I'm really interested in design and as the internet and technology become so much more prominent, I have realised I'm actually quite interested in design tech as well. Like, to the extent that I was interested in what was a good site for building a website, even though I had no real plans to build one at the time.
James (my boyfriend) and I recently co-founded the British arm of the charity Get-Well Gamers. James had heard of the American organisation, and wanted to donate some old video games to them. The chap who founded it, Ryan, got chatting to him and asked him if he'd like to start it up on this side of the Atlantic. James was keen but, chatting about it, we decided we needed a website. I surprised myself by having read much more about web design than James (he is a big computer nerd and spends most of his day on a computer - I don't get to, because of work).
I told him to look at Squarespace, because their templates were the most modern, professional-looking ones I'd seen and according to reviews had the best functionality. He built a site that was ready to go within about two evenings. This one has taken me about two weeks, but that has included switching to a completely different template half way through.
It seems important to not be completely owned by your website provider, and I think a lot of small business owners fall into that trap - paying someone to build them a website, then having no control over the timescale and cost of any changes. So far I've found Squarespace really flexible and if you're patient and read their advice, you can get it to do pretty much everything you'd require.
Other great sites/apps that I am loving right now are:
Canva.com - my friend Annie, who does marketing for a start-up, introduced me to this one - you can make some really cool graphics, most of it is free and it is childishly simple to use. Wish I'd discovered it earlier - I even recently made my CV on it and it looked really cool, if I do say so myself (I would advise keeping a copy of the text part saved in Word, though, so that you can play with it). We actually used it to draft the logo for Get-Well Gamers too, and that came out pretty well! It's much more user-friendly than Inkscape and Serif Plus which I had also downloaded, and has much cooler fonts as well.
Steller - an iPad/iPhone app that works like a little book of pictures with text overlay and videos, so that you can make a little storybook - like Instagram with added interest.
Codecademy - a website that teaches you how to code. I'll be honest, I thought it was a great idea and I'd heard that being able to code makes you super-employable, but I wasn't all that interested until I made this website. Now I'm totally hungry to learn all about it because the scope for creativity just seems unlimited! There is a course in London called Code in a Day (run by a company called Decoded) and I am so keen to go - I think I just need to get a bit of practice in on Codecademy first.
First design round-up: done. Now as Jay-Z says, on to the next one...