Our Sheffield Web Design background and design links with the city was the springboard to the launch of Outhouse Media. The experiences gained here have taken us forward in the development of our website services. When Steve (our founder and creative director) left Majestic design studios in Huddersfield in the mid 1990’s, he joined the web design team at Sheffield Star Newspapers (Pinfold Street, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield S1 2GU).
His creative web design flair and understanding meant that within a month Steve was appointed as Senior Web Designer. Within a short six month period, what initially started as a small website desk within the building, consisting of 2 designers, a copy in-putter and 1 sales rep, had turned, under the leader ship of Steve, to a six man team of web designers, 2 admin assistants and eight website sales representatives.
With this turnaround, it was evident to those in senior management that Steve had the ability to turn a small and unprofitable side of the Sheffield Newspapers business into a worthwhile enterprise. This also landed his department top floor studios and notoriety among the other centers of the Regional Independent Media Group, then owned by the Yorkshire Post.
Designer to Senior Web Designer
Within just a few short months of joining Sheffield Newspapers, Steve had turned their entire fortunes around. The whole web design process had been radically configured to a more business like and methodological approach.
“I remember when I first started, there was no concept of a design brief, costings or even a client visual. It was something therefore that I looked to remedy immediately.”
“The sales team come from a newspaper background and were selling websites like newspaper ads.” Sitting down with the reps, we established a ordered list for them to follow when speaking with a client. This followed their objectives, what they wanted to feature and proposed pages needed.
From this we were then able to put forward recommendations of additional worthwhile pages such as testimonials etc. It also meant that the sales reps could quote directly for the work, rather going back and forth with HQ. We also introduced a website visual system, common practice today, but at the time it was a totally new concept.”
“Anyway, to cut a long story short, this is the process we installed along with visual and site sign off documentation, to keep everything nice, tidy and efficient.”
“Because of this design links process, we developed web design into a fast growing and exciting environment for all those involved. We changed the way website visuals were drawn up, using a Photoshop and hand coding rather than I think DreamWeaver, which others were using at that time.”
Following this unbelievable turnaround in fortunes for the Sheffield Star, Steve was then handpicked to oversee the entire media group and promoted to the Web Design Manager for the Yorkshire Post Newspapers!
Web Design Manager for Yorkshire
As the new Web Design Manager, Steve took the lead over nine media centres throughout the North of England. Overseeing and installing working practices in Sheffield, Dewsbury, Leeds, Preston, Harrogate, Wigan, Blackpool and Morecombe. This role meant that Steve became responsible for over 40 web design staff and liaised with dozens of website sales reps.
A big part of this new role meant that Steve took control over web design interviews, staff appraisals and promotions. Now based at the Yorkshire Post, Steve was put through a number of managerial courses and senior management boardroom meetings. This was all great experience to Steve, who was then involved with the practical side of running a business.
Steve at heart though was a web designer. He knew then that the role no longer allowed him able to design websites from start to finish. His artistic leaning and design links were therefore was being lost in a sea of admin and meetings.
“All I ever wanted was web design. Designing and putting together a website was thrilling, exciting and relaxing for me. I took a lot of pride in developing something from nothing, that would then impact greatly on client business growth. The rewarding nature of this had been lost in my move to management, and something I longed to return to.“
After 2 years in this role, Steve needed to get back to design. “After all, how could I inspire another designer, if I wasn’t designing myself“. Steve then proposed a return back to his web designer role at his old haunt of Sheffield. It was here where he felt most comfortable, design and build websites.
It was while Steve was back designing websites at Sheffield Newspapers that he met Lisa. Lisa had newly arrived at Sheffield and was also a Website Marketing Coordinator / Project Manager for leading web design companies within the City. “I guess that over time it was inevitable that I would outgrow Sheffield once again and take a deep look at what I wanted to do with my life.“
I believe one day it dawned on me that whatever I did and however much money I made for the company I was working for, I would always be an employee. This just isn’t enough for some people and which included myself. It wasn’t just this, I wanted the freedom to develop in my own ways and take directions that felt right to me. Basically, I think this boiled down to me wanting more responsibility and to be responsible for my own actions and commitment to work.
Despite the guaranteed great future that may lie ahead for Steve at Sheffield, Steve took the big steps to go it alone, setting up Outhouse Media as a result.
From the first days of Outhouse Media, we’ve never looked back. We’ve achieved some great works of which we are very proud of. We now have a large client base spanning many local towns. We’re also lucky enough to have clients all over the globe. I don’t think we’d be where we are today without the short years at Sheffield.
It’s for these reasons that our design links go hand in hand with our Sheffield beginnings. It’s also why we’ve set up our own Sheffield Web Design Page. Please take a look and feel free to browse our great Portfolio of Work.