Matt Brett's logoMatt Brett
Headshot of Matt Brett taken in 2020

Heyo, I'm Matt Brett

Dad · Designer · Gamer · Musician · Photographer

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.

  • 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.
  • 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’ve been an avid gamer since 1986. My first console was a Nintendo Entertainment System. Currently gaming mostly on Xbox Series X.
  • I’m a musician. I grew up playing drums in punk bands, now playing guitar and singing in a folk band.
  • In the 90s I owned hundreds of CDs. These days I have a growing collection of vinyl. Mostly punk, ska, reggae, and country/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.

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.

Couldn’t make it out to the record store yesterday, but my buddy @rychrist77 snagged me this awesome #RecordStoreDay pressing of Funky Kingston. Has a nice little tribute to Toots on the cover, who passed away last year. #rsd2021 #tootsandthemaytals #vinyl #vinyligclub #ska #skafather ...

Decided to print and frame a couple of my own photos to serve as inspiration. Not because I think they’re great photos, but because they represent a bunch of “firsts” in terms of technique. I’ve spent so much time learning about photography, and these two photos are a culmination of everything I’ve taken in over the past year, and a reminder to keep going.

Follow my photography adventure over at @mattbrett.photo
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Picked up a few packs of #StarWars playing cards from @theory11. Can’t bring myself to open them, so they’re living on a shelf in my office. ...

Happy 25th anniversary to this absolute banger! This album literally changed my life and steered me in a direction that introduced me to so many awesome people and built friendships that have lasted decades. It quickly became my number one source of inspiration as a young drummer, and was the driving force behind forming a ska/punk band in 1997.

It also helped me through some tough times when I didn’t fit in at a new high school, being one of the few who listened to punk music and carried a skateboard everywhere I went. It made me realize life isn’t about fitting in. It’s all about about doing your own thing, being yourself, and being strong.

Thank you, @suicidemachinesdetroit
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Honestly, I don’t even know how I get through the day. She’s so damn cute, it kills me! ...

I recently joked about “that day in November” when I actually felt good. Man, it’s been a long year! Even on days when I’ve had a good sleep, been drinking plenty of water, and have been out for walks with the dog, I still feel exhausted. Both mentally and physically. It’s just a lot, you know... all of it.

But on this day, I did all of those things, shaved and got a haircut, and I actually felt pretty good. Hope this is a developing trend.
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