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.
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!
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! 🙂
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 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.
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.
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!).
Andrew, thanks ever so much for taking part in this interview so close to Christmas.
1. Full Name and Age please. 🙂
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.
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.
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!
The Wonderland Hotel
The Hazelnut Promotion Group
Rooftop Communications LLC
Armagh City Hotel
Master of Disguise
Capolonna Buffet Service
Seu Armando Bar
Golden Three Stars
Looking for more?
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.
Charities are often in the spotlight whether it be in the news or advertisements. Both local, national and international charities fight hand over fist to become more prominent in the press. Usually, Charities do very well with printed advertisements, radio adverts and TV slots but when it comes to the web many websites are let down by very poor design.
Smaller charities are often supported by local companies and offered free services in return for some press coverage. Larger charities however can offer money in return for an outstanding website. You’d think that many design agencies working with a charity would do their utmost to prove their worth and show their skill set in return for free press, from the research which we did of a wide range of UK and International Charities this is not the case.
In this showcase, you will find a variety of charity websites with informative beautiful design. The following designs are 10 of the best Charity websites out there.
Hi Sarah, a big thanks for taking part in the interview!
1. Full Name and Age please. 🙂
Sarah-Jane Parmenter – not long turned 25
2. Favourite Biscuit and Drink.
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!
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, 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” – 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 a 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” – 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 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.
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 🙂 – 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.
‘Web Rockstar’, in recent weeks the name has caused all kinds of trouble, some people saying the name is a whole load of rubbish and others stating that designers who have tagged the term don’t deserve it. Well I’ve contacted 30 34 Web Rockstars, Rockstars in it’s most general term linked to music. Generally design can be linked to music, whether it be to concentrate or grab inspiration from.
I wanted to know what music they listen to when their head is deep in to work. I asked whether they could name three tracks or explain what kind of music they need to work or what music inspires them the most.
Thank you to all who got involved in the post, I really appreciate it. My music choice when I’ve got my head down is the Gladiator OST and most important ‘The Battle’ Track. Hans Zimmer is an absolute god when it comes to working music.
That’s tough because it can vary a lot depending on the kind of work I’m doing. Sometimes, I need focus (I’m a code geek) and other times, upbeat and loud works well… Three types of songs that always work for me though would be:
Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard (or anything by Glen Hansard or Damien Rice) The Art of Suicide – Emilie Autumn (Love Emilie, Tori Amos, any angsty gurl singer) Why? – Bronski Beat (Jimmy Sommerville has one of the best voices evAR. I have a whole library of awesome 80’s new wave for “those days”)
This is a tough question actually, depends on the mood, I listen to sooo much music at work, lol.
Gold Fish (Artist) – Great NuJazz/AfroHouse music, we’ve been following them religiously since 2004 when they were just starting out.
Infected Mushrooms (Artist) – All their pre-2004 Tracks are so intricate and awesome, it takes you to another zone!
Any Soulcandi (local record label) and Café Del Mar album. – Both really great CD series, one local house music, the other European. And at Obox we dig our House 😉
Other mentions – Sublime, The Roots, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Daft Punk, Paul van Dyk… aaaaaaahhhhh so much!
Because of my musical background, I can’t work while listening to music. I pay too much attention to music to ignore it while designing or writing.
If I absolutely have to play music while working — for instance, to drown out a loud studio mate — it’s most likely to be something ambient and non-vocal, since I also can’t ignore lyrics while writing or designing.
I listen to dance music – I like the way it’s consistent and rhythmic. I think it helps keep my mind focused in one direction, whereas usually it branches off into many directions at once.
I like to think it stops the mind fidgeting by giving it something trivial to do. Anything more complex and I start to think about the music, which wreaks havoc with my concentration.
Dance music is really just white noise.
I particularly like trance and house for this – Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise 7 is my favourite coding music, and Cream is good, although pretty much any trance album will do.
What music keeps you going?
Lately to “reawaken” myself is the Ting Ting’s the song “That’s not my name” or “Shut Up and Let Me Go” or ABBA’s “Waterloo”
What music do you listen to when your head is deep into your work?
I pick songs that were mainly in the Jazz/Swing category. This is partly because I used to swing dance.
Three tracks; This is a difficult one!
