NO!SPEC Redesign: David Airey and Jeanette Wickham

David Airey Redesigns NO!SPEC

Some of you might know that I also run the NO!SPEC Campaign. For those who aren’t aware, the early campaign days are documented in the categories to the right.

The NO!SPEC Campaign was put together in a mammoth rush. Two overlapping teams were created to come up with design and copy, each team with an aim of working towards the final product. Doing it this way made it sort of a scattered experience at best, but it garnered results.

From the very beginning we knew that the site would eventually need a quieter redesign. That the IN YOUR FACE [insert expletive here] layout wasn’t meant to last forever. Also needed was a logical nav structure, as sometimes finding things was… whoooh…

But for years we were too shagged out busy with the campaign; less concerned with making pretty.

Every so often I’d get emails from designers offering to redo the site design. Jay and I would look at portfolios, check out code, and then get back to the campaign.

Several months back long-time buddy David Airey offered to do the redesign. I knew David’s portfolio and I was also aware of how he worked with clients. So I knew that we’d work well together too.

As Jay is the one responsible for everything under the NO!SPEC hood, I forwarded David’s offer. Jay blessed it with a yes.

David mentioned that the design brief was brief.
And indeed it was.

David: Brief?
Cat: Simple.
David: This?
Cat and Jay: Like.

As expected, the redesign went smoothly. No drama. No snafus. Although – and I just have to confess this part – late in the day (after most everything was done) I did start hankering after a third column to share @nospec twitter tweets. Heh. Don’t you just hate that from clients? But, without making a last minute request, I shelved the idea for afters.

If you read the comments in David’s post about the redesign you’ll see some grumbling (nothing huge, mind you). Also in the comments is an excellent point made by Jeff Fisher (LogoMotives).

I do think that many forget the NO!SPEC site is not just a resource for design students and those in the design profession. I often direct businesses, organizations, “contest” coordinators, educators, publications and others to the website for information about the topic of speculative work. I did so yesterday after receiving an invitation from to participate in a ‘competition’ [i.e. “contest”] for a new logo design. Who knows if they even bothered to visit the site for a little NO!SPEC education – but, if they did so, a very professional presence was there to be explored.

Looking at the bigger picture – communication industry + clients – is one of the main reasons I went with a calmer, more professional design this time.

All in all, I expected more of a negative reaction, but in a different direction. No matter. Eventually, everyone will get used to the cleaner design. And hey, I promise that we’ll do our best to muff everyone off with the next revamp… kidding 😉

I’m all the way down here and there’s thanking yet to do.

The NO!SPEC Campaign started out with 20 tireless designers in the NO!SPEC committee. And they were brilliant. Some even worked through illnesses brought on from the late hours needed to put the project together. But people do have jobs and lives to get to, families to see, and all that.

So the way the NO!SPEC team shakes out today, there is a smaller, looser team comprised of Jay Wickham, David Airey, and Steve Douglas. [edit] I forgot to add myself. Between the four of us, we hold down the fort. You see, when I’m fed up with the spec cacca (it can get pretty depressing), it’s Steve and David who prop me up, giving me the support to continue on. And it’s Jay doing what needs to be done codewise, as well as fixing what I break (which is often).

Jeff Fisher, a member of the original NO!SPEC committee, continues to support the campaign on a regular basis. And btw, the original committee is not permanently out of the picture. They come in ever so often when I yelp for help.

Debbie Millman, who we all know and love, is another designer working on spec issues (I swear that lass never sleeps). And when I’m fussing up a storm, Deb sometimes sends soothing noises my way.

So a HUGE thank you from me goes to everyone involved. Everyone who has worked on the NO!SPEC Campaign in the past, all the way to the present, and even to those coming in later. Everyone who has written a post about spec issues, tweeted and retweeted those posts, whatever. It’s all important. And I thank you.


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