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Spotlight: Rebecca Vaughan, FXhome web creative

Posted: Tue, 15th Jun 2010, 9:47am

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Simon K Jones

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If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll have noticed that the FXhome web team has been expanding over the last couple of months, with the arrival of Rebecca, Ross and Daniel. Rebecca was the first to arrive, bringing a wealth of industry experience having worked numerous designs for major UK companies.

You’ll already have seen glimpses of her work if you receive the FXhome newsletter (and if not, why not?!) or have visited the Feedback area. The real work is still under wraps but suffice it to say our web content has never looked better. Yes, Rebecca’s designs are even prettier than the FXhome Neon Era.

We thought you might like to get to know a bit more about Rebecca, so read on to find out about her design work, her bicycle exploration of Utah and her efforts to fix the FXhome team’s atrophied muscles.

1. What do you do here?

I'm a web creative, responsible for designing and conceptualising our latest projects alongside Josh and Rikki. I have the opportunity to art direct smaller projects as well and I've also been given the opportunity to learn a lot more about HTML and CSS that other design jobs may not have offered.

2. How did you find out about FXhome and that we were looking for web designers?

I've known about FXhome for a while, as I went to school with Josh and word always gets round when school mates are up to something successful! I think I was having a slow patch whilst freelancing so had a quick look online for anything local that looked interesting, saw the FXhome ad and immediately got in touch!

3. You'd been working freelance previously; what made you decide to apply for a full-time job?

Well I didn't become freelance by choice, as I was made redundant from my last job, so was always looking out for other opportunities. Freelancing can be really good, it gives you lot of freedom if you plan well, but it's frustrating if you go through a quiet patch as you can't really do anything else in case work comes in. I prefer the structure a full-time job gives you, and I like to be able to speak to real people rather than communicating virtually all the time. Ideas always develop quicker and better face to face!

4. How long have you been a web designer? How did you get into the field?

I've been in the web design industry for 11 years now. I kind of got into it by accident. It seems that all the best things happen by accident. I got a bit disillusioned with my photography degree so started playing with Photoshop and online site builders instead of doing real work! Word got round that I knew how to make websites and students started asking for help with their online portfolios. Three months after finishing my degree I got a trainee web design job and it went from there!

5. Have you always focused specifically on web design, or have you done other graphic design work?

I've always designed for web, I guess it came from my obsession with the internet in the 90s, so I figured it'd be good to make a career out of my hobby. The accessibility of the internet is where the appeal lies. I love the way you can start out from nothing whether a designer, musician, businessman, etc, and become successful almost overnight. It's good to be a part of that.

6. What kind of work had you done before joining FXhome?

I'd worked for a lot of big name brands on advertising campaigns like the Innocent drinks’ “buy one get one free” campaign and the Jordan's Cereal’s new website. I also worked for Sky and Fujifilm, but I soon started to see that working that high up doesn't necessarily give you the creative freedom you'd think it would.

7. What were your first impressions of FXhome when you came in for the interview?

I liked the fact FXhome believes design and development should be closely linked. A lot of designers refuse to learn about the technical side and some still don't know basic HTML and CSS. I was really keen to being involved with a company that wanted to involve designers with the development process rather than keep the two separate. I was also pretty excited that I could be involved with such a small yet successful software development company in little old Norwich! [Rebecca also happened to be interviewed during an FXhome Cake Day, which probably helped -Tarn]

8. You didn't find out what we are actually working on until after you accepted the offer and started working here. Was it a difficult decision, not knowing what exactly you'd be doing?

I think curiosity actually made me persevere as it was a very difficult decision. I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for, but was at a stage in my career where I was willing to take big risks. Redundancy had turned out well for me, so why wouldn't going for a job that I didn't really know much about?

9. What have you worked on so far that you can talk about?

I've been working really hard on stuff that cannot be mentioned, but aside from that I've created a nice new icon set for the FXhome support and feedback pages!

