Our story

We’ve come a long way since we started thirteen years ago. It’s been quite a journey, so please join us as we look back on some of the highlights we had along the way.

2005

Andy and Jeremy announce Clearleft during their first ever conference talk at SXSW.

Clearleft Limited is incorporated. Andy starts running it on the side while finishing off writing CSS Mastery.

We win our first major project, to redesign the Lancaster Business School Website.

Jeremy publishes his first book DOM Scripting.

We organise the first dConstruct conference in just 6 weeks

It’s the second ever web design conference in the UK

Tickets sell out in a record-breaking half an hour.

We move into our first real office, above the old Evening Argus offices on Dyke Road, Brighton.

2006

We help the US social network Ning redesign their video service.

We move to new, bigger offices in the recently refurbished Lighthouse Building.

We hire our first employee, James Box.

2007

Jeremy’s follow up book, Bullet Proof AJAX, becomes an instant best seller.

Clearleft head over to Austin, Texas for SXSW en masse. The Great British Booze-up becomes an official SXSW party.

To help popularise usability testing we create Silverback, a low-cost usability testing tool for Mac OS X.

dConstruct increases capacity to 600 people, moves to the Brighton Dome and sells out in 24 hours.

Silverback is used by the Obama team in the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections.

2008

We launch our Internship programme aimed at giving designers & developers a chance to learn new skills.

Our first ever intern is Emil, from Sweden.

We create one of the first responsive sites in the UK for St Paul’s School, London.

Clearleft redesigns the Sci-Fi channel for NBC. This is the start of a long relationship with NBC Universal which sees us redesigning 5 TV channels, their VOD service and internal asset management system.

With increasing browser support for font embedding, we start working on our Fontdeck start-up, a product we hope will be the first webfont service on the market.

We win the project to redesign the WWF International website.

2009

To help the growing number of people getting into User Experience Design, we launch UX London.

It’s the first dedicated UX conference in Europe

Speakers include:

  • Don Norman
  • Jared Spool
  • Jeff Veen
  • Luke Wroblewski
  • Peter Merholz

Beaten to launch —just— by TypeKit, Fontdeck becomes the second commercial font service on the web.

Clearleft start working with the BFI on a variety of projects including the London Film Festival.

Andy joins the advisory board for SXSW.

Clearleft wins the contract to redesign Gumtree after stiff competition with some very strong overseas agencies.

Clearleft voted web design agency of the year in the first ever .Net Magazine awards.

2010

We’re asked to redesign the Mozilla Add-ons site, a web property serving 2 million people per day.

SXSW has become an annual pilgrimage for Clearleft, with (almost) the entire company attending. We run 5 sessions at the conference.

We’re asked to redesign Channel 4 News, the first of many successful projects and a long-standing relationship with Channel 4.

Jeremy Keith publishes his concise guide HTML5 for Web Designers with A Book Apart.

James Box and Cennydd Bowles publish Undercover UX: a pragmatic guide to making UX work in real companies.

Wired Magazine names Richard and Andy as two of the 100 most influential people in the UK digital sector.

2011

After 3 years at the Cumberland Hotel, we decide to re-invent the UX London format and start looking for exciting new venues around the capital.

We launch Ampersand, the first conference dedicated to digital typography on the web.

We move to the largest office in the Lighthouse Building.

We rent a small farm on the Welsh borders for a week and take the whole team away to hack on new ideas.

The concept of HackFarm is born, and we create (and ship) MapTales.

As a result of our donation from Silverback we’re invited to a lovely lunch with the Gorilla Fund, incidentally meeting Sigourney Weaver.

Working with Dennis Publishing we create The Week iPad app, bringing the publication to a whole new audience and topping the App Store charts.

Clearleft is voted web design agency of the year by .Net magazine, for the second time.

2012

We launch the dConstruct archive, a repository of insightful talks from some of the brightest minds in the industry spanning the last 8 years.

Channel 4 launches Scrapbook

A brand new lifestyle service we designed along with the team at Channel 4 and the great folks at ThoughtWorks.

With the generous help of friends and companies we setup the world’s first Open Device Lab to support local developers.

