This has been a long time coming as I’m still in the process of designing my blog. With up to 15 different templates it’s certainly taking its time in coming together. I will get there eventually.
I’ve been looking in to Tumblr and Posterous in recent months and wasn’t happy with the way I wasn’t in possession of my own content. The old design, another WooThemes blog (just like this one) didn’t give me the freedom of writing very short posts. Recently on my blog I’ve been dabbling in writing short posts, comments and other types of content. It definitely didn’t look right and I needed a different way to do things, hence the change to another WooThemes blog called ‘Retreat’.
I’m looking to expand the varied way in which we can now deliver content, written, voice and video. I believe this design will enable me to do that for the foreseeable future.
There is always a time when we’ve kicked back our chair and thought, “Heck yeah, I’ve just done an awesome job!”. It could be writing an article, making client/customer interaction better, an awesome design or other piece of work where you know in your soul you’ve achieved something great.
I wanted to know what others classed as their most proud piece of work was to date and the reasons why. I’d love to hear about the work you’re most proud of!
Web standards. The phrase, the group, the education effort via A List Apart and Designing With Web Standards. We changed the web. We changed the world.
Clumsily pecked into a tiny picture of a keyboard.
I would say that I’m most proud of the Vandelay Design Blog, not necessarily from a design perspective but just the overall results of the blog. When I started the blog I really knew nothing about blogging, so it’s been an incredible growing experience. I’m excited about the community of readers that have chosen to subscribe to the blog, and I’m proud that I’ve been consistent with it for more than two years.
My blog would probably have to be my proudest achievement and has been my longest ongoing project. It’s a great feeling to be able to do what you love for a living and my blog allows me to do this, all while having a readership that teaches and motivates me to do it better each day.
When I took a step back and really thought about it one piece kept jumping into my mind “Xycoon”. I have never been able to put my finger on exactly why I like this piece so much. Perhaps because when I look at it even now 5 years later, I still would not change a thing about it. I doubt many of us can say that about to many of our pieces.
In terms of greatly influencing my online reputation, I think the Polaroid Redesign V2 (my project codename – see attached) propelled me into some kind of a spotlight. Beyond the positive feedback I got on the design, I was actually also featured on quite a few CSS galleries and whilst I now (slightly) cringe when looking at the design, I can still acknowledge the fact that it increased the speed in which I established my online branding.
I also later released the design (twice) as a free WP theme (see: WP-Polaroid V2 WordPress Theme ), which probably single-handedly sent about 250K unique visitors to my blog. The Polaroid Redesign V2 was also the first blog design that paid for itself in terms of the ads I sold, so it signaled a “first of many” trend for me.
I’m most proud of the very original FlashDen.net site from back in 2006. It’s not my best design or CSS work, and looking back it had a long way to go to becoming really usable, but I’m proud of it because it was the site that started Envato!
I’m most proud of my two blogs, the self-titled David Airey and Logo Design Love. I’ve learned a great deal from the people who visit, and the content helps potential clients to decide if I’m the right man for their design project. They’re also the longest combined project I’ve worked on, approaching three years now.
It’s hard to pick one, but I think the ‘Blue Flavor’ poster I did for Blue Flavor was one of my favourite projects. I had loads of fun doing it and I was really pleased with the end result, as was the client. It was the kind of job I’d do for the pure enjoyment anyway, so it was great for it to actually be paid work! I got to do some drawing, mess around with a few cool typographic and textural treatments, and generally have a lot of fun mixing up illustration and design.
The Big Word Project [www.thebigwordproject.com]
I co-created this website while at University with Paddy Donnelly. It was a ‘small’ side project to help me research web apps and to try out Ruby on Rails (and to try and make a little bit of money). The Big Word Project we set about listing all the word of the dictionary and selling them for $1 per letter. By buying a word you linked it to your website of choice. First family and friends started buying words, then John Gruber mentioned it on his blog and that kicked off a hoard of bloggers buying words to their sites. The highlight was getting interviewed by Wired magazine. The website still survives today and has sold over 6,800 words.
My piece of work I’m most proud of has to be my site over at Blog.SpoonGraphics. I built it purely as an experiment to gain a feel for the world of blogging, and it soon started to take off and developed a good profile in the community. It has continued to develop and now has reached an amazing level of exposure, seeing huge traffic and subscriber stats. It has also built me a great profile against my name, bringing stacks of opportunities from interviews on various sites, appearances in magazines and even the odd book! With none of this never being expected it’s definitely my most valuable achievement.
