Jack Herbert is a successful web designer who credits positive experiences with contest holders for being a big reason why he’s still working in the field of graphic design today!
Enjoy learning more about Jack and reading about his design experiences.
Name: Jack Herbert
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
99designs handle: Jack Herbert
What is your background in design? How did you first get started?
When I left college I wanted to become a journalist, but I could see that print was taking a bit of a dive. I went for a digital angle and ended up working on some online publications. I was working for a small company without a proper web team. I found myself doing more and more of the design and code, until I realized journalism wasn’t for me and I just wanted to make cool stuff!
Where do you get your inspiration from? What motivates you?
For me, the best inspiration comes from the client and their brief. If you can start a project with a really strong idea of what the project needs, and a client who is excited about what you’re going to come up with, you won’t need to head off in search of inspiration. In fact, my main problem is usually managing the flurry of initial ideas into something that actually makes sense!
What led you to start using 99designs? Can you describe your experiences with us?
I started entering contests because it was the easiest way to start making stuff. There’s a load of different types of projects, so you can always find something new and interesting to work on. Initially it was hard work and I lost a lot of contests but it wasn’t wasted time. I was able to build skills and workflows I still use every day.
You have to design a lot of bad-looking websites before you start designing better-looking ones. Now I’ve got a solid client base including clients I won contests for or other people that found me through 99designs. I still enter a contest occasionally if I fancy a new challenge.
What do you think is the most important part of the design process? What is your favorite part of the process?
It’s all about understanding the brief, organizing your initial ideas and sketching something on paper. Without a solid basis like this, fancy Photoshop skills count for nothing, you’ll waste an awful lot of time and you won’t understand why the client doesn’t love your work. It’s the most enjoyable when you “get it” from the start and the client is really excited about your entry.
What has been you favorite past project on 99designs and why?
It was probably the Local Child Care directory design I did way back at the start. It was one of the first contests I won and the clients were amazingly supportive and easy-to-work with — I ended up doing a load more work for them. I was still finding my feet at that time and if it wasn’t for that early good experience, I might have lost confidence and given up designing stuff altogether!
Tell us about your hometown.
I live in Cambridge, which is a beautiful little city north of London. When I was growing up here, I thought it was incredibly stale and boring and dreamt of living in places like London or Tokyo. Now I’ve lived in those places, I’m back with a new appreciation of Cambridge — maybe I’m just getting old.
What is a hobby that you enjoy doing outside of graphic design?
I’m a long-suffering fan of Crystal Palace Football Club, so going down to London for matches takes up a lot of weekends. What’s absorbing even more of my time is an iPhone app I’m working on. It’s a lot of fun and very exciting to be involved in.