Michael Bublé – Pretty much anything on his “Call Me Irresponsible” album. My favorite song is “The Best is yet to come” “Summer Wind”
Norah Jones – “Shoot the moon”
Ray Gelato – “My Kind of Girl”
Can you tell I’m a bit of a romantic and old fashioned? 😉
I don’t really have a short answer for this, to be honest. I listen to music constantly while at my desk – my Last.fm profile (http://www.last.fm/user/MattBrett) is a testament to that. I go through phases, though. More often than not, I’m listening to instrumental film, tv, and video game scores. Among my favourites are the Battlestar Galactica series, The Bourne Identity, and the Elder Scrolls Morrowind and Oblivion. When it comes to actual bands, I listen to a lot of ska and reggae, but mostly punk rock. A Wilhelm Scream always fit the bill. As do The Aggrolites, and The Slackers.
I’m a huge fan of Piano Music, it helps mostly with the late nights, I would highly recommend Scott Davis, I have two of his CD’s, my favourite song being Swiftwater which you can listen to on Youtube.
I find listening to Piano music to be better for my productivity over other music because there are no words for me to sing along to so I don’t get interupted. I also love Jazz and my two favourite peaces are Tenderly and Dave Brubeck’s Take Five!
Matthew Smith – http://squaredeye.com
Oh, that’s easy 😛
1. DJ Tiesto’s ClubLife Podcast (not so much a track, but definitely a great hour of music every week)
2. Sigur Ros : Glosoli
3. Explosions in the Sky : First Breath after a Coma.
I don’t listen to music while working — it’s too distracting, for me. I’m virtually incapable of listening to music passively. If music is playing, I focus on it, and usually end up signing, drumming on my desk, or even dancing around the room. As such, it’s not particularly helpful for getting things done. I’m jealous of those who can rock headphones all day! I wish I could!
Well I seem to have a very random and eclectic taste when it comes to music. I have no specific type of music that I listen to when working so I suppose three songs I seem to be listening to regularly at the minute would be:
All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix (Ever since I saw Watchmen)
Volcano – Damian Rice (Theres a live version on YouTube that is just awesome)
CrushCrushCrush – Paramore (I’ve got a thing for Hayley Williams ;-))
It’s hard to say because I listen to a lot of different music depending on what type of mood I’m in at the moment. It’s always rock of some sort, sometimes I prefer heavier music and other times not. A few albums that I have been listening to a lot recently are Skillet, Comatose – Remedy Drive, Daylight is Coming – and Blindside, Silence.
My music library — and musical tastes for that matter — is constantly evolving, changing, growing. Right now, I find anything from Explosions in the Sky is the perfect music to design by. Top picks are “First Breath After Coma” (best song title ever, isn’t it?) and “Your Hand in Mine”. I’ll reserve the third pick for a song I have yet to discover from Explosions in the Sky.
Songs I love the most when working… For this I had to cheat by looking at my iTunes play count! Here they are:
Melt My Heart To Stone – Adele
I usually click on this one because it’s at the top of my playlist, but it’s a good chilled out tune nevertheless! I can’t listen to anything too abrasive when I’m fixing CSS for IE6.
Crush – Dave Matthews Band
I don’t think I could ever get sick of this song! I think I probably sing along without realizing it when it comes on. Definitely a good tune for when I’m deep into my work.
You Get What You Give – New Radicals
This song always gets me in a good mood, particularly when I’m really stressed out by demanding clients and fast approaching deadlines.
When I’m in full-on design or code mode — as opposed to managing or writing — I’m more or less constantly plugged into music, and genres can and will run all over the map. (I have what friends euphemistically refer to as, “eclectic” taste. Shuffle mode turns up 70s punk and Philip Glass in equal measure.) Here are a few tracks I’ve been turning to lately when I’m in need of a good creative kick in the pants:
I’m a Man – Black Strobe
Elctroclash + Bo Diddley = Many levels of awesome.
People Who Died – Jim Carroll
A song that answers the question, “What could possibly go wrong?” with the reply, “Everything.”
ToyBoy – Stuck in the Sound
Check, check, check, shake!
If I really need to get into the creative flow, I always turn to Muse or NIN. It was really hard to choose individual songs because I usually play a range of tracks in a playlist, but these 3 songs occasionally get the repeat treatment when they come up while working.
The Great Destroyer – NIN
Hysteria – Muse
Time is Running Out – Muse
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer by John Lee Hooker
Comptine d’un autre été by Yann Tiersen
Heartbeats by José González
Joshua Smibert – http://fuelbrandnetwork.com
When I am really concentrating or am trying to grasp a concept… I more often than not, turn off all music. I use the quiet as a sounding board to repeat back my thoughts. On the other hand, when I don’t have to think too hard, but have to get something done, some Armin Van Burin helps me. Basically anything with electronic or consistent beats seems to speed up arduous tasks like emails & contracts….that or Metal. When I am in a slump and need to force myself to think outside the box, I’ll listen to Greenday, The offspring, Panic at the Disco or LIT. Something with some kick.
