Last night I spoke at a local WordPress event that begged the question, “Can I be a Web Design Speaker?”. The group was called the West Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup and the topic was “Show and Tell”. The subject revolved around showing off what you’ve been working on lately. It was hosted by Deborah Edwards-Onoro of Lireo Designs. It was a nice small gathering that took place at the Grand Traverse Pie Company. I went to speak about my experience having a design published in .net magazine for their monthly “Design Challenge” article. Speaking has always made me nervous as an introvert. However, location seemed like a relaxed place and I was pleased to have only a small group to speak too. The larger the group, the more nervous I get about speaking so I was in my comfort zone there.
If you know me, then you probably have already heard me talk on and on about this thing, but believe it or not there are people who haven’t heard about it yet! I’ve told the story so many times, that it feels like I’m telling it for the first time, every time for someone who hasn’t listened yet. Even though it was only for about 20 minutes with lots of good questions, it felt like I was good at being a web design speaker. The back and forth question they asked were easy knowing I took the consideration for a lot of things in my design. The design choices, font choices, layout choices, overall user experience; I answered them all without hesitation. Why? Because I took thought into every aspect of my design knowing it was going out internationally.
What made me think I could even be a web design speaker?
Earlier that day, I saw a post about a call for speakers at WordCamp Detroit. I shared my interest with the group that I was looking to come up with a topic for it. Could I be a web design speaker? I love web design and I sure had a fun time talking about my experience and sharing it with the group. The group came up with some good ideas based on what I talked about that night. That idea is first and foremost, but I wonder if there is anything else I could talk about.
All day today I though about potential ideas that focused around web design. I have been to a few WordCamps in the past, so I know there is a lack of design tracks. As a web designer, it always bummed me out not seeing a good topic that is both design AND related to WordPress. I’ll be coming up with a few topics and I’m building up the confidence to speak at WordCamp Detroit.
Cliff Nowicki is a Web Designer that has a YouTube Channel to share his knowledge and provide value to other designers. Cliff also takes on freelance work, so make sure to contact him if you have a project in mind.
I’ve been talking about it a lot on Instagram in short videos on a semi-daily basis about creating a web design focused channel on YouTube. The idea behind creating it was from the perspective of a guy who wants to show the process of everything and thoughts of an everyday web designer that’s been in the industry for a while. The overall goal is to produce value to a designer that is curious what another designers process is when he’s creating.
To make things perfect, I would have to delay the channel and push it out further when something wasn’t perfect. Then I realized the whole idea of the channel was about the process and how I thought about web design. It actually sounded counter productive to delay it, so last week I launched. The first video is about the design I did for .net magazine’s “Design Challenge” article that was in their February 2019 issue 315.
I’m planning on releasing videos every Monday and potentially every Wednesday as well. I know I’m not the greatest at creating videos for YouTube, but I plan on just producing content.
You can check out the link to the channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWJRYlh4Qi3e6Q7SSGlQjLQ
Give it a quick look and see if you like it. Feel free to give feedback so I’ll know what I can do to make my videos and my channels even better!
Want to contact me about some freelance web design work? Then head over to my Contact Page and get in touch now!
I’ve been waiting since the end of November when I got the first initial contact to tell everybody about this news. Back in late November, I was asked if I would be interested in taking part in a .net magazine design challenge. For those who don’t know, .net magazine is an industry magazine for web designers and developers. The magazine has a section called “Design Challenge” in which 3 designers are given a brief and must create a home page layout / mobile layout version that coincides with that brief. Back to me, I was chosen to see if I’d be willing to take part, as I’ve showed interest in the past on twitter.
I got the brief and with only 3-4 days to complete it for editorial proofing and what have you, I got to work. I got a single brief that read “This month we would like you to design a Secret City Guide. The focus will be on the lesser known attractions, restaurants and areas of the city that the typical tourist doesn’t get to see. Think how the user may search the site and the information they will want“. It was a real fun time coming up with ideas of what it could be and I spent the following nights after the kids went to bed to come up with what I thought would be a great site.
I found myself having more trouble writing stuff down as I’m awful at grammar, writing and putting my thoughts into words. I’m better at putting them into art, but I tried my hardest so the editors didn’t have to roll their eyes too hard at me. After that, I had to choose a photo. I looked through my stack of .net magazines to kind of see how everybody else looked. Lots of fancy well dressed people with very light backgrounds. How could I compete? I’m just a bald dude with a beard that loves video games and has a closet that is 80% video game / 80’s reference tee’s. I decided to go with an image I took a few months earlier of me holding my favorite Fallout mug with trees in the background. I could of dressed all nice, but that’s just me. I wear what’s comfortable and love video games! Anything else and those who know me would know I was being fake, a poser and a fraud.
