with the forum to allow Aeon to display important updates on both, the forum and the home page. I worked graphic designer, Mindy Hoskin, for the graphic elements, which are taken primarily from the album art that she designed. I also did some of Aeon Grey's photography and videography.

Rebels Advocate

Screenshot of Rebels Advocate
Rebels Advocate was a Midwest Hip Hop group that got together in Iowa City. With their gaining popularity they decided they needed a strong web presence to show the world what they were all about. Rebels Advocate was referred to my partnership needing both a website and a music video. With a very limited budget, we had to cut a lot of corners, but the results of both the video and the website turned on great. The site allowed visitors to check out their bios, video, photos, and most importantly, their music. We also installed a community driven forum to keep visitors coming back to the site and gave them analytics to track the site's traffic.

Soft Focus Art

Screenshot of Soft Focus Art
Soft Focus Art was a local Hip Hop and DJ group who came to my partnership with a limited budget and hopes of a fairly complex, dynamic website. They wanted to be able to update their viewers with bios, media, news, and information about upcoming shows; but they also wanted to keep the design simple with crisp lines and have everything animated via Flash. We helped them out and provided a simple animated design with a PHP/MySQL content management system that delivered XML to the Flash module to display the dynamic content.


Screenshot of Falaphilia
On October 14th 2004, Bill O'Reilly from Fox News was threatened with a sexual harassment lawsuit. A typo was made on the lawsuit transcript, where instead of "loufa," the officer wrote "falafel." Some friends and I found this hilarious, so we coined the term "Falaphilia" and put this website together. Even though it was just a joke. We ended up having approximately 50,000 visitors in the first 48hrs and peaked at 100,000 visitors in the first week. We then switched it up and served large political content to the blogger demograph and pulled 3.7 terabytes of transfer in 5 days. I handled the design of this site as well as some creative content, and made a graphic of O'reilly hugging a giant piece of falafel.

Learn To Yo-Yo

Screenshot of Learn To Yo-Yo
Learn to Yo-Yo was a site dedicated to teaching kids new yo-yo tricks. Pro yo-yoers would update the site with videos and tutorials. My job in this project was to simply come up with a lite front end design, which you can see displayed here.

We Own The Sun

Screenshot of We Own The Sun
One day, a couple friends and I decided to claim the sun. As such, we quickly designed this website to let the world know that "we own the sun." The site we created sold plots of the sun as real estate and donated part of the profits to cancer research. I was in charge of the site's design and some of the creative content.

Solid Grind

Screenshot of Solid Grind
SolidGrind is a personal project that I developed as an extreme sports / soap shoes promotional and community website. It's the predecessor of my former Broox Extreme ( and BrooksFSW community sites. After I came up with the name and domain, I decided that rather than customizing a prebuilt system, I wanted to build this site from scratch. Developing the entire site myself was another great learning experience and paid off numerous times; I had full control and a great understanding of the system, so I could easily add on, fix bugs, and rebuild sections. One of the more fun parts of SolidGrind was the "feature pic" system. It allowed users to upload photos to be reviewed by the administrators that I'd hired. The uploaded photos were queued in a database and could be viewed/approved by administrators. Upon approval, the website would automatically size/scale the image, add a watermark to it, create a thumbnail, store it in the database, and feature the picture on the homepage until a new photo was chosen. In addition, I designed it so that each picture had to be featured for at least 24 hours; this gave everyone a fair amount of time on our front page. Besides photos, the site featured news, forums, tutorials, videos, and several other things related to extreme sports.

v2 - latest version

In 2006, I re-released Solid Grind to get away from publishing broader extreme sports content and focus on the grind shoe scene. There were so many other extreme sports sites with a full staff dedicated to maintaining them, but no one had this thorough of a website dedicated to the grind shoe scene. I worked with Nicole Sutherland on the design of this version, which turned out great for the content being delivered. The new version of the site was much more complete, the code was much more efficient, and photo manipulation was handled much better. With the initial version of SolidGrind I was very proud of the photo management system - this system was much cleaner and much more versatile in that most image manipulation was handled on the fly.

The Jugglers

Screenshot of The Jugglers
Three years after the original site had gone live Harper Reed hired me to do a redesign. The new site was basically a blog running movable type to update Jugglers in the Chicago area about upcoming events.

Wireless Wallpapers

Screenshot of Wireless Wallpapers
Wireless Wallpapers was a personal project of mine. It was a site that allowed users to download wallpapers for their early 2000s color screened mobile phones. At the time there were several sites offering this service however nearly all of them only supported one type of phone or charged money for each wallpaper downloaded (usually $1.00 per wallpaper). Wireless Wallpapers allowed users to download unlimited wallpapers for free, which were available for several types of phones. The free wallpapers had a tiny "wirelesswallpapers" watermarks near the bottom of the image, however if the user paid a small fee each month, they could get more features (such as private wallpapers) and the watermark was removed. In addition to this, I added functionality to allow users to upload their own images to the website which gave me the ability to let the site run itself. The website automatically resized the uploaded user images to fit various mobile screen sizes and printed my watermark to the image. The site was a huge success and learning experience. The first day it was online it received 7,000 hits and had nearly 100 users. After the first week there were nearly 50,000 hits and 500 users. Upon selling the site, I had over 24,000 users and received over 3,200,000 hits.

