Brilliant by Design

Creative and Technical Web Solutions

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Web Design and Development

Featured: Michael Rooker Online
Michael Rooker Online

Overview

The personal website of actor Michael Rooker, Michael brought me on to migrate the site to a new server and to manage the day-to-day coding requirements as needed. The site design is a standard Wordpress plug-n-play theme with a little bit of tweaking thrown in. In truth I would like to move it away from Wordpress and rebuild the site on my preferred platform but for the time being the site will stay where it is.

Visit Michael Rooker Online

Roles, Requirements and Tools

Project Role
Development
Code Requirements
HTML5
Sass / CSS3
JavaScript
PHP
Primary Development Tools
Coda
CodeKit
Apache Server / MAMP PRO (local)
Content Management System
Yes

Jeffrey Axelbank
Jeffrey Axelbank

Overview

A redesign/recoding for a prominent psychologist, the challenge of this site was the sticky menu with a horizontal hide/show CSS3 animation effect. The menu’s structural design is more complex than I normally build but it was necessary in order to provide a brief summary of each page link on tap/rollover. It’s well-structured and semantic though initially I had some UX concerns, but after some fine-tuning I feel it works well.

At the client’s request accordions are used extensively throughout to help streamline the layout and better differentiate sections, thus making it quicker and easier for the visitor to target a specific area of interest.

Visit Jeffrey Axelbank Psy., D.

Roles, Requirements and Tools

Project Role
Concept and Wireframe (hand-drawn)
Design (UI, UX, Responsive Layout)
Development
Graphics
Code Requirements
HTML5
Sass / CSS3
JavaScript
PHP
Primary Development Tools
Coda
CodeKit
GitUp
Apache Server / MAMP PRO (local)
Graphic Tools
Affinity Designer
Affinity Photo
Sketch
Content Management System
Yes
QREATiv
QREATiv

Overview

QREATiv is a community-based project where people can sign-up, create, edit, publish content and manage media uploads all from their front-end account. It required highly customized content editing and media management tools with great attention given to user permissions and general security.

Functionally this was by far the most ambitious site I have built to date. As a front-end dev the PHP was outside my comfort-zone, and even some of the javascript customization was new territory. It was a great learning experience and I am proud of what I was able to accomplish with the members’ area.

Visit QREATiv

Roles, Requirements and Tools

Project Role
Concept and Wireframe (hand-drawn)
Design (UI, UX, Responsive Layout)
Development
Graphics
Code Requirements
HTML5
Sass / CSS3
JavaScript (vanilla) and jQuery
PHP
Primary Development Tools
Coda
CodeKit
Prompt 2
GitUp
Apache Server / MAMP PRO (local)
Graphic Tools
Affinity Designer
Content Management System
Yes
Saparoff Music
Saparoff Music

Overview

Originally I worked on the parent site to this project which made extensive use of audio/video to showcase the client’s musical talent. But that (main) site has since been moved to Squarespace and redesigned by the client.

However, due to the technical limitations of Squarespace the client required a secure and private “satellite” site solely for Saparoff Music clientele. A place where the site Admin can create and manage personalized client profiles and download areas where the client can sign-in and access files specific to their project. My involvement with the “main” site is effectively over.

Visit Saparoff Music

Roles, Requirements and Tools

Project Role
Secure client login
Customized rich-text editing and media management (for site Admin)
Design (UI, UX, Responsive Layout)
Development
Code Requirements
HTML5
Sass / CSS3
PHP
Primary Development Tools
Coda
CodeKit
Apache Server / MAMP PRO (local)
Graphic Tools
Affinity Designer
Affinity Photo
Sketch
Content Management System
Yes
Princeton Family
Princeton Family

Overview

I was hired to redesign and recode this site from scratch. It’s obviously not an eye-catching design but that wasn’t the goal, nor was it what the client wanted (it’s a mental health site, after all). They (the client) requested a very simple and clean aesthetic, not something trying to be visually clever.

No, the real beauty of this site lies with the Content Management System customization. The client needed granular control over multiple editors and content editing which required heavily modified security permissions, customized editing tools, and under-the-hood control over multiple forms. What I provided was a more user-friendly editing experience. Overall the client loves the result, front and back.