My most prized piece of work so far is definitely my blog/portfolio site – http://www.andysowards.com . The reason for this is simply because it was my launching pad to what I am today, its my constant piece of ongoing work. It will never be perfect but with each revision (it was recently/currently redesigned and is now almost officially on version 2.0) it gets a little closer to what I want it to be.
I have had a LOT of fun working on it and in the process have learned so much about WordPress and its inner workings so that I can pass on that knowledge and value to my clients. Everytime I see it, I get a feeling of accomplishment, and am always thinking of ways I can improve it and bring more value to my readers/clients.
For some reason I’m particularly proud of Design-Newz.com. It took me about 5 or 6 hours to design and code this site (much less than usual) I was feeling inspired and creative and just went ahead with this simple idea I had. I’m known for redesigning my sites all the time, but I haven’t touched this one (except minor tweaks) since its launch and it’s been online for a while now. This design has been stolen, copied, plagiarized, etc… many times! And that’s probably why I’m proud of it.
Back in 1999 Star Wars Episode 1 came out. My coworker, Jonatha Caspian and I were discussing the costumes that year and I told her how I thought the Queen Amidala costume was beautiful. She suggested I create that. I told her I didn’t even know how to sew. I believe I started that project in August. The first month I spent researching every photo I could get my hand on of the dress and gathering supplies. Jonatha taught me how to sew and I ended up creating that costume at night after work for another month. I would photo copy the embroidery on the front panel of the dress and enlarge it so I could draw the pattern in paint on the fabric. I had to think out of the box to create that costume for instance the bubbles at the bottom were plastic and I bought three Nerf footballs and spray painted them with transparent stained glass paint. I even added lights to the inside that were battery operated so they glowed at night. The headdress was made of cushion that is used in couches and carved for the shape then wrapped with hair extensions.
In 2001 when the Smithsonian museum hosted the Star Wars exhibit I wore it on the metro into the exhibit (they asked people to dress up on the first day). I had been in a car accident the week before so I wasn’t moving that fast and I missed the group photo but I still had fun because tourists kept asking to take their photo with me (they thought I was part of the exhibit).
Now this costume sits on a mannequin and gets worn by various geeky friends when they come into my apartment and you can see it here.
The CV design I created for the Steve Stevenson Challenge (part of the Smashing Magazine article How To Create A Great Web Design CV and Résumé) is a piece I’m unusually proud of. It’s not something you come to design very often, and it’s not my preferred method of design but the work I put into this I am very happy with.
Not to mention the fantastic response it received, I’ve had many an email thanking me for releasing the template that has been downloaded thousands of times and most recently it has been licensed to be included in a new CV building application that is on the horizon. It might have been a spare time effort, but I am indeed very proud.
What am I most proud of? This is probably a mixture of personal and ‘work’ related. I chose this piece of work as, number one, it is my Son which I am always proud of and all the new things he does every day (he is two years old now). And number two, it is a personal project that I really enjoyed working on, and it came out pretty much exactly how I envisaged it. Working on a computer everyday limits the time I get to pick up a pencil to work with.
First off is GTPlayground.com. It was the first of it’s kind at the time and filled it’s niche perfectly. It was also the first time I ventured into the CSS and Div world. On top of that I programmed the entire thing myself. Not a single plugin was used. Considering that my main focus has always been design I am still proud that I managed to create that beast.
Secondly, I am proud of what we did with From the Couch. That site took about 10hrs to create but has changed the way we do business online and offline. It has opened doors that we never knew needed opening and given us access to some pretty influential peeps in the web industry. I am proud that we got there first (daily web vlog) and never gave up. I am also pretty stoked with how the redesign came out
I would honestly say that I’m probably most proud of this design at this point (of those I can show) attached. The Matthew Henry Project.
What piece of work am I most proud of? Probably one my latest pieces, a website for a family member’s pub. It doesn’t sound that fantastic and it may not be a website for a multimillion pound organisation, but it was still fun and rewarding to see the finished product launched.
Why is this project the one I’m most proud of? Good question. Maybe it’s because being primarily a website developer, I normally don’t get unleashed on designing a website from the very beginning. Maybe because it was a break from crafting away on the back-end of corporate websites. Or it may be because it was the first project in a long time where I got to see it out from the very beginning to the end, when the site was launched.
