Kriston Chen, a freelance web designer and founder of notsirk, is on a mission to bring Squarespace to the tropical islands of the Caribbean.
With a keen eye for detail Kriston's reputation in the region is rapidly growing. His previous clients include the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas and award-winning author Sharon Millar.
Kriston states that notsirk is a visual refinery of people, places, and Caribbean things. We were delighted to catch up with him in our latest Circle interview.
IN YOUR BLOG TITLED DESIGNING THE NAGB WEBSITE, YOU MENTION THAT THERE HAS BEEN AN ACCELERATION IN DIGITAL PRESENCE IN THE CARIBBEAN. IN WHAT WAYS SQUARESPACE ASSISTED THIS?
The Caribbean consists of an estimated 43 million people, spread out in 28 countries, speaking 6 languages, in 13 currencies. It's a very fluid and fragmented region with linkages all over the world (diversity per capita is extremely high). The internet is an obvious and vital form of communication to bridge our distant communities and diaspora.
While Wordpress is emerging as the dominant web platform, I think mainly due to the relationship with IT as a culture regionally, Squarespace is finding its place quietly. As a designer based in Trinidad and Tobago, working with clients in other islands and locally, Squarespace for me just works better. The balancing act of working remotely is resolved on three critical areas that Caribbean countries face: productivity, maintenance, and visibility. The attention to design, both on the back end and front end, keeps communication flowing and trust as well — which is critical especially in this region. The final product is greater than the sum of its parts.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT USING SQUARESPACE?
The platform and the community.
YOU WORK FOR A DIVERSE SELECTION OF CLIENTS, WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING PROJECT YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
National Art Gallery of the Bahamas for its features and handling of a massive amount of regular content.
YOU WRITE A LOT OF BLOGS, DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON FINDING THE RIGHT CONTENT FOR YOUR AUDIENCE?
Put what you know on the table, in context. It's a big world out there, so starting with what you know and knowing that your writing can always improve, are two constants in writing yourself into this big world.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF THE CIRCLE?
Access to resources and shared experiences related to anything and everything Squarespace. Learning about new developments. Also enjoy the community and critical dialogue in TalkSquarespace Slack.
YOUR OWN WEBSITE IS WHITE AND VERY SIMPLE, SIMILAR TO SQUARESPACE'S OWN WEBSITE. DO YOU TAKE A LOT OF DESIGN INSPIRATION FROM THEM?
My personal website has been one of the hardest things for me to sit down and design. Still figuring that one out as my practice grows. In one of my Circle comments, I expressed the joy of designing a Squarespace site that surprises my peers, where it doesn't feel like a Squarespace site. Example: Sharon Millar – the minimal aesthetic is both a plus for certain clients and a turn-off for others. I enjoy coming across sites and other SS designers who turn this on its head. Ex. I Love Creatives.
HOW DO YOU THINK SQUARESPACE DIFFERS FROM OTHER WEBSITE BUILDERS?
It's a beautiful, powerful tool and product. The others less so!