Welcome to the online portfolio and blog of Ed Fryer.
So who is this “Ed Fryer” and why should I give a crap I hear you ask…Well. I’m just a bloke from Sheffield (UK) who likes making things go “swoosh” on the tinterwebs. About 3 years ago I left my job at 2020 agency (formally Digforfire) under the guise of front-end developer to pursue a new life in Perth Australia. I have been a Web developer for the past 8 or 9 years and can honestly say… I love my job.
To start off… Here is the obligatory list of stuff I can do/use/like:
Now that’s out of the way, what the hell made me want to be a web designer/developer in the first place?
Well there’s the short version for those of you who just want to get straight to the point… and there’s my life story for whoever’s mental enough to read it. Take your pick below.
The short(ish) version…
There seems to be two paths to becoming a front-end web developer. The path of the computer scientist, and the path of the designer. I seem to have taken the path of the designer.
I first got into web design in the first year of my Uni course (in visual communication). Where I did modules in flash and html/css.
It was around the era of Myspace and I very quickly learned I could make quite a bit of money by building custom Myspace pages for bands.
The more pages I did the more my knowledge grew until eventually I was hooked. After Uni I got a job as a web designer at Cleverclover (a web design agency in Wakefield) Where my main role was creating designs in Photoshop to pass on to the developer to cutup.
Then came the first recession… And weirdly it did me a favour.
Cleverclover was only small and as cuts were made I found myself having to evolve and merge the role of developer into my role as designer. Sadly Cleverclover didn’t survive the recession but by that time I had already moved on to the role of front end developer at Digforfire agency (now 2020agency). Due to my experience in both design and development me and another developer were brought in to bridge the gap that often appears between designers and developers.
After a couple of years at 2020 Agency I got the itch to travel so me, my wife and our cat Toby decided to sell our house, pack our bags, and set sail for the western coast of Australia. Within a week we were settled and I landed my first job down under… Head of Digital at Blackbox Design.
My brain doesn’t work like a computer and I cant set up a multi-threaded queuing service… In fact have no idea what that means. But I can design and build websites and apps from scratch and I know how to talk to clients.
My employers over the years have labelled me under: “Web-designer”, “Graphic Designer”, “Front-end Developer”, “Web-Developer” and “Multimedia-Designer”. My colleagues under: “The guy who can somehow code even though he knows nothing of this thing they call Maths.” Client services under “Hey you. You seem to know about Facebook. Build me an app.” and my mother under: “Edward! Get off that computer and go outside to play with your friends.” But I prefer “That guy who spends way too much time messing around on computers and drinks way to much black coffee” or “tinternet wizard” for short.
The long version (My life story)…
Come with me my friends and ill take you on a little journey I like to call “the path to inevitable doom”…
It all started back on a frosty morning in November 1982. Where, after the meeting of two hearts little Edward Arthur Fryer was born. Back then I had a twinkle in my eye and a pocket full of dreams. If only I had known what was to become of me.
- Computer games
- and food on sticks.
My obsession with computer games all started at my friends Matthews house when I was about 7. We were out in the garden playing Army men, convinced our fingers could kill a man at 20 feet (of cause it only worked if we pointed with enough conviction and managed a convincing gun sound effect). When my companion suddenly said. “Hey. Lets go and play Mario.” “Who is this Mario and how do I go about playing him?” Were my initial thoughts.
Little did I know how this little fat red plumber with a mustache would change the way I saw the world forever.
As soon as I got home I pestered my parents for a games console. But the answer was always “NO, you will just end up fighting with your brothers.” Eventually after weeks of pestering I came across an Amiga. It looked like a computer…, it smelt like a computer… but it was much much more. Here was my chance…
Because the good people at Commadore had cleverly decided to release a collection of substandard educational “computer games”. I could pretend the Amiga was an educational aid, imperative to my future education. Within a week I had one and the gaming began, within two me and my brothers were playing real life street fighter.
“Ever since I picked up my first crayon to doodle on my mothers wall as a kid I have loved to draw and create.”
I started out at school wanting to be an artist. I think it was my love of comic books and computer game concept art that first got me interested.
When I was 12 I had already designed my own “beat em up”. It was epic… Mostly.
I loved to doodle and used to fill a sketch book a week. I studied GCSE art and then a level art before going to chesterfield college to do my art foundation diploma. It was there I decided I wanted to be an illustrator… So naturally, I specialised in illustration.
Then came the time for university… I visited quite a few and looked at loads of different courses but just couldn’t make my mind up so I just did what any other self respecting bloke would do! I looked over the shoulder of my mate… and copied.
Turns out I applied for The university of Central England in Birmingham, or UCE for short, to study on a course named Visual Communication.
To be honest I didn’t really have a clue what Visual Communication was! And I still don’t. But here is what wikipedia has to say about it:
“Visual communication as the name suggests is communication through visual aid and is described as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. Visual communication in part or whole relies on vision, and is primarily presented or expressed with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, colour and electronic resources. It also explores the idea that a visual message accompanying text has a greater power to inform, educate, or persuade a person or audience.”
Ironically my aforementioned mate didn’t get on the course and I set out to roam the streets of Birmingham on my lonesome. At UCE I mainly concentrated on illustration and graphic design, but we also did modules in flash and html and it was here where I built my first website.
It was a joy to behold. A mangled conglomeration of marquees, animated gifs, and framesets, using tables for layout and brandishing customised cursors galore.
It was at Uni that I first discovered 3dMax and my obsession with games and drawing came together. I started doing illustration by creating my doodles in 3dmax then cell shading them. It meant I could move my 3d model in any position I wanted then hit a button and voila! I had a brand new drawing.
The real challenge came when trying to explain to my tutors how I did it.
In the end I just told them I bought the polygons from the art shop and they were made from Plasticine… Which seemed to suffice.
Who doesn’t like animals. If you don’t like animals you are just plain wrong. Need I say more.
Food on sticks
Nearly ten times better than food not on sticks.
In a survey asked only last week over 50% of front-end developers prefer food on sticks to food not on sticks. (2 developers asked).
You are probably wondering, what the hell is this guy on about!? Here’s the part where it all comes together. The drawing, the obsession with gaming and even the animals/food on sticks.
In my long journey to earn the title of tinternet wizard my four fabled interests have been the key to my success. My love of computer games urged me to learn to code. My love of animals and doodling powered my desire to create characters and online worlds and the whole time my love of food on sticks gave me the energy I needed to strive onwards.
In short… I love where life has taken me and I love the work I do. For examples of my work and what can be achieved if you have enough food on sticks checkout my portfolio, for what i’m up to personally check out my blog, or alternately drop me a line on my contact page.