The Best Work for the Best City as a Portland Web Designer
Sandwiched between two major tech hubs, Portland is a city that marches to its own beat. Its quirky culture appeals to young professionals and artists alike, making it a destination where thrift shops and button-down stores coexist peacefully under the same ZIP code. “Keep Portland Weird” is one of the most common bumper stickers you’ll see here, a message that truly describes the heart and soul of the city.
Not only that Portland engenders innovative thinking, but it’s also a renowned epicenter of creative entrepreneurship. Boasting all the qualities that are likely to attract young people these days, Portland has become a symbol of West Coast happiness. Living, working and starting a business here feels like a blessing.
That’s what we’re telling ourselves every day. The youthful creative vibe of Portland has allowed us to build a web design company that draws from the city’s artistic energy. We are lucky enough to work with like-minded clients who understand the value of good design and have a good grasp of what makes a business move forward. We can say with an open heart that being a web designer in Portland is better and more fruitful than anywhere else in the country (do we dare say the world?)
Before you raise your eyebrow at this bold statement, pour yourself a cup of herbal tea, get cozy in your chair and discover why we think Portland is the best city to be a web designer.
The Importance of a Creative Environment in Portland Web Design
Creativity plays a crucial role in art and design. If you are a photographer, you draw inspiration from the great outdoors. If you are a writer, you probably prefer working in a coffee shop, surrounded by people, music, and a glass of Chardonnay as the evening comes around. If you are a painter, you might want a garage where you can work without worrying about paint dripping down the floor or carpet. If you’re a web designer, you need to be around like-minded people who aren’t afraid to break down taboos and traditional thinking.
The environment is a valuable resource for cultivating creativity. What you surround yourself with can ignite your imagination. The opposite is also true – a poor environment can extinguish your creative spark.
Portland has all the perks that could benefit a creative mind: mountains, coastlines, hip coffee shops, cultural institutions, and a handful of oddball events. It’s also a diverse city with an open culture that supports gay rights and has made marijuana legal. Simply put, Portland has managed to capture the spirit of these times like no other small city in America was able to. But, most importantly (at least from a web designer’s perspective) the city has been able to attract and retain an impressive number of young college-educated people. In fact, Portland has the second-highest rate in the nation after Louisville and attracts more young professionals than Austin, San Francisco, or New York.
For a web design company which needs creative minds to come up with innovative solutions for its clients, this is a perk that has allowed us to grow our business.
Why Portland is a Great City to Be a Web Designer
The reasons that turned Portland into a mecca for young people are many. From its great surroundings to its hip vibe, Portland has become the preferred destination for the highly educated, highly mobile workers in their early 20s.
Being a Portland web designer (or a web design company, in our case) comes with a set of advantages that are hard to beat by any other city. Sure, Portland isn’t as eclectic as New York or as tech-forward as San Francisco, but it offers its residents something more than that: an eccentric culture that fosters innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.
Don’t get us wrong; we’ll be the first ones to admit that Portland isn’t flowing with milk and honey. The unemployment rate is higher than we might have wanted and the city could do better at fostering job growth. But, for all its job search hassle, we believe that Portland is worth the extra work. From its quality of life to the opportunities for meeting and working with like-minded people, Portland is, without a doubt, one of the best cities for those who want to focus on web design and digital marketing across the board.
- Opportunities for Pursuing Your Dream Career
It used to be that access to ports and blue-collar workers was vital for promoting a thriving economy. Now, it’s no longer the case. Educated people with desk jobs and a drive to challenge the traditional way of thinking and doing business are the ones who drive growth.
These social and economic changes led to the transformation of most major cities. Most blue-collar workers, battling with taxes and the rising costs of housing, suddenly realize that they can move to smaller cities and live like kings on a cashier’s job.
Portland, however, has a different story. If people move to most cities looking for a certain kind of wealth, young professionals come to Portland attracted by the intangible opportunities the city has to offer. They know that they can find here jobs that bring their lives meaning and that they find fulfilling. Young people move to Portland to pursue their dream career rather than pursue a career and go wherever their job takes them.
- It Doesn’t Lack Human Capital
Because so many young people are attracted by Portland’s quality of life and hip vibe, it’s a breeding ground for creative minds. Serendipity provides clients a better chance to find the perfect web designer for the job as opposed to someone whose skills and expertise just sort of match their requirements. And, it’s not just about web design, but with all aspects of business.
