Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I studied painting, found the internet and ended up in Amsterdam.
What do you do for inspiration?
I try and keep an open mind, to like more than I dislike and think for myself. And if I’m really struggling I’ll go for a run and try and forget about it.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Helping to create a steady creative environment where people are actually happy doing what they do everyday (well at least that's what they tell me!).
How many hours do you work each week?
As many as it takes to get the job done. I'm a big fan of letting ideas simmer and that means your mind is always working and processing solutions.
How do you relax or unwind?
I've just really got into playing tennis...It's an amazing game, there's so much more to it than I first thought. I guess I do a lot of reading and try to play my guitar as much as I can.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
The best part of my job is helping the people I work with achieve what they want to achieve. The hardest part is the moment before you crack an idea - it's ok because it's great when you get it right and it all falls into place. However the journey to that point is sometimes really tough. The only thing you can do is keep going with it but going for a run or doing some exercise helps.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
All night and straight into a presentation the next morning.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
Realising that it's ok to make mistakes, that nobody's perfect and that if you work as a team you can go further than you thought was possible.
What software could you not live without?
Any kind that allows me to make notes.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
I'd say around 5 or 6.
In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?
Actually, on a friend's recommendation I have started using an analogue notepad - it's very quickly become very important to me.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Big question! um - well it depends on what type of design. Google always do amazing work. I've always liked Hello Monday. Ultranoir do some lovely stuff and I'd have to say Poke (as I used to work there!) and they do know how to craft a good site. Moving away from interactive design I like the things Onformative are doing, it’s a pretty exciting field they are working in. Also, they aren’t visual design companies but 2 very well designed products that I use everyday that improve my life are my headphones from RHA, they are from the UK and are doing really good things – well they give me a great product without ripping me off. I also ride the Full Moon bike by Focale44 and it's really good fun.
Who is your target audience?
It varies from project to project. However we try to get briefs from clients where we can speak to intelligent people who love innovation, well that's the aim!
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
Yeah it's great for the team here – they all work so hard on the projects so it’s the pat on the back they deserve and it’s gets everyone revved up for future projects.
When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?
Very. I think you have to go with your instinct; if you would be willing to spend time checking something out then so would your audience. I think it's incredibly important to respect your audience's time - it's as precious as yours so try to make it count with what you put out there.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
wow - that's a long time ago. I designed and built an html portfolio site for myself - it got me my first junior designer gig so I have fond memories of it...sadly it's gone to the big internet trash can in the sky.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Nope. I'd never considered it, one day maybe, I'd like to think there's one good story in me, who knows?
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
Yes. I actually think this is vital. I think being as culturally aware as possible is so important. I try to go to as many exhibitions as possible (that's art, design, photography and anything else that tickles my fancy). Cinema is great and generally hanging out with friends. I read whenever I can (both novels and non fiction) and I literally can't do anything if I'm not physically active. I love live music and try to do a gig month, And the final ingredient would be travel - it always gives me the refresh and change in perspective I need.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
I guess the area that is really exciting would be the second screen and device to device cross-over thing - Google are rocking it right now with the stuff they are doing. I think when you start looking at people starting to cross this over with mainstream media (zeebox etc) and social then it's a pretty exciting combination. The cool thing is I have have no idea where this will go. I think culturally we have seen an enormous shift in the last 12 years or so and dust hasn't settled yet so it's all very much up for grabs in terms of innovation and communication - there are no rules so there are amazing opportunities to push the creative envelope.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
I'm not proud of anything - everything can be better.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I don't think so.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Yes. The most important thing I look for is a self-starting attitude - it is harder though. However I would really research the right type of course - I really like the students coming out of the Hyperisland set up - they are looking at creative education in a completely fresh way and their students are flying because of it. I think it's pretty scandalous how far creative education is off the mark considering the costs involved...I'd ask for my money back!
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Don't give up and try to keep on improving little by little. Cliched but true.
How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?
Yeah it can be tough but I was a designer myself at one point so I have a bit of background reference. For me it's not just about the work but also about the person their attitude.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Getting the little things right - from the start. We are a service industry so deliver on the small things and big things start coming your way.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
I check the awards sites (FWA of course) and the Webbys etc.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
If I'm lucky and the next few weeks go the way I want them to then it will hopefully be the ones I am working on now!
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
Good things I hope. As an agency I hope we can keep helping people get to where to they want to go. As a person, it's taken a long time, but I'm really starting to enjoy what I'm doing so I hope I keep getting the chances I've been getting.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Try to never forget what it feels like to be a junior and always remember communication is about intent. Oh and reading this book may help.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
The pleasure was all mine. Thanks for listening.