The Interrogation of Lee Gustin

It’s not who Lee is underneath, but what Lee does that defines him.

Agent Palmer [AP]: For the record, please state your full name.
Lee Gustin [LG]: Lee Gustin

[AP]: Where did you grow up?
[LG]: Allentown, Pennsylvania.

[AP]: What impact did growing up there have on you?
[LG]: I lived in a decent part of town (south side), up by the mountain. My best friend growing up (who was the best man at my wedding) and I had a great childhood of little care, being able to ride our bikes and play in the woods every day.

Jaclyn and Lee Gustin

Jaclyn and Lee Gustin

[AP]: Current city or residence and how long have you lived there?
[LG]: Allentown (few months) – Lived in Whitehall for a while though.

[AP]: Why do you live there?
[LG]: Bought a house with my wife, Jackie.

[AP]: I understand you’re recently married? How did you meet?
[LG]: We actually have known each other since Preschool (adorable, I know). We have photos of us sitting next to each other in school at four years old…I’m the dalmatian.

[AP]: How did you know she was the one?
[LG]: Cue cheese, lots of cheese – she’s my best friend and partner in crime (nothing illegal), and I couldn’t see my life without her. Cheese over.

[AP]: How long were you officially dating before you popped the question?
[LG]: It was a little over 3.5 years, and then a year and a half engagement before our wedding. Plenty of time to make sure she was “the one,” although I’ve known that for quite some time.

[AP]: How did you decide to take the next step?
[LG]: How – I put a ring on it. By “it” I mean her finger. I had a surprise engagement party at my boss’s house. She thought him and wife were taking us out to Blue for dinner (as it was around my one year anniversary of working at there), but it turned out I had a big party planned with a bunch of our closest friends and family.

Lee hard at working during a Photo Shoot

Lee hard at working during a Photo Shoot

[AP]: What is your current profession?
[LG]: Developer at Weidenhammer Creative.

[AP]: Do you have any side jobs?
[LG]: I do some occasional consulting/freelance things that come my way.

[AP]: What is your website?
[LG]: Sure do! (recently redesigned from the ground up – as well as my blog –

[AP]: How did you come to work for Weidenhammer Creative?
[LG]: While I was freelancing full time, I occasionally sought out design agencies that had open positions, whether for full time or just for freelancing work. One of these places was 4O1! Creative (now Weidenhammer Creative). At the time they weren’t looking to hire, but about 6-8 months later, they contacted me letting me know about a developer position. History ensued and here I am.

[AP]: Was being a web developer/designer your first career path?
[LG]: Developer, no. I went to school for Graphic Design, but in my Junior year I took a web design class just to fill a requirement, and ended up being the best in the class and really enjoying it.

[AP]: Where did you go to school?
[LG]: Moravian College.

[AP]: What degree do you have?
[LG]: Bachelors in Graphic and Interactive Design.

Lee is one Cool Cat

Lee is one Cool Cat

[AP]: Why Moravian?
[LG]: Moravian was 1) close to home, 2) small and tight-knit, and had my major. Basically how everyone chooses their college 😉

[AP]: Are there any fun, funny, or outlandish stories from college that you have, that you would be willing to share?
[LG]: Unfortunately for your readers, college wasn’t really a crazy outlandish time for me. Besides drinking beer out of a sweaty used tennis shoe (in Florida on vacation with the tennis team), it was business-as-usual.

[AP]: Anyway, back to your freelancing, what prompted you to start your own business?
[LG]: I started doing freelance Junior year in college. It was an easy way to get extra cash for books and art supplies that my tuition didn’t cover, but turned into a full-time “job” for quite some time. I started doing consulting work for a few people, and just sort of stuck with freelance for many years after that.

[AP]: Was that your first job out of college?
[LG]: Freelance for a while, but I eventually got a full-time gig at a design firm in New Jersey.

[AP]: How did you handle the stress of “freelance,” knowing that once a job was done, you might not get another? How did you manage to continually get work?
[LG]: That was the worst part of being freelance actually. There were months where I’d barely be able to make rent and pay bills, and other months where I had plenty of month. That fluctuation of funds was the most stressful part of freelance. Having a steady job and doing occasional freelance on the side has suited me quite well these last few years.

