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!
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.
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.
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
Matthew Smith – www.squaredeye.com
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.
Martin Bean – www.mcbwebdesign.co.uk
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.
Clients are brilliant, they really are! They come to you when they need something, they ask you to do the job you love and they pay handsomely for it! I mean come on, we get paid for doing something we would be doing anyway. We’re certainly not going to argue with them. Whilst it’s one thing getting clients to say yes, this can often seem to be the easy part of a growing client relationship.
Designers and developers can strike up relationships with clients unlike most other industries, this is down to developing their ideas into a reality. It’s great that we can produce print design for national coverage, web design for the masses or a logo recognisable by the world for years to come. I try my hardest with clients, I’ve got to work with them for at least a couple of months so it’s the least I can do. I learn from them and pass on my own knowledge where I can, and now there are even clients who I can firmly call friends. Becoming friends with clients can be disastrous long term as they expect most things to be done on a ‘friends’ basis from there on out, however the real friends clients will always treat business as business and friendship as friendship. Both should be kept as far away from each other as possible and both parties should know where to draw the line.
Once that relationship is built it’s all well and good knowing where to draw the line but what happens before that time, before your relationship is welded together like solid steel. Is there a place in time where we can firmly put our hand up and shout STOP! at the top of our voices to be heard above the droning sound of clients saying I want, I want, I want. Yes there is, and there is also a reason why clients expect too much.
Depending on the category of client you work with you would usually have an initial meeting to gauge and measure up the client and see if they’re on the level, if they know their www’s from there @’s and their http’s from their ftp’s. The reason why some clients become so expectant is all down to them not knowing what to expect, they don’t know how the Internet works, they don’t know how dynamic websites are built or how ecommerce software is constructed so in not knowing what to expect they expect everything.
This has dire consequences on how a project plays out over the course of weeks and months. Your initial quote or proposal ends up seeming inadequate for what the client expects and thus the relationship breaks down fairly quickly as the client thinks you’re doing half the job they expected. The supplier ends up pulling hair and banging their heads in retaliation for the ensuing mental breakdown and thanks to every action having an equal and opposite reaction if nothing is done in the first place it will always happen.
You could say the blame cannot be pointed at any individual and that it’s just one of those things but it is one of those things that needs ironing out BEFORE a project starts. What can we do to help clients understand what they’re getting or how things are going to work? Is it up to us to sit them down for a days seminar to teach them about the great interweb? I’d like to think I could give them a few hours of my time to them, however my time costs money. Do I charge the client for their little lesson, would that put them further out of joint and cause them to run for the hills? I suppose it depends on the person and how various outcomes differentiate a good client from one you would rather avoid.
Adii from Woothemes and radiiate mentioned today on twitter that he learned in 2008 to give an approximate price to a prospective client in the first email he sends to them so they know how much his/their services are going to cost. This, to me is a great way to pre-empt a situation and at the end of the day neither you or the client have the time to go running round in circles over facts or money.
In reality money isn’t everything, it’s the job at hand and the services you provide that you would like the client to understand and what you’ve quoted for is what you have understood the job to entail and you’ve costed for this accordingly. Anyone worth their salt engages into a contract with a client because they want to work with them, it is our choice to take the work on. It would be nice for clients to understand that we do what we do because we know how to do it. We want to work with them to get to an outcome where they can stand on their own two feet in the world of the web, where they can grow and establish themselves as a recognised brand whether locally, nationally or internationally.
So here is to a few changes in 2009 where clients and suppliers can work together amicably, in a relationship where both know where they stand and what services are going to be delivered.
Would be very interested to hear views on the subject.