James H. Laas Company

Screenshot of James H. Laas Company
I developed this site for the James Laas Company out of Bettendorf, Iowa. At the time, it was one of the largest, most complex, and complete systems that I'd built. Prior to my development, they made all of their updates by updating static HTML files - a content management system was very much needed. They had a huge amount of content and product information that became quite redundant in the way that they were displaying it. I designed a more aesthetically pleasing site powered by a PHP/MySQL back-end. With the new design, I concentrated mostly on the ease of navigation and finding vital information quickly, which was successfully attained. Their site became completely free of managing and uploading static files and was updateable via the CMS that I created. The database proved to be very useful as the James Laas company wrote several articles per month. This site was also the home of the first site wide search engines that I'd built. was a huge success and a great learning experience.

Kronus Films

Screenshot of Kronus Films
This is a design that I completed while working for NaTa2 Productions. The client, Kronus Entertainment, is a film production company specializing in underwater video shooting. At the time, they were working on breaking an underwater world record as a fund-raiser. The goal was to make a 100-mile trip around an island which would be approximately 24 hours underwater; the money raised was used to assist ill children. Kronus had a variety of extremely powerful equipment and talented personnel. They came to us needing a professional website to portray their image and draw more attention to their cause and company.

3G Screen Saver

Screenshot of 3G Screen Saver
3g Screen Saver is a website that Harper Reed hired me to design. The site's purpose was to host screensavers and ringtones for early 2000s Sprint phones. Harper wanted a design with blue and silver colors, a picture of a sprint phone, and an area for banner ads. The rest of the site was to be very lite. The finished product turned out nice and the site became a huge success for Harper.

Lujack's SUV Trails

Screenshot of Lujack's SUV Trails
I designed this site for Lujack's Northpark Auto Plaza, where I previously held my internship. Lujack's is the fist dealership in the country to have their own SUV offroad test track. This track has several obstacles to test the performance of sport utility vehicles. The screenshot shown is a portion of the virtual map I built for Lujack's. When a user hovered their mouse over an obstacle a description of that obstacle was shown in the description box. If an obstacle was clicked on, a small video clip would be played in Quicktime format.

Broox Extreme

Screenshot of Broox Extreme
Broox Extreme was the former version of It was an extreme sports website that included 6 categories: bmx, inline, scooter, skateboard, snowboard, and soap shoes. Each section had the latest news and information along with user submitted photos and videos. I hired several authors who specialized in at least one category of the site to help me keep everyone informed of what's going on. Almost a year after the site was released (October 2001), received over 700,000 hits and had nearly 700 registered users. Upon closing, the site was just shy of 1 million hits. YM (Your Magazine) found this site and contacted me in order to feature me and some of my "Soaping Buddies." They flew out from New York to do a day long photoshoot of us sliding on handrails, and we were all featured in the April, 2002 of YM magazine!


Screenshot of BrooksFSW
BrooksFSW was a site dedicated to Soap Shoes, a company that makes shoes capable of sliding across objects such as handrails, benches, etc. The activity of "soaping" is very similar to grinding with inline skates or skateboards. I did promotional work for Soap Shoes for several years and this site was a huge part of that. BrooksFSW was a portal site using PHP Nuke to develop a community for "Soapers." It kept users informed on the latest news and happenings with the company. It also kept everyone involved in friendly competition with photos, polls, forums, and videos. This was the first site I ran that used an extensive PHP and MySQL back-end and was an excellent learning experience for me. My mentor, Harper Reed, helped tremendously with the initial setup and training. It was released in September 2000 and integrated into Broox Extreme in October 2001. During that year it received nearly 620,000 hits and had 800 registered users. The site also had 441 news articles published and over 6,000 comments on those articles. BrooksFSW received some great recognition from large medias such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Mount Vernon Sun, The Rock Island Dispatch, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Disclaimer: After the domain was released from my posession, another company purchased it. It has been known to display various lewd content. I have no affiliation with the current owner of the website.


Screenshot of PAAC
PAAC (Performing Arts and Activities Council) is an organization at Cornell College that organized all entertainment on campus. I was hired as a technician and web master for the 2001-2002 school year. As technician, I was in charge of setting up and running all audio/video equipment at our events. As web master, I had complete reign over the site. When I first joined this group the site was programmed via Macromedia Dream Weaver and was quite simple. I rebuilt the site from scratch, giving it a more uniform, professional look that was very easy to navigate. I also integrated some Flash animation for aesthetics. The color scheme may not have been the best, but it was our school colors and the overall layout turned out nice.

Advantage Group

Screenshot of Advantage Group
The Advantage Group is an investment company based in Cedar Rapids Iowa. They were a client for one of my employers and hired me to do their website. This site was fairly simple but needed to be extremely clean, professional, and still be able to relay a large amount of information to the reader. The site turned out just as planned and served as a great tool for The Advantage Group.

Kappa Theta

Screenshot of Kappa Theta
Kappa Theta is a female social group at Cornell College - Cornell's equivalent to a Sorority. The women of Kappa Theta hired me to design a simple informational website. After designing the site, I trained one of the women to update the content via Macromedia Dream Weaver. It turned out to be a very useful tool to easily communicate the message, purpose, and goals of the group. 5 years later, I ended up marrying one of them!