About Jessica M.

Hello, my name is Jessica Miller, founder and lead designer at Corvus. I’ve put together a history of my road into the web design industry that I hope gives a bit of insight as to what makes our services stand out in a sea of designers.

Experience & Skill

06 Years
Wordpress CMS & Woocommerce

When it officially launched in 2011, I was among the first developers to adopt Woocommerce as my preferred ecommerce solution. Today, I work exclusively with Wordpress CMS and Woocommerce integration for online shops.

07 Years
Adjunct Lecturer

Began teaching courses in the following

  • Web Design & Development Standardizations
  • User Experience Formulation for Web Design

Added the following to my curriculum a few years later

  • Wordpress Theme Development & Best Design Practices
  • Advanced Wordpress CMS Applications

11 Years
Primary Designer at Corvus

After working in the tech industry for companies including Philips Electronics, Sony, HP, and Sun Micro, Corvus Design Studio was born. Since the very beginning, I've been a hands-on designer and developer at Corvus Design Studio. Today, I continue as our lead designer, focusing on web design, user experience, development and coding, graphic design, content production, and copy writing.

12 Years
Experience in UX Design (User Experience)

Expanded focus to UX design, as a whole, for web, print, and branding. This was a pivotal shift, as it laid the groundwork for moving into entrepreneurship, which would lead to the birth of Corvus shortly after.

14 Years
Experience in Graphic & Print Design

Began applying web and software interface design skills to print design, specifically for branded collateral items.

15 Years
Experience in Web Design & User Interface Design

Moved to Web Development department at Philips Headquarters; focused solely on Philips' intranet and consumer electronics websites. Completed Bachelor's in Computer Science.

17 Years
Experience in Web Development

Developed first website in 1999-2000. Landed job at Philips Electronics, San Jose, California, as a general programmer.

18 Years
Experience in Copy Writing & Technical Writing

Professional and recreational experience in copy writing for consumer marketing, and technical writing in the fields of biology, zoology, and computer science, since 1999.

Binkie & Me

Here’s some pics of myself and Binkie le Rue, my beloved English Bull Terrier and Corvus’s office pup.

From there to here

Right before graduating high school, I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in preparation for attending university. I recognized immediately that tech had an omnipresence in the Bay; a distinctive quality of “Silicon Valley”.

During that time (late 90’s) the world wide web was still pretty new – Google didn’t even exist, and Yahoo! ruled the internet. Broadband was something only big corporations had, in the form of ISDN, and even that was slower than today’s slowest household service. For the most part everyone had dial-up, and the more fortunate had 56kbps modems, instead of the more common 28.8kbps.

I had arrived at the start of the dotcom boom, which changed everything.

I had arrived at the start of the dotcom boom, which changed everything. Suddenly dotcom’s were everywhere. Ebay, Amazon, Napster, GeoCities, PayPal, E-Trade, Lycos, Google… Everyone had some get-rich-quick scheme to cash in on the new digital platform and overnight millionaires became a rather common thing. People snatched up every imaginable domain name in the hopes of selling them for big bucks. This created a new type of intellectual property and, with it, a whole slew of legal issues. Colleges started offering courses in web development, as ground-breaking tools were created by Microsoft and Macromedia (later bought by Adobe). Web Designers and design firms popped up everywhere, while the big tech companies added in-house web departments. DSL lines were rapidly installed in residential areas, prompting the first unlimited internet data plans (that’s right, kids, home internet service used to be moderated – imagine the horror). WiFi was introduced shortly after. No longer just for military and scientific use, the internet became an integral part of business and daily life, seemingly overnight. And because there were virtually zero regulations for conducting business online, it was an absolute madhouse; a free-for-all that took years to tame.

Alas, I was only 16 at the time and the internet was just a toy for me. The idea of becoming a professional web designer had never even crossed my mind. I was actually pursuing formal education in the natural sciences and debating whether to major in Bio-Chemistry, Physics, or Astro-Physics at university, or to accept a scholarship to UC Davis in English Literature.

I graduated high school that same year (I had skipped a grade) and entered San Jose State University, majoring in Bio-Chemistry and minoring in Computer Science. It wasn’t until my fourth year that I officially changed my major to Computer Science. Sounds like a pretty sharp 180, right? Well, as sometimes happens in life, fate intervened and sent me down a completely different path.

What really piqued my interest was TCP/IP Protocol…. And that’s where it all began.

During summer break I befriended an engineer who introduced me to computer programming. He showed me some things in Assembly Language and C, and I gleaned the basics of programming in general – boolean logic, functions, loops, if statements, switch cases, arrays, etc. It was fun, but what really piqued my interest was TCP/IP Protocol…. And that’s where it all began.

My friend asked if I would be interested in creating a website for an acquaintance who was selling a condo. I knew nothing about web development, but welcomed the opportunity to try my hand at it. So, I picked up a book on HTML 4.0 at Digital Guru and spent the next two days reading through, and hand-coding the examples at the end of the chapters.

This was before development software was readily available – I had no editor or FTP client, and instead worked with Notepad to hand-write HTML and Telnet or Command Line for FTP. I remember the finished website well; green Photoshop 4.0 textured background, animated gif logo, in-line Javascript image rollovers, gaudy fonts, a hit counter, sound effects… A laughable website by today’s standards, but apparently not all that horrific for the time.

