Design Splat | Interviews with Awesome Designers and Creatives

GLEN WHEELER – WEB DESIGNER

Posted June 10th by Design Splat in #FF - Feature Friday, Web Designers, Web Developer

Glen Wheeler is todays #FF Friday Feature on Design Splat! Glen is a fabulously hard working web designer who always pushes himself further and further! Glen develops and designs websites for content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Trading Eye Magento and Expression Engine! Enjoy!

Hello and Welcome to Design Splat Glen!

Start the readers off by telling us a bit about what you do:

Hello Design splat! I’m Glen. I’m a web designer and developer from Newcastle on Tyne. I currently work full time in Newcastle for a great company but also run my own freelance and web hosting business. I work pretty much 8am – Midnight 5 days a week designing and developing websites for clients in Italy, Dubai, USA and Australia. I am currently working on a huge project at the moment for a financial system that will hopefully turn over about £1m in the next year. (This doesn’t mean I will be getting £1m big ones!). I develop and design websites for content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Trading Eye Magento and Expression Engine.

I am currently working on a personal project using a great CSS framework (inuit.css by @csswizardry I believe a past feature on Design Splat?) The project is coming along very well and will be released hopefully at the end of August. I have started to focus a lot of my work on mobile development. This includes front end and development work for mobile devices such as ipad and iphones.

How long have you been a designer for?

I have been designing now for just over 6 years. I started designing more at college when I started my advanced IT course. I then moved onto a foundation degree in Web Technologies and then to The University of Teesside where I did my BSc in computer science.

How did you get into Web Design?

I got into design by just sitting at my computer and designing random things. I started getting interested in design when I was younger, I remember designing and drawing robots for Robot Wars and hoped one day I would be on the TV battling with my own Robot, unfortunately that never happened. At school I got really interested in website design and reading about website design and then building them. I enjoy everything about design whether its Aircraft, Cars, Buildings. It’s always been a huge interest and now I just live for it.

Do you have qualifications in design? How important do you think qualifications are for designers?

As mentioned previously I have my degree’s in computing. I’m not so sure qualifications matter a great deal in design, you either have an eye for it or you don’t. One thing that is important is experience and having a passion to follow it. I think reading and getting inspiration from others is always a good way to get new ideas. I think learning from others and listening to people who have been successful is very important. Have a creative mind and being able to think outside the box is a great bonus.

When creating websites, what to you is the most important aspect: planning design or implementation? and why?

I think from the word go it has to be perfect. This means from project planning right to the final hand over. The project will always fail if the planning is not solid. Of course you are going to have some issues during the project if something does not quite work, but you should always have a backup plan for this which should be laid down at the word go.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I’ll be 29 and hoped to have gained some good experience in my trade. I’m not so sure I’ll be ready for my own business just then but I hope to be working for a highly successful team and company weather that’s based here in the UK or in another country. I’ve always set my sights high and gone for it. I think having people around me for support will be key but at the moment I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

If you could design a website for anyone who would it be?

I would love to design a website for Lewis Hamilton or the Mclaren team. These guys are a driving force for me. They are a extremely successful team, winners and passionate about their jobs. The aim is always at the highest standard and their hard work always pays off. Lewis Hamilton is my role model, look what he has achieved in his life and now he has made it to the very top winning his F1 World Championship. Lewis always drives himself forward and picks himself up when things are not going so well, this gives me inspiration to do the same and this is definbetly the person I’d love to design a website for.

How do you rate yourself as a designer?

Out of 10? Or in general? I think I have a good eye for design, I obviously still have a lot to learn but I feel I am very good and designing and implement designs for the web. I have a great understanding about structure, colour and type and bringing these together can create some great results. Out of 10 I’d give myself a 7…plenty of space for improvement.

In your eyes what makes a good designer?

Someone who can take a clients problem and immediately have idea’s bursting out of their brain! I know I’m always thinking design design design. I think anyone can design if they really put their mind to it, however everyone has their different ways of expressing it. I think a vital thing about design is “what is the design for” is it useable. I know in website design usability is very important.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I look in magazines, theme websites, twitter, books and generally the world itself. I can be walking around the city or countryside and suddenly get inspiration from something, an object or someone. I have a list setup on my twitter account of designers and artists and check them quite often for inspiration. It’s good to keep an eye on what people are up to.

