One of the 10 nominees for Designer of the Year in the 2014 net Awards, Paul Robert Lloyd is a Brighton-based graphic designer specialising in interaction design and front-end web development. He's currently at the Guardian, and designed the latest site for 24 ways. We chatted to him to find out more.
Give us a summary of your career so far.
I've been working in the industry for almost a decade. I started out at a small design agency, but freelancing in my spare time created an opportunity to move to California in 2006 to work for Ning, a small technology start-up founded just as the sector was emerging from the dot-com bubble. Finding that whole scene a bit weird, I returned to the UK, and soon after joined Clearleft, where I spent five enjoyable years working with clients like Mozilla, NBCUniversal and Channel 4 while also responsible for the design of Fontdeck. Last November I moved to the Guardian.
What have you been working on over the last year?
At the start of last year I was working on a (still to be launched) mobile-first responsive redesign for UNICEF UK, and then an intranet for the Francis Crick Institute - both projects frustratingly not accessible to the public. My favourite work from last year was the redesign of 24 ways, and the beginnings of a personal project: the digital restoration of Bradshaw's victorian railway guide.
What have been the particular high points of your career?
Having written an article for A List Apart in 2012 (definitely a highlight!) on the topic, last year I 'took to the road' to talk about web native design. I used early television design as an example of how we should understand the nature of the mediums we design for, and embrace their unique characteristics. Jeremy kindly asked me to speak about this at Responsive Day Out, and while speaking in front of 400 people was entirely stressful, I really enjoyed sharing my thinking with a wider audience.
Who and what influences and inspires your work?
While I've made web design my profession, I'm really interested in brand identity and design for television. Perhaps it's no surprise then that Saul Bass is one of my favourite designers. His work remains timeless, and although working on the web often prohibits longevity, it's something I strive for in all my work.
What are you excited about at the moment?
I try to straddle the worlds of design and front-end development, so I've been looking at tools like Grunt, LESS and Sass. In a long-overdue redesign for my personal site, I'm looking to use Jekyll, which is opening my eyes to languages like Ruby and server software like nginx, too.
Tell us about an important lesson you've learned in your career.
If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask for help. Be that when trying to understand the needs of a client, or when learning how a particular technology works. Also, the sooner you ask, the better!
Name an 'unsung hero', someone you admire who deserves recognition for their work.
I would have suggested James Bates, had he not been nominated as well! I'm also a huge fan of fellow Brighton-based designer, Bevan Stephens. Formerly an intern at Clearleft, he designed the sensational websites for Ampersand 2012 and dConstruct 2012.
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.