Designer Statement

Created: May 2018

As a graphic and web designer, my focus is discovering a projects’ purpose, finding the balance between form and function, removing barriers, embracing best practices, gauging success and continually evolving.  My goal is always to create aesthetically pleasing but functional designs with intuitive user interfaces (UI) that adhere to web standards. I want my designs to be “universal” in that they are accessible and usable to the greatest extent possible on a variety of technologies, by a diverse population with various physical capabilities and technology skills.

My designs are focused on being “barrier-free” offering equity in that they provide identical experiences and appeal to all users.  I am a follower of Steve Krug’s philosophy of “Don’t make me think.” My designs are easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience or concentration level.  Examples of “Don’t make me think” include following best practices for navigation, symbolic conventions for icons and ensuring the users always knows where they are within the site through navigational highlights, breadcrumbs and headers.  My designs also provide “tolerance for error” in that I try to protect users from accidentally engaging in unintended actions.

My style is about having precision in placement and balance in my designs. Elements must be distributed on a page using a grid system to allow for precision in placement.  The elements of the page must be balanced but also weighted based on importance. I am an advocate of clean and legible designs preferably maximizing white space to give a more open and airy appearance.  I avoid clutter and follow more of a minimalist aesthetic.

My typography and designs are “responsive” in that they resize based on the width of the screen and the spacing percentages or element stacking consistently maintains the relationship of the elements on the page. Typography, in general, must have excellent screen legibility using San Serif fonts for body text, and have visual hierarchy where larger, bolder fonts signify headings or importance.

I believe in following the Gestalt Principles, psychological visual perception principles, in my designs. Examples are using distance between elements, proximity and common region to signify relationship and grouping.  I organize content areas that have similar functions, such as navigation, by using consistent size, color, font and orientation within my cascading style sheets (CSS). I manipulate the symmetry of a design in order to give emphasis to my “Call to Action” items.  I use continuity within longer scroll pages to group information. A disruption in the continuity signals the end of a page segment and the beginning on new content.

My graphic design within my web design is my metaphorical “icing on the cake.”  It enhances the aesthetics of the page but is not imperative to navigation or successful site outcomes.  The graphics assist with site branding, reinforcing important concepts or instilling trust as visual proof of items identified in the text.  To accommodate a variety of devices, ADA accessibility and SEO standards my designs are still functional without graphics.

My designs are based on the purpose and goals of the project.  A site must not only be polished but it must allow a user to achieve their primary goals for accessing your site.  The layout and design is based on making it simple for the user to be successful. By identifying the project goals and creating measurable methods of gauging success I can ensure that the designs are achieving or surpassing their intended purpose.

I am influenced by modern design practices and I find inspiration from browsing industry leading web designs and award winning sites.  When I find intriguing designs, I reverse engineer them to see what frameworks were used and how the elements of the design were created.  I take the “best of breed” and create a combination of my favorite elements into a new design. By doing this I stay up-to-date on trends and continually challenge myself to evolve my abilities as a web and graphic designer.

What makes me unique as a designer is I am also a full stack web developer.  Most people focus on one side of the brain. They are either brilliant graphic designers or genius programmers. I engage both hemisphere of my brain empowering me to understand the complexities of the back-end and how best to integrate with the front-end.  I have extensive experience with back-end MVC, CSS and JS frameworks which nowadays strongly influence your front-end user interfaces (UI). In addition, I am an graphic designer with extensive experience in Adobe Creative Cloud Suite of products including Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere.  Having experience with the back-end programming strongly influences my front-end design choices and differentiates me as a graphic designer.