June 2004 saw me land my first ever web design role. I’d been doing websites for a few years before as a hobby but this was to be my first proper job. I remember it well. I worked in a business centre where lots of small business were based. I worked at one place but got made redundant. From there, I moved to another company in the centre. Was there a bit and went somewhere else in the building. Got made redundant there too and a day later got the web job. I was destined never to leave the building. It was a 5 min walk from my house so the spot was ideal.
Anyway I remember walking into the office of this web place. Speaking to the guy who ran it. Basically the job was a cut and paste job. We would be using web templates and then adding content in via some coding software (it was Russian). I remember seeing the templates for the first time and thinking I had made it big time. Looking back, I shudder to think I had pretty much used someone else’s work.
For a few weeks I got to grips with the work. We had a few clients and some of the work I did was pretty good for a junior. I remember walking in one morning and the boss says to me, “I’ve got an idea. We’re going to do a dogging website.”
Straight up. He thought that we could do an SMS service based site for dogging.
“We’ll use a template, let’s find one that suits.” he says.
Twenty minutes later and we agree on a design. I can still picture it. A couple sat under a tree hugging. The lad was fat and ginger. How that symbolised dogging I’ll never know but we went with it.
The site never got finished as far as I know. He moved on to something else thankfully.
My time there was interesting. He was a jack of all trades. Random people would come in and do work, it felt more like a drop in centre than a business. The moment I realised it was going to shit was when he announced he was going to start selling things on eBay. That was bad enough but when he said it was samurai swords, that was it, I was out of there.
He’s not trading anymore as far as I know. He started to sell websites that scraped information off the web based on google adwords or something.
It’s funny looking back. I learnt absolutely nothing about web design whilst there. It wasn’t until I started reading a book and looking at Zen Garden that I realised CSS existed. At the time, I was using Dreamweaver and I let that manage everything. I laugh now but at the time, .style1, .style2, etc, etc were my friends.
I look at our juniors in McCann and see what they produce in terms of work and it’s light years ahead now from when I started out. I guess a lot of that comes down to how things have moved on in ten years plus maybe there is a structure in place for them. I do wish I was starting out again now as I know I’d be in a better place but I’m happy with the stuff I’ve done in ten years.
Things have moved on so much in 5 years let alone 10 and it’s frightening to think that back then how primitive it really all was.
I was blagging it then, I’m still blagging it now. Just with more style.