I would love to just go back to using my AB Turbo and illustrating on good ole' cold press LetraMax Board and not worry myself about mastering the potential complexities of Interactive design.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I currently own and operate David Gary Studios Interactive, a freelance New Media firm located in Orlando, FL. We are an associated creative group of about 10 specialists, including CGI Artists, Programmers, Musical composers, 2D/3D Animators, and Video FX Gurus. I am Producer and Lead Interactive layout Designer for the group. I was a Former Commercial Illustrator.
Education includes HS/Art Optional Program, Studio Art, Commercial Art, Photography, and Advanced Placement Art. Additional Education includes 2 year Workshop program at Memphis College of Art in Illustration and Design. 2 YR Technical Commercial Art program.
5 years self study in GUI design and Digital Illustration, Feature level Animation, Motion Graphics and New Media Production.
Current: self study in Industrial design, graphical belief function models, and related modes such as Bayesian networks, influence diagrams, A.I. interface design.
What do you do for inspiration?
Listen to a large variety of Music.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What software couldn't you live without?
I could live without ALL software, as a matter of fact I wish we ALL could live without software. In some cases it sometimes becomes so much of a challenge to meet a certain set of standards that it takes up time away from other important "Life" things.
I would love to just go back to using my AB Turbo and illustrating on good ole' cold press LetraMax Board and not worry myself about mastering the potential complexities of Interactive design. However, I am completely driven by the challenge of this new technology and the level of creative freedom that it provides me. At this time, I'd just rather not give up this current passion.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I could tell you, but then my clients would have to kill me!<g>
We are preparing to debut a new site for an exclusive North American Racing Gear distributor and sponsor of World class Sportbike riders. We have also just debut SuperflyPresents.com for the South's leading Event Promotion company. Besides a couple of current projects under the cover, we also have been approached and are currently working with a celebrity figure.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Full Throttle. Especially due to the attention it has gotten. It was designed back in 1998 with Flash 3(TM) and still looks like it debut yesterday!
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
I really have no idea. "Design" is best when catering to specific industries and markets. This comes from factual research and then applying that information to client account design activity.
So whoever is doing that successfully, could be considered "Top".
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
We release the debut of our online productions through our Press release usually to the design press, award sites, online/offline design publications and our targeted prospects, so initially any immediate increase to a newly debut website will be due to visits from people in or related to the design industry, not particularly the Client's demographics.
As in any business, we help in insuring that our Client's have a creative and effective marketing strategy. No matter how great our designs are, it will not necessarily guarantee a triple fold in traffic.
That is left up to a creative and effective site marketing campaign and ultimately to the quality of our Client's product and/or services.
Who is your target audience?
We are open to a variety of business. Interest factor plays a big key in who we work for, but we are gearing to more specific industries in Entertainment and Professional Design Boutiques.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash?
We are preparing to publish it! TBA soon @ www.DavidGaryStudios.com!
What area of web design lacks the most?
In such an open and accessible medium with such a variety level and nature, that question is quite difficult to answer. If this helps, I like to compare "Web design" to Ice Skating. Usually, if you visit your local Ice Skating Rink you will see that the majority of people there are stumbling around trying to focus on just keeping upright, but nonetheless usually having a fun time.
Then you have a small group who maybe somewhat able to pull some kinda trick off, but most of the time fall or look somewhat uncoordinated. Then you have your 2 or 3 great skaters, these are the regulars that practically "live" at the Ice Rink.
They are fairy serious about their trade, spending a good deal of their time practicing to become better. They obviously stand out with their controlled strokes, tricks and precise stability. It takes these people a number of years to learn how to Ice Skate like that.
The same goes with Illustration, Animation and now, even more complex, Multi-Media Design. Creative Application software like Flash(TM) are only tools. They will not make anyone a great Illustrator, Designer, Animator or New Media Architect anymore than a great pair of Ice Skates will make someone a Wayne Gretszky or the next Dorthy Hammill!
