Able Parris is a website designer and developer for Newfangled Web Factory. Ables 29-year journey as an artist and designer has been a rich and varied one. His first job, building barbed wire fences in Wyoming, gave him an appreciation for hand-crafted work. A self-professed amateur photographer, Able has spent time exploring fine arts at Rhode Island College and Rhode Island School of Design, remodeled houses, built websites, taught himself the guitar and established himself as Newfangleds resident gardener. You can see some of his work at ableparris.com.
I design and do some light development, as well as hold the unofficial role of Minister of Office Culture at Newfangled Web Factory.
Its not unusual that I have several projects going on at the same time. In fact, I almost prefer it that way. I am currently designing DataSynapse.com, 3Cups.net, and NestedHome.com.
First step in my design process:
I try not to walk into the design process blindly. The first step is to have a conversation with the client to get a clear idea of their objectives, what their competitors are doing and how we can do it better, and get an idea of how they plan on growing in the coming years.
Aspect of design I give the highest priority:
Purpose. I believe design is mainly problem-solving, and that without purpose a project will fail. If I can get an good idea of the purpose of a project, I can come up with a solution that will help it succeed. Without purpose I am just making a bad idea look good.
Method for overcoming creative block:
Coffee and a cinnamon bun.
One typical myth about web design:
“Its easy, my cousin does it.”
Most challenging aspect about web design:
When I first started in web design it was to build my online portfolio, and I really wanted it to be like a book. But the internet is not like a book, and it doesnt look like its going to be anything like a book anytime soon. The great thing about a book is that it has a front and a back; its easy to navigate. Websites are more like stacks of loose papers than books. The most challenging aspect of web design is designing in such a way to where the user can get information quickly and easily.
Most underrated aspect of web design:
When I first knew I wanted to be a designer:
Its hard to believe, but I didnt know what a “designer” was until 2002. I had been a photographer for years, and had even designed a lot of things and had an interest in architecture. When I realized you could get a degree in design and do it for a living I decided to give it a try.
I am most inspired by nature, but I get a lot of my ideas when I exercise. Its too bad, because I hardly get either!
Favorite design resource:
The films of Charles and Ray Eames
The one typeface for a deserted island stay:
I would just like to be able to read my own handwriting.
nytimes.com, ilovetypography.com, designobserver.com
Design-related book I highly recommend:
The Wilco Book, although I dont own my own copy
A Kierkegaard Anthology, and Dantes Inferno. (You caught me during one of my heavier reading schedules!)
Hang out with people better than you who cause you to be a better person.
If I werent a designer, Id be…
Favorite (non-design) past time:
Playing my 1940s Silvertone acoustic guitar