The time has come for a change.
For those of you that don't know, I have been the Graphic / UI Design Lead at RevSystems, Inc for just over a year now. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the team there for a lot of reasons, which I will get to later.
RevSystems is a full service web agency based out of South Plainfield, NJ and is, by far, one of the best environments I have worked in thus far. We have varied clients, ranging from directories of healthcare professionals to digital pens to global sports travel organizations - which also means we have projects ranging from corporate design with strict style guides to full freedom over design, content & copy.
I know, quite a few of you are salivating at that last part - having full creative control over a project is something we, as designers, dream of. Not having to make the logo bigger, or change sets of colors because the marketing manager's wife doesn't like blue.. these are just a few of the things that I haven't had to deal with. (Though, I do feel bad for you other designers that do have to deal with it.)
But, to be completely honest, the varied set of clients doesn't make Rev a great place to work. The environment makes it great. Everyone understands the creative process - we all know that most people can't start the day at 8am and start cracking the whip on creativity. The flexibility of being able to properly go through a workflow is a HUGE part of a good agency environment and that is something that I have come to love at Rev.
For me, however, even all of the above isn't why I love Rev. My biggest reason is influence. I keep up with all things web & design - this means learning about new methodologies or design techniques, along with new technologies emerging for web. The problem with most places is that these new techniques often fall by the wayside because of the swarm of drone projects - cookie cutter work that just needs to be completed with a complete disregard of the creative process. Rev isn't like that.
When responsive design started picking up some steam earlier this year, we all knew it was going to be a big deal. So, we started looking into it during our down time. We already had a set of scripts that we wanted to start implementing like modernizr and user agent - so we started looking further into those. I, along with my creative director, spent a solid week researching different frameworks and their allegience to responsive design. We worked day in and day out rebuilding popular sites & agency sites like Method & Craft, RG / A, Big Spaceship and more using these different frameworks. The end result was a frankenstein of frameworks and scripts that worked incredibly well for us. From that day forward, we had a set of starter front-end assets and a list of other items that we had hand-picked for specific cases. Why did we do this? Well, we fell in love with responsive design and, more importantly, we wanted to. We knew this was going to be huge for our clients and we wanted to use modern technology - so we did. THIS is what makes Rev an amazing place to work. You can further your craft WITH client work instead of doing client work to kill time. You can work on a massive variety of projects and challenge yourself day in and day out - all without exhausting yourself or feeling like you are just another cog in the machine. Everyone has influence - everyone has a REAL job within the company.
My change for 2012.
With all of that history, I will be leaving my position at RevSystems to join the dev team at Obama For America - Barack Obama's 2012 relection campaign in Chicago.
It is no secret that the digital & design team at Obama is one of the best. Having been talked about in the recent typekit blog for using a lovely set of typefaces, tweeted about for using responsive design ... a few times, and, most notably from the past election, for adding serifs to HF&J's Gotham / one could see why they are getting such attention.
Naturally all of these things attracted me to the position - but it wasn't the sealing factor. It wasn't until I found out that responsive design is at the core of all of their sites that I was really interested. Taking an already sterling reputation, an exceedingly forward thinking digital team and digital campaign, and adding in one of the newest and soon to be most important techniques in web design is quite possibly the best combination I have ever heard of. (Yea, even better than peanut butter and jelly. Seriously.)
For the rest of 2011
Now, this is not to say that the exciting things I mentioned over the past few months from Rev are being changed. Our agency site redesign is nearing completion and it is awesome, if I say so myself. The team there is doing some really phenomenal things - it would be safe for everyone to expect some big things to come out of there through most of next year.
For me, I'm taking everything as it comes. I'm incredibly proud of my work for rev and, of course, very thankful for everything I've learned while working there. After all, if I hadn't been there, I may never have jumped on board with responsive design (have I mentioned that I like responsive design?), I may never have evolved my design skills to spread into iOS UI design, and I may have even failed to grasp the evolving world of HTML5 and CSS3.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, try to snag the one or two open spots at RevSystems - the opportunities there are endless. And, of course, keep pushing forward with new web technologies - you never know where they may lead.* View my announcement on dribbble / Find me on twitter.