George Samuels is a Melbourne based Web Designer and Animator. He will be facilitating an Introduction to on Tuesday 11 June at Colour Box Studio. Read below to find out more about George’s practice and book for the workshop here: Introduction to WordPress Workshop
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your project/ arts practice? 
I find myself constantly evolving. As a creative, we can sometimes be pigeonholed by the titles we give ourselves. At this point in time, I’m starting to use “creative entrepreneur” but, the more generic labels include: storyteller, animator, designer, entrepreneur, and philosopher. Some of my “proud moments” include being interviewed by ABC Radio, Adobe and then being featured at the 2012 Viva Victoria Festival. I was also included in Foundation for Young Australian’s Top 50 “Young & Extraordinary” category in 2012.
I did my undergraduate degree in Multimedia Systems, then followed up with a Masters in Animation & Interactive Media at RMIT. I was passionate about games and animation but, in the early days, web work was what paid the bills. My web-design business decided to grow and take a form of its own, which resulted in me landing some pretty big clients, attracting a wider network of freelancers, and now separating out as a separate business entity (Siomedia).
Web-design is all about storytelling, in my opinion. When a client approaches me, they usually ask “how much does a website cost?” Which is about as generic as “how much does a house cost?” I find that by asking a series of questions, it extracts the deeper motivations behind the client’s requests, which usually translates into “how can I tell my story in a new and relevant way?” This forms the basis of User Experience (UX) design – something that’s only popped up as a credible field in the last couple of years. UX design is just as much about story as it is consumer or user behavior. Instead of focusing solely on the mechanics, which is important as well, we can start to focus on the feelings the experience invokes. This also doesn’t just show up in the work, but extends itself through the entire project and client relationship. That’s why I tell clients, “If you’re looking to compare specs, let me show you ours plus a list of cheaper vendors. If you’re looking to develop a deep relationship with your website (your house, your temple), business and customers, you’ve come to the right place.”When I’m not working the web, I’m highlighting and connecting “cultural animators” – creatives involved in animating indigenous myths and legends – on my website ( My passion for animation is intricately tied with the web, especially since a lot of animation is viewed online – whether it’s on a desktop or mobile device. This interweaving of technology and artform is inescapable, yet it can be one of valuable exchange when channeled positively.
What is importance of website for your business or arts practice? To be honest, everybody’s moving on to the web. If you don’t have an online presence, you’re typically considered archaic, out-dated or plain crazy (kind of like a gypsy, no offense to gypsies). That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful without a website, it just doesn’tlook good. Even then, you got to consider how your website will look. If that ain’t done right, you might as well not have one at all. But, I can give many examples of sites that SELL well, without needing to look pretty. So there does need to be a balance.
Is it difficult for a beginner to set up and maintain their own website? Setup, no. Maintain, depends on the person. Maintenance is more about your own self-discipline than the tools you use. Once you’ve learned the basics, the next thing you need to do is setup a content strategy. Once the strategy is made, you need to stick to it. That’s the most difficult thing for people (it seems). Sticking to things. Consistency. And it’s no surprise considering just how many distractions we have available these days (e.g. Youtube, Facebook, large supermarkets, etc.). Digital convenience is at an all-time high and we are still learning how to cope with it. This is also known as “information overload.”
How can having a website help to get you work/employment? Well, for starters, it’ll show that you have initiative to get something up. Then, when connected with your other social media profiles, can help an employer get a much better, all-rounded look at you. For work or employment, having a Linkedin profile works wonders. Highly recommended. Remember, though, you got to cater for your industry as well. If you’re a musician, what matters most is that you have some tracks for people to listen to – so you might need a SoundCloud profile/account. Do some research.
Why is a good place to start? It’s cheap, open-source and free. It’s backed by a community of devoted followers and developers, and is used by many well-known businesses and organizations. When you start becoming a power-user, THEN you can look at purchasing premium plugins, themes or services. Always look to start lean. It will come.

What is the advantage of setting up and maintaining your own website? I think this was covered in a previous question, but obvious advantages include: control, learning curve, ease-of-use, cost-effectiveness and support. There’s a reason why it’s used and trusted by millions around the world! No need to rebel against the status quo when it comes to WordPress – it’s the one thing that’s actually good out there.
Book for George’s workshop 11 June at Colour Box Studio: Introduction to WordPress Workshop

Intro to WordPress