laptops, websites and cyclones

November 26, 2008


I’m deep in website designs, colours, jpegs, screenshots and Photoshop, talk of Flash and non-Flash, animations, typography and proper use of logos. And that’s aside from the new computer and a domestic laptop drama, which has gone on a week and nearly killed us all. But it has resulted in him having a very shiny new high-spec gaming laptop for the price of a bog-standard high street Dell, upon which the lad will be able to perform all his arcane college tasks as well as make his choons.

For those readers who might think this is like fiddling while Rome burns, let me assure you it’s not. It’s the recession. Those who are fleetest of foot will get the furthest. The writer/publications/communicator supremo with clean, crisp branding and a clear, well-designed and well-written website (without lots of forward slashes) will get much further than the person with a site she seems to have knocked together from some old loo rolls, however clever it may be to have-a-go.

I still haven’t quite got over being lectured by a commenter on how I have to not have a professional portal, my kids have to not have their equipment and I need to stop spending money entirely, and start living on the wild grasses of Hackney. Hasn’t he ever heard of positioning (or indeed poisoning) yourself? Time enough to be destitute when it comes to that.

Most of my freelance friends are actually doing okay at the moment – those who have clients, that is. Clients seems to be key, understandably. But it’s good to remember that, no matter how tight things get, businesses and organisations will always need words. Aside from anything else, it’s statutory.

My friend Ben has just launched a website to promote his creative partnership with another chum; lovely fellows, and very capable. Ben’s even written a book. I shouldn’t really laud them much, because they are doing exactly what I do (though, from the looks of it, in a field) and I don’t want my potential clients to read this and say: “Bit slow off the mark an’t she. Website not up yet. Eee, those two look really summat with their ‘Media made by craftsmen’ – I can relate to that…” Well let me just say that my site is going to be the diametric opposite of theirs; it will be a clean, minimal portfolio site, and I am more like a – more like a – well, I always compare writing to cabinet-making. So maybe I’m a craftsperson too, but I’m not going to have a picture of a meadow and a lovely bloggy thing attached to it. If you want more than mere information you’ll have to come here and read the blog. Or, like, commission something.

Some friends, though, are beginning to report alarming scenarios: one friend considering taking up a partnership she had rejected because it’s abroad and the clients have cash; another whose organisation is paring 68 management positions down to 18. Others scared to leave jobs they’re unhappy in. In this environment I think, paradoxically, that defining your actual values – that is, attributes, what you can add, your strengths – is a really good way to go. And if you can do that for yourself, a sensible client will see that you can do it for them.

Anyway, you’ll know when I start up properly, because I’m going to launch myself all over the web – and also in that other place called IRL. And to continue the dustbowl theme, I’ve got a cyclone coming up. Oh, wait, those are tornadoes, aren’t they. Well, watch here for cyclones. The first place I’ll be touching down will in fact be Ben’s new website; I bet he’s happy I’m not locusts.


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