The wealth of human capital leads to innovation, which allows businesses to grow and thrive. And, if there’s one thing that Portland doesn’t lack, it’s young professionals.
- Portland Has a Generous Community
Have you watched IFC’s hit show Portlandia? There’s a scene in one episode where two drivers are stuck in a four-way intersection not because the streets are too crowded but because they are too polite. The drivers spend a good few seconds insisting that the other one should go ahead.
“No, you go ahead!”
“Oh, no, please, YOU go ahead!”
It goes on for quite a while.
You might think that Portlandia is just hyperbole, portraying the stereotypical Portlander, but the reality is that people here are that nice and welcoming, and caring about the environment and those around them.
Portland residents exchange waves and smiles with fellow residents with more fervor than a Manhattaner exchanges obscenities. That’s not to say that there aren’t some exaggerations in the show (for starters, we don’t have an “Allergy Pride Parade”…yet) but for most parts, the city truly has a loving and generous community. Being a web designer in Portland is easier than in other cities since people are so nice and eager to make meaningful connections.
That brings us to the next reason why this is a great city for a web designer/web design companies.
- It’s So Easy to Make Connections
As we already mentioned, one of the upsides of Portland is that people here are extremely nice. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you will become best friends with the mailman, but the friendliness and openness of Portlanders make meeting like-minded people far less daunting than most cities.
Networking is important in web design just as in any other business. For starters, it can further your career. Since there are plenty of jobs that aren’t advertised, you have to network to find out about them. People usually recommend the people they like, so you don’t have to meet the actual employer but one of their contacts who could put you forward for your web design job. In most cases, networking can feel forced and a little weird. But, in Portland, where people on the street smile and chat with you as if you’re an old friend, making meaningful connections is certainly easier than in New York.
As a general rule of thumb, even if people in Portland are generally nice, if you meet someone that could help you in your web design career and you’ve exchanged contact information, don’t forget to follow up. Making connections isn’t a process that ends the moment you walk out of an event or encounter.
- The Rain Will Make You More Creative
We’ll have to admit; it rains a lot in Portland. About six out of 12 months it rains here (and that’s just a fact, not an exaggeration.) Last December, we counted 14 straight days of no sun – just solid gray sky.
But, let’s look at the bright sides. First of all, while it does rain often, it’s usually light rain rather than torrential downpours. Secondly, we always have an excuse to snuggle up with a hot cocoa in one hand and a good book in the other. And, lastly, it has been shown that rain and cloudy days make us think more clearly and creatively.
Studies have shown that the sunshine engages the mind in risky behaviors while cloudiness expands our capacity for creative thinking. The reason has to do with human biology. We are hardwired to avoid sadness, so we respond to it by looking for opportunities to change our moods. Happiness, on the other hand, sends the signal that everything is fine and that there’s no need for deep and careful thinking.
These different mental approaches explain why we feel creativity spark in us during rainy days. The rainy days usually induce a negative mood, which our brains try to overcome by seeking information that might help us replace our sad moods. So, next time you have a creative block on that website design project you are working on for a client, pour yourself some team and look out the window. The chances are it will be raining (and, that’s a good thing.)
- You Are Encouraged to Be Your Quirky Self
Most of our colleagues don’t own a car. Instead, they prefer to ride the bus to work or walk to the city’s many coffee shops, brunch spots, and breweries. On weekends, we regularly hitch rides to the Pacific Coast. We could rent a car, but why would we when there’s such an opportunity to meet new people?
And, that’s the great thing about Portland. Everywhere you look, you will see people just like you – creative minds wanting more than just a job, but a place where they can put their mark on and make a difference. Portland might just be the only city that encourages people to move away from the norms and just be themselves. After all, we’re talking about a city that hosts a naked bike ride, has a museum of peculiar things and a vegan strip club.
Quirkiness, creativity, and web design go hand in hand. We’ve often drawn inspiration from the city to build sites with beautiful (and functional) designs. This city has been and continues to be our muse, inspiring us on our quest to deliver excellence. Although Portland web designer teams work in a competitive market, we’ve welcomed the challenge and used it to build an agency that delivers world-class results and stellar work experiences.
If you’d like to work with us or just chat about your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help you or just share funny memories of how this magnificent city has helped us become better versions of ourselves!