Turning over a new leaf

So, as a few of you know, after under a year as Creative Director at import.io I have recently resigned and am now back to contracting. We left on good terms but culturally import.io wasn’t for me, and nor I for them. We both expected something completely different from each other and it didn’t work out. I wish them all the best.

The decision to return to contracting wasn’t one I took lightly. After I left, I had a few permanent employment opportunities and contracting wasn’t something I wanted to do again. I wanted to concentrate more on ideas and less on the execution of them. I’d always considered this a non-Product Designy way of thinking as by definition Product Design is something that you are invested in for the long term, to validate and adjust over time. But now it’s something I’d like to do and the meaning of UX as a practice is something I’m questioning even more than ever.

There is so much work out there right now it’s ridiculous. So back to contracting I go.

The work and opportunities I’ve been starting on are broken down into four main areas:

Design consultation

A lot of the work I’ve been doing is the up-front planning, coming up with ideas, sketching out crazy probably impossible things, then just handing everything over, leaving and letting somebody else build it all. I’ve always been against this kind of work in the past but for the time being it’s been really enjoyable. Previously I’d worked on long-term design and development strategies and felt like there was no real momentum—yet within a few weeks I’ve already done some interesting conceptual work for Qatar Airways, EE and Rowntree’s. Again, I’m not going to see those projects through to completion but I have done the fun bit, been paid, and for now it’s been something I needed to do after spending so long seeing very few ideas come to fruition, slowed down by legacy UX and technical debt.


I’m currently researching and planning out a few workshops and talks. A few people have expressed interest in them, I’ll probably write about them later.


I get a number of project commissions occasionally throughout the year, often I turn them down but I’m hoping the freedom that contracting will give me will allow me to tackle a few more of them.

Side projects

These projects won’t be the focus of my time nor anything I will rely on for revenue. I may not have time to do any of them, but I have more of a chance now than before.

A few credits

In no particular order but an exceptionally special thanks to Harry Brignull, (no badly-spelled relation) for going out of his way to help and to the following people for their their support, emails, directing me to contacts, roles and opportunities, their time and kind words in helping me with my decision to get back into freelance work. Some people listed below had suggested I do this back in December 2013 when I left my last permanent role and I ignored their advice. They’re all smarter than me.

I’ve rebuilt my site too which will make keeping it updated a little easier and keeping on top of writing up case studies as I finish projects. It’s been great moving away from Wordpress.

I use Jekyll now and can pretty much build what I need about ten times faster than I could with Wordpress. I can also host it for free on GitHub pages.

Let’s see how long this lasts.

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