I emailed Joel a few days ago saying I was interested in working as a designer at Buffer, after having discussed it with him around a year ago and following Buffer (especially your work on Dribbble more recently) since then.
I'm Graham, a self-taught graphic designer and web designer from Scotland.
Designing software experiences which improve people's lives brings me a feeling of empowerment. My profound interest in technology and my drive to be a part of this industry have allowed me to learn and gain practical knowledge.
My work in the technology industry began after several years of writing for an online magazine, reviewing smartphones and covering technology news. I became interested in creating an app like those I wrote about and started working in a team of five developing an Android Twitter app, Boid, which went on to gain significant news coverage and over 15,000 active users. Our aim was to encourage the use of the Holo design language in Android. The year-long dedication to designing and building an app with the demands of users and the press taught me how to work to the fullest of my potential under pressure.
The confidence in the abilities I gained while building Boid encouraged me to continue working independently as a freelance designer and web developer for startups and other clients. As well as working with numerous smaller clients, I took roles in two startups. The first was ParkNav, a parking assistant app with a wider focus on collecting location data and cataloguing points of interest to later license that data. I worked as the sole graphic designer for ParkNav, responsible for brand identity, UI for their iOS app as well as their website design. It was a role that allowed me to learn how to work better with challenging clients and dynamic requirements and helped me understand how to balance conceding to other's opinions and knowing when to fight for my own ideas.
The second large startup I began working for last year was Wonderloop, an app which personalises business introductions through video profiles. I took on designing marketing material as well as designing and developing their website. Despite this being one of the few projects in which I have not worked deeper on the product side, it is one which has been very involved. The website especially has been an interesting project for me – balancing the simplicity I aim for when designing with the client’s desire for a significant amount of copy was a challenge. I am still working on Wonderloop now on a freelance basis.
Later this year I will be moving to study Computer Science at The University of Edinburgh, a four-year course which focuses on practical experience in developing software and will allow me to communicate even more effectively with the developers I work with, as well as being able to widen my contribution to product development.
Buffer has been extremely interesting to me as both a product and a team for over a year now. The culture at Buffer has inspired me; following Joel, Leo and the company's blogs has given me an insight into what working on Buffer, with the Buffer team, is like. I feel I have a strong affinity with the Buffer Values, especially when it comes to transparency. From my roots in blogging, I have continued writing regularly on my blog (despite a slight lapse over the last few months) and sharing as many insights into my work as possible – I write about my past work and actions in order to collect my thoughts, reflect and learn from my mistakes. Trying to help and learn from other designers by discussing and critiquing work is important to me. I would love to continue working in this way and have the opportunity to confirm that the Buffer culture is my optimum. Working on Buffer would be a way for me to learn and grow personally in parallel with contributing to building a meaningful product and service for users. I strongly believe that the best way for me to improve and to be able to develop further as a designer is to work within the environment at Buffer.
Links you might find useful:
• Dribbble profile
• Personal website
• Personal blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I know it was long; I wanted to be thorough. I'd love to answer any questions you might have and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to discuss this further.