Prior to a career in digital design, my formal education was a degree in sculpture at Chelsea School of Art. Soon after graduation I was managing a specialist framing workshop, with clients such as Gavin Turk and the V&A museum.
However a lifelong affinity to the digital world led me to switch career paths - a side project in my spare time to create my first website quickly blossomed into a full blown love affair with building on the web. I have now been working solely as a freelance digital designer & developer for the past 5 years.
While I am at home in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Sketch etc, I use them predominantly for prototyping, logo design and creating style tiles / element collages to guide the design of a web project. Beyond this I find these tools can quickly become a constraint when comes to realising web based designs.Instead I use a broad combination of techniques such as hand sketches, workshop sessions, user research and interactive prototypes in the browser to move a project forward.
As it turns out, embracing the web as a medium to realise your designs is the beginning of a lifelong learning process. Technologies, tools and methodologies are constantly in flux on a scale greater than any industry I know.
As such my approach to each project is different, however my process currently involves at least some of the following:
- Using semantic and accesible HTML to markup content.
- I naturally lean towards writing CSS using an Object Orientated methodology such as SMACSS, and find myself particularly aligned to Harry Robert's BEMIT approach.
- I like to try and integrate some form of documentation such as a pattern library into a build, and have had great success using tools like Fractal to achieve this.
- I will commonly use build tools like Grunt to automate the process of making code production ready whilst optimising performance.
- I use Git version control to maintain project code on both github & bitbucket
- Wordpress, Kirby & Jekyll are the most common CMS solutions I have used on recent projects.
For the past two years I have regularly led day workshops for Decoded, guiding teams from companies such as the BBC and Google through the process of building their own web projects powered by HTML5 APIs.
I am fortunate that this often gives me the opportunity to travel regularly, sometimes as far as Australia and New Zealand, which has also provided the circumstances for me to undertake my own freelance projects with companies outside the UK.
Recently I have begun to undertake more consultancy work. I have found that my combination of experience as a designer, developer and educator affords a unique clarity of communication in regard to complex digital topics as well as design related processes and strategy.
Currently I am working with an international charity to help establish multiple teams in different countries who are responsible for their own websites and infrastructure, whilst still keeping a sense of cohesion through best practices, style-guides and more.