.

Anything can be great with practice, practice, practice.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

My first design job was designing Yellow pages ads on the night shift. Everyone has to start somewhere right?

After working in print for a couple of years I did a design degree in the depressed mining town of Newport in South Wales.

It was here I started learning Macromedia Director and after I graduated I got a job doing basic Flash stuff and fell in love with it.

I moved to London from Bristol about 5 years ago and have been senior designer at dare for nearly 3 years now.

  What do you do for inspiration?

Music, Graffiti and as much travel as possible... I always have a camera with me so I can keep a record of anything that I see...

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Tough one. Changes all the time, but at the moment...

http://www.filepile.org

http://www.bbc.co.uk

http://wikitravel.org

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Not ending up in prison.

  What software couldn't you live without?

Flash, Photoshop, the usual stuff...

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Good stuff for Sony Ericsson coming up as well as a site for Jacobs creek

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

I've always liked Designers Republic. They've been turning out great stuff since the days of P.W.E.I. Up to m5.icoke.com which is the latest thing I've seen...

I also like Doubleyou and Hi-ReS!

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

A good one. It's only easy to measure the effect when doing a redesign of an existing page rather than a new site.

As so much of the internet is in a bad state right now then it doesn't usually take much to improve on click thrus, hits, applications, mailing list sign ups or whatever...

  Who is your target audience?

Depends what I'm working on. Can be anything from sexually frustrated teenage boys if I'm working on something for Axe or big ass bankers if I'm doing something for Barclays...

Having said that, I try never to do anything I'm not happy with myself so I'm my own target audience I guess.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

Websites that improve your quality of life and serve a practical purpose rather than promoting a person or product.

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

I started with a few simple HTML sites which have now thankfully been put out of their misery, but the first Flash site I did was http://www.underground-dm.com/yard/ and yes, it's still up there.

It was just after I discovered Poser but before the release of the swf plugin. This meant days of tracing bitmaps in Flash and scratching my head learning action script.

It's funny to look back at old work. Helps you to avoid repeating past mistakes and realise how far you've come

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

I've featured in a few, but haven't written any so far. I'd love to publish a book of my work once I've done enough, but no plans yet...

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

S700 was pretty tough.

It's basically a 3d art gallery you can explore. It involved a lot of Studio Max and rendering out

swf files.

Ended up having to re-render things so many times overnight and the scripting to join them all together was a nightmare, not to mention the loading sequence, tight deadline and blah, blah, blah.

It's still up there now and looks pretty good...when it works.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Hell yes. But probably not as we know 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?

My best learning experiences were when I was studying my art foundation course and trying everything for the first time.

Photography, life drawing, ceramics, fine art, sculpture and of course the Apple Mac.

When I did my degree it was a different story.

The lecturers were from the Letraset school of design. Real old timers who had no idea how to evaluate digital work.

That was frustrating, but luckily there were some great people like Danny Brown at the same college who were very helpful and willing to share their work and ideas.

I think as long as you have enough people around to bounce ideas off and access to the internet you probably don't need a design education, just a bit of luck and some practice...

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

Going above and beyond with the clients we had to produce great work, then using the work as a showpiece to encourage more clients.

It's a bit like a loss leader I guess. You go way over budget to produce great work, but make the money back with the new business you attract.

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

Practice, trial and error. There are no shortcuts.

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

A flight to New York and a Patrick Caulfield screen print. It's been an expensive week.

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

Ankle length 'wet look' leather number with sawn off accessories...

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Anything can be great with practice, practice, practice.

  It's been a privilege, thanks very much.

It was a pleasure to contribute... Keep up the good work.


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