To the right, is the current version of the logo I came up with. It’s definitely first-pass quality, as far as I’m concerned. “A logo? Before the first batch is even complete?” Yes! I’m an illustrator. It’s what I do.
What about Bob?
Yep, that’s me –> and my youngest (of three) zipping around on our little boat. And this, is the obligatory About page that seems to plague most web sites these days. If you’re here, I suppose you want to know a bit about who I am. Couldn’t find any paint to watch dry then?
In short, I’m a designer. For the old web, mobile web, and even print. Most days, I’m found either designing and/or developing user interfaces/experiences for websites and apps, or creating logos or branding materials. Folks call what I do a lot of different things, but I go with “designer”. It’s just easier. I’m not sure if that amounts to much of a title these days, but there you have it.
I’ve been working on this thing we call the web from the very early days, circa 1993. I was a teen mainframe/midrange engineer in those days, and I also supported my employer’s growing PC inventory. One day, someone said, “Holy crap, we need to be on the web! Like, now! Zoinks!” And all the RPG-II programmers in the room blinked at one another, then pretended to be reading something, then shook their heads and pointed at me and said, “Make him do it. He’s a kid!” To which I replied, “Cool“. So, I pointed my 9600kbps modem at the web, read lots, and then set about building a web server (on an IBM AS/400… shoot me). When no one wanted to contribute, I started writing the content and markup, and… twenty most-odd years later, I’m still at it. It’s the thing I find my nose in most often. Although when plied, I’m more like to bore you to death about Responsive Design or Mobile App UI than about hardware and communications gear.
So, there’s the day gig. I’m also an artist and illustrator in both traditional and digital media. I’ve always loved scratching images on a piece of anything with dry media (charcoal, graphite, et al). Although these days, my eldest daughter has me experimenting with the wet stuff: oils, acrylic, water color. Some day I’ll get some scans of my scribblings up in a portfolio here. I keep notebooks and pencils with me most places I go, in case the mood strikes. If I’m not drawing something, writing about it, or (lately) modeling it in Blender/Unity3D, then I’m probably preoccupied with one of 9 or so musical instruments I keep laying about.
Free moments in life will find all five of us crammed on our little boat in North Carolina (with one or more dogs), and watching the stresses of life drift away. Catch a fish, swim a bit… float. It’s zen. If I’m not there, I’m either watching an Arsenal FC match, coaching or managing my kids’ soccer teams, or sometimes even playing soccer myself, in the local old guy league. I have what you call the bug when it comes to soccer. It’s an affliction, really.
People outside my industry often ask what I do for a living. When I tell them, I usually get that “Oh, that’s nice…” look of disinterest. Then, I mention some of the web projects I’ve worked on and they begin to light up as brand recognition does it’s thing. The questions then begin to flow: “So, you understand all that code stuff? I have a cousin who does that. He’s like a computer genius…” Sound familiar? It will if you work with the web.
So, I thought I’d come up with a page where I could display some of the design & development work I’ve done over the years. In the following examples, I have been involved in varying roles, from concept to launch, sketching out ideas and interfaces, producing mock-ups in Photoshop & Illustrator, and then building the front-end by hand-coding the HTML5, CSS & JS. I’ve found myself situated in this comfortable niche, between the back-end programmers and the art directors. The following are some of the projects I’ve helped deliver from that niche…
After doing some contract work for a while, I got a call from TIAA-CREF. When a company like this calls, you hang up your mercenary hat and get on board. I joined one of their prototyping groups and have been having a great experience so far. Excellent team, lots of project work, and I can really get behind the core mission of the company. They’re helping those who help others, and that’s a great feeling.
Bank of America
I was recently at Bank of America, as part of the Home Loans team. They were responsible for the entire Home Loans sections of BankofAmerica.com and delivered multiple projects, from concept to production, on time & budget. I also did some work with the Mobile Development team while there, woking to deliver the mobile version of BankofAmerica.com. Both of the teams I was a part of were an excellent group of folks, loaded with talent.
If you’ve been on a train or bus or ship in Europe and been amazed that you were still able to get a wifi signal, odds are that you have Icomera to thank. Of course, they’re much more than that. In their own words:
Icomera launched the world’s first high-speed Internet solution for trains in September 2002 and is today the world’s leading provider of open Internet connectivity and application platforms for passenger transport and public safety. Our award-winning products are deployed on rail, road and sea, serving more than 1 million Wi-Fi users every week in over 20 countries and providing high-speed access for fleet tracking and mission-critical on-board systems.