10. You're an active BMXer outside of work. How did you get involved with that scene?

A friend introduced me to cross country cycling about seven years ago, I loved it and started travelling all over the UK to find the best terrain. I ended up going to Utah to cycle the best trails in the world, where I met a trail guide who told me I handled my bike like a BMX racer. Having never even been on a BMX I was intrigued, so when I got home I did some research and discovered Norwich had its own race track. I popped down just for a look four years ago and have been hooked ever since!

11. You used to play bass in a punk band. What was the band called, how did you get involved and do you still play at all?

Back in the mid-90s when skateboarding and punk music were very uncool there was a group of about five of us at college who were the only ones who had ever heard of Greenday. So as all kids do, we formed a covers band and played The Clash, The Ramones and some more modern songs by Greenday, Nofx and Rancid. We then moved off to uni and discovered that there was actually a thriving punk scene outside of our small town and we got more and more involved in it. The first band I was in that was a punk band was called Egon Spengler after our favourite Ghostbusters character, then as the band developed and lost or gained new members we reformed as Driving Holden. Eventually our music taste broadened and we started to get into all kinds of genres and tried to move the band with our developing tastes, unfortunately many of the punk scene followers weren't up for such changes so we dropped that scene and went a bit more art rock and indie.

Eventually I discovered BMX and let the rest of the band go off on a random tangent without me. They now play music that sounds nothing like punk and are due to release their first album this year. I haven't played the bass for four years now, but if I was in a band again, I'd like it to be like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

12. What's it like working with a bunch of slothful programmers who don't remember what the sun looks like?

It's great, they are all a really down to earth bunch of guys, and considering they've never even been outside they are pretty damn good at basketball! I'm chuffed to be working somewhere where everyone gets involved in lunchtime basketball or footy fun! I'm also looking forward to the next zombie killing night [that would be Left 4 Dead -Tarn], shame I'm not so good at virtual games!

13. Anything else you do outside of work you'd like to shout about?

I'm going to Nepal in November to see the kids and the schools I've been helping to raise money for, over the last year or so. You can see the Nepal Schools Trust site for more info. And, if you really want to, you can see my own personal website.

Thanks to Rebecca for answering those questions – do check out the Nepal Schools Trust if you’d like to help support their work.

In next week’s Spotlight we’ll be talking to a man that straddles the community-FXhome team divide: Axel Wilkinson, aka Axeman.

Posted: Tue, 15th Jun 2010, 7:52pm

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Axeman

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If that set of images following question 9 are the new icons you refer to, Rebecca, that would be epic.

Good stuff, its great to get a chance to get to know some of the team a bit better, especially those who don't have as much presence on the forums due to being hard at work on the new future projects and whatnot.
Posted: Wed, 16th Jun 2010, 1:21am

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Atom

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Ooooohhh, cool illustrations and a fantastic spotlight! (as expected, of course)
Posted: Wed, 16th Jun 2010, 8:36am

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Simon K Jones

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Hehe, unfortunately those creatures aren't the new icon set for support. Although I agree that would be brilliant. smile

Atom - thanks! We've got a whole load of these scheduled for most of the summer.
Posted: Thu, 17th Jun 2010, 4:22pm

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averagejoe

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Ms. Vaughan's graphic style is really fun and fresh. The following statement is meant as a compliment... confused I can't help but be reminded of my younger days when I could spend the day doodling through my notebook when I should have been taking notes in class. The composition and movement present just exude youth and excitement. I look forward to what she will bring to the ensemble cast of FXHome.

Last edited Thu, 17th Jun 2010, 6:28pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 18th Jun 2010, 4:40am

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Axeman

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The little "play" arrow at the bottom right corner of the graphic at the top of this thread is driving me crazy. Is its presence utterly random, or is it supposed to play something and doesn't work?
Posted: Fri, 18th Jun 2010, 8:46am

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Simon K Jones

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Hehe, it's the same banner image from the main news page. On the news page it makes sense, as it indicates you can click the banner to find out more.

I hadn't considered that it is a bit random in the context of the topic, though. smile

I'll look into having two versions of the banner in future, so you don't go crazy. razz
Posted: Fri, 18th Jun 2010, 2:56pm

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Axeman

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Too late.