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    I currently work as a front end developer for a major record label and have done for the past 2.5 years. I work in the e-commerce department which used to be a lot of fun, not only writing code but also coming up with bug specs on how we could improve the cms system to use html5 and responsive images etc. up until recently when I had my appraisal and the only “negative” thing they said was that I am too much of a perfectionist and that they would like me to spend less time on the details, just to make it “good enough”. This really killed all my enthusiasm and I am really not enjoying spitting out website after website based on a template I had to develop.. So of late I have been thinking of going freelance so I can develop high quality websites to a standard that I can actually be proud of. I also see all these exciting services out there like icomoon and typekit etc that I would love to try out but my boss doesn’t want to pay for this so having my own projects would be brilliant.

    The only problem is that I am not very good at designing. I know that most designers out there these days are good with the front end stuff (at least from what I read on here) so finding a ‘designer only’ that I can hook up with seems hopeless.

    Has anyone got any good tips on what I can do to keep pushing myself to learn new things as I am loosing the will to live some days when I’m at work?!?

    I would love to find someone to do some freelance work with but I don’t have any sites that I am proud to put into a portfolio. It is all big celebrity names that sounds impressive but when you look under the hood the code is half arsed and sloppy due to time restraints.

    How can I develop my skills further so I can start moving into freelancing? Is my best bet to give design another chance and really try to learn it properly?

    I would love to become a wordpress theme developer but is that possible without being able to design?

    Sorry if this post is a bit of a rant but I am just really confused where I should go from here. Finding a new job could be a solution but I think that I would work and push myself so much harder if I was to go freelance.


    Hey emma – there are a lot of developers out there that don’t have the greatest design ability. Finding somebody to team up with might seem like a daunting task, but there are a lot of designers out there that hate coding!

    I was in a similar position at a job that I couldn’t experiment with. I found a company that forces me to be constantly pushing the envelope of what the web can actually handle and now I’m super happy.

    So, freelance isn’t the only solution. Finding another local development company is something you can look into as well.


    I would recommend diving into learning as much design theory as you possibly can! Learn as much as you can about typography, grids, colour theory, balance and hierarchy, use of space and white space, etc.

    A great book to read is Universal Principles of Design, and if you want to take a more hands on approach, check out Method of Action:

    You can always ask any questions you might have right here, and also request feedback. Good luck!


    Same time constraints could also happen as a freelancer, if someone is only willing to pay you £1000 and you charge £50 an hour, then you have a 20 hour time constraint.


    But I would say go freelance, I think you will be a lot happier, give it a try for a year or two and if it does not work out try getting another job.

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