My friend showed it to his manager at Philips Electronics, and shortly thereafter I was offered an interview for one of four internships as a general computer engineer.

My friend showed it to his manager at Philips Electronics, and shortly thereafter I was offered an interview for one of four internships as a general computer engineer. I still wasn’t planning to pursue a career in the computer industry, but I was struggling to afford college and the pay was irresistible. So, I jumped on the opportunity and, much to my delight, landed the job!

As time went by I found the work exciting and challenging. I worked at Philips for a good year before permanently switching my major to Computer Science. As a result, my love of the natural sciences took a backseat to my new career path, becoming the hobby that computers once were.

My internship evolved into a contract job that lasted several years. I started off in the R&D lab programming robotic chip testers, creating virtual software interfaces, and developing browser-based frameworks for home servers. Our group was one of the first in the industry to utilize XML schemas for designing and developing user interfaces, a concept made mainstream by Apple’s revolutionary OSX. I had also experimented with SVGs (scalable vector graphics) for creating non-Flash, animated effects; a technology which floundered at the time, but has made a monumental comeback and now exists as a standard component in modern web development.

I had become a bona fide web designer – crafting engaging interfaces, and coding the backend to bring them to life.

Having acquired skill in HTML, DHTML, XML/XSL, Javascript, and VBscript, I eventually moved out of the R&D lab and into the web development department at Philips Headquarters. It was here that my career was solidified in web design. At first I was solely a web programmer, and along the way found that I had an affinity for graphic design. My design work gained some recognition among the heads and my responsibilities thereafter became equal parts graphic design and web programming. During this period I worked exclusively on web design projects, including Philips’ internal intranet and their US consumer electronics website. I designed and created interactive Flash content and branded graphic artwork, and also implemented the programming necessary to streamline online publication for multiple departments. All of my spare time was spent taking courses in web development, graphic design, communication, and marketing to enhance my skill set. I had become a bona fide web designer – crafting engaging interfaces, and coding the backend to bring them to life.

I was itching to design in a more autonomous, artistic environment.

When my contract at Philips was up for renewal I decided to explore new opportunities at other companies, which led to stints at Sony, HP, and Sun Micro. I very much enjoyed being a designer, but found the corporate environment restricting and always riddled with red tape. I expected each new project would be different, but they were always inflexible and “design by committee” in nature, which allowed very little creative freedom. I was itching to design in a more autonomous, artistic environment. In time that itch escalated into a fever, and I knew I either had to make a change or burn out completely.

Around this time, the dotcom bubble burst, sending a shockwave through the Bay Area and slamming the door on nearly every opportunity across the tech industry. Startups were going bankrupt left and right and big-name companies were downsizing at alarming rates. Contractors were the first heads on the chopping blocks and it became painfully clear that maintaining a steady flow of work was going to be difficult in the following years. The timing lined up for me to make a change. So, rather than face the ensuing contractor graveyard that became Silicon Valley for a time, I preemptively moved back to my hometown of San Luis Obispo with a plan to start my own design studio.

So, in March 2006, Corvus Design Studio was born.

I chose San Luis Obispo to start this new endeavor for a combination of reasons, 1) convenient location relative to LA and the Bay, 2) web design was a neophytic industry in that area, and 3) it appeared the dotcom burst didn’t affect the landscape as drastically in SLO. Thankfully, the latter turned out to be true and the atmosphere was just right for a fledgling design studio. So, in March 2006, Corvus Design Studio was born.

Over a decade later we’re still having fun, growing and expanding our brand, and reveling in the ever-evolving world of design. I’ve been a professional web designer since 2001 and enjoy every aspect of it, from concept development, to design, to hand-coding the backend. I take my work very seriously and the kind words and recognition we continually receive lets me know that we are right on track with our methodology.

In retrospect, I realize it was inevitable that I would do something in the field of design. Even as a kid I was always more concerned with aesthetics than my peers; an early tendency toward design, I suppose.

In retrospect, I realize it was inevitable that I would do something in the field of design. Even as a kid I was always more concerned with aesthetics than my peers; an early tendency toward design, I suppose.

When I was around 7 I created my own fashion line, complete with model sketches and lengthy material descriptions. Then at around 9 I developed an interest in interior design and redesigned my bedroom (with the help of my Mom, who brought my designs to life by tailoring the curtains, bedspread, and pillowcases from the fabrics I coordinated).

In Junior High I took a hands-on industrial sciences elective, where we experimented in several different areas, from broadcasting to mechanics. But it was the drafting and rocket design projects that really stuck with me. I was super into the drafting project. We were only required to draft a single-story dwelling, but I took it a step further and designed a detailed three-story mansion, complete with an English garden, blackroom and photography studio, indoor pool, and arboretum. After the drafting project, we built functional rockets – one of the highlights of my entire adolescent education. Mine was quite the spectacle as it blasted into the sky, with its glossy black-to-red gradient, bursts of red stars fading down the sides, and the words “TO THE MOON” stenciled in metallic gold. After looking around at the plain cardboard and white rockets from my classmates, I remember a fleeting thought about how I appeared to be the only way who took the extra time to create artwork on the rocket shell. I think that was my first conscious realization of the importance of form and function in design – an idea I’ve since made a point of cultivating throughout life.

That about sums up my path into the world of design and development. Please feel free to Contact us if you have any questions or comments about Corvus Design Studio.

Corvus Design Studio Award-Winning Web Design Print Design Branding Wordpress Developer