Designers, what was your first piece of work?

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.

David Perel – http://www.obox-design.com

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.

daveperel_helmet

Ryan Downie – http://www.ryandownie.com

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.

ryandownienet

Tim Van Damme – http://www.madebyelephant.com

[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]

timvandamme_cvision

Pasquale D’Silva – http://www.darkmotion.com

These are my first vector pieces from back in 05ish:

pasqualeillustration

David Airey – http://www.davidairey.com

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.

davidairey_newdawn

Chris Spooner – http://www.spoongraphics.co.uk

An old print design project from my first job, a magazine page ad for local events.

chrisspooner_primary-times

Gabriel Segura – http://www.cssmania.com

My first design in 2004 worth to show, attached. The rest, can be seen in http://nv30.com up to today, 2009.

2004_1st

Oliver Ker – http://www.oliverker.co.uk

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!

rastrick-oliverker

Chris Merritt – http://www.pixelightcreative.com

Screenshot of version 1.0 of pixelightcreative.com. Tables, baby! Be gentle in your article!

picture-1

Jon Phillips – http://www.spyrestudios.com

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

screencapture

Kevin Crafts – http://www.kevincrafts.com

I’ve attached a screenshot of my personal site in flash (yikes).

untitled

Steve Smith – http://www.orderedlist.com

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!)

not_too_proud

Lee Munroe – http://www.leemunroe.com

I did this for a cinema about 5/6 years ago (It’s still online)

leemunroe_iveagh

Jonathan Snook – http://snook.ca

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

picture-3

Matthew Smith – http://www.squaredeye.com

mattpastedgraphic

Mike Kus – http://thethingswemake.co.uk

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!

our-great-adventure_1248732957765

Jason Santa Maria – http://www.jasonsantamaria.com

Sure thing. I actually wrote about this a while back and the previous versions of my sites are online:

http://jasonsantamaria.com/articles/my-first-website/

http://v1.jasonsantamaria.com/
http://v2.jasonsantamaria.com/

jason-santa-maria

Jacob Cass – http://www.justcreativedesign.com

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.

iains6

Veerle Pieters – http://veerle.duoh.com/

I had to dig into my archives and go look for stuff that is not laying around here since it is so old ๐Ÿ™‚ I started out in ’92 so that’s ‘pre-internet-dino’ time ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!) ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

deganck-inside-2

Cameron Moll – http://www.cameronmoll.com

Thereโ€™s something so childhood-photo-ish about diving into oneโ€™s personal website archives. But itโ€™s amazing to see how far weโ€™ve really comeโ€”or how far we have yet to go.

Prepare yourself for legendary FrontPage 98 code.

littlesnapper

Andy Sowards – http://www.andysowards.com

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.

photoshopme2

Rob Palmer – http://www.branded07.com

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!

torqair

Elliot Jay Stocks – http://www.elliotjaystocks.com

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:

elliot_jossstone

Not everyone had a screenshot…

Paul Boag – http://www.boagworld.com

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!).

I interview Andrew Disley

Andrew, thanks ever so much for taking part in this interview so close to Christmas.

1. Full Name and Age please. ๐Ÿ™‚

Andrew Disley, 23.

2. Favourite Biscuit and Drink.

Biscuit: Chocolate Shortbread. Drink: Latte with extra shots.

3. Last Book you read and last movie you saw.

Last book: Double Cross by James Patterson. Last movie: The Dark Knight.

4. Where and When did it all start?

My passion for the web began during my early high school years, I remember first being introduced to Google a few months after it launched by one of our teachers and I even remember the excitement I got while waiting for music to download using the original Napster which just amazed me, I was hooked. I spend all my hard earned paper-round money on our Dial-Up connection and it wasn’t long before I began to play online games like Counter-Strike. I joined gaming clans which inevitably got me into designing and building sites for these clans. I started out in Frontpage but soon found myself hand-coding the HTML because I didn’t like the “ugly” markup that Frontpage produced and much preferred to know what was going on under the hood. Professionally my career started when I was offered a job a local firm JJB Sports Plc looking after their websites.

5. Is there anyone in the industry who you look up to?

Lots of people, many of the people I’ve worked with in the past and many of the well-know names along with local folks I know through GeekUp and the likes. There are way too many people to list here.

6. What was a key factor in your professional growth and development?

It would have to be the time at Code, learning form the people there and working on high-profile accounts. I’ve also a real passion for what I do and the try to achieve the best possible outcome for whatever it maybe I’m working on.

7. Where does your heart lie, with design or development? And why.

Development, from an early age I loved taking things apart to find out how they worked and rebuilding them.

8. What was it like working at Code Computerlove?

Scary and quite intimidating at first, I’d never been around so many amazingly talented people before who had such love for the industry. Fantastically awesome people, and some great projects but there were some tough deadlines.

