I have been a designer for over 20 years, and a freelancer for 15 of those. Starting my career in the late 90s, I worked in-house for printing and publishing companies before becoming full-time freelance in 2005. Since then I have worked for agencies and organisations (some household names, some not) in both traditional and digital roles.
It's unusual to find a designer who is as equally adept with pixels and paper as they are with code, but then I never set out to be average in this industry. I am proud of the fact that I can always build what I design, even when this requires researching completely new methods. I quite like to push envelopes where I can.
With clients based all over the world, I work on a project (rather than contract) basis for freelance work as this allows me to better balance client - and home - needs. I regularly have 2 or 3 projects live at any time, so my experience in high pressure, short deadline environments (such as publishing) really comes into play!
Website design is more than just pixel perfect mock-ups, but when it comes to producing high fidelity page or element layouts, I'm just as comfortable in XD as I am in Sketch or Photoshop, ensuring that any and all UX research action points are identified and included.
No Bootstrap or Foundation is ever let anywhere near the sites I build. DRY, well-structured code is my speciality, and I've written a lean, mean gulpfile.js to ensure that everything is optimised, organised and keeps Google happy. Then comes CraftCMS.
I create fully-featured eCommerce stores that are planned around the core needs of a business and its customers, giving clients a site that adapts to those needs rather than becoming a masterclass in constantly finding workarounds to problems that should be an otherwise easy fix.
I work exclusively in CraftCMS for client projects. Craft is the perfect balance of structure and flexibility, giving you a comprehensive platform to build any type of website you might need, bespoke to you, and scalable for the future. I love it, and so do my clients.
Beginning my career as an artworker, I honed my typography and layout skills on newspapers and magazines. I have a very thorough knowledge of both digital and traditional lithographic printing methods and my Pantone swatch books are never far from my desk.
Brand development is an area I'm very experienced in, and nothing gives me greater satisfaction than helping clients with the germ of an idea for their business realise it into a living, breathing brand of its own - far beyond just slapping a logo on everything in sight and calling it done.
In my freelance career I have had logos published by Taschen, spoken at numerous local and national conferences and even had my digital colouring work praised by Vanilla Ice. Around these milestones I have delivered design projects for clients in all sectors; most recently Royal Mail and The University of Nottingham.
As Head of Design, I am responsible for developing and managing all aspects of Contrast’s design and creative output. I work with internal and external clients, pitching designs and using my 2 decades of industry experience to understand client needs. I’m the hands-on sort, and am happiest when I’m just making something (or making something better).
At 20i I was responsible for design of the user interface for stackCP, their white-label control panel, as well as creating a design system which allowed the development team to quickly and consistently assemble pages. I also designed and developed the sales website for launch using the same system, allowing for rapid build and easy editing.
From concept to comps to code, I worked hard to ensure that every site I made looked amazing and functioned perfectly. Liaising directly with clients, I completed projects for international business schools, book publishers, party wear suppliers and company information and business intelligence specialists - all global brands.
As a senior member of Heart’s design team I oversaw all of the front-end design and development aspects of Heart’s sales website. This included managing and mentoring junior members of staff to ensure that all tasks were completed to standard and deadlines met.
This is where I honed my layout skills as I would have to prepare artwork for any number of uses - local magazines, theatre brochures, business cards, invoice sheets - even punch cards for clocking in/out. I also had to know how to use every DTP Package.
I was responsible for producing advertising artwork for the majority of the publications Northcliffe produced for Nottingham and the East Midlands. Everything from simple 5x1 classifieds to double page spreads for local businesses (which would change weekly) would land in my docket tray. This is where I mastered short deadlines.
The degree was centred around 3D design and animation, ultimately I’ve taken a more graphics-heavy career path, but I still use what I learned at Teesside to this day.
My BTEC gave me a firm foundation in design principles, including typography, layout and 3D design. It was the perfect introduction to design as a career choice.