As mad as it sounds, it’s now August and we’re getting closer to Christmas. I decided to look back at last Christmas and the design trends of 30 eCommerce websites.
Overall there was not a significant winning idea on what to do, with some retailers not bothering at all. Below are the companies which did…
Starbucks have gone for a full design of red, but only on their .com website.
Borders are sticking to the red theme using some snow as a nice touch.
macy’s are sticking with their red homepage after their fall sales design.
As designers progress through their careers they sometimes forget where they started. Some designers can spend well over 40 years in the industry and will still carry on designing well in to retirement. The trouble of HDD errors and random formatting throughout a computers life can erase a designers early days. Unless you’ve been willfully backing up your work from the early days it’s very difficult to keep track of where the “old stuff” is.
I spoke with quite a few designers who still had some of their “old stuff” to show off, and to see what kind of work they started doing way back when. A lot of the text is un-changed from the emails I received as I wanted the designers themselves to critique their own work. It’s amazing to see how far most of them have come.
I do indeed, in my spare time I used to design helmets and the first design I ever did was a helmet which created using Microsoft Paint in order to create the outlines and then Fireworks to paint it. It is attached.
Here is a screenshot of the very first full websites that I did. I am not scared to show it.
It was my own portfolio site that seemed to do pretty well on the CSS Galleries, and was launched just over fifteen months ago.
It was coded all in html and css without a CMS solution (as I didn’t know what one was back then) and i soon got fed up of having to go through and edit all the pages. I soon realized the error of my ways and scrapped it.
Version 2 is in the pipelines and a few of you will have seen this, and is expected to be launched towards the end of August.
[Gavin] – Tim was in London at the time of the post being but together and still very kindly emailed providing a link to his old work. One piece is below. [/Gavin]
These are my first vector pieces from back in 05ish:
I’ve kept that online to remind myself how crap I once was. It’s a veritable feast of MS Frontpage and tabular design, with a horrific logo and a jumped-up, generic business name.
An old print design project from my first job, a magazine page ad for local events.
My first design in 2004 worth to show, attached. The rest, can be seen in http://nv30.com up to today, 2009.
I created this way back in high school, must be about 1999/2000 when we were just allowed to start using computers and photoshop for projects. This isn’t the first piece I did but I remember the first piece. It was when we got our first PC for Christmas ’95 and I drew a golf green with flag pole in PAINT – it was awesome! Back to this piece – it was for a packaging project as part of my GCSE’s. The Video cover (yes video!) was created in photoshop and I managed to squeeze in as many cliches in as possible (hey, it was the first time I’d used a computer for design!) Look at the ‘graphic pen filter’, unnecessary emboss, and really bad cut outs! The photos were fine, but the deadline got so tight that when it came to printing it out there was a problem with the printer and not even the teachers could get it to work correctly and this is how I had to hand it in!
I could have chosen a piece that looked kinda ok but thought this is the fun of it and probably the first time I got onto a computer, all my designs previous is drawn and sketched and not too bad!
Screenshot of version 1.0 of pixelightcreative.com. Tables, baby! Be gentle in your article!
I did this website for a friend of mine. He’s a magician and the website was (and still is) for promoting his services and booking. Of course when I built this website I did it all with tables and inline CSS and put as many keywords in the meta keywords and description as possible. I did this website back in the days when people thought you could just stuff a page with related keywords and easily end up on the 1st page of Google for those keywords. Things have changed a lot since!
I’ve attached a screenshot of my personal site in flash (yikes).
So, I remembered this website that I made back when I was in high school. I used to keep and breed a fish called the Jack Dempsey, and I made a Geocities website about them. I haven’t seen this site in years, but thanks to archive.org, I managed to pull up a version of it from 1999, which would have been about a year after I stopped updating it. Hope you enjoy! (oh, this is hideous!)
I did this for a cinema about 5/6 years ago (It’s still online)
A portfolio site that I had put together in late ’99. I did sample company layouts to demonstrate my design and HTML skills. Sadly, I don’t think it helped me land a single job.
Whilst the site is very nice, Mike assures me this is the first site he built. I checked the code, it’s all in tables so it must be a first!
Sure thing. I actually wrote about this a while back and the previous versions of my sites are online:
This was one of my very first logos for a heavy metal band called Anno Domini or “After Death” back in 2004 (was aged 16) before I had any design training at all.
I had to dig into my archives and go look for stuff that is not laying around here since it is so old I started out in ’92 so that’s ‘pre-internet-dino’ time I was a print designer back then. I still am, but it’s not the mayor part anymore like it was back then.
