.

Sometimes I wish it was harder to put something online to make people think more about content and how it looks.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

My first design course (and probably best) was a two year general design course at KIAD in Rochester.

I then studied Visual Communication at Ravensbourne College in London. My first job after this was at Deepend in London. In 2001 Deepend went into liquidation so together with a few colleagues we started de-construct, which is now coming up to its 4th year.

  What do you do for inspiration?

I wouldn't say I have a set method, it can come from a packet of soup to the way light falls on an 0bject. It normally finds me if I keep looking.

I find talking an idea through always helps to get the best solution, a 5 minute chat can be better than days pushing the wrong idea around. There are the usual sources and photography seems to be many designers way to capture things that excite them.

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Web moves so quickly so here is the last three sites I added to my 'cool sites' bookmark folder:

http://www.ths.nu/

http://www.typemuseum.org/museum.htm

http://www.ceneregb.com/

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

You need to be at least 80 to answer a question like that.

  What software couldn't you live without?

I couldn't single one application out, I am glad I have OSX, windows scares me. I just got an application called Snapz Pro which lets you capture any movement on the screen, it’s proving to be very useful!

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Shortly we have the redesign of the Barbican site, a site for a karaoke bar in Soho called luckyvoice.

We have also just started working with Timberland on a new brand, it’s a really interesting project around community and the role of a store and big name company within local areas. Alongside that there is a new project for adidas and some installation work on its way.

  Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

Apple, Madethought, wherever Tom Ford works

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

For the Royal Festival Hall we increased overall sales by 30%, for smaller brands we get a good steady flow of traffic. It really ranges between brands, we are always looking at the traffic of our sites and trying to find new ways to increase hits.

Often our projects are unsupported by traditional media or even online advertising so when we create designs and ideas that pull traffic it is a great measure of our success.

  Who is your target audience?

We are proud to have a diverse list of clients, we definitely do not want to do just one type of work. We are brand hungry and like to appear flexible enough to deal with anything that could interest us, a house style - is not our style.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

Typography. Web design is often looked down on in terms of traditional design and often for good reason.

Sometimes I wish it was harder to put something online to make people think more about content and how it looks.

We find recent graduates are lacking the basic knowledge of design, grid systems, layout and typographic sensitivity, and focus more on the technical knowledge of applications.

A good understanding of software is great but it can not replace a good idea.

  What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

My first site was for the furniture supplier viaduct and we just did them a new site last year.

Old site: http://www.de-construct.com/99_viaduct/

New site: http://www.viaduct.co.uk

  Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

We would love to do a design book about inspiration, nothing to do with web - one day...

  What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

We seem to push it with each project, we are always finding new ways to use the application, stretching it to fit ideas.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective though.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Either way it doesn't matter, there may well be something else, good ideas and design will still be at the heart of it.

  What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Some people thrive on the environment, others do not, so it’s totally personnel.

There are certain parts to a design course that should install some of the basic skills I talked about, but a good study of Muller-Brockman is a good step!

  When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

Doing good work… people talk.

  How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

Just play around, making mistakes is the best way to find new things.

  What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?

A box filled with every letter in upper and lowercase of Letrasign Helvetica Neue 75 from ebay. I have not quite worked out what I am going to do with them yet...

  What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

Most designers are aware of other forms of design, whether its fashion, art, cars or furniture - I have a sweet tooth for slick things.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

I wrote a few things here, they all sounded cheesy, so maybe I’ll just leave it at that.

  It's been a privilege, Alex, thanks very much.

Thank you


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