...don't imitate, but intimidate with your original work!
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Born in Belgium in 1973. At the age of 10, before desktop publishing was even heard of, I knew exactly what I wanted to do later: creating awesome graphics for television.
Twenty years later, all of my early dreams have come true because I'm capable of delivering hi-end digital (motion) graphics for print, web and TV to customers worldwide through my company, NRG.be.
What do you do for inspiration?
Watching movies & billboards, reading magazines, experimenting with software.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Engadget.com to satisfy the gadgeteer inside of me.
Tweakers.net, a Dutch community relating to hardware and software, to keep me up to date on all sorts of IT things.
Google.com, for anything else.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
My current work situtation: I run my business from my office at my just recently built home at my own pace. Thanks to self studying, hard work, ups and downs.
What software couldn't you live without?
Adobe Photoshop and MS Outlook. Photoshop because that's the basic tool for any digital graphic designer, and Outlook since it organizes and tracks my daily life.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Mainly video projects (commercials and logo animations) and the big release of Ultrashock.com later this year.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
I'm not following the industry as I used to, so I don't really have a top 3.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Most people totally underestimate the effect of the right online graphics.
Although I didn't consider my previous nrg.be website as a graphical example of how it should be, thanks to the different approach in design and navigation, it gave me millions of visitors over the years.
Eye candy is very important in this world.
Who is your target audience?
My target audience are the ones who take pride in the aesthetics of their products and projects, and who understand that it's not just a click of a button to achieve nice graphics or animation.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Definitely interface and thus usability design.
It's surprising sometimes on big corporate websites that you have to spend numerous 'clicks' to find the information you want, if you didn't get lost in the mean time that is.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My first website was published in April 1996. It's not online anymore, due to work that I'm embarrassed to show off today.
Even work evolves, hehe. And no, you won't find it on archive.org.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Since I'm not a writer I have never written any books, and I'm not planning to.
I have been featured with my work in multiple international magazines and designer recognized books though.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
If they keep adding video and database functionality, there's no way back!
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
This might sound strange, but most of the advanced freelancers I'm working with have no educational experience, which doesn’t reflect on the work they are doing now, at all.
I guess it's a talent and someone’s character that makes you successful or not, not a design/graphics school.
I never got any graphical education, nor did I ever read a manual or book, to learn about software or graphics.
I did learn the technical details, such as color theories, when I was working for a large press factory though.
This technical knowledge can indeed be learned at a school, but creativity is a talent you are born with IMHO.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I have never advertised myself, so word of mouth is definitely the most effective. You satisfy one customer, he/she will bring on new ones.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Here's the most underestimated Flash feature of all time: Shape hinting :)
Learn the power of shape hinting, and your Shape Tweans will never be the same again.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Adobe Production Studio Premium (AE7 rocks!)
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Specialize yourself: don't imitate, but intimidate with your original work!
It's been a privilege, Peter, thanks very much.
Thanks for having me fill up FWA with some more interesting reads.