Showcasing Past Projects in My Office

February 9, 2022

On Saturday, I finally completed a project that I first conceived of back in October. I was at Hobby Lobby with my daughters and I was browsing around while they were looking at yarn. I saw some 8′ x 8′ frames and thought this would be a good size to put a screenshot of sites that I have worked on in the past. It is funny how an idea can form so quickly with just a visual cue.

Over the next few days, I continued to think about it and wanted to make it a reality. My company has a quarterly home office stipend. I have seen several teammates transform their office space. I thought it would be great to create this grid of screenshots of sites that I have built over the years. It can be nice to have a tangible artifact of the work you do.

I started making a list of projects that I would include. I also started pricing out how much it would cost to buy frames and print the screenshots. After taking a look at the costs, I decided to put the parameters of 16 projects, a 4×4 grid. As I narrowed down my list, I felt like each of the projects that made the cut told a story about a different chapter of my career. And being a very visual person, I decided to create a mockup of my idea in Codepen.

See the Pen
Photo Wall Idea for IRL
by Jeff Bridgforth (@webcraftsman)
on CodePen.

I already have a listing of projects that I have worked on which includes a square screenshot. So all I had to do was include those screenshots and write the HTML and CSS to make it happen. I was able to quickly put it together with CSS Grid Layout. Being able to see my idea made me more excited to make it happen.

As I shared my idea with my wife, she encouraged me to look into the different products that we had seen advertised on TV or Facebook. I looked into several different companies and decided to try MixTiles. I spent several days capturing the screenshots and enlarging them to be the size I needed for the project. And then I prepared my images and uploaded them to MixTiles. About a week later, they arrived.

But I was a bit disappointed. They were not very precisely cropped. I had been very meticulous about sizing the images just how I want them. Some of the screenshots had cropped navigation elements. I was not as happy with the end product as I would have liked.

I understand that they cannot be as precise as I would have liked them to be. I know that I could run into the same issue sending in the images to be printed through a photo service. I called MixTiles and they quickly offered to refund me. They also said that I could keep what they sent. I am grateful for their response but was disappointed about seeing my creative vision fulfilled.

My wife encouraged me to still consider hanging them up. I had to sit on it for a while because I am very particular and I had to get over the fact that they did not quite measure up to what I wanted them to be. But they still were a tangible expression of my work so I decided I would do it. But with the holidays, I decided to put it off. And then I was just hesitant to do it because I wanted to execute it well. I wanted it to be level and professional-looking. So it scared me a bit to try.

I have had the itch to make some changes in my office so I decided to try to execute the final stage of the project on Saturday. I still put it off till later in the day. But then I had the determination I needed and I started. I measured and used a level to place a piece of painter’s tape on the wall horizontally. Then I measured out the vertical line on the left side of the grid. Using those two lines, I measured and placed the tape for the other grid lines.

After doing that prep work, I started by hanging the first tile in the upper left-hand corner of the grid. After placing a few, I had to make some adjustments to my grid. I also realized the tape was the exact width of the gap I wanted between each of the tiles. So on the fly, I repositioned the horizontal pieces of tape (for the vertical spacing) and got smaller pieces of tape for the horizontal spacing. MixTiles come with a sticky strip that you can reposition. It was very easy to do and it all came together better than I had anticipated.

It was very satisfying to complete the project. Many years ago, I took the Motivated Abilities Pattern® (MAP) test. One of the things that I learned from it was that I am motivated by realizing concepts or by giving concrete expression to my ideas. This project is one of the ways that I was able to do that in my life. And I am so grateful to be in a role that gives me opportunities to do this every day.

As I look at this expression of my work over the past 20 years, I am grateful for the many agencies and organizations that have given me the chance to work in an area of passion and that I am highly motivated by. Thank you.

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