This is the celebrated journal of Mr. Simon Collison A.K.A Colly

The big reveal

1st December 2006

Almost two months after I made it known that I was moving on, I can finally reveal all. I’m delighted to announce that I am now running a brand new web design and development agency. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Erskine.

Grabs of the two sites

Figure 1: The two new websites.

I needed time to get everything set up, battle through and attack a shed load of ongoing and new client work, but it feels good to finally unleash the beast. Here’s all the news that’s fit to print…

Howdy, partners!

The agency is a trading style of Erskine Corporation LLP, of which I am now a partner. The other partners are very visionary people, experts in regeneration, masterplanning, architecture, the economy and other stuff that affects local communities. One partner in particular (also called Simon) really “gets” the web and is helping me shape the agency on a day-to-day basis, specifically from a business point of view, which I’m finding invaluable.

Erskine stands on its own two feet, but the Motherly embrace of the Corporation at large means we have access to unique resources beyond the scope of a traditional design agency. This makes us big, but small. Or is it small, but big? We’re based in Nottingham, Leeds and West Marton (Yorkshire Dales) which makes us accessible in more ways than one.

Two new websites for Erskine

There was the small matter of creating two fresh new websites - something brand new for the design agency site itself (I’m beginning with a “chalkboard” edition), and also a complete overhaul of the main Corporation site.

Sites side by side

Figure 2: Sites side-by-side. Click for a larger image.

The two share many common design elements, although one is black and one is white, as you’ll see. I was lucky that Erskine already had excellent brand guidelines and motifs (I love the little birds). I particularly enjoyed implementing site-wide Microformats on these sites, and defining a preferred elastic layout approach. Still a few bits I’d like to tweak, but one thing at a time. Maybe I’ll write more about them in the near future.

We are aiming for excellence in everything we produce, and I am already building a core team of developers to help us out with the incoming workload. I may well be asking for CVs in the coming months for more permanent positions if we maintain the initial momentum. It has been a fast and frenetic first couple of months, with old and new client work keeping us extremely busy.

So why not go freelance?

I kind of am. A few in the know asked me why I didn’t go out-and-out freelance, and I had been tempted before Erskine came along. To be honest, I don’t like working on my own - I need people around me or on chat. I can’t work in a vacuum, so to be part of a wider network is fantastic. I’m also not the world’s best at book-keeping, so it is useful to have t’other Simon managing cashflow and general paperwork duties on my behalf. Such wider resources are invaluable, and allow me to spend much more time actually working and running the agency, plus the network is delivering all sorts of clients directly to my door. I couldn’t be happier.

Any recent launches?

Most projects are in development (there is a teaser client list on the site’s homepage however), although we have just launched a new site for renowned illustrator Andrew Rae - former art director on the BBC’s Monkey Dust, and a pensmith whose clients include The Guardian, Howies, Penguin and MTV. You gotta check out his work, it is fantastic - especially the amazing Crouchinho!


So, that’s the big reveal over with. Feels good to be “out” at last. We’re busy as the proverbial bee, but we’ve always resources to spare, so keep us in mind.

Back to work then…


# Owen responded on 1st December 2006 with...

So now we know. The two Erskine sites complement each other very well. Nice work. Let me be among the first to offer my congratulations and wishes of good luck. And keep up the EE pimpin’!

# kitsimons responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Very nice. I particularly like the wavy pencil line dividers. And of course the bird.

Hope it all works out for you.

# Jon Hicks responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Congratulations Colly, it looks like such a smart move you’ve made here. And yes, all that pain and late nights were worth it!

# Hayley responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Congrats! Both sites look fantastic and function brilliantly.

# Martin responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Congrats man!

# Geof Harries responded on 1st December 2006 with...

I completely relate with your comments about why you didn’t go full-bore freelance. That’s a big reason for why I stick out it where I am at present.

Being able to talk to, heck even just encounter, real people throughout the day are very important to my psychological and emotional health. And no, email phone and IM simply aren’t the same.

Nice to see other folks bucking the freelance trend and blazing their own unique path with the “hybrid”.

# Ranjani responded on 1st December 2006 with...

I think that bird is my spirit-guide, or something similar, because that site is beautiful! I love the freedom of the page. I hope Erskine gives you the same kind of freedom.

And good move on finding a team (or, a partner at least); designing on your own can get pretty dull, and this way, you always have creativity to fall back on if you’re ever lost. Best of luck!

# Dave responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Nice nice mate. Good luck in your new adventure

# Gareth responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Echo the congrats, and the working with others theme. I like doing things on my own (the power!) but not sure I’d like it when it comes to the day to day work.

# Tony responded on 1st December 2006 with...

You still have some filler text at the single post view here.

# JamesM responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Wow. Both sites look *really* great. Good luck with it all sir!

# Nate K responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Re-iterating what others have said, congrats Colly. This seems like a great opportunity for you and your skillset.

The sites look great, too.

# Andy Croll responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Congrats and I will definitely be keeping my ear out should you start hiring. Once I’m done with the non-web hassles I’ve currently got going on…

# Simon Clayson responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Good luck - it all looks great.

# Matthew Pennell responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Congratulations on the new position, Colly, it sounds too-good-to-be-true to be able to work on web design with a strong ethical undercurrent.

Are you only likely to be hiring actual staff, or will there be freelancing opportunities too?

# Mark Boulton responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Nice Colly. Really nice. Being freelance isn’t really that bad. I’ve got the postman to talk to, the neighbours and I can even pop down the village for a chat with the old people out buying their bread.

# Ben Ward responded on 1st December 2006 with...

Many congratulations, Colly. Sounds like you’ve got yourself into something really rather fabulous there. Best of luck to you.

# Greg Wood responded on 2nd December 2006 with...

Congrats Colly. I really like the Erskine Design site, especially the rippy effects, lovely!

# Carolyn responded on 2nd December 2006 with...

Hey Colly! Beautiful work…I’m really looking forward to seeing the projects you’ve been working on, as each is unveiled. I wish you and your company great success.

# Derek Featherstone responded on 5th December 2006 with...

Many congratulations, Colly! Exciting times to say the least. All the best for tremendous success in your new venture, and I hope to catch up sometime soon.

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