I remember back in the day, when I was looking for work, a few of the big interactive companies wouldn't talk to me because I didn't have an art degree (I guess film didn't count). I like to think they missed out.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Currently I am a co-founder and executive creative director at the barbariangroup.

I moved to New York City (Brooklyn to be more precise), about a year and a half ago to help start up the NYC presence for the company.

Before the barbariangroup, I worked at a few interactive shops (I think they're all defunct now), and I spent some time in advertising at Arnold Worldwide.

I went to college at the University of Iowa, where I studied Film production and Psychology, and was oh so close to getting an additional minor in English, but the 5 year plan was enough...

  What do you do for inspiration?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’m not a big believer in the idea that you can _do_ something to get inspired.

It's almost like trying to _do_ something to get taller (though I’ve read that there are women in Asia having their legs sawed in half and attached to some insane leg-stretching torture device to gain a few extra inches).

For me, inspiration comes by accident. Also, after times of working through periods of feeling un-inspired, I look back and think maybe I did have something.

Being around people who do great work just draws great work out of you as well.

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.




  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Having the barbariangroup survive all that dot-com nonsense, and becoming the company we are today.

  What software couldn't you live without?


  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

That would be telling...

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

There are too many good ones out there. It's all about choosing the right people for the right project.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

The numbers are usually pretty good. I guess that subservient chicken thing got some traffic. :-P

  Who is your target audience?

Since the barbariangroup does mostly interactive marketing, our target audience changes with every project, even though nearly all the briefs we get say 'men, age 18-34, disposable income,' blah, blah.

Even if offline marketing is targeting a different demographic, a lot of people think all you can find are 18-34 year old men online. We don't completely agree, so we really just try to do the best we can with the brand, and its intended audience.

  What area of web design lacks the most?


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

My first site was one of those old-time html sites with the grey background and the huge <h1> black text (version 2 had some red!) circa 1993. I don't even think the <blink> tag was out yet...

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

I haven't written any books, though I would love to do a Flash book, or a more general web book. I've considered starting one, and seeing if anyone was interested later on.

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

It's always tough. If a project isn't challenging, I'm probably not making it as good as it should be.

Most of the _really_ difficult stuff never makes it online, because it's usually experimentation that I never deem suitable for public consumption.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Ahh. You refer to the Great Flashpocalypse.

I don't think that's going to happen. Flash will be around for a long time. However, I think it's going to be very difficult for Flash to remain the only game in town.

I'm always looking for new things to play with. processing, openGL, cocoa, anything. But online right now, Flash is the only tool worth using.

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


A lot of different skills and talents are needed in good web work, so I think there's a place for all kinds of educational backgrounds, as well as the self-taught.

There are tons of great designers with traditional art backgrounds and great programmers without CS degrees (I am neither).

I remember back in the day, when I was looking for work, a few of the big interactive companies wouldn't talk to me because I didn't have an art degree (I guess film didn't count). I like to think they missed out.

I also remember having to do remedial algebra for some of the art school grads working with flash or javascript. Well rounded-ness is a real strength in this space.

Things are changing though. When I was in school they wouldn't let you near Photoshop in the art department, let alone Flash or Director or any of that. It's a lot different now, with people getting degrees in 'new media', 'multimedia design', etc.

All that said, there really aren't any rules as far as education go. Nobody went to school for interactive until very recently.

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

Two things. The portfolios and previous relationships.

All of the founders of the barbariangroup had strong portfolios when we started up. We also had relationships with some great people at a few advertising agencies.

Those first big jobs really helped us out, and most came from people we already knew.

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

Techniques change all the time. As far as advice, I'd just say learn the way you learn.

If you learn by reading, read everything you can. If you learn by doing, do a lot. If you learn by imitation, imitate (just try not to pass it off as your own, you may upset people that way).

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

I haven't bought myself anything in a while... Maybe it's time to go get that digital SLR I’ve been dreaming about. Thanks for planting the seed.

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

I do like the Ben Sherman, but for the most part I don't really care about fashion all that much.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

To quote Mary from Canoga Park, "Wisdom is the domain of the Wiz, which is extinct. Beauty is a French phonetic corruption of a short, cloth, neck ornament...currently in resurgence."

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

Thanks. It's been fun.

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