Goodbye California

Weekends spent in coffee shops and sunshine are soon all to become a distant memory. So too the small kick I get from seeing licence plates with the word ‘California’ emblazoned across them, the badly designed currency, the way female news anchors have large lipstick smiles but deep manly voices and strangers gleefully saying hello to you on the street.

Last week I resigned from my position as Lead Designer at Ning, and as a result the visa allowing me to live in the United States, and enjoy these experiences, will soon expire.

Ever since I received an e-mail out of the blue from Gina (Ning’s CEO) asking me if I would lend the company some of my ‘visual sensibilities’ two years ago, life has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride. Having picked me up from the wreckage of my former employer (Orange Vision was facing liquidation and mounting debts at the time of my leaving) it returns me back to the UK with a greater degree of confidence, fresh perspectives on my profession and new friends from around the world.

I have learnt a lot in the last two years, and worked alongside some amazingly talented and warm-hearted individuals. However there comes a time when you realise you are no longer being challenged or inspired by the work you are doing. The same interaction problems, colour palettes, layouts and type selections can really wear a designer down.

On a personal level I look back on the last two years with mixed feelings. With the many highs, of course come the lows, and hopes that were never realised. However when I think about this past year, one in which I attended many design conferences, visited Las Vegas, Austin, Montreal and New York, as well as lived in San Francisco, it really is going to be a hard one to beat. I’m certainly going to try.

So what’s next? Well, thanks to a raised level of awareness afforded to me thanks to my time with Ning, I’m going to dive into the world of freelancing (with the nervous excitement that comes with it) in the New Year. Signs are already looking good, and a few potential projects are already lining themselves up. Hopefully some of these will mean I can visit California again next year.

I would like to thank everybody I’ve met during my time here for making it such an enjoyable and enriching experience, one from which I hope many long lasting friendships will result. It really is no coincidence that I return to my homeland a man torn between two countries.


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