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C.T.OVERDRIVE: Want To Be A Web Designer Connor Turner Overdrive | c.t.overdrive

Want To Be A Web Designer

The Plunge Tuesday April 20, 2010

So this has been sitting on my radar since SXSW, but I just haven’t had the time to follow through with it. So, I figured why not just get it done on a Tuesday morning.

Anyways, I have officially taken the plunge on the new social network

Essentially, the site is a vehicle for people to answer questions publicly, no matter how ridiculous the question is. @Techcrunch has a good synopsis of the site here.

For me is a three fold thing.

1) I’m incredibly curious about it and I think it has great potential. Especially for Celebrities, Brands and Politicians (Calgary City Council, I’m looking at you guys). 2) It’s the first adopter syndrome, I love finding out about upcoming networks and I always find it pivotal to stake a claim to a new network incase it explodes.

And 3) after the success of Leave your Job, Start An Agency, I wanted to find a way to continue the conversation and spew out even more advice for people going out on their own. I’m quite open with the struggles I’ve endured and if anything I say can help someone out, that’s a win-win for both of us.

So this looks like the perfect tool.

Sure there might be elements of it that are quite egotistical and douchie, but it’s a great idea and if you are wondering about web design or starting a business, please hit me up. I’ll even buy you a cookie…

Categories: The-Personnal, Want-To-Be-A-Web-Designer,

The Wonderful World of Fonts Thursday September 3, 2009

Still smiling from spending $200 on fonts last night, but quietly shaking my head at the fact I spend $200 on fonts last night. From Tuesday Sept 1st

I seem to make similar comments to this every few months.

They usually come around the time I fork over a huge chuck of corporation funds on fonts. Typically, my thought process will go like this. Awesome, that font is going to look wicked hahd on my new project then it quickly turns into wow! I just spent 150 on a font….What…has…my…life….become.

It’s a ridiculous song and dance that I doubt will ever end. A fact that my fiancée has started to loath. But as I become more accustomed to this routine, I am slowly really appreciating the art of the Type (and unfortunatly the cost of good type). There is something about discovering a new font and implementing it in a new project, that gets my bottom lip quivering.

Anyways, I have two links regarding fonts that you might find interesting. One is from the Argentinean Type Foundry collective called Sudtipos. You may be familiar with some of their worked as most are featured by (and also appears in dozens of my own projects).

This is stunning type! For people looking into getting into Web Design or Graphic Design, my advice would be to purchase 1-2 of their fonts. You’ll find you’re creativity flourishes a bit more with solid type.

The second link comes from Andy of NonImage fame. I’m not entirely sure if I’ve posted this before, but it’s for the IQ font that was developed with the use of a Car.

It’s a crazy video that gives a great understanding of how Type is created. It’s also entertaining to watch the little Toyota spin around circles and try to guess what letter they’re creating.

iQ font – When driving becomes writing / Full making of from wireless on Vimeo.


Categories: Want-To-Be-A-Web-Designer, The-Blogosphere,

A Web Design Education In Calgary? Wednesday January 28, 2009

Adam Kahtava pointed me to a fantastic article by A List Apart entitled Elevating Web Design at the University Level.

If you’ve been reading c.t.overdrive since the beginning, you’ll know that I have no formal web design training or education. I don’t even have a diploma or any sort of paper that says I’m a web designer. Truth of the matter, is my University Degree pretty much entitles me to write wordy papers detailing why Blade Runner was a good movie (Urban Studies BA) and then I might be able to help you hang some paintings in a Gallery (My Art Minor). Hell, I probably spent more time as a faux engineer or hungover management student in University, then I have at the UofC’s or SAIT’s so called Web Design Courses.

But from the time I did waste trying to earn SAIT’s Web Design Certificate I can tell you that the Web Design Curriculum in the Calgary is laughable and outdated at best. This really isn’t a secret (like the article details) as many of the people I’ve met at previous SXSW conferences are all self taught. Instead they’ve all learned how I did; through trail and error, time and a few google searches.

So Why Overdrive are These Curriculum Useless?

To steal a quote from the ALA article:

The culture of large educational institutions has, in my experience, consistently proven itself unable to cope with the demands of such a varied and fast-moving industry.

A quick look at either the UofC or SAIt’s programs reveals that they are barely catching up to what industry standards are for 2006, let alone 2009. While HTML/CSS, Javascript, Photoshop and Illustrator courses are inarguable essential courses. No where on that curriculum does it mention things like WordPress CMS implementation (Setting up a blog) or even how to optimize web sites for Search Engine Optimization. At $350 bones a course, you better tell me how to slice up a Photoshop web site Mock-up and incorporate that sucker in to a HTML Style sheet. Because unfortunately I need some ROI and clients want you to build them the latest web site, not something from 2002.

The current institutions in this city are too focuses on the basics and have not adapted to the changing industry standards. The fault for this lies in the bureaucracy of Educational Institutions. I’ll pull another quote from the article, to reinforce this point.

We … need to let go of the idea that professors in these disciplines must hold a master’s degree. The reality is that many web professionals are self-taught. A person with solid experience and a proven track record should be considered an appropriate candidate to teach web design and development in higher education.

The current curriculum in Calgary, is taught and qualified by professors with 10 years of experience in their subject. Which should not be discounted, because you need someone with a concise grasp of the basics. But unfortunately, the latest techniques and tactics haven’t been around for 10 years. Most have only been available for only a couple of years, some even a couple of months. So you won’t find someone with 5-10 years of experience in this field to teach a course on the subject.

More importantly someone focused solely on teaching HTML or Javascript, isn’t going to be able to tell you how to incorporate that into a CSS Style sheet. (Please forgive me the rest of this rant might be a bit technical). Better yet that same prof won’t be able to tell you how to take the same HTML/CSS Style sheet combo you created and transfer that into a WordPress Theme or better yet how to install WordPress and set-up a MySQL database on server. Which is something that is actually applicable to your career. While they do a great job of covering the basics (Probably a bit more on the overkill side than anything) they are not teaching you how to actually apply it today’s market.

So What’s your Answer?

One of the best parts of the ALA article is that even though it points out the flaws in Higher Education, it also challenges us to give back and to help the Institutions catch-up.

So with that in mind if you are at all interested in building web sites, my first piece of advise is to buy Simple Bit’s Web Standards Solutions. This book gave me the standards to start Armadillo Studios and start building web sites. It costs 44.00 CDN, but will save you 900 dollars worth of SAIT and UofC courses.

The next step, mind you this is the brainstorming stages, is that a small group of #yyc twits might be getting together to share ideas and expertise on Web Design. If you are at all interested in coming together to learn some techniques etc, send me an email (or follow me on twitter @ctoverdrive) and I’ll provide details when things come together.

Categories: The-Calgary-Vibe, Want-To-Be-A-Web-Designer, The Soapbox

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