Circle one: Yes No Maybe
A developer & designer.
Based in Los Angeles / Southwestern Colorado.
Over the last sixteen years my focus has been on the web—designing and building custom interfaces and user experiences for everything from small startups to established products and large companies.
I have experience in product design, backend and frontend development, and particularly enjoy roles that intersect some or all of these disciplines. Currently, I am building tools for design teams at LinkedIn.
A few clients and collaborative partners from a past life in client services:
Say hello 👋🏼
It’s Pride month, and, more specifically in LA, it’s Pride weekend. I never really had a specific “coming out” moment—it happened incrementally, over time—but thankfully it has been years since I’ve felt afraid to be open about my sexuality in real life or online. I am not old, but I’m old enough to remember the idea of marriage feeling impossible. And even though I live in California, I am aware that those of us in the queer community still do not have the protections we need in most states, including the right be able to hold a job without hiding ourselves. In that frame of mind, I tire a bit about the yearly, methodical, manufactured controversies surrounding Pride.
No, straight people, you do not need your own party. Every day and every moment and every place is your party. Even during the Pride Parade, it’s still your party and we’re asking permission to temporarily create our own space within it. And we ask for the space in the face of a government that has—at least at the federal level—never been more explicit in its marginalization of virtually all minority groups, the queer community included. If you cannot see that the space is still necessary or worth creating I’d ask you to give us the benefit of the doubt. It is necessary.
I also tire a bit of the “you’re doing Pride wrong” tropes within the queer community. Yes, by all means, let’s keep corporations from turning it into a commerce event of infinite rainbow proportions. But some of the related cynicism bothers me. Growing up in one of the boardroom-planned, mass-manufactured, heavily-franchised suburbs of America—where the most viable hangout spots were the mega-church, the mall, or the movie theater—my closeted self would’ve given anything to know that the brands I encountered every day acknowledged my existence. It would’ve been easy to overlook the crass consumerism embedded in these acts (and it is crass) because it would have been life changing to me. And, I suspect, it still is life changing for some version of me that exists out there in a suburb with a mall and a movie theater and an evangelical mega-church. Let’s call out the crassness and absurdity when we see it. Let’s demand the profit goes somewhere worthwhile. Let’s try to keep the focus on the real reasons Pride events need to exist. Let’s not create a litmus test for each other that starts excluding our own and our allies based on authenticity. It’s a losing game that creates an ever-diminishing number of winners. 🏳️🌈
The client project mentioned in my last update—the one on Wordpress—has been released to the world. I have trouble seeing beyond its MVP state and the backlog of work left to do to bring my design ideas to full fruition, but it’s fun to have eyes on it. I’m immensely proud of it and grateful that I got to work with my buddy Justin in the early design phases.
The website for the side project with my sister still needs more time, but we’ve softly launched the endeavor. A good chunk of my April was devoted to work on the physical property—exhausting, but rewarding. I can already tell that it will be a lifelong project, in the best ways.
⚙️ Tooling is neat
The bulk of my work right now is with a larger company, building some tools to support their design team. While the nature of the specific work is new to me, I realize that I often end up in the space where I build tools to support the work others are doing. I have to say that I really enjoy it. Most of us rarely have the luxury to think through our own work process and identify the ways that it could be improved, let alone invest time into tooling to support that work. I am excited to see where this leads.
Always curious. Say hello.
It’s a cold day in Los Angeles—I know, but really for LA temps in the 40s are cold. LA feels like a foreign land when weather moves in. Cold or rain or grey, it becomes a different place. It’s as if the ethos of Los Angeles is inexorably tied to the warmth and the sun. Without those elements the city ceases to be LA and something else entirely takes its place.
Bundled up and walking around the city, I temporarily cannot recognize it. My head is swirling with the chaotic thoughts of “now”. My professional “now” is more a list of “coming soon”. I am deep into the build phase of a client project I am really excited about, but with a backlog of spinning plates: pitching new work, designing a site for a passion project with my sister (opening up this spring), rebranding my own work practice, and scheming about yet another “new thing” idea that I can’t expunge from my brain.
In the organized chaos, one theme is emerging: I feel uniquely open to the new: ready for fresh challenges, new ways of working, new collaborations, new new.
🤓 Technical Tangent
To my surprise, I have recently found myself working in Wordpress. I hadn’t touched the platform in at least 10 years, but it made the most sense to keep a client on it and now here we are. So, I made a deep dive into the current state-of-affairs around hosting and theme building. Wordpress is still Wordpress, but the research has been a surprisingly-fruitful undertaking. I’ve strapped some modern tooling onto theme building. The result is a workflow with Sass, ES6, proper asset management, linting, continuous integration, and modern deployment techniques. Props to Jonathan Brennan’s blanket for sending me down this path. I forked it and have been fiddling a bunch. Other notables: Trellis from Roots, and the S3-Uploads/Tachyon combo from Human Made.
Always curious. Say hello.
grantblakeman.com is designed in code with frequent browser refreshing. It is typeset in a single size, weight, color, and style of Freight Sans Pro Book from GarageFonts. I photographed the image visible in the site’s meta share sheet. The photo location is the Arts District neighborhood in Los Angeles.
If you’ve read this far, you probably need some kittens as a reward.
Oh, and be sure to find the easter eggs… 👀