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.

Can you even imagine living in that house? Waking up to this beach every morning. Watching the sun set over the hills every evening. At least I get to live near it and admire these views.

I used to dream of retiring to a nice farmhouse in the country, but now I’m leaning toward a house on the coast. What would you prefer?

#vancouverisland #sooke #pacificnorthwest #pnw #basin #ocean #pacificocean #beach #shore #nature #naturelovers
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Haven't been out much this past week. After dinner, I tossed my backpack on and headed down to the river. Despite being a short walk from home, I haven't been to this spot in over 6 years.

Uncropped video on YouTube. Link in bio.

#mavicminj #drone #dronevideo #droneshot #vancouverisland #explorebc #sooke #river #sookeriver #forest #nature #explorebc
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Happy BC Day to all my friends on the west coast! This month marks the 8th anniversary of my move from Ontario. Especially with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the world, there's no place I'd rather be.

Took this exactly one month ago, when I was in Victoria for the evening celebrating my lady's birthday. The sun was going down over the harbour behind me, and I loved how the parliament building was illuminated. Wish the section to the left was also lit up to balance it out, but still pretty nice.

#bcday #vancouverisland #victoriabc #capitalcity #parliamentbuilding #parliament #architecture #goldenhour
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I went down to this spot, drone in-hand, with a very specific shot in mind. Unfortunately, the locals had gathered on the point of the spit and I didn't want to disturb them. There's always next time!

#vancouverisland #sooke #canadageese #canadagooses #trees #landmeetssea #harbour #basin #pacificocean
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I'm itching to get back out there! I've only had a small window of opportunity to shoot this week and am looking forward to venturing out with my camera and drone this weekend. Took this one a couple weeks ago at Gordon's Beach. This was one of the first shots I had on my drone bucket list, and I'm pretty happy with the result.

Are you planning any photography trips this weekend, or anything fun in general?

#vancouverisland #otterpoint #sooke #gordonsbeach #drone #droneshot #dronephotography #beach #waves #sand #topdowndroneshots #birdseyeview
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I ignored the warning and flew my Mavic Mini without GPS satellites, and paid the ultimate price. Ok, that's a bit dramatic, but I did crash my drone and it very nearly landed in the river. Thankfully, I only knocked a propellor loose.

I had a lot of fun editing this using the new sound effects pack from @samkolder. Everything you hear was added in post as the drone doesn't record any audio.

#mavicminj #drone #dronevideo #droneshot #dronecrash #vancouverisland #explorebc #sooke #river #forest
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Grab a seat, the show is about to begin! ✨

When I ventured out to shoot the comet, I decided it would be a good time to try and capture the milky way. So I turned my tripod around and started shooting. Never having shot astrophogoraphy before, I experimented with exposure settings and lenses, and ended up with some useable photos. I'm most pleased with the photos taken using my wide angle lens, as it managed to get the most in focus in a single exposure, so no focus stacking needed. That said, this is the best exposure I got, but the focus is on the foreground and not the sky. It should look decent here on Instagram at a low resolution, but it's not pretty at full res. Lesson learned, don't forget to shift focus with each exposure change.

📸 10-18mm, 30s at f/4.5, ISO 1600

#astrophotography #nightphotography #milkyway #milkywayphotography #stars #stargazing #horizon #mountains #vancouverisland #sooke #whiffinspit
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I live so close to Goldstream Park, but have only been 3 times in the 8 years I've lived on Vancouver Island. And in those 3 times, I've walked the same trail. I really need to get back there and explore some of the others. I know there are more waterfalls and a trestle, it's just a matter of finding the time.

📸 10-18mm, 1/2s at f/16, ISO 400

#vancouverisland #goldstreampark #waterfall #longexposure #longexposurewaterfall #bcparks #bcparksvancouverisland #sunbeam #sunbeams #nature #landscape #landscapephotography
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Spent some time with the #mavicmini on the coast this weekend and tried my hand at creating a cinematic short. Check out the link in my bio (which leads to YouTube) for the full uncropped video and let me know what you think! Give me a subscribe if you like what you see. Much more to come!

📸 Mavic Mini, 24fps, 1/50s at f/2.8, ISO 100

#drone #dronephotography #dronevideo #dronecinematography #cinematic #birdseyeview #coast #coastline #beach #gordonsbeach #sand #ocean #pacificocean #vancouverisland #sooke #otterpoint
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