3 Tracks I have gone back to for years are ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ by ELO, ‘I’m not sick but not well’ by LIT & a newer one, ’You’re gonna go far Kid’ by The Offspring.
Rob Dougan – Will You Follow Me?
My teenage years were spent falling in love with both indie and orchestral film scores. I adored everything from Jesus Jones and The Supernaturals through to James Horner and Danny Elfman. Rob Dougan’s album Furious Angels combines both, although Will You Follow Me? is purely orchestral. It’s uplifting, fulfilling, gracious and note perfect.
Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart
My favourite place in the world is New York, so whenever a song gets stuck in my head while I’m there, the two become linked and I’ll play the song to fill the voids in between visits. Not that Death Cab For Cutie are from NYC (they’re from the West Coast) but the vibe of the song fits the city.
Electronic – Feel Every Beat
Another song from my college years – specifically the cellar bar in Perry’s, Darlington with my friend Adrian Taylor. Electronic (Bernard Sumner from New Order and Johnny Marr from The Smiths) deserved to be bigger and brighter than they were, they were the grown up side of Madchester. Great energy and harmony, very mellow.
Q4. Did you enjoy working from home when it all started?
No, I found it pretty tough. It’s hard when you don’t have someone to bounce ideas off and ask for opinions. It’s also tough to stay disciplined. I think a mix of working at home and office works best.
Q5. Is there anyone in the industry who you look up to?
Jason Fried, Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Williams, Kathy Sierra… the list goes on.
Q6. What was a key factor in your professional growth and development?
My father and mother drilled into me that I could do whatever I put my mind to. This has given me the confidence to do a lot of what we’ve done.
Q7. Where does your heart lie, with web apps or conferences and why?
I love the web and technology, and I also love connecting people. Carsonified will always continue to build apps and sites, but our core revenue comes from events. I love seeing people’s faces light up at events when they’re encouraged, inspired or challenged. There’s such a buzz when everyone comes together.
Q8. Out of these 3, WordPress, Light CMS and Expression Engine, which do you like the most and why?
WordPress – hands down. Matt has done an amazing job with WordPress – it’s easy to use, completely open source, and very powerful. What more could you want?
Q9. Do you see Carsonified as work or just a way of life?
Definitely a way of life. It’s a part of me and even though we only work four days a week, I think almost constantly about new ideas and projects.
Q10. What was the biggest project you’ve worked on so far?
Both DropSend and FOWA London are huge projects. There obviously very different but both are challenging and rewarding.
Q11. Throughout your entire career to date, is there any particular problem you’ve ran in to more than once? Clients, Jobs, Work, Family?
The hardest part about running Carsonified is that there are really big ups and downs. When it’s rocking, it’s rockin. When it’s hard, it’s really hard. However, I love crafting a company where the team and our customers feel loved and cared for. That’s my ultimate goal.
Q12. What do you consider to be the biggest contributing factor to your success?
The fact that we try quite hard to treat other people like we want to be treated. We do our best to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and contacts.
Q13. Where do you get your inspiration from?
My wife, Gill and my son Jackson.
Q14. What are your 3 favourite apps?
Gmail, Things and Twitterific.
Q15. Do you think any company can do a 4 day working week?
You bet. It just takes a hell of a lot of determination and a specific decision to focus on quality of life instead of revenue.
Q16. How do you balance your time between family, carsonified, your apps, fowd, fowa etc??
It’s hard – we constantly balance everything. That’s something I find quite hard. However, I’m working harder at leaving work at work. I turn off email on my iPhone over the weekend and try to Tweet less.
Q17. Where do you see the future being?
For the company? We’ll be doing more events (probably smaller instead of big expos) and building more apps.
Q18. You’re a well known individual, do you class yourself as famous?
Nope 🙂 I might know a few people in our small web world, but I’m no where close to being famous.
Q19. Are you ready to head out to other parts of the UK to do other conferences, i.e. fowa or fowd?
You bet. We’re planning on taking FOWA to Dublin soon!
Q20. If you had one goal to reach (anything) within 3 years, what would it be?
Launching another web app, and taking FOWA and FOWD to more places. Also, a little more cash in the bank wouldn’t be bad 😉
Q21. If you had one piece of advice for anyone wanting to venture in to your industry, what would it be?
Be bold and humble. Anyone is contactable, so just keep trying and be respectful. Find a way to be helpful to someone before asking for their help.
p.s. Random question from myself, what core qualities do you look for when employing someone?
Friendliness and helpfulness
Ryan, good luck in your future and look forward to talking to you again soon. Would love to pop down to Carsonified HQ at some point.