Archive for May, 2011

Development of interface design in Photoshop.

The development of the interface has developed in the last couple of weeks –

The background will consist of a changing palette of five pale abstract images which will contrast with the strong images of the Cub3r. – I find them suggestive of sunlight sparkling on the sea which provides a link with the fact that the designers are Brighton based.

The names are colour coded and correspond with the coloured circles underneath the Cub3r – click on a colour and it will take you to the relevant designers website.


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Ideas developing the basic design for portfolio. I have settled on a fairly simple design – see last two designs (finals) that can be constructed in dreamweaver and applying css3 styling as in the web 2.0 project – shadow and rounded corners. I have chosen a serif (Calluna Regular) and sans serif font (Alte Haas Grotesk) for the text and to provide contrast – both recommended as good for the web – but not your standard web fonts. I’ve settled on the pale blue background as it is clean and fresh – it lifts the main block of colour and is not too intrusive.

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I want quite a plain looking portfolio – with some strong colour and an unusual font, with plenty of space to show the work.

I will have simple navigation – home,  about,  contact – and a side bar for the work divided into three categories Web, Print and Personal. I will use the design as a variation in business cards.

I like the initial idea created in Photoshop. I set up a rough layout in Dreamweaver to see if I could incorporate Pictobrowser but was not convinced of the results. I set up a Flickr account and created a set of images that were imported into Pictobrowser – code was then copied and pasted into Dreamweaver. I tweaked the colours and transparency but aesthetically I am not happy with the results. I think that I may go down the slim box route as I like its simplicity.

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Role of the freelancer in web design

A freelancer is self-employed and not committed to a particular employer long term. They work for an employer for a fixed period under a fixed contract to help them complete a project.

The freelancer sells their skills and time and normally charge by the hour, though it is possible to have contracts with a fixed price to complete a fixed project.

Freelancers are often employed because they usually have more flexible hours than permanent staff; they are not a long term commitment; they complete one off projects or small regular tasks that do not require a full time employee; they may provide skills that an in-house team do not have.

Freelancers also save money in that they do not have to be paid sick, holiday or redundancy pay, pensions or national insurance.

The advantages of being a freelancer are:

Being your own boss

Variety – a freelance can develop experience and build an impressive CV

More money – freelancers are usually paid more than employees working alongside them on a project;

Freedom –  freelancers can normally choose when and where to work, take holidays etc..

Less tax – freelancers who take professional advice can also greatly reduce the amount of tax they pay.

There are disadvantages:

Less security – freelancers are not protected in the same way as employees;

Uncertainty – will there be another contract when the present one ends?

Hassle – Forms to fill in, rules to obey, accounts to be kept – all the trappings of running your own business

Being on your own – it can be lonely, and also means that the freelancer is not be paid if they take a holiday or are ill.

Being a freelancer in web design means being able to :

Listen to the requirements of the client.

Interpret what the website needs to communicate and what its theme will be.

Accomplish the task within a stipulated time. Maintaining the deadline is the mark of a good freelance web designer.

Over and above the actual design the freelancer may have to organise the following tasks to ensure projects are carried out smoothly and professionally:

Draft up a contract

A reasonable agreement between the freelancer and their clientele, which both parties sign from the start. This helps to set in motion an initial working values such as:

  • Timelines
  • When and how much the freelancer will be paid
  • The type of website being designed  – i.e. is a one off design that the client will then maintain or is it one that the freelancer will look after (will this be for a fixed period, how often is the site to be updated etc..?)
  • Any other relevant details

It is important that each aspect of the project, that both parties are concerned with, are included within a single document. This can be referred to if any difficulties arise. This important document covers the client in case of project failure and the freelancer if the client backs down from the work and payment.

Set dates

A scheduled calendar works as a framework to keep work on time and stop it from drifting too far off task.

An example may be a quote of 1-2 weeks for initial design (website mock-up and graphics/icons) with another 1-2 weeks for front end development once the client has looked over designs and suggested changes etc.. This relaxed approach can be contrasted with a more specific calendar where weeks are shaded in based on task completion.

Set up meetings

Meeting can be useful to share information face to face – the frequency being dependent on the type of the project worked on. It is best for schedules to be kept open ended – but if something solid is in place – it should be put down in writing.

Set out follow-up clauses

When agreeing a contract it is important to include follow-up clauses regarding revisions and a policy on work updates. This should include agreed extra charges relating to time on revising any major changes requested by the client. E.g. charging extra for time spent changing colours or fonts (some freelancers include the first 2-3 revisions for free and will charge after that based on an hourly rate).

Decide on final products and deliveries

This means discussing at the start of the project what is expected to be delivered as a final result.  This could include multiple items, but for a general website design it’s usually an agreed number of graphics and coded HTML/CSS documents.

If more involved work is required such as plug-in development reference should be made in the contract to the types of files to be shared such as .css, .php, .js libraries, or anything else which may be included inside the projects’ files.

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I produced the ppt presentation of our proposal that was presented to the class, though unfortunately I couldn’t make the actual presentation due to work commitments.

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For our group showcase interface we have four team members; myself, Jane Barkway, Sylvia Isteed and Pedro Cardoso. We decide to call our selves 43 .

After an initial meeting we came up with an outline of the sort of project we wanted to create, which I have written up in an initial rough proposal (to be be brushed up once everyone has agreed the details for inclusion in the group project management folder). This is copy and pasted below:

After two meetings we have decided to create a simple single page website.

The single page will operate as a homepage for the group as well as each members ‘portal page’ to their external portfolios, which exist independently from the group site.

This will be achieved (at present) by clicking on a side navigation bar consisting of five links (home plus each group member). When any of the links are clicked the present image will be replaced with a fresh image relevant to the link clicked thus giving the illusion of navigating to a new page.

Links to external individual portfolios will then be made by clicking on the main image of the ‘portal page’ of each team member.

The main impact of the site will be made using CUB3R to showcase work – This is a high impact image slider that is driven by Flash.

The high impact colourful work of each member will be displayed in this slider. This will be offset by a restrained muted background image that will be illustrative in nature.

A style will be agreed among team members and this will be used across the five links. Each member will use their own illustration/images but with design style applied to them to ensure overall consistency.

As a group we have decided against using Brighton or the college as an overall theme – rather we will promote our own individual interests/ideas (?) in the background illustrations – these don’t have to be illustrative/figurative elements – could be abstract if wished.

For the logo I think we are going for a simple design based around numbers/cube/square ideas –

We need to come up with a strapline to support this. (could be as simple as Brighton Web Design)

We need a little bit of  info to introduce ourselves as a group as well – this could be included as one of the  images on the ‘homepage’ CUB3R

We aim to have this part of the project put into an initial working project fairly quickly in order to allow time to develop individual portfolios.

Sylvia is going to work on the technical side – getting the code to work correctly

Pedro is going to have a look at the background templates

Jane is working on the budget

Jessica – proposal and pulling the PPT presentation together.

Below is the rough draft of the website.

project draft

project draft

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This is my attempt at logo development for portfolio showcase for our group 4 squared – the bottom left logo is the agreed design – though colours may be changed to fit in with background once these have been agreed.

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