I’m a web designer and front end developer.
I currently work for a startup in San Francisco, CA. called Breezy. Breezy has a suite of apps and an API that allows wireless printing from any device platform to any printer. I work to improve the usability within our apps, dashboards and website.
I’m a native Oklahoman born and raised in Tulsa, my family and I have lived in OKC since 2005. I graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a B.F.A. in graphic design, with a concentration in illustration. I began my career with a year and a half internship at Visual Image Advertising. At Visual Image I had the opportunity to contribute to several successful campaigns ranging from Advanced Academics, to the DeadCenter Film Festival to Devon, and more. My first real job was working as a full time contractor at Staplegun Design. While at Stablegun I had the privilege to work with clients such as the Catholic Charities of Oklahoma, At The Beach, and the Oklahoma board of Agritourism. I then began to focus more exclusively on interaction design and development. I then went to work for an OKC based startup called Monscierge, they developed hardware and software for a recommendation network aimed at high end hotels, and their guests. Following Monscierge and during my brief stint at Chesapeake Energy I worked for several bay-area start ups, and local agencies on a contract and consultative basis. In December of 2012 I shifted my focus to work full time with bay-area-based Breezy.
1. How did you come to Oklahoma City? And more importantly, why do you stay?
I came to OKC to return to school. My wife had just completed her biology degree from OSU and I, being a 2 time college drop out decided it was time to get serious about my future. We moved here together and both had family in the area which made the move easier. After being here for a few years we started to miss Tulsa less and less. We are now happy to call OKC and all her sub-cultures our home.
2. Who was your greatest mentor?
This one is tough. When I went back to school I to learn my craft I was several years older than my schoolmates and in a completely different place in my life. From this experience I suppose I learned to work somewhat autonomously. At that time i found that there were very few designers in the area (or at least designers I had access to) who were doing the type of design i was interested in. I feel like I definitely missed out on the opportunity to work closely with a mentor in my early career, but like many people today heavy usage of the internet has influenced the way i am today.
3. Which project are you most proud of? Please explain why?
I have a short list of work that I have done that I’m very proud of. I think peakefuels.com floats to the top pretty often. This was a project I completed in my last days at Chesapeake Energy. Design wise, it probably won’t win any awards, but the client seemed ecstatic. What I’m most proud of is that with this project I was able to rewrite the rules and processes of making a website within a company that had very strict protocols and procedures for work flow. This was the first attempt by the company to recognize mobility trends and execute a responsive website. This endeavor required my colleagues and me to work from the top down in a truly collaborative way. There are many workflows you can read about for a responsive site of this type, but the one that suited our needs based was a ‘mobile first’ approach. This allowed our content and our user’s device/state of mind/etc to inform the design decisions we made, which is very different from the workflow we were all used to. Since then I’ve further refined my workflows and concepts about designing for users, I’m proud that I was able to hopefully make a lasting improvement for my former colleagues and make their work overall better and more user-centric.
4. What is one thing other creatives can learn from your biggest success and/or failure?
I have two bits of advice, but please understand that these come from my own limited experience, and I don’t presume that they will apply to all creatives as I understand that everyone has their own ambitions/goals. So take it with a grain of salt.
A. Inspiration can come from anywhere - cast your nets wide when seeking inspiration. Everyone has their favorite designers/artists that they like to look to, and that can be a great source of inspiration, but don’t cling too closely. This also means to avoid trends, early in my career where web 2.0 was the thing I produced several things that I cringe when I think about because I was designing for designers and not for users, and once the trend had passed my designs had become dated. By designing selfishly like that, I astrally did my clients a disservice. I’m sure I’ll make some enemies here so I’ll tread lightly: I see the potential for the same thing on dribbble. I’m a huge fan or dribbble, but my concern is that over time it will become a vacuum for future bold/wisdom script and the poster style that is so common these days.
B. My second bit of advice is really only indented for designers/artists that had the same ambitions that I did. I went back to school, studies something that I was interested in, accrued a lot of debt in student loans. All this was so that I could get a job. My biggest failure came early on when I learned that in order to be successful you need to be talented and employable. You want to build a good reputation for yourself that you are easy to work with, punctual and able to deliver as promised on time. I don’t like hearing that my friends and colleagues are difficult to work with, if you are a good designer I believe it’s your duty to put your ego aside and deliver something really great for your client/user. No font preference is worth a bad reputation.
5. If you could play a game with any creative in the community, what would it be and whom would you play against?
I’d play any drinking game with any creative in the community.
6. What is one thing you would change about your job or profession?
Since I work to craft really great experiences for users, I’m constantly struck with the inefficiencies that have been used to design for interactivity for years. It usually goes something like this:
1. Client needs website or something.
2. Senior Creative meets with Client.
3. Creative and Clients establish a ‘direction’.
4. Direction gets sent to the writer and designer.
5. Writer writes content, designer designs layout/artwork.
6. Copy and artwork gets sent to the developer.
7. site gets built, revisions ensue …endlessly
This process has always frustrated me because along the way each pair of hands that touch the project, liberties are taken. This means that the farther down the chain the less it becomes everyone’s collaborative work and more the work of the last person to touch it.
7. What is your best source of inspiration?
A list with items to be marked off as complete.