I spent the early part of my career working for companies that ranged in toxicity. Where human resources (if there was one) turned a blind eye. With an overall lack of development opportunities, work/life balance and support I decided to make a major shift.
I left my role of nearly 8 years as the sole Web Designer at the University of Richmond to start my own business. I founded Protozoa Design in January of 2010 as a mission driven, socially conscious design studio, taking on clients who were trying to make a difference in their communities.
I needed branding materials, promotional collateral and of course, a great web site. I wasn’t just trying to gain and nurture client relationships but also to connect with other visual designers, writing and developers with whom I would periodically contract with. The website, being the focal point and primary point of contact, needed to be approachable, informative and accessible.
I started with the branding artifacts, working through our mission statement that everything would tie back to. Designing either your personal logo or your company’s logo is probably one of the most difficult tasks. Separating yourself from your own work, to be objective and unbiased required a network of eyes and a lot of trust. After about 40+ hours and many iterations and a lot of feedback, I finalized the color palette, messaging, logo mark that I could then take into the various collateral. The web site, letter head, business cards, etc. quickly followed. I immediately gained a large client with a wide breadth of needs and from there others quickly followed.
My approach to my client was one of support, education and training. I was designing for two clients. The client’s customer base as the end user and then the client themselves to educate and train on how to manage and maintain their website. I created in-person training with detailed instruction manuals to provide assistance beyond the classroom, as well as training videos that could be used to train future hires.
As the primary vendor and as a subcontractor, I worked with a variety of smart, talented folks and companies that were like minded in wanting to help make the world a better place. From mental health support to volunteer organizations, I empowered my clients to truly own their online experiences. I connected with other amazing creatives both local and afar to build a solid network of talent that I could source as needed. The company functioned successfully for over 4 years before I decided to hand up my hat and make another career shift that would empower me to grow my skills as a designer and a leader.
- UX strategy
- UI design
- Responsive web
- Front end development
- People management
- Client management