[AP]: What prompted you to get into web development?
[LG]: I was always planning on being 100% graphic design, as that’s what I went to school for. Luckily for me, I took a Intro to Web Design class in my Junior year at Moravian (mainly just to fill a requirement). By the end of the class, I was one of the fastest learners and best coders, and it’s only sort of grown from there.

Lee's moved up the ladder at Weidenhammer Creative

Lee’s moved up the ladder at Weidenhammer Creative

[AP]: Was your first web development experience Geocities or MySpace styling, if not what was it?
[LG]: Myspace for sure. I remember having a computer class in middle school. When we weren’t paying attention to the teacher, we were either figuring out how to make things blink on our MySpace pages, or playing City Jumper.

[AP]: Is there any old code, that’s not really used anymore that you’d like to use again? Like Blink?
[LG]: Hell no! Things that get deprecated/not-supported generally deserve to be that way. Although if you insist in using blink, you can do so with modern animations:

.blink {
animation: blink 1s steps(5, start) infinite;
@keyframes blink {
to {
visibility: hidden;

[AP]: Technology is ever changing both overall and within your industry. How do you stay ahead or at least abreast of those changes?
[LG]: Abreast [giggles]. Constantly checking up on design/development blogs is key. The more you know about what’s changing in the industry, the more efficient and successful you will be.

Lee's work isn't too complicated

Lee’s work isn’t too complicated…

[AP]: Does it complicate your work?
[LG]: Nope, keeping up on the new technologies or ways of coding is just part of the line of work.

[AP]: Do you get frustrated by the amount of work you can do in one year that is then antiquated and outdated by the time the next year rolls around?
[LG]: Not really. Eventually code/design/trends become outdated and less efficient, but that generally takes a bit more than a year. If I were to design and develop a website today that had current best-practices and design trends; I may only show it off for the next year, but that doesn’t mean it is irrelevant after that time frame.

[AP]: Mobile first is the cry when doing most web development these days, but when YOU want to get online do you prefer to reach for mobile, tablet or desk/laptop?
[LG]: Mobile for sure. I surf the web minimally when I am on my computer but generally I’m doing freelance work if I’m on it. 99% of my “surfing” takes place on my phone while I’m watching TV or, in my “other office.”

[AP]: What devices do you have and which do you use most often and for what?
[LG]: iPhone 6 / 27” iMac (need to upgrade it soon, it’s getting chuggy) / 17” Mac Book Pro 2006 model (looking to sell it, any takers?).

[AP]: Are you or have you ever or always been an early adopter of technology/the web/ social media/ gadgets?
[LG]: Sure am. I try to stay in the loop on technology, which is key to anyone in the web industry.

[AP]: What was your first computer, if you can remember?
[LG]: My dad always had Gateway computers, but I do remember learning to type in elementary school on an Apple II (those were the days).

[AP]: Which do you use least and why?
[LG]: My phone is used most of the time, as it’s most portable and always at my fingertips.

Cactus Lee at Salt River Fields

Cactus Lee at Salt River Fields

[AP]: With your design knowledge and education, how much design experience do you have?
[LG]: I’ve been using Photoshop since high school, but have mainly been self-taught since then.

[AP]: How much design experience did you start with?
[LG]: I’ve been artistic for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I loved Ed Emberley books (they taught you how to draw things, but one easy step at a time) and sketching super heroes.

[AP]: How much design experience does a web developer need?
[LG]: Technically none, but the more you have the more you can understand how to nitpick your front-end code and create the best projects that you can.

[AP]: Professionally or in your side projects, what are some of your big successes, public or behind-the-scenes?
[LG]: Professionally through 401/Weidenhammer, I’ve worked on a bunch of great projects that I’m really proud of. was one of our biggest successes (social media-wise), and that’s normally the project that I tell people about when they go “Oh, Weidenhammer, what do that do?” I’m proud of as well as the soon to be live

[AP]: Do you want to return to being your own boss?
[LG]: Eventually there may be a time where I’d want to full-time, but I’m too set in a nice job with a bit of freelance on the side. It was nice to “be my own boss” for a few years, but in the end, a consistent paycheck beats that out any day of the week!

