.

Be prepared to throw away a lot of what you have learned (you will learn something new every day). Be prepared to be surrounded by a lot of people who are way better than you (this will make you better). Don't get stuck in the job trap - if you are not happy do something about it and move - don't just sit and complain, be a designer and solve the problem or move on.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I am a passionate believer in the power of design craft, great storytelling and customer experience design to solve clients' business problems. For nearly a decade, I have been a Chief Creative Officer at some of the top digital agencies. Today, as CCO of Critical Mass, I oversee all the agency’s work globally and drive creative excellence across the organization.

What do you do for inspiration?

Get as far away from my computer as possible. I tend to need to clear the decks to think, so sitting at my desk is literally the worst thing I could do. I ride my bike a lot and end up talking things through with myself - I know sounds strange but it works.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Love spending time on Blacknegative and just playing around. Spend a ridiculous amount of time on Artsy.net (I love painting). Really like what the Guardian newspaper has done on their app with the weekend magazines.

How many hours do you work each week?

When I am at my desk probably around 50 to 60 hours, but I travel a lot working on the road varies a lot. You can get a lot done on a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong when you have already seen all of the films.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Probably still designing book jackets and record covers ( still do some now more for fun )

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

Walking away from a very successful career as a book designer to jump in to digital at a time when we really had no idea what we were doing. It was great being at the start of something that has changed everything from work to life.

What software could you not live without?

If I listen to Feltron's new Reporter App it would be Outlook and Photoshop, but outside of that I spend a lot of time in Lightroom

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

I really like the Ui8 Wireframe kit software. Great for getting ideas down on paper and sharing a workflow across multiple breakpoints and platforms

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

I really like how Wolff Olins approach their work. Great blend of brand, design and tech. Love the work of Matt Willey from PORT Magazine and the redesign of the Independent magazine. Non-Format just continue to do stunning work.

What area of web design lacks the most?

The design craft. We get so hung up on how it is supposed to work and function that we rarely give enough time to crafting how it should look.

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

In the design community it is a respected award. As designers it is a place we all go to see what is happening. I put a lot of value in it and I think my peers do too.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

Bloody terrible. And not it is not online and hopefully will never be seen again. It was basically a book jacket with buttons, no surprise considering where I came from

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Funny, I designed covers for hundreds of books and it never ever occurred to me to write one. Now that I don't design them much anymore I really want to write one. It might also be something of a reaction to 140 character culture. If I do it will have nothing to do with design or business it would need to be the complete opposite to what I do during the day

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

That is pretty much how I think. I tend to approach it through problem solving using design and story and then applying it to the medium we are in. We are lucky today to not just work in digital but also get to do film and print.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

I think eduction needs someone in the field without educational experience. Leaving school was a massive shock. The timeframes scared the hell out of me but also maybe forced me to do some of my best work. We could do with some of that in education. I would also love to see students solving more real life problems supported by business.

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Be prepared to throw away a lot of what you have learned (you will learn something new every day). Be prepared to be surrounded by a lot of people who are way better than you (this will make you better). Don't get stuck in the job trap - if you are not happy do something about it and move - don't just sit and complain, be a designer and solve the problem or move on.

How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

I think it is worse than that. We are in a world where everyone calls themselves a creative. I have a series of very granular questions I ask about your training that tend to show if you know your stuff or not. It doesn't take a lot to get to if someone really has a passion for what they are doing or they are doing it because they think it is the cool thing to do.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

The Bicycle

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

Getting design craft back in our work and the whole company invested and behind the quality of the product we produce. It is a great time to be in digital and to be at a digital agency, we have massive potential to do great work.


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