So, you want to get into Web Design?

Note: This article was originally written in 2010. Facts may have changed.

So you’re looking to get into web design? It’s a dog-eat-dog world and below I’ll take you through what the industry is like, what kind of jobs you can do, what skills you need, how you can market yourself, how to communicate with clients and how to make money by charging appropriately.

The Industry

In September 2009, the United Kingdom Design Council told the government that the design industry was the largest in Europe with a total turnover over of £11.6 billion and has an international reputation for quality and value. The research which the design council also presented also showed that companies that invest in design outperform in practically every measure of business performance including market share, growth, productivity, share price and competitiveness. This was added with the fact that adding value through design brings market confidence and competitive advantage and reduces the need to compete on price. You can read more of the details, specifically, points 33 and 34.

In the current climate, many old hats are saying that manufacturing will once again bring the UK economy back to rights. This is an old view, especially with how fast things are changing in the world today, the creative industry is moving at a staggering pace. The UK design industry is known for quality and value yet other European companies are chasing and acting on new advice to move and look at creative and technology industries as a core movement.

This is where our design sector has everything to play for. Not just as a solid exporter but as the key to unlocking UK innovation and future wealth creation. Design is not a luxury but an essential ingredient for survival and growth. Rather like the bees, if we vanish so does the economic honey says Chief Executive of the Design Council, David Kester.

Working in Web*

There are many areas within web design that you can work. Our design ‘field’ is expanding on a daily basis with job titles like UX Designer, UI Designer, Visual Designer, Front-End Engineer, PHP Developer… the list is truly endless. Whether you’ve been designing since a young age or have been to college and university there will come a point where you need to decide what route to go down. Do you want to be free of pressures from above and work as a freelancer or do you want to work with a team and be part of a bigger picture and work at an agency? Both will take you on a different journey, both will be exciting and both will add in certain pressures on your life that you wouldn’t expect.

Most designers that I know of work as freelancers even when working at an agency. You will, however, have to have this approved by your manager, some allow it, some don’t. Always check your contract first.

Working in an Agency

How to get a job in an agency – Agencies expect for you to be at a certain ‘level of requirement’ before they offer you a position. Larger agencies even tend to look at you academically rather than at your portfolio pieces. Smaller agencies might look at your portfolio and offer you a position on the spot. Always have your portfolio in a good working order and then think creatively at how you can get the attention of a prospective boss. Always do your research on the company before you apply as 9 out of 10 times when you’re in an interview you’ll be asked about what you know of the company. Thanks to Google and Facebook you can now do your research in full. If you’re looking for a design job within an agency, check out their company websites or places like authentic jobs.

Life in an Agency – Depending on the company you join, your working life can vary drastically. You may be given certain perks like Carsonified who offer a 4-day working week, your own iPhone and lunch on the house every day. The alternative is that you will be a small cog in a large wheel and will be expected to put in long hours with certain pressures from above. Most of the time, life within an agency is fun. You build up great relationships with your co-workers and you become a lot like family doing the best for each other.

An Agency Wage – Depending on the company and your geo-location, a low-entry design job can usually pay a starting wage of £17k. You will find that depending on your geo-location some areas will pay more e.g. London jobs tend to pay more as a wage because the cost of living is higher.

Working Freelance

Working for yourself is great, you have no one looking over your shoulder telling you what has to be done by when. There is no boss to impress and you earn your own cash.  Sounds great yeah? Just stop and think for a second… It’s a world of uncertainty and hard work.

Everything You Do Is Work – You think you can be a freelancer and only work 9-5? Go ahead and give it a shot, it’ll last a week before your brain starts telling you that you need more hours in the day to make more money. Every single hour of every single day is a money making minute to you once you’re freelance if you don’t work you don’t earn a penny (cent – for my American readers).

Work Doesn’t Just Find You – An agency is great, you get your work set out for you. As a freelancer, especially setting out as a freelancer you have to find the work not the other way round. You have to devote time and energy to finding new work if you don’t then guess what? You don’t earn a penny (cent – for my American readers).

Staggered Earning – You invoice, you work, you invoice. Sounds easy. Until the first invoice, you sent doesn’t get paid straight away. You might want your money straight away but the companies you work for would usually have a minimum of 30 days payment terms and these days you could be looking at anywhere from 30 – 90 days payment terms. So guess what happens if you don’t keep on top of your invoicing? You don’t earn a penny (cent – for my American readers).

Being a Loner – Freelancers tend to work in a room. Your room. No one else is there and after time you’ll find yourself talking to yourself, your dog or your Optimus Prime figure on your shelf in amongst all of the chit-chats on twitter or facebook. You could, of course, move into Co-Working space but that costs more money which means you need to find more work, work more and invoice twice as often. (See the pattern?)