The office heads stateside for Brooklyn Beta, and we start scouting venues for our first conference across the pond: Ampersand NYC.

The whole company treks to Dorset for the second annual HackFarm. We conceive a personal political opinion-tracking service called Politmus and document the entire process at hackfarm.org.

We help Bobby Johnson design Matter – a beautiful reading experience for this independent publisher of unmissable journalism about science and technology.

Clearleft and our friends at Headscape go head-to-head in a Go-Karting death match.

We sign contracts on our brand new office at 68 Middle Street in the centre of Brighton

The new office will be our home for many years to come — and let us grow as needed.

2013

We set up a small incubator scheme called Clearleft Labs, to help entrepreneurs benefit from our design skills.

In response to the industry’s continued interest in responsive design, we launch Responsive Day Out, the world’s first conference dedicated to the subject.

Tickets sell out in under 48 hours.

With the prospect of the new office at 68 Middle Street we grow to 15 employees, with every intention of hiring more.

We decide to re-invent UX London with a new venue and format and ticketing structure.

The Channel 4 News website scoops ‘Best News Site Of The Year’ and ‘Best Website Of The Year’ at the Online Media Awards.

We officially move into the new Clearleft HQ at 68 Middle Street.

We celebrate with beers and a BBQ out on the back patio.

Our third Hack Farm is the most successful yet, with a dozen physical products & digital services conceived and prototyped.

Our 2013 graduate internship comes to an end with the launch of the social music concept, Chüne.

2014

We start work on our biggest international project yet: an extensive new consumer web application for Nordea Bank.

Our event space at 68 Middle Street really takes off, as we host community meet ups (Async, Ladies That UX, She Says) workshops, film screenings and social events.

We win the tender for one of only 7 places on the BBC’s new digital design agency roster.

dConstruct turns 10! The grand-daddy web conference of them all comes of age. We can’t believe how far we have come…

Local digital artist—and friend of Clearleft—Seb Lee-Delisle uses us as willing guinea pigs for his new workshop: Stuff That Talks To The Interwebs, or ST4I. The auditorium at 68 Middle Street is the perfect venue for two days of hardware hacking.

2015

Productivity goes through the roof as we get our first professional coffee machine installed, courtesy of Small Batch.

The entire company absconds to Herefordshire for the fourth Hackfarm.

Clearleft hosts a series of events at 68 Middle Street for Spring Forward, a month-long celebration of the role of women in digital culture.

Longtime friend of Clearleft, Dave Gray runs a sketching workshop for the whole company.

At UX London, we unveil the brewing arm of Clearleft; Beerleft. Our first offering is an easy-drinking little number called Goldenrod.

Richard launches a Kickstarter campaign to fund a book on web typography. It was chosen as a Staff Pick and blew threw its funding goal.

We throw a party to celebrate the company’s 10th year. What happens at Clearleft’s 10th birthday party stays at Clearleft’s 10th birthday party.

2016

We release Fractal as an open-source project. It’s a tool for working with pattern libraries that we’d been using at Clearleft for some time.

We start a long term partnership with Virgin Holidays, helping them with their design system.

The first Leading Design conference is held in London. Not content with running UX London, we decided the time was right for an event dedicated to design leaders.

2017

Clearleft rebrands with a lovely new logo and colour scheme.

We host Patterns Day, Europe’s first conference dedicated to design systems and pattern libraries.

The event is held in the beautiful Duke Of York’s cinema in Brighton.

We start Clearleft Presents, featuring some of the standout workshops from our conferences. Blair Enns is the star of the first event.

We organise a retreat in Juvet, Norway to wrestle with the big questions of AI.

The Juvet Agenda

2018

We win the pitch to redesign the help centre for Virgin Atlantic.

We organise a private mini-conference at our studio for our clients, followed by a BBQ on the deck.

The first in a series of Clearleft Retreats takes place in Norway, with an event for Women in Design Leadership.

We’ve led quite a storied past, but we’re just getting started.

Come make history with us. We love working with organisations large and small to create new and exciting digital products, so do get in touch. We’ll put the kettle on.