Stephanie Briones

Week One at 8th Light: My Design Apprenticeship

I first learned about the design apprenticeship at 8th Light after sending out a message on Twitter. I was hoping to find an entry-level web design job, internship, or apprenticeship. Somewhere I could gain some experience and learn by doing. I have to admit, I didn’t think much would come of that tweet. I was, and I am to this day, so grateful for all of the re-tweets, replies, and encouragement from so many people.

Through Twitter, I got in contact with Billy Whited, the UX Craftsman at 8th Light. He replied to me saying that that they would be looking for a design apprentice soon and lead me to the application. I nervously filled out the application, submitted it, and anxiously waited for a reply. I met Billy for lunch. We had a great conversation about design, typography, HTML5 and CSS3 and he told me that he’d like to offer me the apprenticeship. I couldn’t be happier that he wanted to work with and teach me.

Reading Materials:

Before my apprenticeship began, Billy kept in touch and sent me book recommendations and articles to read to get me started. Here is my reading list so far:

This past week I also learned a little about Khoi Vihn and now have his book Ordering Disorder – Grid Principles for Web Design to read.

Things I’ve been working on

I have been starting out each morning by rewriting the HTML for previous 8th Light blog posts to be added to the redesigned website. Instead of copying the code and just removing the old styles, I’m starting with a clean slate and copy and pasting the text, then marking it up with HTML5.

I’ve also been working on a new blog layout for my apprenticeship blog posts, this has given me a chance to ask Billy questions and it has been a great learning experience. I am learning how Billy does things – using a grid, a modular scale, and learning so much about typography in the process. Using a grid and modular scale is definitely something that’s new to me, but I can already see the value in it.

It seems Billy can tell when it’s time for me to switch over to something different. After I’ve been doing the same thing for a while, he always gives me something awesome to work on. Today after working on blog posts, I researched sticker companies, ordered stickers and contacted a company about getting lapel pins made. Other times we talk about typefaces, their history and why they’re used and with every task, I learn something new.

Sketchnotes from Tim Brown's More Perfect Typography talk.
Sketchnotes taken while watching More Perfect Typography by Tim Brown.

On my first day, Billy showed me a video of a talk from Build Conf by Tim Brown called “More Perfect Typography”. I took notes on the talk and learned so much from it. The next Build Conf is November 7-11, 2011 in Belfast. Just saying.

My goals for this week:

  1. Understand how to set up a grid properly, (mmm, math).
  2. Complete my blog and make it live.
  3. Read more of Transcending CSS, Thinking with Type, and Ordering Disorder