Oliver Lisher on bold, illustrative design

A net Awards nominee for Designer of the Year, Oli Lisher discusses the making of his portolio site and lessons he's learned in his career.

Oli Lisher has been nominated for not one, but two net awards this year: Designer of the Year and Best Online Portfolio. He works on a freelance basis, mainly for startups such as Mixture.io, 500px and Articulate. We quizzed him to find out more.

Give us a summary of your career so far.

I'm a graphic and web designer, illustrator and front-end developer working from Chichester in the UK. I have worked at design agencies and as a freelancer for the past eight years, but now work mainly with startup companies creating and coding designs responsively for the web. I love using bold, illustrative design.

What have you been working on over the last year?

In the last year I have been lucky enough to have worked on web design, app design and illustration projects for some great companies in the UK and US, like 500px, Articulate, Coderwall, Pitchbox, Page Puppet, Assembly, TriggerMail and Mixture.io.

Tell us about the process of designing your portfolio site.

The main idea behind my portfolio site was to make sure that visitors could see all of my work in one place, on one page. I decided to make the home/portfolio page a cascade of work that visitors simply scroll through, making it easy to see projects one after the other.

I felt it needed to be as simple as possible, so that the main focus was on the work, but I still wanted it to have a unique look. I went with an orangey red as the accent colour, and used very subtle textures in the background.

Oli's design for Coderwall's Futureal Bundle

Who and what influences and inspires your work?

I am inspired everyday by the opportunity to get up and create something new, and I feel extremely lucky that my job is something that I love doing. I'm influenced by other designers doing bold illustrative design work online, combining traditional print aesthetics with modern development practises.

What have been the particular high points of your career?

Even though I've been at this for around eight years, I still really feel like I am at the beginning of my career, with hopefully lots more interesting projects to come. So being nominated for this award, in such good company, is definitely a high. Also, the opportunity to work with interesting people all over the world, and even visit some of them makes me feel extremely lucky.

What are you excited about at the moment?

My wife and I are super excited about the imminent arrival of our first child in June!

Tell us about an important lesson you've learned in your career.

A great piece of advice I was given is to "do the type of work you want to do more of". I do my best to live by that, it's a simple thought but one that makes sure you are producing work you are proud of.

Name an 'unsung hero', someone you admire who deserves more recognition for their work.

I really admire the work of Neil Kinnish (@neiltak) and Pete Nelson for their work on multiple projects.

Vote in the net Awards!

Celebrating the best in web design and development, the 15th net Awards is open for public voting until 24 March. With a record breaking number of nominations this year, it's set to be the biggest and best yet. Have your say by casting your votes here.


Tanya Combrinck is digital editor on net magazine.