This only comes with time, dedication and study to the professional practice.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
"DG Studios" Original Website. It was never published, but I am still fairly proud of it. I plan to pull it out of the closet and publish it in the near future revising it to latest Flash(TM) standards.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Try being unique in design and find new ways to communicate visually/
Remember (when designing for the web) that small file size - Good! Big file size - Bad! (majority of people are still on slowband)/
Spend quality time on unique themes and polish interactive and artistic concepts/
In most cases, consolidate redundant information and make it more interesting than too explanatory/
Spend quality time on the ergonomic design of the piece and how the visitor will easily and logically expect to navigate/
Create a "masterplan" or blueprint of each project while also outlining as many technical and design hurdles as possible/
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No and Yes!
In addition, my personal work has been published in several design publications including "PIX" magazine, "Web Motion Design" by PIE, and "Flash(TM) for Dummies".
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Regardless what technology evolves, I think GI design tools will advance for quite some time and cater more to the Artist or creative industries. I think we are just on the brink of what is possible in the digital realm, creatively.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Sure you can "get into the field" without institutionalized education!
Man, it seems like everybody is these days! ;) Seriously though, of course, it is not absolutely necessary to have an education in new media design to make a living creating great design. Of course, it also depends on if a college degree is important or not to you.
First of all, educational institutions are a business like any other. They have accounts payable and the politics can hinder and often outdate the actual training and application methods they are using with the current marketplace expectations, especially when it involves designing using evolutionary technology.
New media design trends change constantly and are varied throughout different industries. It really depends on what direction you plan on going with your design skills. (I am referring to new media application design here, not so much as application programming and a science degree.)
High caliber design work and experience can get your foot in the door quicker than a degree on paper. I have been commissioned for many a job that required a certain degree simply because my work fit the project's specifications better.
However, even though you do not need a traditional education in design to work in the industry, it is a good idea to understand design history, traditional design application, terminology, color theory, design psychology, how consumer trend and industry works, etc., etc., This is where a traditional education in design can be a major plus.
However, regardless of educational background, if designers are working commercially, they need an understanding of how markets and consumer culture works and be able to provide solutions for their clients with their design work, while also catering to the latest design trends.
Commercial design should be 100% devoted toward the customers needs. Never should the focus on advertising be for the sole purpose of the company.
I would suggest for those who want to pursue new media design and modern design application, to take less costly, privately funded application and design courses and/or seminars that focus on fundamental and intermediate new media and application design. They then can build their portfolios from research on the latest design trends online.
Also, it is probably not a good idea to sink thousands of dollars in a traditional college education when you are pursing knowledge in a modern technology either.
For example, my wife is in Dental school at the University of Florida and I am amazed at the courses she was required to take before entering the program. She needs that degree to obtain a license to be a Dentist, however, some of those courses did not pertain to Dentistry, chemistry or psychology. These extra prerequisites are just a mechanism to draw more capital for the school, period.
The politics of the educational system is money first, Students second. A balance of self AND traditional education is good.
In a nutshell, apprenticeships and/or small specialized courses are probably better for learning the science of modern technology than traditional education.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Being the first FWA winner helped! ;). Media exposure, designing effective application and finding a demand definitely helps.
I didn't have to do too much advertising in the early days because of supply and demand. Online and offline media publications and designing good work definitely help spread your word, however I also showed dedication to those I really rather work for. I didn't just work for anyone who came along with money. I wanted to focus on particular projects to build my portfolio.
I would create slick logo animations for companies I wanted to do business with. That pro-bono work, even though risky, got me a lot of my early work. When I started studying new media design and application(in 1998), Flash(TM) was not a standard and we also didn't have broadband like we do now so full Flash(TM) sites only served a small demographic.
I pushed site assets, designed in Flash(TM), i.e., "components" or "Features" to help push products and/or services for my clients. Also I worked on several CDROM projects in the beginning with Flash(TM), which I somewhat regret since it took focus away from designing for the web. CD design left me with much more file size and instant bandwidth to work with. I got spoiled. Also ActionScript has opened up many more application opportunities these days as has the evolution of Flash(TM).
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
A Patent for a particular product I plan on marketing.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I wear things(or don't wear things) in the privacy of my studios that I would be arrested for in a public office setting! <lol>
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Study the business side of things/
It's good to seek work at a design firm first before going solo or freelance/
Never agree to a non-compete clause/
Have good referrals/
Associate yourself with mentors and people with a higher level of experience than you/
Always continue to learn and explore, especially in areas you are not used to/
It's been a privilege, David, thanks very much.
No Prob, 'preciate the recognition!