18+ Years industry experience
Helping to grow your brand and business through design.
My career began in the early 90's. I was hugely influenced by skateboarding and the graphics that surrounded the scene. I competed up and down the UK and was lucky enough to ride with some of the best skaters (and BMX riders), some of which are now household names.
I went to Wigan and Leigh College where I studied art and design, followed by Graphic Design. I loved the old school process of graphic design back then, this was just before Macs came onto the scene. I remember buying my first graphic design books and was amazed at what you could achieve with a Magic Marker, the techniques you could use to create images. To this day I still start with a pad and pen to jot my ideas down.
After completing my course I decided to look for a job. A month or two later in 1995 I landed a job at an Engineering company. This first job was great, I learned so much. I would be working on a brochure one day, an illustration the next, directing a photoshoot on another, it was a real mixed bag but I got to cover everything.
Then I was told about the Internet. My first experience of the Internet was in 1996 using CompuServe. It was similar to AOL and back then you would receive a CD-ROM in the post, install the software, configure your modem, which for me was a 56K US Robotics and you was online.
I soon realised that CompuServe and AOL were closed off networks to the Internet and that there was an open Internet, one where you could use a web browser. I remember this being Mosaic and back then all you could do with a site was add an image and basic text formatting. Things moved on very quickly however and soon you could use a background image, animated GIF's and then came HTML tables.
That was the lightbulb moment, suddenly I could see the potential. I started to read as much as possible about building pages, read as many books as possible and started to code my first few pages. I remember using PageMill to build websites and it was painful, especially on an old Mac as it required a lot of RAM.
All this was before Internet Explorer, Amazon or any of the large tech companies that we take for granted these days. There were no rules and it was fast becoming a nightmare because you had to build separate sites for the browsers, of which back then the only real choice was Netscape or Internet Explorer. This resulted in Netscape and Internet Explorer agreeing to develop their browsers based on new HTML standards.
I built my first commercial website in 1997, where I was asked to design and build three large corporate websites for my employer, this was before CSS and I used tables and inline styles extensively to build pages. I quickly realised that the Internet was here to stay so I moved to another job, where I had the chance to develop my skills even further. I remember at this point that Flash came onto the scene. When Flash came about we all thought this was it, this was the Internet of the future, it was mind blowing at the time. I moved on again and worked for a Manchester based ISP where I was tasked with recruiting and managing a team of designers and developers. At this point in my career I gained valuable experience in team leadership and project management, working with clients through the .com bubble. It was exciting times, I remember going from one meeting to another, everyone wanted a website it was crazy, companies were spending so much money back then and then all of a sudden the .com bubble burst. All of a sudden the web industry bottomed out but this was a silver lining because it forced the industry to rethink how the Internet could be.
At this stage in my career I began to build up my own client base.
I decided soon after the .com crash to setup my own agency and ran this for a number of years then decided to wind the business up in 2008.
I took another full time job on at a Lancashire based marketing agency where I developed my skills even further but the call for me to go it alone became stronger each year and then in 2014 I left my full time job and now I am working for myself again, working on the projects I want to work on from my home studio.
My work involves both web and print design, building brands and maintaining visual identities across both channels. I love the way the web allows me to apply traditional graphic design techniques with the added element of interactivity, however I still love and produce print design, identity, branding design, illustration and animation.
My digital work involves design for both static and CMS based websites from design to build in HTML4/5 and CSS2/3. I also work on large complex online solutions that require wire framing, user interface design (UI) and user experience design (UX). I am further developing my skills in responsive website design and user centered design along with honing my development skills in using the Zurb Foundation framework.
I also support the design industry through guest blog posts and online articles.
When I am not designing I love to explore and go camping with my family in our campervan. One weekend we may be beach combing on Anglesey, cooking up some good food overlooking the beach and the next weekend surfing the waves on the East coast, usually Saltburn.
These road trips are great because not only is it valuable family time, I use them as inspiration, taking reference photographs and colour samples to use in my graphic design work.
05/2016 - Present day
Whittle Design Studio Ltd - Director
09/2014 - 05/2016
Freelance Digital Graphic Designer
1/2008 - 09/2014
Ignition CBS Ltd - Senior Digital Designer
09/2004 - 01/2008
NotionMedia Ltd - Creative Director
09/1999 - 09/2004
NetServices Plc - Creative Manager
08/1998 - 09/1999
Pepperl+Fuchs Plc - Graphic Designer
08/1995 - 08/1998
EJA Engineering Plc - Junior Graphic Designer
27" iMac, 13" MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone 6, Adobe CC Suite, Maxon Cinema 4D, CMS Made Simple, WordPress, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, UXPin, InVision, SketchApp, Brackets, Sublime Text, CodeKit, Zurb Foundation, digital camera, notebook, pens, markers and heaps of coffee.