Blog Post

Pixel art of Deena Warner interviewed

Interview with Deena Warner

Job Title:

Managing Member

Place of Work:  

Deena Warner Design LLC

Industry or specialization: 

We cater to the book publishing industry. Most of our clients are authors and publishers.

What got you into Web Design/Development/working on the web?

The public library! Around 1994, I took a seminar at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library on HTML, even though I was an architecture major at the time. The seminar opened my eyes to a new career path that I hadn’t known was possible before.

What does a typical day or week look like for you? What sort of things do you do?

I work from home with my business partner/husband, Matt. We also have two sons, so we carefully balance our time between family and work life. I spend about a third of my time on email (managing projects, answering client questions, giving status updates, preparing estimates). The rest is spent on: designing and programming websites, maintaining the content on existing websites, designing standalone web graphics, designing book covers for print, and illustration work.

What types of web technologies do you work with most often?

Almost all of our sites are in WordPress. I build custom themes and write plugins to accomplish specific client needs. PHP is my primary programming language. HTML and CSS, of course. I use a decent amount of jQuery/JavaScript. I also use site builders like Wix and Squarespace when clients request it. 

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I love love love supporting authors. My mom was a librarian, and books are in my blood. I also enjoy using a blend of design skills and problem-solving skills every day. I like being able to work for myself and make my own hours.  

What do you wish you could change about your job?

All the things I would change come from within. I would like to allow myself to take more vacations. I’d like to not be so hard on myself as my own boss.

Where do you see your section of the web development/design/etc industry going?

I feel like websites won’t be as critical in the future as they are now. I’ll have to be flexible and learn to design for apps, car consoles, on-site touch-screen displays, heads-up displays on glasses. The internet is more and more pervasive in all parts of our lives and won’t be limited to what you can see on a computer or phone screen. But good design is always needed.

What technology and/or skill do you wish you learned before you entered the industry?

I would have liked to learn more about server maintenance and the ins and outs of DNS. I’ve picked those things up over the years but still feel like I’m winging them.

What are you looking to learn or what skill are you looking to build next?

I should brush up on collaboration/versioning tools. I’ve never used GitHub. I need to learn more about staging different development environments. I use APIs a lot, but they still befuddle me, so I’d like to know more about them. 

What questions should I have asked that I didn’t?

What HTML tag do you feel is unjustly vilified?

The table tag! I understand why other tags are better for most purposes, but sometimes you have to dig into those 20-year-old tools to get the job done right.

What would you tell someone to do who’s looking to get into the industry? How should they best prepare themselves?

I am a huge advocate for developing your business communication skills. Learn to write organized and concise emails. Make it a priority to keep your clients informed of your progress. Follow through on tasks you have promised. So much of business is relationships, and if you can create a quality product AND communicate well, you’ll be ahead of the game. People will feel good about working with you and will recommend you to others.

Anything else you’d like to tell future designers, developers and web people?

Don’t feel pressure to learn every web technology. It’s fully okay to latch onto a smaller expertise and get really good at it. Spend the beginning of your career trying different programming languages out and see which matches you the best. 

Is there a way people can get in contact with you to ask questions etc?

My website is There’s a contact page there with my email.

Last Question: If you had to be a zombie and you had to eat someone’s brains, whose would it be and why?

I’d eat the brains of George Romero, because he really understood us, you know?