Highlands by Design

We are not complicated people

You probably don’t really want to know that much about us, but we’ll share a few bits and pieces of information that might make things a little easier. Highlands by Design is a web design company based in Bowral, NSW. Bowral was once the home town of Sir Donald Bradman, Jimmy Barnes, and one of the girls from Chicks on Speed, and probably has more boutique stores, cafes, real estate agents, and antique stores per square hundred metres than anywhere else in the western world (at least it feels that way sometimes). We love our cricket here, and we also love drinking coffee and shopping for Italian leather shoes.

Heidi Grandmaster Smash – the original chick mechanic.

Heidi started her professional career in the print game, laying out and typesetting the designs for companies such as Pink Panther and Apple. After getting bored setting up the bromide machine, she one day picked up a spanner and decided to become a car mechanic (she was the Southern Highlands’ very own Sharlene Robinson). Sure fixing cars can be lots of fun, but a few years later she picked up a mouse and decided the web game was where she really belonged. Cut to five years later, and after building countless sites for various companies, she finally decided she wanted to tell the man to ‘step the hell off!’ and teamed up with a couple of close drinking buddies to start Highlands by Design. Although the other two know nothing about cars, they sure know plenty about Bradman and beer.

Johnny Robert Michael Simon Rodger Smith – sad little robot boy.

John wanted to be a robot when he was in his early teens. ‘But they look so cool!’ he would say pushing his vinyl copy of Kraftwerk’s The Man Machine straight into your face. Alas, Kraftwerk weren’t actually robots, and the day he found out was the day everything went downhill. He later decided that if he still wanted to be a robot, he needed to work with computers, and he always felt design was where it’s at. After spending almost half a decade running a web business on his own (working for clients such as Coca Cola, Yahoo, Westpac, Fairfax, etc), he felt he needed leave his old world and move to a new more advanced world where there were other robots to work and play with. That’s how he ended up in the Highlands (after watching the movie Highlander), and once there he befriended two like-minded robots who also wanted to change the world.

Gareth ‘This is Sparta‘ Butters – alcoholic and general crazy person.

Gareth was born into a world of insanity, and as such, she’s become quite the gentlewoman (or at least she was once). Growing up in one of Sydney’s notorious ghetto type areas, she learned to keep out of trouble, and keep her mind on the job! That was until she started at Highlands by Design. Now the girl drinks 24/7, starts fights at the Pink Pub in Mossy every second Friday (and every third Saturday), and has a work in progress full body tattoo of herself, but 4 inches taller (which sorta looks ridiculous, but we’re too scared to say anything!). We’ve been trying to encourage her to start her own reality TV show called “When Respectable Girls turn into Psychopathic Fists from Hell”. It’ll be a definite hit!

Why we do what we do.

Let’s just say that the Southern Highlands isn’t really known for being cutting edge when it comes to any Web related industries. After sitting around discussing life, technology, and politics, we all agreed that there are quite a few talented people in the area who end up working for companies who are too afraid to really push boundaries. Tired of hearing the usual “but it won’t work in Netscape 4.07”, we decided to do something about it, and started a new company that wanted to keep on top of the ever changing and evolving Web. By using the techniques of the moment (and not those of last week), we could help turn this area into a futuristic metropolis of web related industries, where people didn’t need to move north or south to enjoy their work. Of course that will probably never happen, but at least if we try to do some good, it’ll be better than sitting around doing half-arsed sites for people who don’t appreciate what we do.