The first website I got paid $100 to design, boy its been a long 10 years!

I fell in love with the web when I was first introduced to it in 1999. Then I fell in love with Photoshop, HTML and Actionscript when I first got introduced to them in 2001. When I got my hands on my first copy of Photoshop, boy those were the really good, young, naive and early days.

I spent every waking hour on forums, taking in sage advise on things like “How to design Apple’s aqua button” and “A step by step guide on creating a metallic font effect.” Holy shit, those were the good days!!

Back in 2003, with two years of design “experience” under my belt, my first client paid me to design him a gaming website layout. He promised I’d get a crisp new hundred dollar bill in the mail. I delivered and so did he. That was the first time I realized I could design for a living and I tripled down on this career path and boy am I glad that I did!

I was going through an old, old, old hard drive of mine and found the first 3 designs I ever got paid to do, including that gaming site. I thought I’d share it with some of you (I’ve got to be out of NDA by now right?). Here goes!

My very first paid web design job

Sonic Games

Earned: $100 cash in the mail Time Spent: Probably 2-3 days back then. Desc: Sonic Games was a gaming focused community. Notices: I love that i have the “search” arrow backwards. Also, notice the pixel fonts EVERYWHERE and the hilarious 800px resolution that the design had to cater to. Finally, can we all get behind the awesome effect I put into the logo?

My second paid website job

Dave's hosting

Earned: $170 cash in the mail Time Spent: Probably 2 days back then. Desc: Dave’s hosting was a hosting service provider. Notices: Pixel fonts that are illegible, no idea what that rounded frame in the center of the layout is but I think I thought it was cutting edge back then. Finally, search is all the way at the bottom, BOOM! Thinking ahead baby.

My third paid design job

5G Wireless logo

Earned: $90 cash in the mail Time Spent: Probably 2 days back then. Desc: 5G Wireless was apparently going to be the fastest wireless service provider back in 2003 or something. Notices: First of all, I made my case to the client as to why my logo is better, you’ve got to appreciate the effort. I’m actually pretty happy with the way this turned out. It was my first foray into branding… I tried to understand the abstractness of logos, color play, and fonts. The worst part about this logo is the font i used to explain my thinking… almost can’t read any of it.

What’s crazy is, I can remember exactly where I was, what computer I used and what music I designed this stuff to (think Paul Oakenfold and Orbital). Anyway, it’s been a hell of a decade since these first three designs I worked on and it’s always fun to take a walk down memory lane. :)

Here’s my portfolio today – I’m pretty proud of the meaningful stuff I’ve had a chance to work on, namely healthcare systems, educational systems and of course


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