Electric Light Box
Hello, my name is Tim Nicholls, I’m a freelance User Experience Designer. My website name, ‘Electric Light Box’ was born from observing how, as a society, we all seem to be engrossed with digital displays. From smart phones to monitors to TV’s to laptops to game consoles… the list is seemingly endless. We appear to have a positive photo taxis towards these ‘electric light boxes’; much likes moths to a light bulb…

In the Beginning
I was born and raised in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and I grew up loving to draw, paint, listen to and play music, especially guitar. My parents encouraged me to ‘play outside’ as much as possible, so I got involved in all sorts of outdoor pursuits in the surrounding countryside, such as sailing on Rudyard lake, hiking, rock climbing, lots of fun stuff…

My creativity comes from my Dad who was a carpenter by trade but also a wonderful artist. It was great for my brother and I to grow up surrounded by limitless supplies of wood, paint and paper to play with. I enjoyed most subjects at school but art and creative writing were the two subjects that I took to naturally.

Although fond of the potteries I was keen to see more of the world. After my A levels I did an Art and Design Foundation course at Newcastle–under-Lyme college and then went on to study a Design Degree in Exeter, Devon.

Work Experience
I graduated in ’95 with a 2:1 degree in Graphic Design from University of Plymouth. I chalked up over 12 years of paper & pixel experience. Much of my work spans across branding, DM, advertising and plenty of digital. I started my career in Brighton by doing flyers and advertising for local Bars and Clubs. In August 2008 I landed my first big job scanning, retouching and digitally enhancing photographs for The Sun Newspaper. I then went on to work for 5 years at News International with a one year break to work at BBC News Online. I worked on Times Online The Sun and News of the World designing print adverts but mainly pushing pixels, developing the news papers  websites.

I then had a chance to work on the first Sky News Online redesign in 2007. Originally joining the team as a senior designer but with my online news background I ended up directing the look and feel of this redesign.

Soon after my time at Sky I found myself working on the ‘New Geographies’ project for AOL, helping America Online branch out to the rest of the world.

I then returned to the BBC but this time I was to help at BBC Radio developing an intranet site called Proteus, a system that aimed to be a “one stop shop” for all programme-related information for BBC Audio & Music. My time on this project strengthened and built upon my experience so far, as I designed for and planned a slicker, richer and more organized user experience for a large and complex site.

Once my work On Proteus was done I was then invited to join Energized Work. A new start up company formed by a team of vastly experienced contract developers with whom I had previously worked with at AOL and Sky. This was a really fun time working with these guys; I was the sole creative working with and managing the team on three projects. Firstly the re-design of their own company website, secondly we worked on a project called Commutineer and thirdly we worked with an online trading company called City Index.

The work I had been doing with my friends at Energized Work was coming to an end so I joined my old boss from TimesOnline to pitch for a job to redesign a major media website called Digital Spy. We won the pitch despite going head to head with a handful of design agencies. Between the two of us we had the skill set to successfully complete this project within budget and the proposed time limit. I really was able to use all my experience and spread my wings with this project and was happy with the end result and the way the new site was received.

After this project I went back to see old friends and family in the USA, on my return I was once again to re-join the BBC, this time to work on the high profile project, Canvas. Later to be formed into an independent company called Youview TV – the future of internet TV for the UK. An eye opener for where new digital experiences are taking place: in the living room

London has been an amazing experience so far and I’d like to continue to explore it further – which is why I’m still freelancing. I enjoy meeting new people and experiencing new projects.