Fucking Hell. Finally.

I’m not good at handling project delays, especially if I’m part of a team and I’m up to date with my shit (but hey, who likes having to do that anyway?). With that said, it came as a really pleasant surprise when the first drafts of the new Resources page for Design Objective came in.

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Wrong AF

Yes, they totally botched up the presentation of the data, but it was there; for the love of all things holy it was there. This was huge for me, as this stage of the project was the one that forced us to make the decision to move to another developer. This pushed us back by an additional month, as we (I?) shortlisted our options and made a selection on the right Developer to use. We were lucky to find Sunil and his company on Freelancer, and he took our designs and (for the most part) faithfully reproduced them on the first go. This is also a big deal for us, as we’re both sticklers for alignment and typographic hierarchy (surprise!), …


or: avoiding the poorhouse

When I started this year’s work, I had a very clear set of goals in mind, and was determined to work toward them: I was going to do more meaningful work, for clients whose projects and ideas I could respect, and who in turn respected me and the way in which I solved problems.

I was also focused this year on making cool shit: I will admit that I have a problem with Trinidad & Tobago’s design landscape: a lot of work is either trite, forgettable and poorly executed, and even a lot of the work that I would consider less poorly executed seems to be rooted in a same-y, formulaic, “Post-Pentagram” style. There’s nothing functionally wrong with this (I guess) but as an alumnus of Abovegroup, the agency/partnership that championed a lot of the clean, modernist aesthetic sensibility and subsequently passed it on to a designer generation that now use this approach or their own versions of it, I did not want to fall into the trap. …


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Or: Diving into Unknown Waters

The Caribbean Mental Health Foundation has an ambitious mandate:
They operate at the intersection of public and private sector non-profit mental health awareness. A direct response to Trinidad’s general lack of infrastructure around knowledge-sharing at either the public or private levels, they want to help bridge the gaps created by lack of information, stigma and predispositions; the reality is that T&T’s public mental health infrastructure is not perfect, and this group of mental health professionals, users, and proxies at least hopes to make its navigation more accessible.

They needed a website, but had no brand identity; this may have been alright enough (we could have had a quick sprint and developed something that could have at least worked for the website), but it wasn’t sustainable in the long term, and as a non-profit organisation operating on a private grant, their spends needed to be as thrifty as possible. I suggested developing a branding system for them that needed to focus on these specific…


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Hangin’ in there

Since my last update, we haven’t made any progress on the new Design Objective website.

The reasons aren’t as important as the solutions: we needed to get a new developer, and hiring locally wasn’t working. It is a reality that in Trinidad, the bulk of web development work is outsourced, but this is primarily due to cost. …


We’re week two into the design of the new DO website for 2018; the member profiles are still being finished (hopefully done by today) and we’re especially moving quickly because our members need their portfolios!

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This needs to happen more dynamically, and not on a separate change

As it is, the portfolio upload works, but one-at-a-time, and hosted on another page; that was one of the changes I think we needed to have made before the site’s rolled out, even to the other DO members on the team (which must be thrilling for them, I’m sure).

I redesigned the profile editing section to allow for uploading and editing portfolio entries on the same page, in addition to redoing the portfolio clickthroughs and embedding the portfolio upload in the Profile editing page. …


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The first few blocks of our membership: I’m the only admin whose profile is currently public, but we should have more member profiles up at the next launch. It’d be nice to keep a little log of how this page develops as well over time, I guess.

I’m hoping to be able to document some of DO’s website design process here. It’s going to be rolled out in stages, with direct member benefits (membership profiles with portfolios, resources listings, legal templates) prioritised as the first delivered components.

The Membership index is now rolled out (and the next update should be completing the portfolio updates for member profiles), but I’m hoping to be better about writings this year, and will be keeping track of the progress that I’m making with both Krs (our web dev) and the rest of the team. I’m prone to problems that require socialisation, and realised last year that I spent a lot of time designing in a vaccum: though we designed the flow of the pages and their content together, I did most of the final comp design, but am opening these preliminary designs up to more critique before pushing out to development. …


Eleanor Street Studios is a small, high-powered audio production company in Central Trinidad. Many production companies have genre-specific leanings (some are pop, some are rock and roll, some only do chutney music), and the ESS team was wary of pigeonholing themselves, especially since they had all this expertise and equipment — why be limited at all?

From the interviews we did, I knew that the brand wanted to present itself as edgy, a little ahead-of-the-curve, and, well…not cheap. There are a lot of DIY musicians on tight budgets in Trinidad, and while they may be sympathetic to the cause, being musicians themselves, that wasn’t going to work for their business model. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it needed to be exclusionary, and I decided that it would be good if they could at least present as very focused professionals; this meant that the DIY musicians who understood their value would be willing to invest in their services. …


-

Crispy is a software development company started by Trinidadian wunderkind Krs Joseph. He’d spent some time at the top ranks of some of the country’s best software companies, and it was time to move out on his own.

We got together on this project because of Design Objective – we needed a new website that could handle membership profiles, and the current setup we had, using Webydo, wasn’t going to work. We needed a good development, and we were wary of outsourcing the development because of challenges we had with it before. I knew of Krs’ work and he’d shown up to a few DO events before, so I asked, and we agreed to trade: I’d do his branding, and he’d develop our website.

In our meetings, something that kept coming up was his reticence to work on what he called “About-Gallery-Contact websites”, preferring instead to focus on high-powered apps and complex websites. Fortunately, ours was just challenging enough to make the grade. I knew he liked my work, so I had some room to work within my comfort zone. …


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So, it’s been almost two months since my website’s first round has been completed. The first round is important: you get to find out what works visually, measure impact and decide where you’re really at with this project completion thing.

The following rounds are where the good stuff lies though. I prioritised deployment over aesthetics, made gut decisions on layout, and took as many risks as possible with both verbiage and visuals, knowing that all could be subject to change.

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comin’ at ya with the hot catchphrases

Now, if I were designing a website for a major retail chain that needed e-commerce functionality from the first day out, on a tight timeline, with a small testing budget, would I still recommend early deployment? …


Now what?

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It me. | Photo credit: Abigail Hadeed

Hi, I’m Agyei. If you’re here, you probably found my website.
What did you think?
I’d love to hear about it.

I’m a 28-year old graphic designer with a focus on new products, frontend digital design, and identity.

I’m also one of those irritatingly skinny hungry people, and an aspirationally avid reader. I love making bread.

On this blog, I’ll be sure focus on the former group of interests, don’t worry. I’m going to keep track of learnings from the perspective of a graphic designer developing his career: plenty talk about getting over myself, work, Webydo tips, behind-the-scenes info on a series of posters, CSS animation experiments, and interactive games I’ve cleverly called Not Work (because I’ll need to remember how I did it, too) I’ll also include links to posts about work over at Abovegroup.

About

Agyei Archer

Designer

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