You have a lot to think about when you start out freelance. You need to think about setting yourself up as self-employed. Depending on who you talk to they’ll advise you to get a good accountant or take care of things yourself. And then you need clients… You might just want to punch yourself in the face.

Bit of Both?

You could, of course, go for a bit of both. Our industry is one where it almost seems the norm that most people in full-time employment will do work outside of the 9-5. This depends on the employer. Some employers dislike the fact that you could be working outside of your normal hours and it could be added to your contract that you are not allowed to work. It is always worth talking to your employer about the possibility of you doing this as you never know where the next opportunity may lie. It could benefit the company you are working for at the same time as you giving you extra money.


* I took out the word ‘design’ as the article was going to cover all areas of the web industry.

The Story of a Great Grandfather’s Military Career – Part 3

If you’re looking for Part 1 of this story, go here. If you’re looking for Part 2 of this story, go here.

We left Stanley in Part 2 as he was yet again in the thick of the action, this is what happened next…

3. The bulk of our men were held up approximately on a line 150 yards East of COUNTY CROSS ROADS, but a party of 1 Officer & 6 men, the remains of a platoon, pushed on as far as V.26.b.40 15. Another small party under a sergeant got into the enclosure about OXFORD HOUSES and fortified a shell hole at V.26.b.25.40. Another party under a sergeant dug in at about V.26.b.b.05.50. No advance appeared to be made on our left at all and so “C” Company found a defensive flank facing North with three posts and one Lewis Gun post.

4. The Machine Gun in the Cemetery was silenced almost at once by the 6th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment and a number of Germans retiring North East of the Cemetery came under Lewis Gun and rifle fire and suffered casualties.  There was a lot of movement during the day between the MEBUS at V.26.b.60.35 and the enemy post at V.26.b.60.25. This was always fired at and numerous casualties were caused, as was proved by the large number of stretcher parties about that point on the 10th inst. A lot of movement around OXFORD HOUSES was kept under fire.

The two Machine Guns in the breastwork about V.26.b.33. 45 were dealt with by rifle grenades and during the morning some of the enemy doubled round to the back of OXFORD HOUSES with the guns and returned later with a light Machine Gun.

The Machine Gun at V.26.b.97 60 was also dealt with by rifle grenades and unfortunately no Number 23 grenades were available on the spot and Number 20s had rather too long a range to fire accurately at that short distance.

5. What actually happened during the 5 p.m. attack will no doubt be dealt with by O.C. 1/8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. I have seen none of the officers and men who took part in it but my own men report that the Worcesters went through our line well up to the barrage, which came down just in front of our main line but was right on top of the advanced posts mentioned in para 3 – these fortunately sustained no casualties, though several blind shells landed very near them. The party in OXFORD HOUSES enclosure report that they were 50 yards in front of the barrage. It was this barrage which made the Officer and N.C.Os Commanding Companies in the line decide to retire and consolidate after dark 100 yards in rear of their present positions. This was carried out and it was that rearline that was handed over to the Camerons.

6. Very few messages were received back from the line after the attack, owing chiefly to the fact that most of the Officers became casualties and also that the heavy and accurate sniping made movement very difficult.

This also greatly hindered the collection of casualties, the Germans sniped a great deal at our stretcher bearers on the 9th inst. On the 10th, however, they were left alone probably because large enemy stretcher parties were out collecting their wounded under the Red Cross Flag.

7. The chief lessons learnt with regard to the barrage; 4 minutes before the first lift was not sufficient; with the ground in its present condition, 10 or even 15 minutes would not be too much to allow the infantry to get well up to it.

The 100 yards lift was too much; after it had “jumped” away from the infantry for the first time it was never caught up again. It also failed to deal effectively with enemy snipers and machine gunners who were situated between the first and second lifts; if it is practicable the 50 yards lift is much better.

In my opinion, the reason why we failed to take our objectives were:-

(a) The exhaustion of the men, most of whom had been tramping over the heavy ground for the greater part of the night.
(b) The sodden condition of the ground.
(c) That the barrage was lost after the first lift and never again caught up.

 A.L.W. NEWTH, Major. Commanding 1/4th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.

48th Division was then moved into reserve near Arras and on 8th November 48th Division was ordered for the Italian Front, leaving by train on 24th November and arriving in Italy shortly afterwards.  Between 24th December 1917 and 22nd January 1918 1/4th Gloucesters were training at Bressanvido, and on 10th January Battalion Orders recorded 22582 Private Stanley Drinkwater, “C” Company, as being awarded Class II Proficiency Pay at 3d a day, backdated to 28th June 1917.

