We do not aspire to be the biggest agency, we aspire to be the best. This means: doing the best work; hiring (and keeping) the best people and working for the best clients.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I have been a restless sole within the media industry having worked for a DM agency, Capital Radio the largest commercial Radio station in the UK and then Ammariti Puris Lintas (now Lowe Lintas). It was then I met the founding partners of AKQA.
I joined in 1997, when we were merely a group of 20 creative individuals working out of a central London office looking to invigorate digital communications. Some six years later we have grown into a global operation with offices in London, San Francisco, Washington DC and Singapore all supported by an inspirational client including Xbox, Nikon, MSN, Nike, AT&T, Visa Sainsburys, Microsoft and Orange to name but a few.
What do you do for inspiration?
Here at AKQA we do not aspire to be the biggest agency, we aspire to be the best. This means: doing the best work; hiring (and keeping) the best people and working for the best clients. We are fortunate to work with like minded clients who share our beliefs that digital media isn’t about technology, it’s about IDEAS. Good ideas, executed brilliantly, are more important to us than anything else.
As a result we tend to win more industry awards than any other agency in our sector, but we know that the real result is when our work has inspired our client’s consumers to do something that they probably wouldn’t have done previously. If we don’t do that then we’ve failed. And like most people, we hate failure.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
A&FTV I think is one of the best brandzine executions I have yet witnessed on the web. Ok I have to confess the subject matter is bias to my personal hobbies. The site has fantastic production values and great impact on me as a potential consumer which is a challenge if you consider that the average user visits some 56 websites on a month.
Personally I can’t wait for the next video release and I have forwarded this email to all my friends (which I rarely do now a days I as receive so much friend get friend email).
BMW films - This is brave marketing approach I would love to have seen the original proposal it is totally out there
Hotmail - Tens of millions of users globally need I say more
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Creatively I think the team I work with have developed some mind blowing work including playmore.com (no longer online), www.nikon.co.uk/sq and www.ilovelive.com, perhaps not so creative but equally a brilliant idea was on www.sainsburys.co.uk. Sainsbury’s is one of the largest supermarkets in the UK with a reputation for quality.
We knew that the company had food center, which is used to test all recipes promoted by the organization through on-pack promotions and leaflets etc… The recipes were held in a central database within the organization. AKQA worked with Sainsbury’s to repurpose that database and add a customer facing front end. The result is an application that gets thousands of searches as day.
What software couldn't you live without?
Microsoft Office XP professional
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
We have got a great team producing great work all the time the studio is literally bubbling with great ideas at the moment, you’ll see some pretty exciting work from Nike, Xbox, Orange but you have to watch this space.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Tricky question really to be honest I spend little time focusing on the competition and more time working with clients to ensure no opportunity is missed. I would say some of the smaller online specialists such as Digit, Glue and Hyper Launch
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
This varies widely on the support and promotion the sites are given. If you take www.ilovelive.com the idea and execution was so different that some 50% of traffic was viral. Additionally if you take www.doax-bv.com that received over 500,000 visitors with 10% coming from word of mouth.
Who is your target audience?
We work across all markets to be honest, one day I am working with MSN on trade marketing initiatives and the next we are looking at gamers aged 24 – 35 it all depends on the client 0bjectives.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Multimediocrity – I hate it the rationalization of bad ideas has been detrimental to so many great brands.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
If it were I don’t think I’d tell you J
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No – To be honest I think it is unlikely but who knows.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
They say you are only as good as your last project so I would say the www.nikon.co.uk/sq we needed to come up with a navigational technique that integrated with the product positioning ‘A different Point of View’.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Absolutely, we are fortunate to be working with Macromedia on product development and I think we have some exciting times ahead of us in terms of design and applications.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Simple – hire the best talent and retain it and if you are new to the industry don’t be impatient.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
A few I suppose, I am a sucker for Diesel, Quicksilver, O’Neil, Billabong and the likes of Levis and Nike, I'm not really your classic Ralf Lauren Guy
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Ideas brilliantly executed that’s what we all need to focus on.