I can't draw! I knew this from an early age, and my parents from an even earlier one. I spent as little time in the art block at school as possible, prefering music as my one creative outlet. I've always been deeply envious of people who can just come up with creative ideas from nothing it's just not the way my brain works. To find out more about the 'creative' it's my turn this week to ask Harriet a few questions but first ...
When I started playing with the web, the technology was very limited compared with today. Design, such as there was, generally featured textured backgrounds and animated gifs. Going through the Geocities archive is a way to lose an afternoon, red type on a tiled background - why not?, bright yellow blinking text -of course!) Today both the technology available and the design aesthetics used are moving on a pace – almost weekly it feels like sometimes.
As a developer there's always a sense of excitment when you first see a new website visual concept, and having the opportunity to start styling something completely new. Having designers in-house means we're able to collaborate through the whole design process although as a developers we should be prepared to work with whatever we get in a visual, great design shouldn't be limited by technology, everything is possible (most of the time!).
Anyway, onto the interesting bit! Miss Birt, you're a designer...
Including impossible colors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impossible_color) what is your favourite color and why?
I love pastels but if i had to pick one colour/swatch it would have to be Pantone 630C! (duck egg!)
You say you spent three years colouring in at Falmouth College of Art, did you also do painting by numbers?
No! I am fully qualified in this area, and had a very good 'fine art' tutor on my BTEC National Diploma!
How do you approach taking a web spec and turning it into a design?
This is where the initial magic happens and real planning takes place - ts important to READ every minor detail! The next stage in the process is when I turn into an information architect and construct a site structure and see how screens link together, as well as sorting out the user journey and wire framing initial designs.
What are the major differences between designing for print and for digital?
Pixels vs Millimetres.. RGB vs CYMK - I'm never sat on the edge of my seat when we push a website live, I am if we send something to print!
I ocassionally hear terms like leading, and kerning being casually mentioned, what am I missing?
Not much!! (Not sure I agree - Josh, Creative Director)
Where do you look for inspiration?
The sky, the coast, the land, people, everything around me can be inspirational…..
What makes a 'Harriet' design?
My mind, its the most powerful tool I have…
Let's go the full nostradamus, what are the design trends I should be looking for next year?
My Typeflakes as they get pushed out to retail and there going to be the next trendy thing to have, if your a designer that is!
Exactly why shouldn't I use comic sans, it's such a friendly font?
It's not it's pure evil, it attacks all the other fonts when its in it’s font folder!
OK, who knew that would happen, what should I use instead?
It all depends on who your audience is, that's why I'm a designer and you are a developer Stephen! I think sometimes clients think we just close our eyes and select at random a new 'font' to use, its not the case, a lot of thought and decision making has gone into the usage of a particular typeface for a particular client (see http://hipsterbranding.tumblr.com how different the message is with the use of a different typeface) having said that, I currently have a soft spot for Gotham at the moment!
Just exactly how awesome is it having developers in house?
Its super fantastic! I've worked in a few studios were this hasn't been the case, but you guys are super talented to work with and I love the collaboration we get to have on projects.