They arrived at the front line on 28th February 1918, taking up position in the Montello sector before moving to the Asiago Plateau sector in March. 1/4th Battalion reached Granezza in the southern Alpine foothills on 21st April and remained mostly in reserve during the Austrian summer offensive. The Battalion was much more involved in allied offensive operations that autumn with a very successful raid on 23rd/24th October, taking 229 prisoners.  The Battalion War Diary recorded:-


Assembly was carried out without a hitch and the head of the Battalion passed the gap on the SAN SISTO at the time laid down. The taped line was followed without difficulty. Crossing the picquet line white armbands were removed and 50 yards were covered on hands on knees. Forming up was complete at Z minus 1 ¼ hours. Covering party of Oxfords and Bucks L.I. withdrew at Z minus 1 hour and were replaced by our own men who were recalled at Z minus 15 minutes. At Z minus 20 minutes enemy put down a barrage considerably on our right and a few shells fell in the vicinity of front line behind us.  At zero the whole Battalion moved forward over the crest and reached the enemy wire before the barrage lifted. At zero plus 4 minutes barrage lifted from enemy front line and Battalion entered. Several prisoners were captured in front of the wire just E of the AVE road. Battalion Headquarters proceeded direct to RED REDOUBT which was unoccupied. Within two minutes Signal communication was established with advanced Brigade Report Centre.

The scheme of the raid comprised three separate Company operations which were exactly carried out.

“C” Company. LEFT – Met with M.G. fire and resistance from enemy front trench opposite AVE. This was soon overcome and a machine gun captured. Wire here new but not very thick. Coy. then attacked its further objectives.  A few of the enemy were captured in the front line towards  SILVEONAR  and 20 men running away towards T. GHELPAC were machine gunned. Majority of prisoners obtained in MAXIM dugouts, 7 of which were set on fire. These are connected by tunnels and have each two entrances. Two machine guns were also captured here. Total captures of this Company were 3 M.Gs and about 50 prisoners.

“B” Company. CENTRE – Captured several enemy in shell holes in front of wire – found wire poor – passed straight to objectives. Quarry is apparently a H.Q. of some kind. A large red signal lamp was burning and there is considerable accommodation. 20 prisoners captured here. REDOUBT has many dugouts and had a large garrison who showed fight until outflanked from the rear. 30-40 prisoners taken here. V shaped trench was empty. Total captures:- 60 prisoners, 3 M.Gs.

“A” Company. RIGHT – Went straight to their objectives and cleared the LOWE dugouts right up to those at the S.M. MADDALENA X roads. About 100 prisoners and 2 M.Gs were obtained from there.

“D” Company. 2 platoons attacked and occupied front line from AVE to LONE TREE HOUSE, the remainder provided a flank guard and a Battalion reserve. This Company captured 15 prisoners and 2 M.Gs.

Battalion Headquarters remained throughout the raid at REED REDOUBT. Runner communication was maintained with Companies and Signal communication with Brigade through the whole period in the enemy line.

Withdrawal was effected at Zero plus 50 minutes, area then being reported entirely clear of enemy. Companies returned directly across GUARDINALTI ridge and met with no casualties while doing so. All troops except Battalion Headquarters had re-entered our picquet line at Zero plus 70 minutes. Battalion Headquarters returned at Zero plus 2 ½ hours, having sheltered in a gunpit on AVE SPUR. Enemy barrage did not come down on his front line till after our departure. On Picquet Line and front line it was fairly heavy. It increased on Picquet Line after our guns ceased firing and continued till Zero plus 2 ¼ hours.

The valley in front of SILVER posts received special attention, also the W end of GUARDINALTI ridge and the village itself.

Total casualties:- 1 killed, 3 wounded (remained at duty), 1 Jugo-Slav killed.

Fierce fighting for the possession of the village of Bosco led to initial success for 1/4th Battalion on 1st November before they were driven out by an Austrian counter-attack. However, successful attacks by the remainder of 48th Division mean that 144th Brigade with 1/4th Gloucesters was soon able to advance again until hostilities with Austria-Hungary ceased on 4th November 1918. Battalion Orders of 20th November 1918 show Stanley Drinkwater, still a Private, but by now with “A” Company, as having rejoined the battalion after 14 days leave in England on 3rd November, meaning that he missed out on 1/4th Gloucesters’ last battle. The battalion was then stationed in Cornedo where it was gradually reduced in strength, with the last men finally arriving in England on 31st March 1919.

Stanley Drinkwater seems to have returned to England and re-enlisted as a Regular, leaving for India with 2nd Gloucesters later in 1919. In 1920 his service number was changed to 5172511. He was entitled to the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.

I started this journey looking for a little more information on the man who I’d never met. I did know that he was a Regimental Sergeant Major but knew nothing of the information recorded above. I’ve since found out that he actually retired from the British Army as a Major but know very little about his latter career. I am however going to look in to it further and commission the museum to dig a little deeper in to the latter part of my Great Grandfather’s military career as there are things which my Grandmother has mentioned which may be true and very interesting.

Thanks for reading along! If you want to know what happens follow me on twitter.