Matt Brett's logoMatt Brett

Heyo, I'm Matt Brett

Father · Designer · Gamer · Geek · Musician

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.
  • My first “real” job was at MuchMusic, where I worked on the web team, co-hosted a weekly show, and was known as MuchMatt 2.0.
  • 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? Take a look at my gear breakdown.


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.

@pambalamm bought Ellie this nice little basket for her toys.

#puppy #puppylife #puppygram #puppyoftheday #dog #dogsofinstagram #doglife
...

Ellie had her first #puppy play date today, and it went really well! This is the first dog she’s interacted with outside of her litter. She played hard for over an hour with Ness, the English Bulldog pup. Ness is currently 3x Ellie’s weight, but the tables will turn in the weeks and months to come. I look forward to watching these two grow up together. ...

Speaking of iced Americano; this has quickly become an afternoon ritual on these hot summer days. Make a shot of #espresso, toss it over ice and a bit of water, and add cream and sugar (if that’s your thing). So good! ...

Since COVID hit, I’ve barely been listening to records. I listen to music endlessly throughout the day, but putting a record on is something I associate with relaxing, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of that as of late. With kids around 24/7 and chaos consuming a good chunk of the world, it’s been hard to find that time and space. Today, my partner started a new job, her daughter is at day camp, and mine is with her mom. I’ve had the house to myself since 8:30am, and it’s been wonderful. A little time and a little space went a long way. I’m wrapping up my work day with some creative tasks, an iced Americano, and the last album I bought at a record store before the pandemic.

Hope you all are doing well and coping with these strange times. I miss those things I used to love that seem to have been pushed aside, but it feels like they’re slowly returning.

#vinyl #record #records #recordcollection #cityandcolour
...

It’s been a rough go these past few months and I’ve certainly been affected emotionally and mentally. Thankful for my crew who help put a smile on my face when all I feel is rage inside. #family ...

Haven’t done one of these in a while. This album is basically my summer soundtrack. I’m sure the kids are sick of hearing it, but I’m not letting up! I was hesitant to get excited about it when announced last year. It’s been nearly 20 years and a complete lineup change since their last, so it could have gone either way. Thankfully, it’s super fun and definitely has that Cali reggae vibe I love. Next time you’re in the sun having drinks or kicking your feet up, throw this on.

#vinyl #longbeachduballstars #nowplaying
...

Wishing a very happy birthday to my lovely lady! It’s kind of strange celebrating a milestone birthday with someone you’ve only known a fraction of their life. I wasn’t there for all of the things that shaped her into the strong, caring, and talented woman she is today, but I can be here to celebrate!

It's been one hell of a year, but it's nice that things on the west coast are starting to get back to normal. We actually have a dinner reservation at a restaurant she's been talking about visiting for as long as I've known her. Our first proper date in months. Can't wait!
...

First time walking outside of our neighbourhood in 3 weeks. Felt great to be out, and can’t complain about the view. Even crossed paths with some familiar faces. ...