.

I think a lot of bad design comes from running out of patience or not pushing things far enough.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Let's see, I am a 31 year old Sagittarius who loves long walks on the beach, rollerblading, and early Patrick Swayze films...

Actually I am the creative director and partner at Domani Studios located in NYC and don't care much for rollerblades or Partic Swayze.

I started DS back in 2001 with a good friend after spending years making the rounds at various interactive shops during the haze of the "dot com bubble". I learned a ton during that time, but really love where interactive has come since, there is so much happening - converging medias are really keeping us all on our toes.

  What do you do for inspiration?

Walking the streets of NYC provides a lot of inspiration. There is so much vibrancy here, the people, the creativity, the constant buzz - it is amazing, I never get sick of it.

Beyond that, music is a big part of my life and has a role in practically everything it do.

  Please list 3 of your favorite sites.

Not sure if I have favorites per se - I turn to Google News and Yahoo at least a few times a day - I love the content personalization they support.

Beyond that I have a handful of blogs that I get a lot out of - designobserver.com and adrants.com are pretty great.

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Not sure exactly... From a creative standpoint I'm really happy with where DS is today.

There is still a lot for us to aspire to, and creative channels that we have not yet explored, but I am really proud of the team that we have put together over the past few years.

  What software couldn't you live without?

It would be hard to do much without Adobe and Macromedia, beyond that iTunes and CuBase play a pretty key role day-to-day.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Let's see, we have a very cool ecommerce project coming up for an emerging handbag designer. Much of their business model revolves around a web-based configurator that enables users to design a completely unique handbag.

We are working to develop a fluid and organic interface that doesn't feel stiff or technical even though the backend and flash elements will be pretty sophisticated and the front-end very application-like.

Other than that, we have teamed up with a film and broadcast group here in NYC and are working together to better leverage video online and offer clients richer, more dynamic options - online video is on all of our minds these days.

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

There are a lot of inspiring and hyper-creative ideas coming out of small/mid size companies and I love that the big agencies are seeing increased value in bringing them in to play a larger role.

The Barbarian Group in Boston and Firstborn here in NYC are always pushing the limits online, and Plus et Plus is banging out super nice motion design daily.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

At the beginning of each project we discuss how we can enable the site to facilitate its own propagation online.

RSS feeds, "refer a friend" tools, personalization, and community components are elements that can be massaged into a project's scope at the start and can be solid ways to refer new visitors and encourage users to return regularly.

Ideally, a site should be set up to promote itself - hits/visitors statistics should always grow regardless of the amount of offline support.

  Who is your target audience?

As a business our target consists of companies that want a web presence that exists as a sustainable extension of their core brand.

Often the creative thinking that comes out of web strategy and design will influence a client's offline brand and help it adapt - we love that.

We have done a lot of work for the Fashion, Travel, and Non-Prof industries, but we don't really target those industries actively, the projects lend themselves to attract more of the same.

We always need to work hard to break into other industries which is difficult without work to show that speaks directly to them. Generally that means keeping our rates low and focusing on a broader project value.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

I think that web design is still too self absorbed in places - by that I mean that many web projects often neglect the offline side of things and the potential to fully integrate marketing scope.

What is really interesting me now are online strategies that incorporate offline or peripheral communication channels in new ways, such as web - cell phone or web - snail mail relationships.

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

I actually don't have any idea what my first site even was, apparently it wasn't all that memorable. It was probably done for a startup with lots of VC and little sustainability.

I'm guessing that the total page size needed to be under 40k and it had a logo in the top left corner and a blue nav bar that ran down the side. Probably a stock image of two business men shaking hands thrown in for good measure.

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

I haven't written much since college, I have occasional ideas for articles, but writing is not one of my strong suits - not a lot of confidence in my abilities there.

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

I'm not that great working in flash directly - don't know the program that well anymore.

We have folks working with us that are crazy good and they do all of the heavy lifting.

I have a role in the interface concepting and design and love working through problems during the design phase, but again our programmers and tech director tackle the tough stuff and add the physical elements that make the final output shine.

They definitely worked some magic on the Whitney Biennial site and Kid Cupid game we launched for valentine's day.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Right now Flash has a broad online presence and the merger with Adobe will reinforce that.

I think that Flash has a huge opportunity to leverage the Wireless market in new ways and bridge gaps between various cell and peripheral platforms there. That said, it still needs to better integrate with Browser functions, search engines, and other standards.

Beyond Flash, Web 2.0/AJAX has been blowing me away lately and seems to have a ton of potential, it will be interesting to see more examples of the two working together.

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

The right design school can be great and can help certain people enormously.

Personally, I've felt that real world experiences have been more effective in my own creative growth than studying within an insular academic community.

Some people do well by studying a craft and then applying it, others seem to learn through the sometimes painful trial and error process directly with clients.

Maybe a balance would be best, I guess I can't say for sure. It has been 10 years since I was in college and I've never taken part in grad programs - I suppose that if I went back to school now I'd probably take things more seriously than I did then and it would have a stronger impact.

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

The best way to build new client relationships is to take on a few projects for super cheap, possibly for small unknown brands and do whatever you can to knock each of them out of the park.

Making initial sacrifices and spending extra time to get it right will usually pay off in the end, and good work will always promote its designer.

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

I think that the best advice that I can offer is to try not to rush the process.

Take the time to get it right, if you are not 110% happy with a design comp then keep at it.

Sometimes it clicks in 15 minuets, but sometimes you really need to scrap everything a few times to get the design to a place that is equal parts original and on brand.

I think a lot of bad design comes from running out of patience or not pushing things far enough.

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

A Nano.

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

A soft lining is very important - maybe silk or a faux fur depending on the season.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

“You cannot not communicate.” (Erik Spiekermann)

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

Thank you - and keep up the great work with FWA!


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