I made my first website in 2012.
I’d just learnt how to write HTML & CSS and was eager to put my graphic design work on the internet. I called myself “an interface designer with a flair for advertising” because at the time I was interning with Kwirkly, a small ad agency run by a band of misfits. The website had these odd icons from stock photo sites and it was a good reflection of me at the time.
A year later I started designing web apps. I’d learnt how to animate with CSS and started leaning into UI design without realising it. There was Afrobios for a client and Booshparrot with friends at school. I also designed a music app called GetSong because I thought NotJustOk could be better (and I was right).
It’s really interesting to look back at this now, because although I had no clue what I was doing then, it all makes sense now.
Influenced by my advertising stint with Kwirkly, I also got better at copywriting. I called myself an “interface designer”. Full stop.
My next website was in 2017 and this one was hella famous among my friends. This was definitely a high point in my life. I’d just finished uni and I was working at Delivery Science, Helloworld and Devcenter.
I’d picked up frontend development so I could now build my own apps. I was doing a lot of work and fast, and the smirk on the front page is plenty proof of my self confidence.
If I remember correctly, that picture was taken at the CC Hub. I don’t recall what it was for, but I liked it so much. It had a yellow background, and I ended up designing the entire website around that.
My next website was typographically mature, for lack of a better term. I got confident enough to remove all graphic elements but text, and it ended up being very prose-heavy, coloured-background. I kept a few images of projects, but looking back, they weren’t even necessary.
I was early into Paystack at the time and my portfolio of work had grown. I was making a lot of stuff and this was a different level of confidence. At this point, I knew very well what I knew how to do.
For all intents and purposes, it was also hurriedly done. Work at Paystack was overwhelming, and I was never really able to make time for my website. And not just that; my interests had also ballooned and something else was always more important.
But as usual, I did my best given the time I could make.
After three years of Mr. Color, I wanted a new website. I knew I wanted it to be an archive, a “curation of my content”. I also wanted it to be completely unique. I had more interests beyond code now, and I wanted to show that.
My 2018 website ended up being a one-day project that started from a newspaper drawing I made. This was special because I can’t draw very well.
I made a random decision to create every single element on the page myself, and stuck to it. It paid off, and I ended up with a quirky site that looked (and still looks) completely odd.
I added little delights to the site to establish some personality, like a title block inspired by architectural drawings and a link to a Spotify playlist. I’d realised my website didn’t have to be a portfolio through and through and I could do whatever I wanted, so I did.
More importantly, I started using Jekyll and basically, my content was now being served from a structured data model.
In 2019, I started working on the sixth version of my website.
This time I started with data so I could make progress in the little free time I had, without actually having to design or write code. It was just pure documentation, and I enjoyed doing that very much.
Eventually, I moved into design. I wanted the website to look simple but be highly interactive. I drafted multiple variants with different layouts and objects that were supposed to move and react to the user.
Each time I returned to the project, I’d start in another direction. I worked like this for months until eventually, I got tired and decided to ship a basic version of the website. Documentation was complete a long time before anyway.
I figured I could update it over time, little by little. But I never did. And the website stayed the same until the end.
Today, I completed a new version of my website.
Once again, after months and months of trying out variants and ideas, I’ve given up and shipped a basic version of a much more interesting idea.
The philosophy behind the website is way more interesting than how it looks.
The blue gradient is light from a source somewhere beyond the surface. It’s supposed to move, by time of day, by mouse movement. But it doesn’t.
The grid is supposed to be a template. I have all these ideas about digital gardens and archiving and creating a structure for personal websites that other people can use. But so far, it’s just a few lines of CSS.
The homepage is supposed to be a “life module”. It should include interactive content e.g. short stories that people can cycle through, or rotating vinyls that connect to my Spotify account. But all there is for now is a single picture of a painting I own, with a caption that says nothing but the name.
I can go on about all the ideas I’ve had for this site, and it’s nice to talk about what it’s supposed to be. But for now it is what it is, a simple website.
Most importantly, I’ve done the difficult job of articulating myself, reflecting on my life / work and updating my documentation. If I die tomorrow, I die happy because my Github is up to date.
And that’s enough for now. Abeeeeeg.
Happy new website, Opemipo!