I believe that design should make things clear, have purpose and show you or your company in the best possible light. I strive for clarity in both my design and communication. Good design should enhance your message and never distract from it.
I’m a graphic and web designer and front-end coder living in Vancouver, British Columbia. I specialize in websites that use WordPress as a content management system, to make my websites easy-to-use for my clients. I also specialize in book design, after more than seven years in the publishing industry, at Echo Memoirs (who remains a client) and Formac Publishing. I am also a part-time instructor at BCIT, where I teach Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in the Technical Web Design program and how to build a simple website in the Office Administrator with Technology program.
In October 2012, I completed the Technical Web Design program at BCIT, where I studied HTML5, CSS3, WordPress, PHP and jQuery, among other things. I’ve combined my certificate from BCIT with my Bachelors of Design, Major in Graphic Design, from one of Canada’s preeminent art schools, NSCAD University, and my graphic design experience, to create my busy graphic and web design business.
Want to know more about what I can do? Check out my services page. If you’d like to chat about the project you have in mind or learn a little bit more, I’m all ears! Just go to my contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.
What framework do you start with for custom builds?
I use underscore_s, by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. It’s always up-to-date, lean and, in my opinion, the best framework out there for WordPress. It meets accessibility standards for the web and is translation-ready.
What is your process?
That’s a good question! Each project is slightly different (and you can see the process for each service I offer on the service page), but as a general rule, it goes like this:
- Deposit gets paid, and a contract gets signed.
- We have a launch meeting, usually by Skype.
- I do some discovery work. Usually that involves researching the market you are in, what might work for that market and what your competition is doing.
- I will start design! You’ll see a polished mock up.
- Once you have the mockup, you’ll tell me what you feel is working and what isn’t. Sending me all your notes in one email makes everything easier. We’ll go back and forth up to three times, with revisions.
- a) If we’re working on a website together, I’ll start the development phase.
b) If we’re working on a brand together, I’ll package up your files, write some branding guidelines to keep you on track, and send you your final invoice. Hurrah!
- Once your site is built, you’ll get to see it. I usually host the site on the side of my website, but I’ll send you a link.
- Again, with the revisions. Three rounds is pretty standard. Once the site is all shiny, I’ll send you your final invoice.
- Then, we launch!
- After the fanfare and excitement has died down a bit, we’ll schedule a WordPress lesson, over Skype. Celebratory Skype beers are optional but encouraged!
Will you send me updates on the project while we work together?
Absolutely, and you won’t even have to ask! During some parts of your project, we won’t be in regular contact. Usually that happens when I’m deep into design or development. I will send you at least one email update per week though, just so you know what I’m up to. They usually go out on Friday morning, so that you can start your weekend, know that it’s all under control.
Are all of your websites responsive?
Yes. The web is viewed so often on mobile phones and tablets, that I feel in this day and age, it would be irresponsible for me to make you a site that isn’t responsive.
What is the font on your business card?
It’s actually custom hand-lettering, done by my super-talented friend, Justine Ma. Yes, I should have done my own logo, but I LOVE Justine’s work and feel that what she created for me, perfectly represents me and my company. Also, as a designer, it’s important to know when to hire something out. Plus, my handwriting is terrible.
Any advice for a design student who wants to freelance?
Yes. Probably more than you want! When asked this question, I usually give these two answers:
Work for someone else straight out of school. Starting your own business is a huge undertaking and when you don’t have the experience that you need, it can be downright overwhelming. I worked for Formac Publishing and then Echo Memoirs after I graduated from NSCAD University. I learned valuable lessons at both about myself, design and business. I had the privilege of watching my bosses navigate the business world, while getting a secure pay cheque.
If you do decide to freelance or moonlight, don’t do work for free or for cheap. Yes, it is going to take you much longer to get that design just right or that website coded as it would for a person with a lot of experience. Charge your client the going rate for the project but make sure to build enough time into your timeline to do the project right. If the client asks you to reduce your rate because you’re a newbie, offer to give them a few extras, instead (installing good plugins is always a good one or making a small branding guide when they’ve hired you for a logo). That way they won’t be shocked when they come back to you in a year and your prices have gone up and you won’t be undercutting other people in the industry.
Press + Me in Other Places
Business card on The Brand Stylist blog // June 24, 2014
Interview on YAY Images blog // May 21, 2014
Logo on breanna rose moodboard