I have a lot of people to thank for their role in this journey. Tops on that list is my wife, who has been very supportive along the way, willing to participate in every sacrifice with me, and eager to have me at home more frequently. If you’re married, you simply can’t be successful in an endeavor like this without being on the same page with your spouse.
With year one under my belt and year two puffing along (and work being admittedly a little slower than I would like), it’s a good time to consider things and make appropriate changes.
People have a hard time talking about money, and I’m no different. There’s just something private about how much we make and how much we spend. But, I think it may be very helpful to some of you to know what a first year might look like. What follows is as honest a look at my numbers as I can provide.
I’ve already talked about finding my “rate”, but that’s different from deciding on how to bill. There are an infinite number of things that can be read about the merits of hourly vs. flat vs. value pricing. Truth is, they all have their strengths and they all have weaknesses. They can all promote undesirable behavior if used incorrectly, but each can be useful in the appropriate situation.
The number one question I get asked is, “How do you find work?”. The answer is actually pretty simple, but first let me tell you what hasn’t worked so far:
There are a few things I feel like I absolutely needed before taking the leap.
The first thing you’ll want to do is have a clear idea about the type of company you want to start. I did this by spending months chatting with a friend about this very topic. There were a few things I really wanted: no employees (nothing short of partners), being able to work on a wide-range of projects (I, and those I choose to work with, have a broad spectrum of skills, abilities, and interests — working on a logo one day and writing code the next was the dream), having a set of values that drives my work and getting to work with some really talented people along the way.
After more than ten years in the web industry, Guerilla Labs began as my full-time employment on October 1, 2013. As I sit here at one and a half years, I want to look back and and share what that journey has been like.
A recent project called for multi-line text truncation, but I wasn’t happy with any of the current techniques. It turns out that this is a really difficult effect to pull off reliably and effectively across browsers. So, I began to work on a better solution. I wanted:
This morning, I was introduced to a new CSS framework based on Google’s material design. So, I jumped in to see if there was anything particularly interesting going on. While I found several things I like, I was also reminded why I have a stronger and stronger dislike for modern frameworks.
In Chris Coyier’s Strategies for Keeping CSS Specificity Low, a strategy that I use – and that Chris has written about before – was mentioned. This strategy is around how to style typical text elements – like
Here at Guerilla Labs, we use Sass a lot. Often, I’ll define some silent classes like:
Before we get too far into this post, let me say up front that this is not a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts. This post is simply meant to describe how one could work a bit quicker. It’s meant for anyone who is either just beginning to work in Photoshop, or anyone who is looking for some handy ways to accomplish common tasks more quickly. If you are looking for a more comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop, I recommend going to Adobe.
I ran into an interesting problem on a recent project. I was creating a graphic in Adobe Illustrator, but I wanted the strokes of the overlapping shapes to be transparent. It’s easiest to show an example of how I wanted the final image to work:
At the end of a recent project, I had a client come to me with an odd request. They were implementing an ecommerce recommended products script on their site and had something go wrong, meaning their recommendations were way off. The vendor said that the best way to fix the problem would be to visit every product page on their site so the script could run and update its data. That’s where I came in. They asked if I could figure out a way to handle this automatically because they had 70,000 pages that needed to be visited. I said, “umm… I think so”.
There comes a time in every web developer’s life when he has to put social sharing buttons on a page. You’ve seen these, because they are on every site on the web; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google + varieties being the most common. Every social network provides their own take on these buttons, and they are evil. Also, you’ll frequently have a site design that doesn’t make use of the stock button styles. This post documents how to create our own custom sharing buttons for the major social networks.
A phrase that comes to mind each time I start a design is “less is more”. It’s a short phrase, a simple phrase…but it conveys a lot. I believe it was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a German-American architect, who adopted this phrase and applied it to minimalist architecture. From there, the phrase has been utilized and applied by architects, designers, web developers and many other types of artisans. It’s a phrase that I referenced once again as I began to develop an initial concept for my Fantasticons design.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the new software, frameworks, and techniques that seem to hit the web industry everyday. And, I’ve been thinking about how I feel guilty that I haven’t learned all these new tools, yet. There is a constant pressure – internal, sure, but also externally – to be well versed in all this stuff. While forming my thoughts on the topic, Simon Collison got to the heart of the matter at CreativeMornings/NewYork:
Let us face a truth together — coding an HTML email is maybe one of the worst things ever. At least, that’s how I think most people view it. I find it a strangely interesting challenge. It all depends on how you look at it, I guess.
This week covers common patterns in frameworks and libraries, the case for responsive images, the eveolution of the @ symbol, and level design in The Legend of Zelda.
A great new layout technique was just introduced; as was a new library from Yahoo!, a cool images loaded plugin, and the history of the Star Wars logo. Don’t miss the creative inspiration sites.
There are a lot of words on this site already that talk about what and who Guerilla Labs is as a company. I won’t belabor those thoughts here (there will be plenty of time for belaboring later). I do, however, want to talk about this blog and its purpose.