[visual design is everywhere.]
Life Before Hex Code
I began my career in publishing as an Editor at MecklerMedia. MecklerMedia published magazines and books about new technologies. I edited and produced QuickTime Forum where I learned about Quicktime. This was the early 1990s and Quicktime was the size of a postage stamp, but it captured my imagination and I knew I needed to find out more, first hand.
So to pursue Quicktime, I got a job as a teaching assistant at the Center for Creative Imaging (CCI), formerly known as the Kodak Center, in Camden, Maine. Eventually I took over as manager of the multimedia lab, where I assisted industry experts in teaching multimedia. (This was before Colleges had decided to get into the ring and start offering degrees in new media.) At CCI I learned so much about technology and design.
After learning about Multimedia from industry's forerunners, I started working in Multimedia directly. My first cd-rom project was amazing, it brought me from Maine to LA, it was the first joint venture between Microsoft and Hollywood. Based on the 500 Nations series Kevin Costner did for TV, it would include rich assets, images, voice overs, videos and CGI movies. A rare opportunity to make technology and content sing.
Back on the East Coast, I worked on a Star Trek CD-ROM, called Star Trek Omnipedia. Another project with rich assets and it was fun to explore new worlds… The projects kept coming, some high profile and some not. But I started to hear the buzz about a newer technology -- the web.
I had been introduced to the internet while working at MecklerMedia. It was very simplistic and mostly academic -- uploading text files to the Whole Earth ELectronic Link, affectionately known as the WELL. But the internet had grown up since then and with it came more design to explore.
I had new design constraints: file size, speedy page loads mean lean and mean file sizes; computer screens resolution, were they in millions of color or just 256; were your visitors on a Mac or PC; were they coming in on Internet Explorer or Netscape, and what version. These constraints was what every designer and programmer had to know to create projects into streamlined code and design.
I segued my CD-ROM career into Web Development by designing broadband websites for the burgeoning cable modem industry at Time Warner. It was the promise of a fat pipe that could deliver cd-rom quality assets on the web. Once again it was a set audience within Time Warner's Road Runner service so we knew the exact parameters for design and technology.
When Road Runner was spun off and relocated to Virginia, I decided to start my own web design company with a colleague from Time Warner. In the early days of Scout we had the fortunate opportunity of working on different projects of varying sizes and scopes. No two projects were the same and we were always on the lookout for projects in uncharted territory.
Now Scout is just me and I focus on visual design. I have done design for mobile devices, tablets, software, call centers, as well as websites. Every project that comes my way brings back an element of my design past but mixes it with a new flavor.
I enjoy working my clients, it is always an collaborative effort. Often times I find myself finding solutions and I relish the research and creativity that goes into the outcome. The goal is always the same:
To balance creative design with real-world functionality.
Different, But Same
Scout has evolved, and so have I, learning about all the new buzz words that seem to come with the territory of being a visual designer: Usability, Apps, Responsive Design, Flat Design and so on. There is always something new to learn which is why I love what I do. But I do notice that the more things change the more they rely on information and design that came before.
In the CD-Rom world a user interaction and the part they would take to initiate a user experience is not very different than what you need to apply to an App or a Transactional Process like filling out a form on the web. All those skills I learned through the years in the early days still apply today to today's newer technologies.
Good simple, uncluttered design is still important. Even more so when you think about the use of real estate of a small smart phone screen. What is the salient information you want to get across? And how do you optimize your audience's experience.
There was a time in the industry where technology wasn't always driven by content or user experience. Web Design got sloppy. All Industries go through learning curves, and I imagine we will go through another as technology wants to give us smaller and smaller real estate to work with and as we start to play with the idea of zero UI with using gestures or voice activation as a way to initiate a user experience.
requires leaps of faith.
Adobe Creative Suite
Facebook Ad Manager
Search Engine Optimization
Strong sense of design, layout and
Creates polished final designs
Highly effective communicator across matrix of developers, designers and engineers.
Detail oriented to support brands across mediums
Created clear icons, messaging, buttons and other UI elements for smartphones, tablets and web applications
Considers localization, scalability and ease of maintenance in all solutions.
Readily accepts and acts upon feedback and design direction
Creative problem solver
Have applied for grants for non-profit organizations
Maintained Community Outreach for local nonprofits, maximizing their brand