9. What was the biggest project you worked on whilst working there?

I’ve worked on some really big accounts and projects over the years at Code, but I think the biggest and most testing had to be the rebuild of HMV.com in July/August 2007.

10. Throughout your entire career to date, is there any particular problem you’ve ran in to more than once? Clients, Jobs, Work?

The biggest problem I find myself facing is taking on too much, not just on the web work front. I’ve got that balance right, I think. I do still find myself pulling all nighters to meet deadlines. It’s the other projects I get involved with that stretch my schedule.

11. What do you consider to be the biggest contributing factor to your success?

Dedication and support from my family and fiancee, Kerry.

12. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Primarily online via the blogs and showcase sites, looking at what people are doing and how they’re pushing things technology wise.

13. As we all know you’re a mac man, what are your 3 favourite apps?

I’ve many more than 3 favourite apps but if I had to list only 3 it would have to be: TextMate, Quicksilver and YoJimbo as they are the most used apps on my machines.

14. What made you want to go full time freelance?

The flexibility, I found there just wasn’t enough hours in day to do my full-time job at Code and all the extracurricular projects that I take on. There were times when I could really do with taking a day of at short notice which you can’t really do when you work for “the man”. In all honesty there still isn’t enough time, but I can at short notice shuffle things around.

Role: Design and Development

15. How do you balance your time between your different businesses?

It’s tough and I think I’m doing a decent job of it, although if you ask my fiancee I’m sure she’ll tell you otherwise. When I do figure it out, I’ll let you know the secret.

16. Where do you see the future being?

I want to grow my freelance portfolio and I’m also in the process of teaming up with a few other awesome minds and in the not so distant future we’re hoping to launch a couple of things.

17. Are you heading to any conferences over the next year?

Hopefully, I’d love to make it to Reboot this year, along with a few BarCamps and there are talks of a local live streaming of TED via the TED Associate Membership.

18. If you had one goal to reach (anything) within 3 years, what would it be?

I’ve recently got engaged and it would be absolutely fantastic if in 3 years time we’ve tied the knot and bought our first home together. That’s more than one but I put them both under the heading “building the family”.

19. If you had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to venture in to the your industry, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there a lots of offline and online communities around that have members who are very happy to offer advice and support.

Links:

http://andrewdisley.com/
http://twitter.com/andrewdisley

http://simplified.co.uk/
http://geekup.org/
http://rollerstrut.com/

I interview Sarah Parmenter

Hi Sarah, a big thanks for taking part in the interview!

1. Full Name and Age please. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sarah-Jane Parmenter – not long turned 25

2. Favourite Biscuit and Drink.

It’s got to be Oreo and De-caff coffee,ย  I’m allergic to caffeine which somewhat limits my coffee consumption but I’m partial to Starbucks Christmas coffee!

3. Last Book you read and last movie you saw.

Last book I read was The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris, the classic that I think most web people have read,ย  and last movie I saw was Quantum of Solace.

4. Where and When did it all start?

When I was 3 my Dad sat me on our Atari and taught me how to play a game called “Kings Quest 3”ย  – 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!

5. Is there anyone in the industry who you look up to?

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.

6. What was a key factor in your professional growth and development?

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.

7. Where does your heart lie, with design or development? And why.

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!

8. Out of these 3, WordPress, Light CMS and Expression Engine, which do you like the most and why?

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 aย  bit of knowledge in a small amount of time just experimenting with it.

9. Where did the name YouKnowWho come from?

I was browsing around the Internet and came across a link at the bottom of a website that said “Designed by You Know Who” –ย  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.

10. What is the biggest project you have worked on?

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.

11. Throughout your entire career to date, is there any particular problem you’ve ran in to more than once? Clients, Jobs, Work, Family?

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!

12. What do you consider to be the biggest contributing factor to your success?

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!

13. Where do you get your inspiration from and where are you most inspirational?

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.

14. As we all know you’re a mac girl, what are your 3 favourite apps?

Adium, LittleSnapper and Things.

15. What other projects are you currently working on?

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.

16. How do you balance your time between work and normal life?

I’m rubbish at it. I used to be excellent when I had an office as it was aย  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.

17. Where do you see the future being?

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.

18. You’re a well known designer, do you class yourself as famous?

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.

19. Are you heading to any conferences over the next year?

Yes, I’m hoping to go back to FOWD next year and I really want to get to various workshops of Andy Clarke’s.

20. If you had one goal to reach (anything) within 3 years, what would it be?

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.

21. If you had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to venture in to the your industry, what would it be?

Specialise. Don’t try and be clever being mediocre at loads of things just be fantastic in one.

p.s. Random questions from myself, theatre and web design? How did they become mixed?

Good question. I’ll go with the short answer ๐Ÿ™‚ – 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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