Breaking the Ice
Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by new technology and its usefulness to create art.
Simple curiosity in how things tick, like the VCR, soon grew into full-fledged infatuation, and by the time I was 10 I was tinkering with the insides of the family PC – much to my dad’s astonishment and my mom’s horror. I was grounded for a week, but on the bright side the sound card was fixed. No harm done.
Not long after, Santa gave me a Wacom drawing tablet for the computer. These were simpler times, the age of floppy drives, CompuServe and Windows 3.1, yet holding that tablet and pen in my hands was magic. I felt like I could actually touch the beating heart of the computer – interacting in a tactile way previously impossible with just a keyboard and mouse. I didn’t know it yet, but there was no turning back.
My experiments continued and I soon found myself venturing into the strange realms of web design, 3D animation, as well as audio/video capture and editing. This was for school projects and making short movies with friends, having a good time was as important as the finished product, but above all else I relished and needed a challenge. That vigor only intensified in college, learning the ropes of Digital Design from seasoned professionals, my BA program placing unique emphasis on user experience, front-end web development, illustration and video production.
While being creative and captivating an audience was the bedrock of much of my education, my early professional career instead focused on the importance of data security and developing high quality, informative content that can be easily navigated and pulled up remotely. In a nutshell, I helped first responders across the country gather information about public buildings and add that to an online system for use in an emergency, my last two years there largely spent serving as a traveling project manager and facilitator.
Hoping to spend more of my time closer to family and friends, I returned to traditional web and graphic design in the Seattle area. Before long, I found myself helping businesses of all stripes optimize their websites, develop new brands, improve the quality of their content, understand their customers better, and supervise marketing production. You’re right, that’s a lot of hats, but it’s kept me nimble, and with ecommerce I love there’s always something new to investigate and discover.
Practice Makes Perfect
So 12 years and over 60,000 orders later is there any secret sauce to what I do? Boiling things down, I’ve tried a great many styles, scripts and paths for a great many projects: some work all the time, others practically never work, and then there’s the things that work only when the circumstances are just right. Knowing the pros and cons of one choice from the others and how those relate to the context of the current project can make all the difference in the world. I always strive to make the best possible recommendation based on the situation at hand, giving priority to what will likely have the most substantial and lasting upside, especially for the user experience and preferably based on first hand knowledge and research.
My prime directives: (1) Show the utmost respect for your audience, make a real effort to imagine yourself in their shoes, (2) always sweat the small stuff doing design in any shape or form, and (3) love what you do, even if it might not be every hour of every day.
So there it is, the tao of Patrick. If you have a project or other opportunity you want to chat about, shoot me a note through the contact page. We can arrange a phone call or meet for coffee if you’re near Seattle, Redmond or Tacoma.
Off the Clock
When I’m not busy with a design or writing code, I love traveling, riffing on obscure movies with the gang, mining used bookstores for hidden gems, snapping pictures of my adventures with a proper camera, and preaching the gospel that pumpkin should be enjoyed year round.