Heyo, I'm Matt Brett

Father · Geek · Gamer · Musician

Matt Brett

In short, I’m a web designer/developer from British Columbia, Canada (just outside of Victoria), but I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. I’ve mostly been doing freelance work since mid-2005, working out of a cozy office in my home. I’m a father figure to three beautiful, strong-willed girls. I enjoy listening to my favourite albums on vinyl while sipping whiskey; typically bourbon or scotch, and spend my downtime playing video games or jamming on cover songs with my lady.

I started blogging in July 2004, but I’ve been building sites WordPress since the beta version was released in 2003. In fall of 2005, I launched a redesign as part of the now-defunct CSS Reboot, which ended up getting featured in several of the (then prestigious) design galleries. Shortly after, I was accepted into the 9rules Network; a collection of hand-picked blogs from around the world, which helped to gain further recognition.

On December 14th, 2005, Microsoft announced that they had adopted Firefox’s RSS feed icon. Back then, web standards still needed a good push, and I saw this as an opportunity to standardize how we linked to RSS feeds on websites. I skipped work one morning to re-create the icon in vector, told everyone that we should all jump on board now that the two biggest browser developers were sporting this unified icon, and the world seemed to agree that it was a good idea.

All this attention brought loads of traffic my way. Plenty of which translated into freelance work, and relationships with people whom I’ve never even sat down and had a coffee with, from all corners of the globe.

Just the Facts

  • I spent the first 32 years of my life in the suburbs of Toronto, but now reside in a small, ocean-side town in BC.
  • I’m a father figure to three wonderful girls, and share my life with an amazing woman.
  • I’ve been working in the web industry since 2000 and freelancing from home since 2005.
  • I’m currently working full-time for Awesome Motive, where I’ve been filling the UI/UX Designer role for WPForms since mid-2018.
  • I’ve been an avid gamer since 1986. My first console was a Nintendo Entertainment System. Current favourite is PS4.
  • I’m a musician. I grew up playing drums in punk bands, now playing guitar and singing in a folk/country band.
  • In the 90s I owned hundreds of CDs. These days I have a growing collection of vinyl. Mostly punk, ska, reggae, and folk.
  • I look forward to my morning coffee and evening whiskey. I don’t drink a lot, but do enjoy a good bourbon or scotch.
  • I’m a Star Wars fan, but one of the good ones who finds joy in most of it (with the exception of Jar-Jar).

Interested in the tools I use to get work done? I’ve created a Stuff I Use page with a breakdown of hardware and software.


Brief Work History

With Tom and Jim from Jimmy Eat World at MuchMusic.

After completing my first year of multimedia design at Durham College, I felt that “higher education” wasn’t going to get me where I felt I needed to be, so I began my first real job search. I ending up landing a job at ‘The Nation’s Music Station‘, MuchMusic. For 2 years I co-hosted a weekly internet pop culture show under the moniker MuchMatt 2.0. I was later bumped up in the ranks to a senior position and continued to work in the Queen St. window until July of 2005.

Mid-July 2005, I moved on from MuchMusic and joined the Participatory Culture Foundation, where I spent approximately 8 months managing their many sites and working on the open-source internet television platform, Miro (formerly Democracy TV).

Since March 2006, I’ve worked as a freelance web designer/developer from the comfort of my home office. There was a year there when I stopped taking client work and joined a start-up design firm, assuming the role of Lead Web Developer. It didn’t take long for me to realize just how good I had it while freelancing; working with people I felt some form of connection with, on projects I was genuinely interested in. I decided to move back to the world of freelance web design.

September 2016, I stopped taking on new freelance clients in exchange for long-term contract work with Makeup Geek, Mischief Media, and Takeover Studio.

August 2018, after a couple of years of ups-and-downs, I decided it was time for some stability. An old client reached out and connected me with his business partner, the CEO of Awesome Motive, who are responsible for some of the most popular modern WordPress plugins. I was offered a designer position, working specifically on WPForms and MonsterInsights, and I took it! At this time, I’m no longer taking on new clients.


Video Games

I’ve been pretty big into video games for, well, since I received a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas in 1986. I got out of gaming for most of the 90s, while I was busy riding skateboards and playing in bands. I picked the habit back up in the early 2000s, but the focus was on PC gaming. A couple of months after its release, I picked up an Xbox 360 and never looked back. Current gaming habits are leaning mostly on the PS4 side, but I also have an Xbox One and a Nintendo Switch.


Music

Over the years, I’ve played in a number of bands. Most notably, a ska-punk band called Lucky Number Seven from 1997-2002. I was, and still am super tight with the other guys in the band. LNS is responsible for some of my fond memories and I met so many great people playing shows around the country.

Though I don’t spend much time behind my drum kit these days, music still plays a huge role in my life. Spotify is always running while I’m at my desk, which is 8-10 hours per day.

In early 2017 I picked up an acoustic guitar and haven’t put it down since. Accompanied by my girlfriend (who plays banjo and sings), we hosted a weekly open mic at a local brewery for a year and a half, and later formed a band.

Quarantine hair, don’t care. Not even 2 weeks overdue for a cut, couldn’t take it anymore. Thanks @pambalamm, would have made a mess of it without you. ...

During this time of isolation, it's important to stay connected. Thankfully, we have endless tools at our disposal.

Hope everyone who's now working from home is adjusting well. I've been doing this for 15 years, so feel free to ask me anything.
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Happy #MAR10Day! I have this awesome reproduction my daughter @hannah.margarida made me hanging on my office wall. #playforever #nintendo #supermario #illustration ...

Spent yesterday evening working on a Stuff I Use page on my site — mattbrett.com. So far, I have all of my hardware and software listed. Plan to add gaming and music related sections down the road.

#apple #macbookpro #edifier #logitech #airpodspro #setup #desksetup
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We don’t take nearly enough pictures together. This one is from last April and a lot has changed since then. We smile more and love harder, and despite some pretty big obstacles, we’ve only grown stronger. Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s to us. 🍻❤️ ...

Sunny Sunday afternoon jams. Picked this one up when I was in Seattle a few weeks back. The kings of Canadian #ska never disappoint, and this album is a whole lot of fun. Although, the irony of posting this on social media is not lost on me. Too much information, indeed. #planetsmashers #vinyl #bluevinyl ...

Loaded up and ready to roll! Playing our first show in months, to a sold out room in our hometown #Sooke. @prettyfolkmusic #acousticguitar #yamahaacoustic #banjo #goldtone ...