Visit Princeton Family Institute

Roles, Requirements and Tools

Project Role
Concept and Wireframe (hand-drawn)
Design (UI, UX, Responsive Layout)
Development
Graphics
Code Requirements
HTML5
Sass / CSS3
jQuery
PHP
Primary Development Tools
Coda
CodeKit
Apache Server / MAMP PRO (local)
Graphic Tools
Affinity Designer
Affinity Photo
Content Management System
Yes
Dr. Norbert Wetzel
Dr. Norbert Wetzel

Overview

The personal website (blog) of a prominent east coast psychologist, the client very much likes the minimalist aesthetic, as do I. Functionally it’s very simple but it works well for the client’s modest content needs.

Visit Dr. Norbert Wetzel

Roles, Requirements and Tools

Project Role
Concept and Wireframe (hand-drawn)
Design (UI, UX, Responsive Layout)
Development
Graphics
Code Requirements
HTML5
Sass / CSS3
JavaScript
PHP
Primary Development Tools
Coda
CodeKit
Apache Server / MAMP PRO (local)
Graphic Tools
Affinity Designer
Affinity Photo
Sketch
Content Management System
Yes

Hand-drawing

“Woman in Coat”
Woman in Coat

Overview

As difficult as it may be to believe this drawing was created entirely by hand (yes, really) with pencils on heavyweight plate finish paper. Not a computer in sight.

My interests span multiple drawing styles but as someone who is (pardon the pun), particularly drawn to photorealism, I was intrigued by the fine detail of the coat and brick wall which came out nicely, if I say so myself. I also wanted to capture the woman's expression which I'm quite happy with.

Roles, Requirements and Tools

I’m Todd

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A Little About Myself

Brilliant by Design is my small Web design and development business powered by the man behind-the-curtain, me... Todd. As a one-person outfit I’m responsible for, well, pretty much everything, including but not limited to: finding clients, conceptual design, layout, user-interface, hand-coding, graphics/artwork, right through to the finished product and everything in-between. I also take out the garbage, by the way. Mine, not yours.

Unlike a large agency where the client doesn’t typically interact with the people doing the actual nitty-gritty work, I must develop a close working relationship with the client because, well, there’s no one else to do it. And quite frankly, I like it (usually). As a result I’ve learned that dealing effectively with clients is in many ways more challenging than learning a new (coding) language. Interpersonal skills and social finesse are at least as important as technical know-how, and can sometimes mean the difference between a mutually beneficial long-term working relationship and feeling like Sisyphus. Unfortunately I think in this industry such “soft” skills are often undervalued by both designers and employers/clients.

Left Brain

If you’re unfamiliar with technical terminology or simply don’t care I understand, all you really need to know is that I write code. Feel free to skip to the next section. But for those of you interested in such things keep reading.

I’m primarily a front-end developer. Although it seems more of a technical skill I was surprised to discover how personally satisfying coding can be on a creative level. If I were to pick a favorite language it would be CSS (and Sass) which really clicked with me from the very first line I wrote. I believe it’s the visual presentation aspect of CSS that appeals to my creativity. As for the more technical server-side programming languages I frequently dive into PHP as part of CMS customization which is pretty much a standing requirement these days. Admittedly PHP sits well outside my comfort-zone, and while I manage it’s not my preferred or favorite language by any means.

Right Brain

My clients typically don’t have much need for elaborate graphics work, it’s usually basic vector and raster stuff, maybe some photo editing every now and then. I’ve done some minor print work in the past (business card, logo) but nothing recently. Print work is not something I get many requests for.

“Old School” Skills

Back in the non-digital world I have a natural talent for hand-drawing, photorealism being of special interest. While it’s something I do for personal enjoyment when time allows I am sometimes hired to create custom pieces. Graphite pencil is my favorite tool, I love the subtlety and simplicity of the humble pencil, it’s a thing of beauty.

Questions?

I’ll stop here but I’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have so drop me an email anytime, and thanks for stopping by.

Todd