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Unraveling the Chronicles of My Design Adventures

Posted On Monday, February 19, 2024

Author: Philip Sampson (Account Director)

Ever gazed upon your portfolio and felt a nostalgic wave of cringe wash over you? Ah, the memories – the triumphs, the struggles, and the moments when you questioned your sanity dealing with those quirky clients. We've all been there.

My journey through the twists and turns of the design world has been a rollercoaster of hits and misses. Admittedly, there were moments when I winced at the sight of outdated aesthetics or the remnants of extinct technologies. But fear not, for time is the grand storyteller, weaving tales of perspective and growth.

Let's embark on a whimsical journey through the dusty corridors of my design past, where every project whispered secrets and taught me valuable lessons.

Cracking the Code Conundrum

Ever found yourself retrofitting ancient websites for the era of mobile devices, feeling like an archaeologist uncovering relics of the past? I've been there, from early WordPress experiments to wrestling with table-based HTML. Surprisingly, HTML and CSS turned out to be more resilient than a rubber ducky in a storm.

Table layouts, the dinosaurs of web design, proved time-consuming to retrofit, yet the transformation to CSS was like a magic trick. It dawned on me – the code might not be perfect, but there's life left in those old sites. A testament to the enduring spirit of HTML and CSS.

Typography's Epic Tale

Once upon a time, the web wrestled with font limitations, and I was caught in the crossfire of poor font choices. Picture it – a font size so minuscule it required a magnifying glass, and line heights so minimal, words engaged in a claustrophobic dance.

Why, you ask? Blame it on the era's perception of small text as visually appealing, coupled with the pixelated nightmares of larger fonts. Lesson learned: legibility is king, and fonts are meant to be more than just pretty; they're the gatekeepers of accessibility.

Hacks, Duct Tape, and Creative Ingenuity

Ah, the wild era of web design, where hacks were the unsung heroes holding everything together. Slicing large images into a table layout? Check. Battling the quirks of Internet Explorer like a valiant knight? Check. Vendor prefixes acting as virtual duct tape? Double-check.

While the term "hacks" may no longer be en vogue, the creative spark behind them persists. The game has evolved, and we now wield powerful tools to conquer design challenges. Creative thinking is still our greatest ally in navigating the ever-shifting landscape.

Guiding Clients Through the Design Jungle

In the early days, client meetings felt akin to taking restaurant orders. I'd diligently jot down their desires, serving up designs without much ado. A viable strategy for a while, but alas, not a recipe for long-term success.

Clients need more than a silent order-taker. They crave guidance, a solid plan, and the expertise of a seasoned web designer. Cue the epiphany – speaking up, offering honest assessments, and steering clients toward the best path creates not just better websites but more well-rounded outcomes.

Embrace the Monstrous Beauty of Change

Change, the mythical creature lurking beneath the bed of familiarity, ready to pounce when you least expect it. Confessions of a former technophobe: CSS layouts induced cold sweats, databases triggered anxiety, and PHP was an unsolvable puzzle.

Yet, behold the portfolio – a testament to conquering fears and embracing change. The monster under the bed turned out to be a catalyst for growth. JavaScript may still send shivers, but the confidence to adapt has been hard-earned through evolving with the times.

A Web Designer's Time-Traveling Odyssey

Dear fellow designers, dust off those ancient relics in your portfolio. They may not boast the glamour of current standards, but within their digital crevices lie the seeds of wisdom. Take a stroll through the archives, revisit your design evolution, and marvel at how far you've ventured since those early days.

For in the pages of your design history, you'll discover the footprints of growth, the echoes of lessons learned, and the subtle nudges that pushed you to become the designer you are today.

So, strap on your virtual time-traveling goggles and rediscover the past. You might just find a treasure trove of insights waiting to propel you into the whimsical future of design.


Author: Philip Sampson (Account Director)

Over 4 years account management experience, working with developers, recruiters, marketers and pretty much anyone in the recruitment business that wants to connect. 


You can reach me at or find me on LinkedIn