SXSW 2015: No, I will (Probably) Not Redesign Your Website

Jon Setzen
Creative Dir
(mt) Media Temple

Presentation Description

Designers are always hungry for more creative challenges, always on the lookout for the next cool project to add to their portfolio. Although “everyone needs a website”, it doesn’t mean designers need to work on every project dropped in their lap. In this presentation, Jon Setzen will explain why being selective matters and why web designers should strive to choose good people over what seems like a good project. He will also touch on how web designers can benefit from stepping outside of their online comfort zone, and turn that “can you redesign my website?” project into something more. Setzen will let the audience in on his personal journey as a designer constantly working on multiple projects in multiple disciplines, on and off screen, and will address why the work designers choose today will define what they’ll be working on tomorrow.

Presentation Notes

“Quit your day job and do something you love.” keeps being thrown around at conferences. It should be: “Keep your day job and do something you love at night.” Nothing is better than being able to afford life, while still doing something you enjoy.

Paying the Bills Work vs. Portfolio Work

Our portfolios are filled with the best work we do, and they should be. The work you do today attracts the work you will do and where you’ll work. As you continue to work on Portfolio Work, it’ll eventually become day work. It takes several years of saying “Yes” to build a portfolio. Overtime you’ll realize it’s ok to say “No.” It doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you’re a bad person, you just need to be selective.

Experience paired with Creative Satisfaction

There’s beauty in function. Even a boring lightswith has a beauty in its function.

We need to think about Desining for Devices, who the people are, where they are, when they are, and why they’re there.

Taking this off line: how can we do this to everything we touch

Rebranded “Better Booch” (kimboocha brand)

Working With Clients

Listen to the voice inside your head. When you start a project with a client, it’s a relationship. It’s ok to say no. It’s important to have red flags (eg: if someone asks for a reference after already seeing your portfolio).

  • You have to like the product or service.
  • You’d happily take the client out for a meal, sit across from them, and have a non-work conversation.
  • They believe you’re an expert.
  • You’d work on another project like this one.
  • The project has to be challenging. Go outside of your comfort zone.
  • You shouldn’t resent having to work on Saturday.

There’s a lot of crapy work out there. You can help people, offer them quality, solve problems, and then you can build a career.

Posted in SXSW 2015.

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