I had the privilege of working with Icomera to design and develop their new web site not long ago. Working closely with their Chief Marketing Officer, we designed their look from the ground up and built it into a flexible WordPress theme that addresses all their marketing needs.
No, not the National Security Agency of the former Soviet Union or the Belarusian Secret Service, but rather, the Knowledge Generation Bureau. They are, in their words, “the world’s largest independent provider of directory assistance and enhanced information services”. I’ve recently wrapped up a four year stint at kgb, where I was a part of two of the best web teams I’ve ever been a part of, one in the UK, one in NYC. Here, in no particular order, are some of the projects I worked on while there:
- kgb Deals – An international, multi-currency site that worked on from concept to launch, and then several redesigns. This was kgb’s foray into the massive daily deals space, competing with the likes of Groupon and Living Social.
- 118.com – Every day, hundreds of thousands of people reach the people, information and services they need by calling or texting 118 118, and using this website. 118 118 is contacted by more people that any other number in Britain. It provides instant access to a courteous, high accuracy service offering more features and benefits than any other 118 service. This service is available in many other countries under other guises, such as 118218 in France, 118811 in Austria, 11850 in Ireland, 892892 in Italy, and Die Nummer 18 18 in Switzerland.
- kgb Answers – This was the web version of the 542542 text messaging service that was popularized in Europe by Textperts and subsequently expanded throughout much of the world.
- 542542 (no link, internal access only) – This was the actual backend system that was used by the many thousands of “agents” that kgb employs to answer questions around the world. It was originally developed as a Ruby on Rails system conceived and built by Textperts, in Cambridge, UK. When I joined the team, we were tasked with scaling the software up to handle extremely high-volume traffic, induced by an ad the company ran during the Super Bowl in 2010. This effort was very well documented by my co-worker at the time, J. Nathan Matias, for RailsInside in this article.
eBay Enterprises/GSI Commerce
Back in 2008, I was part of the team that built the current version of ToysRUs.com. The project took the better part of two years, but ended in full success. It was an excellent experience over all, but while on assignment there at GSI, I also had the privilege of working for many of their other major brand clients. As a result, I’ve been able to work on the front-ends of websites for: Adidas, BCBG Maxazria, Calvin Klein, Burberry, DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Nautica, Ralph Lauren, Spanx, Timberland, Wilsons Leather, Dicks Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, ESPN, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, NFL, NBA. Radio Shack, PBS, et al.
Gerson Lehrman Group
I once did a short contract working for GLG in Manhattan, helping to build their GLG Research project, and building out the front-end in nine languages as part of their Internationalization project. This was completed using XSLT transformations.
Merck & Co, Inc.
I worked as a lead web developer in the Public Affairs department at Merck & Co.’s World Headquarters in New Jersey. My team was responsible for designing and developing a series of intranet websites along with the Newsroom sections of Merck.com.
I have worked as a freelance designer and developer since 2001. I’ve done everything from site design, site builds, logo concept and design, branding, marketing, illustration, t-shirt and poster design, etc. If I’m honest, some of the most fun I’ve had in this industry has been working with small to medium business clients to conceive and deliver on their ideas. There’s something immensely and immediately satisfying about smaller scale projects which have instant impact for a client. These are a few of the more recent projects I’ve completed:
- Godwin’s 1-2-1 Soccer Academy – This is a site I built for Godwin Iwelumo, a renowned soccer coach in the Lake Norman, NC area. When Godwin decided to open his own private soccer academy, he asked me to help build his brand from the ground up. We started with his chosen colors. Then, I did some research into his long career, which began as both an international and club player in Nigeria. This gave me the background I needed to design several concepts for his logo, seen here. In order to help reduce costs, we went with WordPress as a platform, with a theme that we could customize to match the brand of the academy.
- Effective Problem Solving – I worked very closely with Fadi Rahal, President of EPS, to transform his older static website, into the fully redesigned e-commerce site that it is now. This required some design changes, along with a a complete platform change to accomplish successfully. Along the way, we were met with challenges to work out with his chosen host, and we worked on a staging copy of the site until the client was satisfied, before launching it into production right on schedule.
- Adams Companies – This was a complete site redesign I did for Chris Adams, of Adams Companies. Chris wanted to refresh the site and add CMS capability so that they can publish their own content without having to rely on outside help. We also put in a contact form as well as a unit request form that his clients can use to send him industry specific information about their needs.