Keir Whitaker


A full(ish) history of companies I have worked with, projects I have been involved in and some forays into print publishing. Additionally you can find a comprehensive list of my published articles and speaking engagements.

Work & Projects


Working on the Partners team

Shopify — A designer friendly hosted ecommerce platform

In May 2012 I joined Shopify in the role of Designer Advocate. I first used Shopify in 2007 not long after it launched to the public and have been a huge fan of the platform ever since. It wasn’t hard to say yes to joining the team. I am based in the UK and work closely with my colleagues on the Partner Marketing Team in Canada on a wide range of projects including conference partnerships, theme building workshops, Shopify tutorials and screencasts, marketing, events, documentation and more.

The Back to Front Show

A web & tech podcast with a love of a good tangent

Your friendly Back to Front Show Hosts

In January 2013 Kieran Masterton and I launched The Back to Front Show podcast — a weekly podcast focused on front and back end technology with plenty in-between. Some have described it as a show with a casual tone and fondness for a good tangent.

More often than not recorded with the aid of two Blue Yeti’s and a dodgy Skype connection between Bath and Wells in the UK’s beautiful West Country each episode sees us chat about the latest happenings in the web industry.

Grow Volume 1

A print and ebook for freelance web designers

Grow Volume 1

In May 2015 the Shopify Partners team launched Grow — a print and e-book to help people grow successful and lasting businesses on Shopify. I was involved in the conception of the project as well as commissioning and editing of the individual chapters.

Chapter list:

  1. Deciding what your company stands for by Alex Hunter
  2. Ways to find your first customer by Alex O’Byrne
  3. How to write and present proposals that close deals by Ross Beyeler
  4. Deciding how to charge your clients by Ben Crudo
  5. How to draw up a client contract by Ryan Foster
  6. The key to winning work by Paul Boag
  7. How to optimize clients’ stores for mobile by Galen King
  8. How to make sure you get paid by Kurt Elster
  9. Recommended apps and tools by Ben MacGowan
  10. Things to do before the site goes live by Mat Mullen
  11. Working with Shopify by The Shopify Partners Team

You can download a free copy of the ebook (available in PDF, ePub and .mobi) by visiting

Shopify Birthday Suit Theme

A simple & clean Shopify starter theme

Available on GitHub “Birthday Suit” is an exceedingly bare bones Shopify starter theme. It’s designed to form the basis of a theme. There’s no CSS, no JavaScript and no predefined markup. Instead it offers you a great starting point — copy it, fork it, change it. It’s up to you.

Insites: The Book

20 interviews with web and tech designers & entrepreneurs

Insites: The Book

Insites: The Book was published in September 2012 and features interviews with 21 of the web and tech communities finest practitioners including Tina Roth Eisenberg, Jason Santa Maria, Cameron Moll, Ethan Marcotte, Alex Hunter, Brendan Dawes, Simon Collison, Dan Rubin, Andy McLoughlin, Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka, Josh Brewer, Ron Richards, Trent Walton, Ian Coyle, Mandy Brown, Sarah Parmenter, Jim Coudal, Jeffrey Zeldman, Tim Van Damme, and Jon Hicks. Over 256 pages they share their successes, the lessons they have learned and tales from the coal face of web design and development.

Insites: The Tour

4 cities in 4 days

Elliot and I in Bristol

In July 2011 Elliot Jay Stocks and I headed onto the road for “Insites: The Tour”. Over four consecutive nights in Brighton, London, Manchester, and Bristol we chatted with some of our webby friends and heroes about how they got started, the lessons they have learned, their big wins and the things they would do differently. It was fascinating, fun and very rewarding. It even gave birth to a book, but that’s a story in itself.

The 2011 line-up included Sarah Parmenter, Jeremy Keith, Aral Balkan, Simon Collison, Dan Rubin, Jon Tan, Natalie Downe, and many more (some of whom you can find in Insites: The Book).

Insites: ConfShop

Turning the conference format upside down

ConfShop: A participation based conference/workshop hybrid

In July 2013 we flipped the conference format on it’s head. ConfShop took the best bits of a conference (the community and social aspects) and the best bits of a workshop (the initimate setting and group discussions) and added the sharing, learning, and openness at the heart of the “Insites” brand and made a day of it.

We shared stories and chatted openly about the difficulties we face, the passions we share, the side projects we manage to find time for and much more. Sean Johnson, co-host of The Freelance Web came along and summed it up nicely on Episode 8 of his podcast.

Digest #1

A one off large format magazine for the creative and curious

A one off large format magazine for the creatively curious

In August 2013 Elliot Jay Stocks and I published a magazine called Digest. It’s focus was the culture that surrounds the world of the creative professional; a lifestyle publication that provides inspiration for the discerning traveller; a reminder that the world away from our computers is ripe for exploration.

Digest featured contributions from a variety of writers, illustrators and photographers from around the globe and was is available in print, PDF and a Read Online version.

8 Faces Theme

Shopify theme development

8 Faces Magazine

In 2013 I helped out with the relaunch of typography magazine 8 Faces. Elliot commissioned the talented trio at Paravel to reimagine the design from it’s original one page fixed structure to a responsive layout with multiple sections. The new site was also changing platforms, from a custom ecommerce build to Shopify.

Once Trent, Dave and Reagan had delivered their files I took their HTML, CSS and JavaScript and started to transform their templates into a Shopify theme.

The development came together well and posed a few interesting challenges. I wrote an in-depth article looking at the redesign over on Web Desgin Tuts+.

NB: The store referred to in the article is no longer active

Smashing Magazine

Code Section Editor

Smashing Magazine: The leading web design and development blog

In April 2011 I started working with the talented folks at Smashing Magazine. For a year I helped commission, curate and edit their dedicated coding section. I learnt a great deal during my time at Smashing and continue to work with the team today through their events.

Think Vitamin

Blogging and Podcasting

Think Vitamin: A resource for web developers (now defunct)

Think Vitamin was a popular web design and development resource run by Carsonified. During my time at the company I edited the blog and was responsible for the Think Vitamin Radio podcast. This included curating show topics, editing the audio and marketing the show.

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