The website is fairly basic and not that complex, but I felt the way the site ended up looking and working was a success, especially when you consider it was designed and built over the course of a couple of days. The site is˜like many others˜powered by a bespoke content management system and features various modules for different types of content, such as news articles, upcoming events, a photo gallery and feedback form. There is also a few enhancements powered by jQuery, such as pop-up details on events and gallery images that adds a little sparkle to the finished product, which can be found at www.doga68.com.
My favorite piece of work, or the work I’m most proud of (to date), isn’t just one piece but a collection of paintings I like to call the “inner beast” series. I completed these 6 paintings nearing the end of my military service in Japan in the summer of 2007. They reflect the inner struggles I (we) all go through in life. I like to think that we all have animal instincts. So instead of paintings some abstract colors or shapes to express emotion, I wanted to dress my emotions up and give them some character.
The reason I chose these as my favorite is because they are so personal and really the first official collection of anything I have done to date. I hope to complete more work like this in the future.
But don’t look to me to tell you why – look to the reviews we’ve received over the years, especially this past weekend’s event.
Thanks to everyone who got involved in the article, it is greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing about your own work and which pieces you’re most proud of.
If you want to get involved in future posts, get in touch via the contact page with a bit of info on yourself and what you do and I’ll be in touch.
So I’m going to do something that I don’t usually do, I’m previewing the blog design I’ve been working on and whilst it’s only a snippet of what it may look like I just thought I’d show it off. I’ve been working on the new design on and off since Christmas but I am aiming to get it live for the beginning of August as I have a lot of other things going on at the minute with eCommerce experiment, carrotmedia, floobe.com and validationicons.com
I wanted to produce a design that encompasses what I like when I’m at home and comfortable. After all this blog is my personal space.
Way back in August 2007 I decided to start my own blog. I have a deep history of using content managed websites from my days of running the nvmax.com website and wanted a place to scribble down my own thoughts about what I was doing. I also wanted to carry on doing reviews for which I had been doing for a long time.
The old blog was held together with shoe strings and bubble gum, it was a carved up older theme for which I liked the look of. I’ve never known much PHP so was rather apprehensive about starting to amend and change a theme when I had only started using wordpress. Using wordpress was the first time I had really known what was involved in this thing people called blogging. Browsing the web enabled me to find so many more bloggers, one of which was Matt Brett. I enjoyed reading Matt’s gaming reviews and still do today. Looking and reading Matt’s various posts about wordpress made me more intrigued at how it all worked.
WordPress has come a long way in such a short time, a year has passed since I first started using it and there have been so many noticeable improvements. The interface for the dashboard has changed entirely and even though the differences between 2.6 and 2.7 were so huge, the usability got better with it. There are more plugins than ever before and with the likes of jquery making an ever impressive gut punch into our web world you can do so much more with the front end. It’s now a time for enjoying what wordpress can do, and all though it doesn’t tick every box it certainly covers a lot of them.
I started reading Adii Rockstars blog shortly after Matt Brett’s last year, I can’t exactly remember why I ended up at Adii’s but it may have been after seeing a post about his premium news themes. His premium news theme at the time reminded me so much of nvmax.com that it brought memories flooding back. WordPress as a news theme is tremendous, it is one of its largest uses today.
Fairly recently Adii joined up with Magnus Jepson and Mark Forrester to start WooThemes. They have developed a range of different premium themes which you buy a licence form, of which all a fantastic quality and build. They’ve pulled out all the stops to provide their users with themes which they know they want, some of which have now been used for websites like gomediazine.com.
I’ve learnt a lot about wordpress from Magnus, he seems to hint at what you need to do rather than tell you all the gory details therefore you learn so much more and quicker.
I am a hypocrit. Why you might be asking. I don’t believe designers should be using a premium theme which they haven’t designed. Yet, I’ve went and done this myself by using the Over Easy Theme. I listed my reasons for using Over Easy in the “why I’m overeasy” post, it was mainly because I was so busy with work and other projects that I couldn’t devote the time I wanted or needed to a new blog design. I am yet to find the perfect life/work balance which I can enjoy the best of both worlds. My old blog theme as I said earlier was held together with shoe strings and bubble gum and the easiest way to fix this was use a premium theme as I trusted the build quality.
I do believe that designers and even some developers should prove their worth as such by working on their own blog (if they have one already).
My overall view is that it would be slightly weird if I was to sit and use a theme designed by Veerle Pieters, Matt Brett or Elliot Jay Stocks rather than doing my own blog with my own unique tastes. I simply do not have the time.
It would be interesting to see what other designers and developers views are?