If I am looking for inspiration for a specific project, I dive into the history behind the content looking for meaningful connections.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
In 2000 I finished my BFA at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and co-founded the Fourm Design Studio with 3 other partners. Around the same time I started infourm an online art and design portal and began designing fonts (with my great friend Craig Kroeger) for miniml.com, a digital type foundry.
Since then I’ve contributed to a handful of Flash and design related publications and taught interior design classes at the school I graduated from. I recently moved to Portland, Oregon to join Second Story Interactive Studios as a designer.
What do you do for inspiration?
I’m inspired by all sorts of things. Books, films, science, music, everyday experiences and most of all, people. If I am looking for inspiration for a specific project, I dive into the history behind the content looking for meaningful connections. That is what inspires me the most.
Brainstorming with others is also a great source of inspiration. Feeding off of each other can often spark a flood of ideas.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What software couldn't you live without?
Honestly, I would say Microsoft Outlook. Other than that, I primarily use good old-fashioned Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and a quality text editor like BBedit or Homesite. Oh yeah, and Internet Explorer.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
At Second Story, I’m just getting started on a project for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Who is your target audience?
The target audience changes for each project. For example, the target audience for the Zelda: The Wind Waker site, naturally, is quite different than a project for the National Library of Medicine. Luckily, I have a diverse range of content to work with. It keeps my job interesting and keeps me on my toes.
In the last few years a lot of my work has been for ad agencies, record labels, designers and photographers (which has been wonderful) but I would go insane if all I did was design and build portfolio sites. That is, in part, what brought me to Second Story. I’m excited about working with more complex subject matter.
What area of web design lacks the most?
I would say that web design, in general, lacks attention to detail. This pertains to design as well as programming. I think the main reason for this is that people don’t really know the tools they are using. And then there is apathy.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Well, back in the day, I worked for a small web hosting/development company. I made them a fancy Flash 3 site. It had a full-on intro-animation, background sound loop and everything. The site is no longer up (thankfully). I also designed all of their clients’ sites, which were page based sites (yes they charged the client by the page), made with one huge gif per page. :)
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I have contributed to a few books for Friends Of Ed. I did a chapter for Flash Math Creativity in 2001 and another for Fresh Flash in 2002. I also contributed artwork to an upcoming book called Brasil:Inspired published by die Gestalten in Berlin.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Yes. I envision a time when Flash is not just known for vector animation and intro sequences. It will become more powerful as its ability to deliver dynamic content is broadened.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I went to design school and had a traditional graphic design education (print-based). As far as Flash and programming, I am self-taught. I was fortunate to have a group of fellow designers, early on, who pushed me to embrace the technology aspect of web design. My approach has since been to learn as much as I can about both aspects. I would encourage others to do the same.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
First of all, I think the term “flashing” is kind of scary. But to answer your question, I dress for comfort. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
If you want to do freelance work for a living, get a CP: )
It's been a privilege, JD, thanks very much.
No, thank you.