It's a treat to get paid to do what you enjoy doing most. It's what everyone wants out of their job. I'm lucky enough to have found such a job; in my case, it's web design. I have some sort of strange fetish with sitting down in front of a monitor and creating elaborate designs in Photoshop.
I am a child of the Internet. While I'm not one of the first to have used it, I did first log on in 1994. I'm part of the oldest generation of people to have started using the 'Net as a teenager. This stuff's hard-wired into me now.
The Internet provides a medium which to this day remains lightly appreciated and utilized. Unlike other mediums, the Internet provides feedback between the sender and the receiver, and in the world of web design, few have taken the opportunity to exploit this.
I began working on web sites primarily from a personal site author's point of view. Personal sites are, on the whole, more expressive and creative than commercial sites, since the expression comes from the heart, and not from the wallet. It is not in the best interest of a commercial designer to experiment with designs for sites, because there may be some unwanted side-effect. It would be breaking from the tried and true formulae of how to build successful web sites.
Unfortunately, such formulae do not create successful web sites. Intelligent, balanced, experienced web designers who know how to mix experimental design with accessibility and intuitive interface create successful web sites.
That's where I come in. I seek to create a look and feel for a web site -- something which brands it, makes it unique and stunning to look at. It clearly has its own style, and separates itself from the pack. Yet, at the same time, it should be highly functional and actually help, not hurt business. What makes the style of a web site work is someone who knows where the balance is. You can't find that in web designers who don't have their own personal web sites. They're in it for the money. Do they have a personal interest in creating unique, jaw-dropping sites? Not really. As long as they get the check.
I've been on the Web since about 1995, and have been on the 'Net since '94. I've worked with HTML and graphics since Netscape Navigator v.1.1 was king, spent time in the Usenet and mailing list trenches, gathering and comparing tips and hints about web design. I've seen many iterations of even large corporate sites, and I've had my hand in developing both personal and commercial sites.
Experience with all the Web tools is important for today's Web designers. What I use primarily are Adobe Photoshop with Kai's Power Tools and Alien Skin Black Box plugins, along with HomeSite, for HTML markup and file management. ULead SmartSaver is excellent for image compression. (making a site faster to download for impatient customers) I am also familiar with other graphics programs such as Fractal Design Painter and Paint Shop Pro.
High quality graphics and layout are not all I do well -- my markup is clear and concise, done by hand. It is typed such that it will work on most all competent browsers (and not just Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator) so you do not lose any possible business or pleasure. If you view the source of this document, you will see that it is easy to read with its indenting and spacing. I will leave in comments for you so that you know where to add info or HTML tags, as well. Some people gloat about how they only use Notepad or some simple text editor to create web sites. While one may type in all the HTML, it is infeasible to not use an HTML management program (like HomeSite), particularly for larger projects. Do you really want someone who refuses to use programs which can make site-wide changes to over 300 documents in two minutes? Do you want someone who doesn't see the importance of HTML validating programs (to ensure more compatibility) or link checkers?
Usually I design projects which load fast over the Internet. This specific design advertisement, however, is loaded with graphics, but of course, my intention is to sell my skills and a little extra showboating is necessary.
I've worked on numerous projects. The first professional job I did was for the Interweb Business Development Group in 1996, but I've come a long way since then, from experience and keeping up with the HTML and design newsgroups and sites. The latest project I did was for Fred Turner, an esteemed poet, writer, professor, and just about everything. His site, Genesis, is getting quite a lot of activity from people who have long wished he had a site online. Those were early projects. Since then, I have worked on dozens of banner projects, site concepts and designs, and so on. I've worked on collaborative, FrontPage, and independent projects -- it's enriching to work on sites in different environments.
For a more complete listing of projects I've worked on, such as Webmasters, Inc. and Flash Flood, Inc., read my resume. I'm currently available for freelance remote work, since I'm at the University of Texas at Austin right now and I can't relocate. But since most all work I do is for remote servers, such as benturner.com, I can handle not being present with ease.
In short, I'm engrossed in this stuff, the Web. Unlike most of my peers, I actually use the Web for something other than work. Why is that important? Because I have an interest in making sites that live up to the Web's potential, that I can be proud of, that I can say make the Web more aesthetically pleasing. This is supposed to be fun, dammit.
Contact me and we'll get started.