Before starting a site - make sure you have written down goals and targets, memorize them and seal them in an envelope. When you're finished (or think you are) ask someone to check out your site and re-open the envelope and see if what you wrote down is their response.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
26 years old - An Australian at heart, growing up in Sydney. Starting in print design but soon moving to the web for more interactivity. Working for Australian design companies and MSN Australia and freelancing for various design agencies. Also freelanced for 6 months in London for Seven Interactive and the BBC UK. Now living and working in Southern California, USA for a small dot com.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you do for inspiration?
I try and avoid being inspired too much by other peoples' work. I find the best work comes when I'm inspired by media that has nothing to do with my project. The inspiration for my own website, for example, came after visiting an art gallery and taking a trip to the beach. I find the best inspiration is from yourself - influences come from others.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
One of my proudest achievements was building "The Australian Graphic Design
Cafe". An idea that started in my head and I managed, designed and developed the site and it became a big enough success to sell to a company to continue development. It's a little like watching your own baby grow - the same motivation that people get from designing their own portfolio sites. Not far behind is having the willingness to pack up my stuff and head off to London to freelance, leaving a job I liked to pursue a life of adventure.
What software couldn't you live without?
That's a tough question. I'm not one for believing or loving one piece of software (or platform for that matter). I couldn't say there has been one project where I've developed the entire thing in one program. Flash rocks for flash - photoshop rocks for pixel graphics, fireworks rocks for UI design. My ideas often have elements that need to be perfecting in their own unique ways. If anything I would say photoshop is a never-ending wonder.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I'm currently working on an in-house project for a dot com. A community site which involves site design, flash elements, logos, branding, the whole kit - it's lots of fun. I don't get stale because I'm always experimenting at home with graphics, 3D, photography, etc.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
You know, I've never come across a "perfect" design company - I don't think that's possible. Companies are the collectives of the people that work there and people change. Some companies are better at design, others at animation, others at people skills and production methods. Some of the best work I've seen has come from people rather than companies.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
The re-design of my latest portfolio site – mixart.com had a huge impact on traffic. Recognition came from most of the design community sites, including a flashkit feature site and traffic went tenfold. It's important to keep promoting your work - I think there's lots of amazing talented design on the net that's rarely seen (that's what these award sites are great for).
Who is your target audience?
For my portfolio I took a slightly different approach than most designers. I wanted to create an experience for everyone - knowing full well that I really needed to reach other designers and design companies to build recognition. My main point was to create something that both the guys and girls found cool - hence the serene atmosphere my site sets with very feminine colors but masculine design elements - it's an interesting mix and I think that's what makes it stand out. People are unsure of what to feel when they see my site - wow that's cool, but exciting, but placid, yet calming, yet it rocks.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Communication - too many people are spending time over-designing. Designing sites for art sake is great and what keeps us designers alive, but you need a clear concise message with every design.
Before starting a site - make sure you have written down goals and targets, memorize them and seal them in an envelope. When you're finished (or think you are) ask someone to check out your site and re-open the envelope and see if what you wrote down is their response. If your goals are met, you'll stay on track and communicate what you wanted to communicate in the first place.
What did your very first site look like?
My vest first corporate site was for an industrial manufacturing company that was a conversion of a 150 page book of technical illustrations and text to a website and came out very magazine-like.
Very text heavy and lacked white-space. I think white-space is an extremely important element that needs to be used wisely in design - I appreciate that now, I didn't then.
Have you written any books?
I want to create a visual book one day. A 100 page collection of art created for no sake but my own. Words, pictures, paintings, sculptures, photography - a visual diary with random days scattered through the book. It's not something for others to pick up and understand - more for me to express thoughts and ideas I can look back on in 40 years. I'm still thinking of how to best approach the idea but am always planning in my head and collecting images.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
www.mixart.com/yoppi was my first real attempt at actionscripting. It's an online adventure game all created in Flash4. I started the game with the intent to figure out everything I needed to complete the game.
I discovered the limitations of flash and why it's more effective to do things in certain ways. There's so many ways to create the same outcome in flash and I don't believe there's one correct way.
Check out the game - it was fun.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Definitely. It's evolving to more and more. Who knows, soon there may be no browsers - just an enhanced flash player of sorts. It offers so much to the web - games, cartoons, movies, and interactivity. It's like inventing the first round wheel of the internet.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Be persistent. Communicate with people on flashkit.com and other sites. Think of a project and just do it - figure out how and don't give up. We all have different learning curves so don't expect too much from yourself, learn in your own time but don't give up and tomorrow is too late to start.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I try to avoid labels. I buy quality clothes that have the smallest tags possible on them so I don't get labelled. I probably come off as pretty mainstream but if you look hard and get to know me, I don't slot into any typical tag.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
There are so many sites out there that "follow the norm". Designers - Believe in yourself and try and force yourself not to get your inspiration from the net.
Go look at design books, go to art galleries, study your 8 year old cousin's sketches, try designing a site upside-down (always a fun way to make sure your designs are balanced).
Scan in photos of your environment, home, buildings, beaches, cityscapes, etc. Throw them all into photoshop, make a collage of your life-- you will feel and find more inspiration from yourself than anyone else can offer you.