[AP]: If you weren’t a web developer as you are, or a graphic designer as you set out to be, what would you like to or think you’d be doing right now?
[LG]: I always wanted to be a video game developer, but once I looked into that (back in high school), I realized how much ‘over my head’ code and crazy languages that were involved with that – no way! So I have such an appreciation for really well designed and developed video games (NaughtyDog / FROM Software are two of the best around).

Lee is Batman

Lee is Batman

[AP]: Let’s do some quick lists into your favorites. Favorite movies?
[LG]: Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

[AP]: TV Shows?
[LG]: The Walking Dead / Breaking Bad = top two. Also love Bob’s Burgers

[AP]: Sports or Teams?
[LG]: Tennis. Novak Djokovic.

[AP]: Tennis isn’t what I would consider a “mainstream” sport… How did you get into it?
[LG]: My dad was a novice player growing up, so he would occasionally take me out and show me how to play. When I was eight, my parents enrolled me into a summer camp (Oakmont Tennis Club – whoot whoot). I made many friends throughout many summers playing there on the red clay (and made my mom plenty mad having to wash out clay in all of my white clothes). I then carried my skills over to highschool and college, faring decently in both. I still play to this day with one of the friends that I made my first day at Oakmont (he was in my wedding party actually).

[AP]: Comic Books?
[LG]: Graphic Novels – Walking Dead / Preacher / Y – The Last Man.

[AP]: Heroes?
[LG]: Super – Batman. Not super – My Dad.

[AP]: You comic book tendencies appear to be neutral, while you heroes are DC. Does that make you a DC guy?
[LG]: I wouldn’t say I’m one other other, but if a batarang was flying at my face and I had to answer in time, DC.

[AP]: Games? Video/Digital and Non Video/Digital…
[LG]: Video/Digital: RPG’s – Dark Souls / Bloodborne / Final Fantasy series (12 is the best). Non Video/Digital: Cards Against Humanity

Lee enjoys Tennis, Video Games, and Longs Walks on the Beach

Lee enjoys Tennis, Video Games, and Longs Walks on the Beach

[AP]: How often to do you to play video games? What are your console leanings? And what was your first console? (And do you still have it?)
[LG]: My gaming time tends to ebb and flow. I generally don’t like to play anything while Jackie is home, as I like to spend time with her while we’re together. So I tend to get small spurts of playing in on weekends and when she is out of the house.

I’ve always been a Sony guy – owned a PS1 / PS2 / PSP / (and now) PS4. My first (handheld) console was an original “fat” GameBoy. The first game I got with it was Qix – which watching it now, is a terrible game, but it was really difficult as a child. Sadly I don’t have it – I believe I traded it in for a GameBoy Color (and that got traded in for a GameBoy Advanced).

[AP]: Favorite ways to spend free time/hobbies.
[LG]: Video games, working on our house, tennis / working out. Photography has been a small passion of mine for the last five years or so.

[AP]: Do you fancy yourself a photographer?
[LG]: I’d like to think so. There’s certain aspects that I don’t fully grasp (such as lighting), but that will come with time. I’d call myself a “hobbyist photographer” at the very least. I understand the fundamentals, and I think I have a pretty good eye for composition, as well as post-production work. I attempted a “photo a day for a year” project two years ago, but life got in the way about three months in. Eventually I’d like to give that a try again (or maybe a “52 challenge”, one good photo a week).

[AP]: What is still on your Bucket List?
[LG]: Tons. My wife and I want to see a bunch more national parks (seen the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion). I also want to skydive.

