Lead web designer Matt Neve has been with Target Ink for eight years and it’s a role in which he says he wears ‘many hats’ – both figuratively and literally.
Design as a career started to form in Matt’s head while at secondary school, after he realised, early on, that being a ‘street rat like Aladdin’ or a ‘millionaire karate space cowboy’ weren’t solid career choices.
At Target Ink, Matt’s design process involves taking the brief, visualising it to form a concept that he can put into a pen and paper wireframe, then translating that into graphics and sections that he builds upon to create the final designed and programmed website.
“I enjoy all parts of a web design process, from the initial concept – when I dig into my wacky coffee fuelled brain and pull out a nugget of an idea – through to adding the client brief and research inspiration and watching that idea grow into something that I can interact with,” says Matt. “If I was pushed to choose my favourite part of the process, it’s those final tweaks before the client sees their first designs. Of course, it gets even more rewarding when there’s positive feedback from the client.”
Since Matt has been with Target Ink, he says that the biggest change he’s seen in websites – other than technology – is the ‘power of SEO’.
“SEO really defines how a business website is designed, built and used,” he explains. “Creating a perfect balance between ascetics and functionality, while adhering to the whim of Google’s algorithms, is a challenge. But design is all about problem solving.”
Up until joining Target Ink, Matt’s design experience was mostly in print; he particularly loved typography.
“I never considered web design until I started at Target Ink – but now I would never go back!” Matt says. “Print design is so final, it can age, you can make costly mistakes, while web design is fluid and constantly changing. As the graphic designer, Neville Brody said: ‘Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries’.”
Design is important to Matt, but he also aims to create excellent User Experience (UX).
“Without good UX even the best design can fail, it needs purpose. I think Agent Smith from The Matrix said it best: ‘There's no escaping reason, no denying purpose, because as we both know, without purpose we would not exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us; it is purpose that defines, purpose that binds us’.”
Matt has worked on many websites while at Target Ink but says that, if he was asked to choose a particular project as his favourite, it would be the creation of the Sankey’s website (a restaurant business in Tunbridge Wells). It won a design award from Adobe at the time, which Matt says gave him ‘a little boost’.
When he’s not at work, Matt enjoys flicking through design books for inspiration, as well as enjoying ‘countless films and box sets’.
“My biggest passion outside of design is motorcycles,” Matt adds. “I have always loved them for their ascetics and the culture that surrounds them. I have memories of messing with my Dad’s broken down BSA; I found my love of the smell of petrol then and it burned into my brain.”
He continues: “However, I only recently acquired my motorcycle full licence. After getting a car at 18 - and we know how much of a money pit they are - a bike was one of those dreams that always took the back seat. Eventually, with thanks to some inheritance from my Grandma, I got to pursue it. Now I’m more moto obsessed than ever.”
Finally, asked what Matt thinks makes Target Ink stand out from other website agencies, he says: “One word – Rob. In a few more words, Rob Stevens, managing director - hands down legend!”