My very very first design of a brochure is incomplete (I only found parts of it) so I’m showing you my 2nd one. It dates back to ’92. Computers (Macs) had only 4 MB of RAM back then (imagine!) So some of the things were done by hand (analog) still: photos were placed into the layout at prepress agencies etc. This 2nd brochure is also designed that same year. The logo is not designed by me btw, so it’s just the layout of the brochure. On the back there is a watercolor I made. I still have the original watercolor.
This is really old stuff and definitely not ‘my best’ design (I came a long way since then). The means were different to, like I mentioned before. All imagery was still done analog e.g. the illustrations of the tiles, is not digital, it’s paper that was scanned in at the prepress agency.
There’s something so childhood-photo-ish about diving into one’s personal website archives. But it’s amazing to see how far we’ve really come—or how far we have yet to go.
Prepare yourself for legendary FrontPage 98 code.
Basically when I was learning to use photoshop I was like 18 or 19 at the time, and would take pictures from my camera phone and grunge them up and post them on myspace, thankfully I don’t use myspace anymore LOL. This is probably one of my first attempts of that.
Ok don’t laugh!! Please find attached a visual of the first website I ever designed!
The site was called Torqair, and it was a micro site advertising Brake and Motor products. (Built solely in flash!) Oh the fun!
This is nowhere near my first design project, as I’ve been designing forever, but this was one of the first websites I designed after joining EMI as Junior Web Designer, and that was my first ‘proper’ job after leaving uni:
Unfortunately I do not have a screen shot of my first website anyway. It wasn’t much to look at to be honest. It was a site for Rank Films and consisted of the rank logo (you know, the guy hitting the large gong) centred on a grey background (no background colours at that stage) with a load of left aligned text underneath (no table based layout yet!).
Are you looking for FREE grunge photoshop brushes? I have compiled a list of resources where you can find hundreds of free photoshop grunge brushes. If you can find anymore, send the link through and it will get added to the list.
Brusheezy have a massive range of brushes which you can filter to gain access to their hundreds of FREE grunge photoshop brushes.
Bittbox have 5 sets of grunge wings providing 10 brushes in total.
The Outlaw Design Blog have a range of photoshop brushes which are free. Some of the best brushes in this post are on that blog.
We Function have a free grunge brush set holding 33 subtle grunge textures and effects. They have a lot more to offer so head over.
Brand creation and design is an awesome creative process and when it comes to transferring those brands across a companies stationery the fun starts all over again. I’ve decided to look for some of the most amazing and creative stationery pack designs across the web. This post shows a showcase of 35 creative stationery designs for business cards, letterheads and compliments slips. Hope you like it!
You will want to check out the guys over at Graphic River, there are tonnes of stationery sets for inspiration or to buy for as little as $7.
Hi Sarah, a big thanks for taking part in the interview!
Sarah-Jane Parmenter – not long turned 25
It’s got to be Oreo and De-caff coffee, I’m allergic to caffeine which somewhat limits my coffee consumption but I’m partial to Starbucks Christmas coffee!
Last book I read was The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris, the classic that I think most web people have read, and last movie I saw was Quantum of Solace.
When I was 3 my Dad sat me on our Atari and taught me how to play a game called “Kings Quest 3″ – but on a web design front, it all started when I was 14, so that would have been 1997. I remember having the Internet which charged you per minute and thinking chat rooms were amazing. My friends and I used to use Geocities as personal homepages for photos of our friends and family. My best friend had a page of her family photos, another friend thought it would be quite funny to get me to see if I could hack into her account (yahoo security wasn’t that hot back then, all I had to know was her dogs name to change the password) and change all her pictures to Transvestites (running joke as her family were all above 6ft) instead. The Geocities UI was clunky and instead I learnt the HTML to quickly enable me to change the pictures every night after she changed them back. She never knew it was me and I only owned up to it about a year ago.
When I had grown up and become a bit more mature (!!) our family friend from Australia came over who is a web designer carving his name out in the Australian web design world. He handed me a copy of Dreamweaver and I decided to tinker with it every night after school to see what I could do. I then had a brief stint in casting, whereby I did more work on the company website than casting people in commercials, I decided from that point on to go solo and try and get into the web design world, having no overheads and nothing to pay out for made this an easy step for me.
I then built up the business from my Mum and Dad’s spare room, after 18 months the business had outgrown the room and I looked into renting an office suite in Leigh-on-Sea, this I did and employed a friend of mine to help me run the business. In 2007 I bought my house with Stuart and it coincided with the girl who worked for me wanting to move to London with her boyfriend. The building in which our office resided had been refurbished, and not for the better – we found we were taking clients out rather than seeing them at the office, so it seemed a good transition to move out of the office and set back up again with a dedicated office at home, and this is where I am today. You’d be suprised how many of the well known web designers work from home!
