Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Brad O’Donnell from Shepherd Agency. I must say that was pretty cool. I haven’t been too comfortable with web design and I really wanted to see what actual designers in the field were doing so that maybe things would translate better.
Upon meeting him I definitely had questions like “Can you please explain the different types of jobs there are in the field of web design?” and ” What programs do you work most with?” I’m so glad he practically read my mind because for the most part I didn’t even have to ask! I also had questions about using templates and what his advice would be to a noob like me when it comes to making money and tracking our time and he practically read those right off of my paper! Whoo-hoo Brad for knowing just what to say!
So basically Brad came to talk to us about project flow and the process of beginning a website to the stage pre sending it to a coder. He told us that you start with the idea and from there you think about how you are going to execute the idea. That includes understanding user experience and the other important things. Next work on thumbnails, which are always done on paper! He recommended anywhere between 20-50 thumbnails per home page and or important interior page. From there we would begin the wireframe or prototype. This could be done on paper, in Photoshop, or in Balsamiq Mockups, which I believe is another program that you would export your file from to make the simple mockup into your greybox model or true mockup.
It’s nice to know that we are on the right page because we have definitely been digging deep into making sure we go through the process thoroughly before just jumping into building the website.
We talked about sitting down with your client to go over a questionnaire, or creative brief, about the website and about how functionality always becomes before form. He also stressed how important it is to understand color theory and to know current trends. He showed us how to use the inspect element function in Google Chrome and introduce to some other new things like Macrabbit Espresso and Drupal.
The info that I found most helpful was when Brad began to speak on what you can or need to do in designer-client situations, like emailing them right after a phone call and making sure you really know why they want to build that website. He also told us to consider doing pro bono work to build on and to never ever knock bartering! I also picked up on a few things that I need to change or add to my contract for when I do freelance work.
Some of his mentors or people that he looks up to include those at Shepherd Agency, Dennis Eusebio, Varick Rosete, and Karyn Kurycki. It felt really good to hear those names on account of I’ve met them, attended events with them, and even had drinks with them through volunteering for AIGA events.
I guess I feel a little more relieved about where I am, but I still think I’m not exactly a web designer at heart. It seems that print will always be “my thing”. But I so glad that he reinforced some things for me and was able to put me at ease about the fact that I know more than I think.
Thanks to Mr. Downs and Ms. Gusa. I know you guys have been trying to tell me this all along, but I guess it’s finally starting to hit me and make sense…