My time not wasted.
So this week has been very slow in terms of work, it’s one of those weeks where I am waiting for payments/feedback until I can move on. To fill the time, as I mentioned in a previous post, I took a lost opportunity for work and designed the site myself anyway.
The potential was for a sunglasses site. I’m not going to give away their original name, as it’s their decision as to why they didn’t choose me, and I respect them. So, I made up a name, but used their branding as a guide.
Behold - The Sunglasses Store!
The initial first draft was a bit messy. The original feedback was to tidy up the display system on the home page, as it was hard to follow and everything stood out. So my initial thoughts were to create literal columns, so the user’s eyes could follow without any problem.
(above pic is first draft)
As you can see it’s very bare. As I started placing items in, I started to dislike it. I liked the header picture, and the general colour scheme I was aiming for - the beach pastel colours, but I could tell something wasn’t quite clicking.
Onto Draft 2!
So I spread it into 3 columns, to give more options to the user, and got rid of most of the opacity so it simplified it somewhat. This is when I began playing around with gradients. I knew that gradients would work, but at this point I was more focused on the layout of the glasses - it felt too uniform. This is when I started to shuffle and resize, after some research.
I’ve learnt to learn from research, with this draft. Learning from research, rather than flat out copying from another design is important. I noticed most sites of this nature use models pulling very sombre faces seemed to be the norm, so I assumed it would work for me. I was wrong, it took away from the fun carefree environment I was trying to create.
The shuffling and different sizes of the pictures however gave it a ‘flirty’ feel, rather than uniform, so I knew I was somewhat on the right track.
I also cleaned up the navbar, it was too complicated to actually click on the links as they were so small so I opted for a cleaner look.
The Final Design!
This one, I really like, and the feedback so far from other people has been great. There are still a few things I could tweak and change, but for 2 days work, I think it looks pretty snazzy, so it goes onto the portfolio pile. :)
Free time is Golden.
You know how it is, you get some free time and you end up somehow asleep instead of using it wisely. But free time is very important. Brains can’t function at 100% for 100% of the time. It’s just not possible.
So you need to utilize this free time, for me I watch films/TV series’. It’s both useful - i’m still learning, and I really enjoy it. When I get bored of that I study French - i’m learning, and I enjoy it. There’s a common trait here - learning and enjoying.
Learning doesn’t have to be a boring experience, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling one at the same time. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself desk-napping, or browsing Facebook.
Emily tries not to waste time.
If you’ve freelanced full time you know how it can be - feast or starve. One minute you’re up to the neck in work/clients/requests, the next you have nothing coming in for 2 weeks.
So what do you do in the mean time?
Well, you make the most of it. You get yourself up to the neck in your own work. Maybe that’s a project you’ve never had the time to finish off, or your own website needs a tweak.
For me, this time, I have taken a previous possibility of work - a client website based on a sunglasses shop, and decided to design it. It’s still possible the client might come back and agree to the terms, but if not I still have an extra portfolio piece.
The moral of the story is to not give into that free time, and to not watch the entirity of Battlestar Galactica while pigging out on popcorn, but to get back on that imaginary horse and get some work done. Even if it’s just for yourself.
Emily talks Bargaining.
Bargaining. Bartering. Discussing. Agreeing.
This is easily one of the most difficult aspects of business for me. I’m a inherently nice person, and want to help the world. But helping the world doesn’t pay bills.
This past week has been possibly one of the most difficult. One of my dogs’ had surgery, which obviously cost a pretty penny. So when it came to work I decided I had to keep a stiff back, and earn what I rightfully should be earning, somewhat. I still offer discounts to reel in customers, as I am still in startup mode and require all the recommendations I can get, but I am not literally giving away my work for pennies.
Today I straightened my back, and became a little bit more thickskinned than I was yesterday. Let’s just hope it pays off.
Emily talks Life.
So I haven’t been very active lately, but I swear I have good reason.
Going on two months ago I became officially self employed. Which for anyone who knows what’s that like, will know exactly how difficult it can be. Times are tough. And when times are tough, people don’t necessarily want to dish out money on animations/video/photography with a slice of webdesign, which is kinda my thing.
All is not lost though, in this short 2 months I have managed to get a nice amount of customers. Unfortunately most of them have been unpaid work, but they have the power to recommend me on to others. This, this is what makes business work. At least in my area, anyway. The power of recommendations makes me want to give the best work possible, the problem is that people want the world for free. Which I just can’t give. So then I end up walking a fine line of saying no or giving away all of my skills for free. This is where I’ve learnt to say ‘but’. ‘No, but we could do this or this’, isn’t a flat out no, it’s giving another option. People love options. When people have options, even if they are options you have laid out, they feel like they have the power.
Business is a lot of tightrope walking, and at the beginning of your walk you have no arms or balance stick, but by the end of it you will be perfectly balancing the world on your shoulders over that massive drop.
Book trailer I directed for the spanish editorial company Ediciones B, for the book titled “La ultima noche en Tremore Beach” (The last night in Tremore Beach).
We shot it at 60fps and then use some postproduction stabilization in order to reduce the camera shake.
The table, the lightning and the human shadow were shot at the same time. Postproduction was used only to enhance the lightning and to add the window frame.