Andy Clarke and Twitterers, Andy is a web standards guru and genuinely nice guy, we keep in contact and he always makes me laugh, I’ve learnt so much from him and his books. People on twitter are just amazing too – always willing to help and offer guidance. Twitter has been an amazing tool for me, I’ve learnt so much from different people.
The Australians. As Roger is an insomniac he’s practically online 24/7 so whenever I got stuck I was able to get an answer quickly and finish what I was trying to do. This is still the same now, he’s an amazing person to have on board.
Development, I think. I get more satisfaction out of development as design is classed as art and it’s so subjective, I do absolutely love designing however I don’t like the process of getting sign off, where you grapple with the typical “make my logo bigger” comments. I have had the opportunity to work with other designers recently, this has been great as you both have common goals and objectives. I’d ideally love to fill up my diary with other designers work!
Expression Engine without a doubt. Andy Clarke introduced me to it and it’s capabilities overwhelm me, it’s just an amazing tool that can be used in so many situations, I’m still learning about it but I’ve managed to gain quite a bit of knowledge in a small amount of time just experimenting with it.
I was browsing around the Internet and came across a link at the bottom of a website that said “Designed by You Know Who” - I was curious and clicked it, it went to a totally differently named company site and it became clear they did that for inquisitive people to click on. I then decided I loved the name and the potential it could have for future marketing and snapped it up there and then.
A personal one actually. One Valentines day we decided to flood our local privately owned shopping area with heart shaped balloons and hand written cards simply saying “Love You Know Who” with our contact details on the back – we had over 3000 balloons and to pump up and over 400 cards to write. We had a team and went out at 5am putting them in front of the shops. By the time everyone started going to work the area was flooded, it looked amazing.
Clients – ones that barter with your prices are bad news, never do a job on the cheap as a one off, they will always expect further work at that price. Never send anything over without them paying their invoice in full first and always get a design brief. If I had lived by these rules the first 2 years in business I would have done a lot better!
I don’t believe I am successful yet – I think I do my job very well and that it’s unusual for a girl to do this job. I make mistakes, we all do, but I like to think my mistakes are kept to a minimum and always try to learn from them quickly. The definition of success for me is the ability to hand pick clients you want to work with and disregard those you don’t, I’m not in that position yet!
I find inspiration mainly online. There are great galleries for almost anything on the internet, I especially love faveup.com. When not online though, it’s generally about lunchtime when I’m walking the dog, I’ll come up with a crazy idea for a website or realise the best way to mark-up a site.
Adium, LittleSnapper and Things.
I’m currently in e-commerce mode, I think due to the economic downturn people are placing budgets online rather than retail stores. I’m currently working on a skateboarding store, a fancy dress store and a DIY store.
I’m rubbish at it. I used to be excellent when I had an office as it was a 15 minute drive away and quite scary when no one was in there, but now I’m in my home office, I’m rubbish. I’m always checking my email or working out what app might help me run my business better, but because I enjoy what I do, it never feels like work.
I would love my future to be in designing and building top notch sites for other designers. I’ve had a taste of this recently and it’s great as they know why you might want to leave whitespace or not make a logo 500% of normal size. I went to a psychic recently and she said I’m going to be doing a lot of talking via work based travel, which could mean conferences – this is something I’d really love to get into as it lends itself perfectly to me also being in performing arts.
Not at all!! I’d be surprised if many people had heard of me, I haven’t written any books or spoken at any conferences yet so I don’t think my name is out there as much as others, I’m gradually building a profile but I think because I’m relatively young and female it’s a tougher job – not using the female card but as the majority of web designers are male I think it’s easier for them to align themselves with other male web designers.
Yes, I’m hoping to go back to FOWD next year and I really want to get to various workshops of Andy Clarke’s.
To have my own studio down here with 2 others working with me. I’ve only ever wanted a small studio, not an office, a studio – that’s my dream.
Specialise. Don’t try and be clever being mediocre at loads of things just be fantastic in one.
Good question. I’ll go with the short answer – They don’t really mix I guess, theatre is something I go into in my own time, it’s a great escape from sitting at a desk all day. Web design is my job, that I’m lucky enough to love too. Sometimes there is an overlap, like when I did the VoxPops at FOWA this year, it was like water off a ducks back as I’ve done TV in the past (that’s a whole other story) and I know enough about web design to competently interview people, that was a win win overlap for me
Thanks ever so much for taking time out of your schedule Sarah and answering questions for Floobe.
Sarah Parmenters Blog – www.sazzy.co.uk
Company Website – www.youknowwhodesign.co.uk
Twitter – www.twitter.com/sazzy