One Minute With…
Hi Idiot, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
Hey, Conor! I’m your usual web designer/developer hybrid, all self-taught. I guess I like to mess around on the Internet more than most, though. By day, I like to work on my blog and various other side projects (Gradients, Motherfucker, and Spiffing CSS, to name a few), and by night, I like to do the same.
How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
Honestly, I never really got into design, but I do remember being in secondary school, choosing the subjects for the upcoming GCSEs (exams), and my art teacher telling me “you’re not an artist, and you’ll never be an artist; you can’t draw. Don’t take my class.” I never did take his class, but it did give me a goal. Since that day, I’ve always tried to make it as an artist of sorts.
I got in to web design by accidentally viewing the source of a site one day, and feeling like a CSI:Miami hacker; it intrigued me. I just spent more and more time reading magazines, books, blogs, and just playing about.
How do you approach a new project? What’s your design process like?
Depends on what the project is, I guess. If it’s an article for my blog, I just write the idea down on this little whiteboard I’ve got, and when I’ve got time, I’ll just write it up, design it, and code it. Just like that, all in one mad dash. No browser-testing, no fancy IA work, nothin’. Actually, all of my personal projects are like that. It’s more fun.
If it’s a client project, I start by taking two aspirins (since it’s going to be a headache), and have a sketch or two, then I just dive into Photoshop and go nuts. I’ll probably come up with about 5 or 6 different concepts before runnin’ my favourites back to the client. If they’re happy (hah!), then it’s right into Espresso we go to code that bad boy right up. Then I need those aspirins again, because I actually try to browser-test.
With your name, your blog, your Twitter feed and your self-initiated projects, you seem to maintain a high level of humour in your online persona. How important is it, do you feel, to be a character in this industry, rather than just another HTML/CSS bot?
So, so important. As long as you can confidently convey your message to other people, and be proud with the name that’s in that copyright line of yours, it’s all good.
Where do you see your career in 5, 10 years? Do you still hope to be making viral sites and popping aspirins, or do you want to have moved on to something bigger/better/smaller/worse?
Hopefully, I’ll be working on my startup. Not sure what it is yet, but it’ll change the future of social B2B communication. I’ll never stop making my little sites, though. It’s just too fun.
If, in some Freaky Friday-like situation, you could live the life of another designer, illustrator or creative, for a day, who would it be, and why?
Oh, it’d have to be the Oatmeal, if only for the power to illustrate velociraptor comics.
What do you do in your free time? If you have any, that is, considering how many websites you seem to pop out…
I’m an avid lover of many things: my guitars (and a whole host of other instruments — I love music), my dog, Molly (she’s even at the bottom of my Hire Me page), and martial arts (I do Jiu-Jitsu, which means I end up with a broken rib every Thursday).
What design tools could you not live without?
Software: Photoshop, Espresso, Google Chrome, Gradient.app, Adium, Reeder, iA Writer, Wallet.app, and probably a whole load more
Hardware: Anything Apple make. I’m a sucker for the aluminium.
Books: nothing in particular, but my library card is pretty worn out, so I’d say that.
Websites: Twitter, Forrst, Dribbble, and anything in my RSS (which is so long, it’d take me an hour or two just to start the list).
Notepads: UI Stencils, and good ol’ plain white paper. No fancy moleskines for me.
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?
Don’t give up, and keep involved with the community. We’re a nice bunch of folks, apparently.