1st December, 2006

The big reveal

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
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 this. 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

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 have. 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 cash flow 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!

Phew!

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…

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