The traveling couple

The traveling couple

[AP]: Not many people appreciate or at least vocalize their enjoyment of the National Park System created by the Antiquities Act of 1906 signed by Teddy Roosevelt. What is your love for the outdoors?
[LG]: I’ve always loved nature and the outdoors. I grew up being a Cub Scout / Webelos / Boy Scout, hiking the trails, camping in tents, etc. Eventually I stopped Boy Scouts (one small level away from Eagle) as most of my friends left; but I still love being outside in the fresh air (running on a nice day is the best stress reliever).

[AP]: And is Teddy Roosevelt your favorite President?
[LG]: I’m more of a G Wash kind of guy. Over six foot tall, with bad-ass hair and no middle man, what isn’t to like?

[AP]: How well do you manage your time? And how do you or don’t you manage it?
[LG]: Being a full-time freelancer for a few years taught me how to manage my time pretty well. At work, I tend to come in well under required hours for most projects, which makes my supervisors and myself quite happy. Managing time to me is typically just finding a set time to work on something, putting on some good music, and just zoning out and doing it, get it done!

[AP]: What is the most productive/creative setting for you to accomplish your work?
[LG]: Good music playing (Chillwave / Glass Animals / Foster the People Pandora stations) in a quiet environment is really all I need to focus.

Photographer Lee

Photographer Lee

[AP]: What inspires you?
[LG]: I get inspiration from a lot of places actually. Anything photography related I generally get inspiration from Instagram/Flickr/500px, while design/development I tend to stick to Pinterest or various design sites ( / / etc). Occasionally I’ll get inspired by my co-workers in projects that they are working on in or out of work. You have to be ready for inspiration to strike at any moment. I’ve had a few “ah hah!” moments while I was seconds from falling asleep in bed (I always put them in my Notes app on my phone before I forget them though).

[AP]: Before I start to wrap this up, let’s go back. What was your first job ever and when (how old were you specifically)?
[LG]: I worked at Rita’s Italian Ice when I was 16-19. I actually worked with Jackie (my wife) for a few of those years. Overall I enjoyed working there, but now I can’t eat Rita’s without getting sick from it. Once your job is to clean the custard machines on the weekends, and you see how gross those machines get, you tend to get turned off to Rita’s.

[AP]: It is my philosophy that anyone who has spent time in a retail or service industry have a better time accepting things when being served or shopping. Do you share this sentiment?
[LG]: To an extent, yes. I am generally more patient with food service situations. But on the other hand, rude/ignorant employees (snotty teenagers) need to get their act together 😉

[AP]: What is the best advice you have ever received?
[LG]: My mom (and Jackie’s mom) always told me to follow your heart, which I’ve always tried to do. I’d say it worked out pretty well 🙂

[AP]: And the best advice you could give?
[LG]: Learn, learn and learn more. Read tutorials, ask questions, and soak up knowledge. And just do! The more you code, and code correctly, the faster and more efficient you will be.

The Blog of Lee Gustin

The Blog of Lee Gustin

[AP]: What can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
[LG]: I’ve had a few photography projects floating around in my head, but none of them have been started on yet. Since my wife and I have been home-owners, most side-projects (web/photography) have taken a knee. My new website ( and blog ( have been in the works for some time now, and hopefully by the time the world is reading this, it will be live! I’ve been really proud of how it turned out and am excited to get it launched.

[AP]: Can we have your blog’s elevator speech?
[LG]: Part design/development/photography inspiration, part geek, part fun. 100% cool!

[AP]: What social networks are you on and where can you be found?
[LG]: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

[AP]: Are you active on social media, which ones?
[LG]: See above…

[AP]: Why or Why Not?
[LG]: When I was doing freelance as a full-time job, I was really into Twitter (I have over 1200 followers), but have lost the passion and time to keep up with it. Facebook is really annoying me lately and I’ve been considering leaving it. Instagram I enjoy the most as its visual and I’m a budding hobbyist photographer, so it fits into my niche of social media.

[AP]: Can you be contacted in any other way?
[LG]: Carrier pigeons generally have a direct route over my house. Try one of those.

[AP]: Now that I’m about to let you go and see Jackie, who must be worried about you… Is there anything else you would like to add, or do you just want the bright light turned off?
[LG]: Who are you and how did I get here?

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