After a few back and forth emails, talking with the editor on text changes, it was done. I was shown what the page will look like in the magazine and I was totally excited! Now I just had to wait…and wait. Did I mention this magazine was based in the UK and we don’t typically get copies in the stores until late in the month or even a month after the original issue?
The day finally came today! I went to Barnes and Noble and I found the issue! Issue 315, February 2019. I’ve been excited all day since I can now put up the artwork on my portfolio! It’s called “Hidden Gems – Detroit Field Guide”. A website where you can search the lesser known places in the city on the go. Here’s the link and I hope you enjoy! https://www.behance.net/cliffnowicki
Who here is a designer that has an up to date portfolio? I don’t see too many hands raised, which is fine because I’m just like most people. I do a bunch of cool stuff at work but rarely post anything up. I even stopped updating my personal website and turned it into a blog not too long ago since all my stuff was 3+ years old.
How did it get this way?
It’s more of a “Life Happens” kind of thing since I have a family. I haven’t done sidework in a long time so I could focus my time more on playing video games with kids and being a content creator for our youtube channel. We were even featured in .net magazine as an article of what we do on the side. It was a nice article and I’ve shown it off to pretty much anybody that made eye contact with me, more than annoying them.
Sometimes I feel that that small things I do or think of aren’t good enough to share. Lately, I’ve been talking with younger more junior designers and they seemed enthralled with those little things. The more I talked and shared what I knew and what I was working on or even planned to work on, got them more excited.
What do I do with that knowledge?
Well I dunno how much knowledge I hold, but I decided to start coming up with some ideas to start my own youtube channel that is focused on design, my thoughts on it and what I’m doing with it. I’ve been talking about it on my daily instagram posts for the past few weeks and I’ve now decided that I’ll start throwing the process here on my blog as well. There’s a lot to do, and I originally hoped to have it done before the end of February. I’ve looked over what I’d need for a halfway decent launch, and I realize I don’t believe I’ll scrap that by then! I’ll do my best to try though.
You’ll hear a million resolutions of “New Year, New Me” posts, blogs, tweets, messages, etc. What’s different about mine? None. The only vague difference is that I’m making them as a designer and a guy who runs a youtube page. There’s nothing special about this blog post that is any different than you’d see anywhere else. The unique flavor is that it’s me. If you know me, want to know what’s happening and what I’m hoping to happen, then keep on reading!
This year was a little more crazy than usual. I won’t go into detail on the negatives, but here’s are some positive defining moments in 2018 for me:
- I was published in .net magazine for a a small page about my youtube gaming channel
- I broke out of my rut at work and just started designing what I wanted, and it worked heavily in my favor
- I finished a 6k Spartan Obstacle Course Race
- I completed a design challenge for .net magazine that will be published in 2019
- I started on the path to learn AR
I think it was a pretty decent year, but I have some plans for the new year as well. When I look back on this post a year from now and I see 30% of it completed, I would of considered it a success.
Finish up some backlog courses on Udemy
I have dozens of courses I just buy on the cheap and sit on. There’s a ton of cool subjects that I wish I’d jump into, but I never have. The majority of it is development courses, but quite a few are Unity and game dev courses. This brings me to my next design goals
Launch an AR app
I’ve been learning about it, but I think if I make a goal of launching something, i’ll probably be able to make it happen. I have an idea I’ve been working on, but never came to light due to technical stupidity I guess you’d say.
Update My Personal Brand
As a designer, we all say we’ll reinvent ourselves. I don’t plan on reinventing myself at all. I tend to be more consistent throughout my personal brand. This includes my website, portfolio, resume and online social presence. This is primarily to potentially get some freelance work this year.
Obtain 3 Freelance Clients
I’ve been out of the game and working in house for the past few years. I plan on opening my web design experience to helping other people build their business.
Get 1000 Subscribers on my Youtube Channel
I run a gaming channel over at www.youtube.com/thenowgamingzone It’s a video game channel I run that hasn’t been getting as much love as I’d like it too. With the help of my family, I plan on creating a plan to get to the 1000 sub mark so that I’m able to monetize the channel again.
i could go on and on, but I figure this should be plenty enough to share with the world. If anybody needs an accountability partner for their design or development needs, then reach out to me on social media
While there is no real theme to this post, I just wanted to take time out of my day to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. It’s been quite the road this year, but I’m planning some big changes next year. Who isn’t? I’d love to let all my designer and developer friends know it’s OK to just take a day off if you celebrate and to relax with family, friends or just chill out and close your mind for the day.