You don't have to talk about yourself a lot, let others do it for you but make sure you give them the right things to say.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I was born and raised in Staten Island NY. Like most New Yorkers I moved to New Jersey. I came out to Chicago in 97 for a graduate degree in design and illustration and I have been working in interactive design ever since.
What do you do for inspiration?
I try and draw from multiple areas, a lot of the usual suspects such as architecture, film and photography.
Overall I think the most powerful source of inspiration for me are people. Passing an idea or concept on to someone for feedback never ceases to surprise me. I think collaboration with spirited and intelligent individuals has the most impact on what I do.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Google and Google News are my sources of information and events.
The Apple Quicktime trailers site is a lot of fun as well. I love movies and I like what’s going on with the elaborate marketing and interactive campaigns that surround the films.
I often hit Gamespot from time to time. I don’t play a whole lot of games anymore but I am convinced that the video game industry will be very influential in both the entertainment and interactive realms.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I picked up a few honors from Comm Arts, HOW and so forth but my own personal achievement was doing my own thing for a few years.
I had no expectations and I left a comfortable position at a firm to network and focus on my own work. It allowed me to grow a lot more and gain perspective and it might not seem like a big deal but it enabled me to see things in a new way. A very clear way.
What software couldn't you live without?
I couldn’t live without a web browser. In terms of design related software, I love Fireworks for layouts and concepting and the integration with Flash is real tight.
Studio 8 is very powerful and I look forward to really breaking it apart.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I am working on a project for Philip Morris International at the moment. Unfortunately it will only be visible in the overseas market and it will be accessed by registered users only.
I am looking to redesign my personal site, www.linchpindesign.com, to reflect more of a personal space for creativity as it no longer needs to serve as a business tool for me.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
I have a lot of respect for IDEO and their process and I think it shows.
I am continually inspired by the people at PSYOP and their approach to motion graphics.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Hopefully a positive one. Metrics are nice but they don’t tell the whole story.
I think most designers walk a tight line between making something simple and effective but might miss out on making it interesting or compelling. Or the other way around. We have certainly seen beautiful work that is utterly confusing.
In my short career I have learned lessons on both sides of that debate and I do my best to satisfy both needs for the client which in turn lifts not only traffic but return visits, length of time spent and the almighty word of mouth.
Who is your target audience?
I want to say it depends on the brief or the client’s needs but I like to think it can be bigger than that.
Look at the range of people using iPods.
Great design and problem solving allows people to make something their own and when an individual can see themselves in a process, that is a huge success.
That may not always be achieved at the end of a project but it is certainly something worth striving for.
What area of web design lacks the most?
In my opinion there isn’t a lack of ideas as much as their is an excess.
When a style or idea becomes hot it replicates itself, which is fine, but sometimes it appears in the wrong spots. I try not to do something just because I can.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
I did a design for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. It was a decent site for the time but it has since been redesigned. Like 3 times already.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I have not written any books and I don’t know that I plan to.
I’m having trouble filling up this interview with original material, let alone a few hundred pages. But if the opportunity ever came up I’d love to give it a shot.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Way back in the day I worked on a site with a dynamic Flash navigation and a million little parts and clips that all had to talk to each other.
Very painful and since then I decided to rely more on the design portions and leave the development to the professionals.
Aside from motion graphics most of what I do these days in Flash is being taught in middle school.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Absolutely. I think Macromedia has done a good job of listening and responding.
However, most of the credit should really be given to the folks who continually push it, break it and use it as a tool to produce some amazing applications.
Who knows what Flash will be in 5 years, but whatever form it’s in it will certainly be with us.
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 degree or training never means a whole lot. Of course it’s nice to have but without that core talent and passion the degrees and classes are useless.
When we look at candidates for employment the most important things are the work and compatibility.
Talent is talent and as long as it can be fostered that’s all that matters. Sometimes that’s in a classroom sometimes it’s not.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
No matter how old or new the company or individual, word of mouth seems to be the most effective tool.
Companies are their people and when people can trust you and your company, that will exponentially impact the business.
You don’t have to talk about yourself a lot, let others do it for you but make sure you give them the right things to say.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Books and classes are all well and good, but for me, on the job training provides the proper motivation.
Perhaps it’s the pressure of delivering what you said you would but didn’t know how to do it at the time you promised it. It can backfire though so be realistic in what you promise.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Seinfeld seasons 5 and 6 on DVD.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Definitely not a labels guy but I do believe in having style.
Clothes are the simplest form of self expression so as long as it reflects what you’re about it doesn’t matter the cost or designer.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Syrup on crap doesn’t make pancakes.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Privilege is all in this side of the laptop.