I’ve spent over a decade working in agencies and startups, designing for different mediums; coding responsive, user-friendly web experiences; and converting customers into loyal audiences. Now, I am so excited to bring those years of experience to your project.
Pretty Content is a boutique brand and web agency for creatives and creative small business owners. Technically, Pretty Content was formed in 2017, but came of age in 2020 when I was furloughed from my full time design job. I found the global shift toward small businesses, self-employment, and side hustles to be super inspiring, so not only did I join in, but I decided to focus on helping fellow creative small businesses succeed in this brave new world.
I’m that friend that you can always find sitting in a café, working away at her latest project, waiting for you to drop by for a chat. I love talking through problems (and finding solutions!), giving advice, or just having a catch-up.
Originally from Calgary, Canada, for the last 8 years, I’ve called the beautiful South Coast of England home. Currently, I reside in central Worthing with my partner of 5 years, K. I love autumn, musical theatre, and the 1940s. I am an ENFJ, Enneagram 6, and enthusiastic dog person.
Vintage vibes, not vintage values*
You might notice my love of vintage design and style, but this does not correlate to the values I hold. I am a LGBTQ+ woman living in a country that I was not born in, so it should go without saying that I am pro-LGBTQ rights (emphasis on the T), pro-women’s rights and anti-racist. If you aren’t also these things, I am not a good fit for your project.
* A slightly modified version of the quote made popular by Dandy Wellington.
A little history lesson
I was one of those nerdy preteens who started coding at the turn of the century (1999, to be exact). The glow of my computer running Windows95 kept me warm through many cold Canadian nights. I created my first paid freelance website in 2002. It was made on Angelfire.
I was very active in the blogging community of the day, where layouts changed every week or so and heavily featured celebrity images styled as “blends.” It was a bit like the Wild West.
In 2007, I started to take things much more seriously when I joined a forum of mostly young women who enjoyed blogging and became very interested in coding. We were all about valid HTML and not violating copyright infringement laws. Some of these women are still some of my best IRL friends today.
Near the end of 2008, my blog design was featured in a roundup by popular web design online mag Smashing Magazine, which, in turn, led to it being featured on a lot of other websites. At this point I thought about making it my career, and I enrolled to study design in post secondary.
In June 2011, I graduated with a solid design foundation and a job offer, and the rest is history! I’m not exaggerating when I sat I’ve done it all. I’ve worked for marketing, web and digital product agencies, worked in-house at a few companies in both marketing and product design roles, and now work on digital projects for the UK Government.
My work has been seen on the tiniest screens to massive billboards alongside the highway. Once, I spotted my work in my doctor’s office waiting room. Another time, I saw it drive by in the form of a bus. Now, it is used daily by thousands of people.
So, why all that and Pretty Content? Well, because working with small businesses, specifically creative small businesses, is my passion.
Plus, I’m a bit of a know-it-all with a socialist streak — so sharing what I’ve learned from working with big brands with the small business community brings me joy!
Pretty Content is a passion project that I am building alongside a full-time job as a User Experience and Product Designer. This means that I only take on selected projects that are a really great fit. It also means that my office hours generally fall into evenings and weekends!
Content is Queen
In addition to being a boutique brand and web agency for creative small businesses, Pretty Content is my space to share everything I know about design, life online, and being creative, with you.
It’s a place to write about my passion for web accessibility, share my favourite design tools and trends, and to try new things.
When I work with my design clients, I like the relationship to be very open and collaborative, and I hope that continues into the space I’ve created on this website. If you have questions or want to learn more about a certain topic, please send me a message. My DMs are always open!
Okay ‘studio’ is maybe a bit of a stretch.
Pretty Content HQ can be found in my home office in Worthing, England. But our clients are all over the world, including the UK, USA, Canada and Japan. You can capture the office vibe wherever you are with the Pretty Content playlist on Spotify!
What’s in a name?
I have a bit of a tricky name (it’s said like “Ashleen,” by the way), so it only makes sense that my brand does too.
So, is it “kon-tent”, as in things that are contained, or “kuhn-tent” as in mildly happy? Well, it’s a bit of both. It’s filling your life with aesthetically pleasing things, while appreciating the life that you’ve got.
Personally, I pronounce it Pretty Content, as in “yeah, I’m pretty content.” Can’t complain. Could be worse!