This always happens…

I set my sights on keeping this website active for at least the first few months of the year, EVERY JANUARY. Then life happens and I disappear into the world leaving you all to wonder – just where did she go?

A lot has happened to me the past year – don’t worry, mostly good – meaning I had a lot less time to focus on working on my own personal website and projects. This has left me somewhat worried and somewhat excited for what is to come next- because I do have plans…it’s just that aspect of time that always seems to get me. It feels like I haven’t created anything for myself in years (nearly a year..literally) so jumping back in is kind of daunting to be honest.

So I suppose you’re wondering what I’ve been busy with. Apart from moving homes, breaking up, and moving on with old parts of my life, I’ve been developing my skills and focusing on what I love to do the most. Figuring that out takes a lot of time for me. And I’ve also been taking a break from drawing seriously for hours on end – often because now I just get tired after spending all my creative energy at work and most days just want to chill out at the end of it.

I’ve been working at Monk making all sorts of cool things with my super cool work team and our clients. There is also a super secret wood project coming very soon – because WE LOVE WOOD. And I really wanted to change up the ecommerce game a bit. We got a new sign. We got a new loft, complete with fairy lights and a hammock. And we got a whole new office reno that is ….ongoing cough 

I’ve had the opportunity to work on a lot of cool projects this year- and in particular expand my coding knowledge and skills at what feels to me at an exponential rate. There is a crazy amount of stuff to know now (most devs will say, a ridiculous and obscene amount) – and nowhere near enough time – so it’s been a bit of stab in the dark / straight in the deep end kinda thing. But I’m really lucky to be in an environment which helps me learn and develop my skills – particularly in PHP and Javascript. There’s still a lot for me to understand but I feel like I can do so much now and I can better understand how things work together. It’s honestly so satisfying to me, and every time I manage to do something successfully it’s the best feeling. I developed my own boilerplate theme and learned to use gulp, and I’m also working on another creative project that is taking me a while to develop(in my head).

In fact I have been coding so much, a few people have asked me if I still design. Short answer is yes, every day.

Long answer … read on.

Design is subjective, but good design can always be appreciated for how its crafted.

Graphic design as a discipline is ever changing.

It used to solely be a print medium, and it used to be primarily used for advertising.

Design is not limited to branding, logos, and packaging.

Design is how someone interacts with the overall thing – be it a website, product, or brand.

Good design is appreciated, admired, well used, clever, original, and recreated by many.

Design now also extends digitally into user experiences and interfaces to provoke an engaging response- and I feel like this is a niche at which I excel in particular.

That’s not to say I’m bad at creating a good logo or packaging concept. I did whip up this logo and shopfront design in a few hours and I also recently used some lateral thinking and packaging skills to create some die-cut children’s steampunk 3D papercraft goggles for an upcoming Barking Gecko play. (pics soon!) Not to brag or anything but I’m pretty happy with how they came out, and to be completely honest, not just anyone can switch from a coding brain to a 3D perspective brain, to a conceptual abstract brain in one day like I often do.

The fact is, I am ALWAYS DESIGNING. Designing as in, coming up with a solution to a particular problem. As far as graphic design goes, I have been creating less brands (but hey if I had the time, I would love to do more) while finessing my WordPress skills and giving insight to our interns all at the same time.  I suppose the thing that I most often design which I’m sure many people overlook is how websites collapse on to smaller screens, in particular mobile menus.

I always find mobile sites disappointing because of how blocky and boring every website is. Give me back my 90’s sparkle gifs!!! Seriously. Is it just me or do 90% of websites these days use the same layout? As in the hero image, the headline text, the swipey carousel….

Therein is my challenge – to make websites look and be interesting.

As an example, most designers don’t design mobile layouts for websites, because most can’t be bothered (yeah…I understand why). Including me. Well actually, I have a good reason – I know how things work and I understand how things can collapse. But mobile menus in particular are often something I often have to design and code on the fly. It’s not like it’s a 5 second job – it actually surprises me how little consideration the mobile menu has on designers because it has the potential to really affect the feeling a person gets when navigating a website. When I design, I always go with the best feeling. And that’s what I think separates me from other designers – the ability to understand how effects and techniques can be used to enhance a digital experience.

There have been a lot of times though where things just don’t work on mobile because …. they don’t. Thus affecting the overall quality of the brand concept and desktop version. It can let down a lot of sites I think, so it is always something I keep in mind.

I have a library of effects I’ve created over time that help make my job easier but it’s always something I think about.

As far as graphics go, yes I design illustrations. I design identities. I design websites. Literally anything that needs designed – I have an opinion on, because I’d like to think I have a good understanding of how people think. Websites in particular, need careful design, on the inside and out (that in itself is a whole other can of worms I’ll revisit on a different day).

What I’d really like to say is, I design to evoke a response from people. That tangibility of feeling is what I constantly aim for. Because literally anyone on the street can buy a premade theme on themeforest, play around with the settings for a bit and end up with – you know what – a pretty decent looking website. Literally anyone can buy a premade logo and call it their own by restructuring their business goals and brand to fit the concept.

Why do people hire designers again?

To create a custom and memorable experience.

Always remember that.

And there is my long answer to a very loaded question.

Curious and want to know/understand more? Just talk to me. I’m always happy to lend my insight and experience to help others, because others have done the same for me and it has helped me a lot.

Anyway, in what was supposed to be a short update has not so quickly turned into a mini essay…I suppose it was long overdue.

If you’re ever around the area stop by Monk and say hello! We are looking for desk buddies at the moment to share the space as well.

In the meantime…Zzz….

Just random matter in the dark

2 thoughts on “This always happens…

  1. Anon says:

    “In fact I have been coding so much, a few people have asked me if I still design. Short answer is yes, every day.” … Come on… programming (call it that, please) and design are one in the same. It’s all for humans.

    1. Jakki says:

      I know you think you mean well, but I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t comment on my website with opinions and advice I don’t need or want, thanks.

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