10 Questions with Michael Dick of nclud

by Steven Snell

December 3, 2009 in Interviews

Michael Dick is a web designer/developer for nclud, many readers may be familiar with his work. I recently had the opportunity to ask Michael some questions about his experience and his work. I think you will find his answers to be helpful, and at the end of the post you’ll find some links that will allow you to connect with him if you’d like.

Photo by Patrick Haney

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

My name Michael Dick, I’m part of the team at nclud while also tackling a lot of personal and freelance projects.

My roots are from a traditional web standards background, but as of late I’ve been putting most of my effort towards expanding into general interface design. Whether that be for the web, iPhone and/or Mac platforms — I really don’t like to limit myself to just the web anymore.

As a designer/developer, how did you go about developing a well-rounded skillset?

Developing my skillset was a snow ball effect; if I needed something done I taught myself and did it myself. I have minimal education in web design and design so it’s safe to say that the work I do is mostly accomplished through eyeballing every detail. Taking a step back and asking “how it makes me feel” goes a long ways.

What type of work/projects do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy all different types of projects; what makes me decide one from the other is how much it inspires me and gets my creative juices pumping. I’m an inspiration fanatic; I’m always searching to be inspired.

Do you do freelance work in addition to your full-time job?

I do, but I’m very picky about which projects I take on. Like I said earlier, the project needs to inspire and excite me enough to keep my interest. Along with freelance, I also have a few personal projects I’m working on right now.

What do you like about working for an agency rather than working independently?

I enjoy both atmospheres, they both have their advantages. Agency life is more social, there’s a lot of collaboration going on when I’m in the studio with nclud. However, independent life is less social, but gives you the flexibility to choose what you want to work on and where you want to work from.

Working for an agency like nclud gives me the flexibility to work like I work for myself — especially since I live in Oklahoma and they’re in Washington DC. It’s a perfect fit.

What advice would you give to other designers who are deciding between working for an agency or going out on their own?

If you want to work for yourself, then do it. Don’t make excuses waiting for things to “be right” — take the risk. If it doesn’t work out you’ll always be able to jump right back into the agency life.

There are only three things I can tell you before you take the jump:

1) Make sure you have the financial means to stay afloat for a few months.

2) Make sure you know how to market yourself.

3) Know where to look for [quality] gigs if things get slow.

Your portfolio site has received a lot of love from design galleries and blogs. Has this had any effect on the number of inquiries you receive or on business?

For the most part, no. Most of the traffic I get via design galleries are usually inspiration junkies (like myself!) who send me a quick email to tell me they appreciate my work.

You developed your own content management system, PureEdit. What was your motivation to do so, and is it something that you continue to develop?

PureEdit is a unique twist on content management, it’s not meant to be an out-of-box solution, but it’s aimed at the hybrid designer/developer who wants full control over their website but needs a system that will allow their client to still manage the content. It gives the designer/developer full control of the front design and coding.

I use it on all my freelance clients so each project allows me to develop it further. However, I have paused public releases because I have bigger plans for it in the future.

One of your own projects is CSS iPhone. What would you say are the most important characteristics of effect web design for mobiles?

Translating and carrying the desktop experience over to the mobile device. The key is to pick and choose which elements can be reused or translated to fit the mobile screen and execute it.

Are there any designers or developers that have had a major influence on you and your work?

Cameron Moll and Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain have been inspiration ever since I stepped into the web standards movement. They both have great talents, are successful businessmen, and also live well balanced family lives.

If you’d like to connect with Michael he can be found at:

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design.Connect with Stephen on google+

  • Waasys

    Dec 3rd

    Design world needs more people like him!

  • Brandon Green

    Dec 3rd

    Michael continues to impress with his stunning and elegant designs. Great work and looking forward to the PureEdit plans and future projects!

  • Andrew

    Dec 3rd

    Michael is an all-around great guy to talk with. He is inspiring and always looking to give a helping hand whether it comes to design feedback or development tips. Great guy that definitely deserves all the recognition he gets.

  • Chad Jaggers

    Dec 3rd

    Wow, what can’t this guy do? Designing and developing for web and mobile web, like Waasys said, we need more people like him!

  • Martin Ringlein

    Dec 3rd

    Ditto on all accounts — great interview as well. Michael really is ridiculously talented and we’re always happy to be working with him.

    We always said, we don’t look to hire the superstars, but rather look to find young talent that is tomorrow’s superstar … and I think Mike does a really good job of proving that model right — we are expecting big things out of him in the near future.

  • Dustin

    Dec 3rd

    yah, I taught him everything he knows, your welcome buddy. :)

  • Antoine E Butler Sr

    Dec 3rd

    Michael is cool guy. Helpful and accessible. Few have the ability to venture so far into Interface design while diving as deep as he does into back end development.

    Nice work.

  • Nick Rutledge

    Dec 3rd

    Michael is a great designer. Very creative and one of a kind genuine guy. Very helpful when it comes to help design professional websites.

  • Michael Dick

    Dec 3rd

    Thanks for all the feedback and kinds words!

  • Jon Crim

    Dec 3rd

    Wow, some really great design work! Talented designers always seem to be able to bring something unique to a project and all of the examples above are living proof – nice work Michael.

  • Michael Dick

    Dec 4th

    @ Jon: Thanks for the comments!

  • Autonomy

    Dec 5th

    Thank you Steven for interviewing Michael and introducing me to more of his work. It is always a breath of fresh air to see designers who are versatile in their platforms and ability.

  • lv

    Aug 7th

    Michael is a great designer. Very creative and one of a kind genuine guy. Very helpful when it comes to help design professional websites.

  • Michael Dick

    Aug 8th

    LV, thanks for the comment! It means a lot!

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