What obstacles – if any, have you encountered along the way?

I’ve overcome lots of obstacles including all of my uni exams and projects. When I left university I found myself jobless for a few months so had work freelance for that period of time just to pay the bills (almost anyway). I then attended around 15 interviews around the area until I finally got a job working in web development.

Do you think the design industry is difficult to break into as the industry is forever growing?

For sure, without a doubt. I think the web is incredibly hard to break into. You have to have something different than anyone else to make your mark and get your foot in the door. With web design it’s not about being a designer. I think your need to have some coding skills there as well. This would mean good knowledge of CSS and (X)HTML markup. It also helps if you have a little experience, maybe a decent portfolio. (I hear uni student asks ‘How can we have experience and a portfolio if we’ve just got out of uni’) Be proactive, get weekly placements on your weeks off, build your portfolio by taking ‘fake’ client brief from sites such as 99 designs. This shows common sense and drive.

What drives you/give you the ‘go’ to keep at it and do everything?

I think it’s in my blood, but I’m not quite sure. For me it just happens. As I’m writing this it’s 1.35am during a working week. I think having such passion for patience for what I do drives me forward. I’m always driven by others who are successful and I always aim to create beautiful and creative products just like they do. When I sleep I hardly switch off, sometimes during the night I can suddenly wake up with an idea, so I write it down before I forget.

Does fame attract you?

Not at all. In fact been in the lime light would drive me crackers! For sure everyone likes to be seen as a ‘top dog’ or very good at what they do but I know quite a lot of big names who are not very good at their jobs at all. I am happy getting on with my job and improving and learning as I go along.

Do you get bored with your job if yes how do you overcome this?

Bored? No! Definitely not. I could never ever get bored. There are always new things every single day in web. Of course there are always those boring projects, something that your probably not interested in (like golf) which you just like to put to bed. However doing these projects, designing them and making them look awesome is what I live for.

Biggest achievement so far?

I think my biggest achievement was to come out of Uni and step pretty much straight into a web development company. One of the highlights so far was working for the Ministry of Defence where I designed, built and presented a website to a group where William Hague was present.

Favourite typeface?

Neuzeit is a pretty cool font, yeah. I’d definitely go for that one.

Software you couldn’t live without?

Dreamweaver (Code View)
Fireworks
Photoshop
Firebug
FTP Client

Three words to describe yourself?

Fun, Creative, Serious

Hobbies and other interests?

I love motorsport, I never ever ever ever ever miss a formula one Free Practice, Qualifying Session or Race. I’m currently working on my motorsport blogging website www.livemotorsport.co.uk I love sports, big Middlesbrough Fan. I love playing Xbox (DE i2Advanced is my tag) it takes my mind off other things, its my way of relaxing. I really enjoy cooking and making good food, I enjoy going to the cinema and driving my car (http://myhondactr.glenwheeler.co.uk) and I also enjoy photography.

Tools of the trade?

iMac (Work Machine)
Windows 7 Laptop (Home Machine)
iPad 2 & iphone (for mobile development)
Graphics Tablet

Best and worst piece of work?

I really like my new website www.glenwheeler.co.uk my worst piece of work has to be ermm….. a CAD project I did at college, I’m useless with CAD!

Any Tips or advice to share with aspiring designers?

I’d advice any creative person to get on twitter and mingle! It’s a great place to chat to other designers and developers a great place to up your knowledge and get inspiration.

————–
Contact Details:

Glen Wheeler
http://www.glenwheeler.co.uk
glenwheeler@glenwheeler.co.uk
07970298390

Links of websites you’ve worked on:

http://www.xperiology.com
http://www.stadiumbusinesssummit.com
http://www.passtech.co.uk
http://www.missbird.co.uk
http://www.stompagency.co.uk
http://www.alarichammond.com/index.php?/projects-and-collaboration/

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/glenwheelercouk/107555472631703

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/glenwheeler

Other links:

http://dribbble.com/glenwheeler

http://glenwheeler.tumblr.com/

Some of Glen’s design work:


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