I'm Michael Saunders, a 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 worked in design agencies, in-house design departments and as a freelancer within the design industry.
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!
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.
Talking of passion (and here comes the geeky bit!), I'm also extremely passionate about coding and love nothing more than to get my hands dirty in code! My career as a designer and designing websites has lead me to get involved in the building of websites (some that I have designed). I am able to build responsive websites from scratch with the ability to hand-code HTML and CSS markup. So nowadays not only do I have a great wealth of experience as a designer I also have equally as good experience as a front-end developer which is very much at the forefront of what I do now.
Skills & Experience
- I have over years' experience within the design industry working for both design agencies and design departments within various business sectors.
- I am a highly organised, ambitious, self-motivated, talented and creative individual with a positive 'can do' attitude and approach with a real desire to succeed.
- I maintain a friendly professional polite approach and enjoy good communication with colleagues and liaise with clients at a senior level.
- I am equally competent working within a team or individually and assist and support colleagues at all levels.
- I am able to manage and lead a design team and schedule the workflow of my own and that of the department.
- I have excellent conceptual design skills, a talent for visual design, layout and typography, obsessive attention to detail and good at problem solving design challenges.
- I possess strong digital design skills, good responsive knowledge and keep up to speed with the latest trends and technology in this fast paced digital world.
- I have good draftsmanship skills with the ability to produce rough wireframes and more detailed hand-drawn visuals.
- Processes: Brainstorming, initial sketching, drafts, wireframing, concepts and visuals, layouts, HTML build, final artwork and design.
- Programs & Platforms: Excellent working knowledge of all industry standard design packages including Adobe's Creative Cloud and Creative Suite (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat Pro), 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), SourceGear DiffMerge, CMS systems, New Relic, Google Analytics, Producing and Editing videos with ProShow Producer and Adobe Premiere Pro, Uploading and publishing videos on YouTube and Microsoft Office products on both Apple Mac and Windows PC platforms.
- Corporate Identity: Logos, branding, originate brand guidelines and adhere to brand guidelines previously set out.
- 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 and print management.
- Web Design & Front-End Development: Design and build websites, landing webpages and email newsletters from scratch with the ability to hand-code HTML5 and CSS3 markup, wireframing, style guides, responsive web design (RWD), user experience (UX), front-end modules, modern frameworks such as Bootstrap, commercial and eCommerce website experience, web design standards and best practices, browser and device compatibility, W3C validation, testing, usability, agile environment, centralised workflow, version control, source code management, CMS systems, web analytics and reporting, web banners and website advertising.
2010 – 2016
Winner of 'World’s Leading Ferry Website' awarded to aferry.com at the World Travel Awards for the seventh year in a row.
2012 – 2016
Winner of 'Europe’s Leading Ferry Website' awarded to aferry.com at the World Travel Awards for the fifth 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.
Most Recent Qualification
2001 – 2004
Swindon College: School of Art & Design in conjunction with Cranfield University
FIRST Class BA [Hons] Degree in DESIGN: Typography
All aspects of web design and web development, photography, travelling, motorbikes, Formula One, running, rugby, films and music.
“Sales have increased dramatically since the arrival of the website redesign and that's down to you.”
Group CEO, The Travel Gateway Ltd.