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January 2014 - December 2014
PERCEPT MEDIA
Production Designer & Developer

I was asked to develop a content managed website to house an online magazine. This was a start up run by a single person. Percept Media was the umbrella company, the online magazine would be called The Edition. At that time I was doing HTML, CSS & Javascript websites and the odd Wordpress site based on templates I’d manipulated. This website would require a completely bespoke template. I knew a bit of PHP but when I got the call to pitch I was confident I’d do well as I had my pitch down by that stage. Get your pitch down, ABC - Always Be Closing. Suffice to say I got the gig.

The Technical Elements

I developed a Wordpress website from scratch using php. The decision was made because Wordpress provides a solid base to begin with and offers a lot of flexibility. Over time I decided to use a few external widgets, which I customised to fit the brand, to help take the weight of creation of myself - which was essentially creating content, designing and developing the website. I was naive at the time but I developed a lot of ability and judgement along with working with some cool people. Some of the widgets included: Disqus, Stripe, memberfind.me and Mailchimp. Along with the widgets I had to set up communications options - email accounts and social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) whilst maintaining them.

The Story

I was to implement a brand designed by Conor & David, who were hot shit at the time, now called Workgroup. The problem was that neither myself nor my boss had enough experience with a project that size. On top of that my boss had no experience with designing and developing processes and I began designing and developing a website, along with content which had a pending brand and no content. Furthermore the concept behind the online publication changed on a number of occasions. Nightmare, but I do enjoy getting stuck in and being flexible, just go for it, it’s only sketches and code, if it’s rubbish start again.

I was taken on full time to try and generate content which amounted to over 320 pages of images and text and links. Once I had this I had to create a layout which showcased this content. Tone and voice have been a major part of my education. I studied communications and editorial design, a strong principle of which is clearly choosing an overall voice and tone for a publication which the brand would communicate. In this situation, the brand was not ready. This is not to say Conor and David were slow, they did things the right way, I on the other hand had moved too quickly and not really considered what was happening, I was eager to please and suggested a shorter working time frame than what I knew was the case - I believed I could make up the hours at home. Coupled with a lack of direction and business model things quickly got out of hand.

Control and organisation, strategy and direction, these are important elements when project managing. They are NOT just buzz words. They DO allow all those people who are working together to understand what they need to do, when they need to do it and it also gives everyone a sense of confidence. For me that’s a basic foundation for any project. Build in some slack as things will invariably go wrong and this should allow for any pivots. If this foundation is not set at the beginning the project can still be a success, if you think success is just shipping anything over budget. Considering I’d consider myself a professional I would say shipping late and way over budget is bullshit. It’s better than not shipping at all, but constant monitoring and organisation of a project will lead to proper long term success.

I made the website and when the brand was designed and given over I had constructed a generic layout and easily applied the colours, typography and overall feel, although I don’t think it lived up to the whole tone and voice which Conor & David had envisioned which was a shame as a lot of work by everyone was done. I left shortly after, as my contract ran out and I was moving onto ActionAid. I recently looked up the website and it was gone, which was a shame.