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Q&A with Trent Walton

Founder of Paravel, speaker and writer

My name is Trent Walton, and I am founder of Paravel—a web design shop based out of Austin, TX.

How did you get started in web development? What is your background?

I got started pretty early on with GeoCities and hacking Myspace themes. I paid Dave Rupert $80 to teach me HTML fifteen years ago and that really opened things up for me. I was drawn to how quickly you can create and iterate on the web (vs print). I just loved the total freedom to build whatever whenever you wanted. I still do.

What are you working on now?

A conference talk, another The Many Faces Of post, some client work centered around responsive components, and a Paravel side project (coming this summer).

What software do you use for your work?

  • Codepen for quick prototypes and explorations. It’s actually become a central part of our process recently.
  • Slack, Github, and a little bit of Basecamp to collaborate
  • Atom (Github’s code editor)

And what hardware?

  • Retina iMac for the office & intensive dirty work
  • MacBook for traveling, client visits, and Netflix

What is your ideal work environment?

I like my week split between isolated days at the home office and days with the client or team. It’s the best of both worlds. Team days gain me the rapid iteration, debate, and collaboration I love while the home days allow me to simmer and think comfortably. Those home days also add pace and perspective. I think they help me keep balanced.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

Let’s say people vs creatives… but recently my appreciation for type designer Mark Simonson has grown. Paravel worked with him to redesign his site a few years back. We became acquainted during the process, so I started reading his posts and watching his talks. I dig his dedication to his craft and DIY attitude.

Another would be the entire Weightshift team: Naz Hamid, Scott Robbin, and Jen Schuetz. They’re similar to Paravel in many ways. I’ve always been positively influenced by how they treat each other and how they go about balancing work and life.