Photo of Michael Saunders

About Michael Saunders

Introduction

I'm Michael Saunders, an award winning designer and front-end developer based in Oxfordshire. I have over years' experience in web design, web development and traditional print based graphic design. I have a real passion for web design and development, I love nothing more than getting my hands dirty in code!

My career started out as a designer and then moved swiftly onto designing and building email newsletters. The designing and building of email newsletters then led me to get involved in the building and development of websites as a natural evolution of my role as a front-end developer within this digital era. I am able to build responsive websites from scratch with the ability to hand-code HTML5 and CSS3 mark-up combined with jQuery and JavaScript. So nowadays not only do I have a great wealth of experience as a designer, I also have equally as good experience (if not better!) as a coder and front-end developer which is very much at the forefront of what I do.

Background

How it all started

It’s a well-known fact that all youngsters love to draw, paint and generally create, but I just knew it was more than that for me. I've always really enjoyed creating and it actually happens I'm quite good at it! I guess you'd say I’m one of the lucky ones...

When I think of art and design I think of music and the arts. Music can be such a subjective subject, one person could really love something, where as another could really despise it. Music and art can capture the imagination, communicates feeling, enhances emotion and makes you feel a certain way. I guess this is why I love music too!

Traditional print based graphic design

This is also the case for art and design too. It is so much too so many and it has given and continues to give us so much. If nothing else, art gives us an opinion, a point of discussion, a way of conveying a message, communication. Design helps aid this, being a form of language. It’s through visual communication we designers help find solutions and in many ways it’s a problem-solving exercise. Finding a solution to a brief is so very rewarding. And for these reasons alone, it's why I am very passionate and love what I do.

Being a digital native

Talking of passion (and here comes the geeky bit!), I'm also extremely passionate about web design and development, I love nothing more than getting my hands dirty in code! My career started out as a designer and then moved swiftly onto designing and building email newsletters. The designing and building of email newsletters then led me to get involved in the building and development of websites as a natural evolution of my role as a front-end developer within this digital era. I am able to build responsive websites from scratch with the ability to hand-code HTML5 and CSS3 mark-up combined with jQuery and JavaScript. So nowadays not only do I have a great wealth of experience as a designer, I also have equally as good experience (if not better!) as a coder and front-end developer which is very much at the forefront of what I do.

Skills

Web Design & Front-End Development

  • I have over years’ experience with advanced HTML5 and CSS3 hand-coding skills combined with jQuery and JavaScript to design and build websites, landing webpages, apps and email newsletters from scratch
  • Wireframing
  • Prototypes
  • User testing
  • Validation
  • Speed and performance improvements
  • Changes
  • Style guides
  • Responsive web design (RWD) techniques
  • User experience (UX)
  • Front-end modules
  • Modern frameworks such as Bootstrap, Zurb Foundation and Jekyll
  • JavaScript technologies such as Node js npmx
  • Working within the command line
  • Commercial and eCommerce website experience
  • Web coding standards and best practices
  • Browser and device compatibility
  • W3C validation
  • Testing
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Agile methodologies
  • Experience in working within SCRUM development teams
  • Kanban software development
  • Centralised workflow
  • Version control
  • Source code management
  • CMS systems
  • A bit of Sass knowledge (mostly research and experimental purposes at home)
  • Web analytics and reporting
  • Web banners and website advertising

Programs & Platforms

  • Excellent working knowledge of all industry standard design, development and video editing packages including Adobe Creative Cloud applications (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro and Acrobat Pro)
  • Text/code editors such as Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code and Notepad++
  • Wireframing tools such as Balsamiq Mockups
  • Agile processes and centralised workflow software such as Countersoft Gemini
  • Version control and source code management software such as Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS), Git and GitHub
  • Compare code and merge files with SourceGear DiffMerge
  • Mobile device and browser testing with BrowserStack
  • Speed and performance improvements with WebPagetest, Speed checklist, GTmetrix, Dareboost, Google Lighthouse Report and Chrome Developer Tools
  • CMS systems
  • Marketing automation tools such as Oracle Eloqua, MailChimp and CheetahMail
  • Email testing tools such as Litmus and Email on Acid
  • Content operations and marketing platform such as Kapost
  • New Relic
  • Google Analytics
  • Bot management with Distil Networks
  • Uploading and publishing videos on YouTube
  • Create team sites with Microsoft SharePoint
  • Use collaborative group software like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Office products on both Apple Mac and Windows PC platforms

Print Design

  • Page layout design
  • Adverts
  • Leaflets
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Banners
  • Billboards
  • Exhibition and events material
  • Brochures
  • Annual reports
  • Letterheads
  • Compliment slips
  • Business cards
  • Stationary design
  • Signage
  • Branded merchandise
  • Artworking
  • Print processes
  • Print management
  • Print production

Corporate Identity

  • Logos
  • Branding
  • Originate brand guidelines
  • Adhere to brand guidelines previously set out

Experience

21/01/2019 – Present

Marketing Automation Specialist
Wiley
Oxford, United Kingdom

26/08/2008 – 18/01/2019

Lead Designer & Front-End Developer
AFerry
Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

29/10/2007 – 08/08/2008

Sole Graphic Designer
Minoli
Oxford, United Kingdom

13/06/2005 – 23/10/2007

Junior Graphic Designer
Cre8
Burford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Junior Graphic Designer for design agency Cre8.

15/09/2004 – 30/04/2005

Art & Design Tutor
Abingdon and Witney College
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

05/07/1999 – 14/09/2004

Production Operative
RM
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Part-time work while in education.

18/04/2002 – 25/05/2003

Bartender
The Spread Eagle Public House
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Part-time work while in education.

1998 – 1999

Office & Warehouse Assistant
Burgesses Litho Printers
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Work experience while in education.

Honors & Awards

2010 – 2018

Winner of 'World’s Leading Ferry Website' awarded to aferry.com at the World Travel Awards for the ninth year in a row.

2012 – 2018

Winner of 'Europe’s Leading Ferry Website' awarded to aferry.com at the World Travel Awards for the seventh year in a row.

2004 – 2005

Winner of 'The Swindon College Award' at Swindon College: School of Art & Design.

2003 – 2004

Winner of 'The Cranfield University Prize' awarded to: The final year student [BA Hons Degree in Design] who demonstrates outstanding academic and research abilities.

Education

2001 – 2004

Cranfield University
Swindon College: School of Art & Design
Bachelor of Arts [Hons] Degree, Design, FIRST

1999 – 2001

Abingdon and Witney College
Advanced General National Vocational Qualification, Art & Design, DISTINCTION

2 GCE Advanced Levels, Art & Design: Graphics & Photography

National Open College Network, 9 Credits at level 2

1994 – 1999

John Mason School
10 GCSEs

Licenses & Certification

April 2019

March 2019

March 2018

December 2017

Download My CV

To download my CV click here (pdf format).

Interests

All aspects of web design and web development, films, music, motorcycles, motor racing, running, rugby, ice hockey, travelling and photography.

Testimonial

Sales have increased dramatically since the arrival of the website redesign and that's down to you.

Group CEO, AFerry Ltd.

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