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Plastic who what now?

Short version: My name is Jesse Gardner, and I’m a designer and a developer by trade. I’m the mind behind Plasticmind Design. This is my site and it’s where I write in plain language about technology and design, faith and love.

Slightly longer version: I came up with the name Plasticmind years ago while dreaming up a name for an imaginary band in college. I decided it was easier to remember and stood out a bit more than Jesse Gardner.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For years, I doodled on napkins, recorded radio programs on cassette tape and tinkered with computers. My fascination with the pen soon became a fascination with the mouse (not long after the invention of the mouse), and programming in BASIC soon became programming in HTML.

After years of practicing magic with Photoshop, learning HTML the old-fashioned way (view source) and doing my own blogging with Movable Type, I decided to throw caution to the wind and combine these skills to form a web design agency. The idea of helping people build a website, a tool that let them express themselves visually but let them manage the content on their own site—it was a revolutionary concept and it got me excited.

So, in 2005, I started Plasticmind Design.

My wife and I had no idea what to expect, but the next five years were incredible. The business (and my experience) grew quickly. I designed things in Photoshop. I wrote application in PHP. I designed interfaces with HTML, Javascript and CSS. I learned well the old expression, “Why work 8 hours a day for someone else when you can work 16 hours a day for yourself!?” More importantly, I helped people communicate their stories: food bloggers, political bloggers, photographers, designers, small businesses, churches… I even had the pleasure of working with some much larger clients like Six ApartMarc AndreessenMozilla and AMC Networks.

It was actually my client work for AMC Networks which led me to the next part of my journey. In 2010, I started work at AMC (then called Rainbow Media) as Director of Platform Development. I worked with a great team and helped build some cool stuff that is still being used by the different channels. It was a wonderful job: challenging, exhilarating and ultimately rewarding.

The hour-and-a-half commute to Manhattan, however, was tough with a young family. That’s when Elise Bauer approached me about coming on as VP at Simply Recipes and the choice was a no-brainer.  At Simply Recipes, I did a little bit of everything: web design to print design, CDN setup to iTunes troubleshooting, mobile apps to Facebook apps, WordPress theme development to server architecture.

But now… Plasticmind Design lives again! With an emphasis on UI/UX design, brand/identity design and strategy, creative direction, and sentence fragments.

Drop me a line if you’re interested in making awesome things together!