I try to do the project which presents a challenge for me. I'm not interested in typical projects any more.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Hello! My name is Bartek Rozbicki. Born in Cracov / Poland in 1975.
Founder and owner of Ars Thanea (2003).
Art Director in Polish interactive company: K2 Internet.
Member of Cresta Interactive Grand Jury in New York.
What do you do for inspiration?
I read books, surf the internet, or just look at things and think how they were made. I often observe nature: patterns, colors, compositions.
If I have the opportunity I always try to make things in a different way, make fresh new ideas come to life.
After all these years in interactive design I’m often bored with always the same solutions, navigations, and concepts.
Sometimes you can see new productions and which are excellent in the visual layer, with lots of video and multimedia but without any concept to back it up. In my opinion it’s a waste of time.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
There are so many of them. I will list only these I use almost every day:
www.netdiver.net (best wishes for Carole)
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
In personal life - meeting my wife Irena and all the great friends I have.
As a designer – I don’t know. When I do this, I will know. I think that life consists of small things. There is no such thing as big WHOA!, and you are excellent designer. It’s self-development – step by step.
What software couldn't you live without?
Total Commander, Photoshop, Flash, and (don’t hit me) - Windows ;-)
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I haven’t decided yet which ones we will pick. Some of them seem really interesting. I think that my selecting process is now a bit different.
I try to do the project which presents a challenge for me. I’m not interested in typical projects any more.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
There are so many of them. I think it depends what you want to achieve.
But if I had a work to do I would pick:
North Kingdom for concepts and quality of their works (regards for Roger)
Group94 for navigation
Hi-Res for fresh ideas
Big Spaceship for good graphic design and motion quality
Fantasy Interactive for perfection in every pixel.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
There is a strong connection between traffic and good design of the website. If people like it - they spread the word, and this is the greatest reward for you.
For example: Trendy Nokia made in 2004 (for K2) was a mini site with great traffic. We didn’t advertise it in any way, but people like it so much, with the emotions and fun in this project, that they invited their friends to see it. It was 2 weeks fast shot but it was totally worth it.
Who is your target audience?
All the people who enjoy surfing the internet and looking for new emotions, concepts and ideas. All open-minded persons.
What area of web design lacks the most?
In general or in Poland? In general – maybe a lack of creativity. People often base on existing works.
So many sites and ideas are being copied and ripped. People are lazy and don’t like to think, they just take what already is.
Ars Thanea was ripped a dozen or so times, and sometimes it’s really funny, because they often explain that they did it for big love for this site.
If we speak of Poland - general problem is that interactive design is split and conflicted. I really don’t understand how people could be so envious of each other. I think there is too many authorities on the Polish design stage ;-). Oh, please stop it!
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
It was about Role Playing Games I made in 1995 and it consisted of animated gifs, nice sky-like wallpaper and many flames and skulls (yeah! that was really fresh ;-))
I remember I did it on a Linux based platform. It was really something for me that time. No it’s no longer on-line I think.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Yes, I started to write a book few years ago. It is about behaviorism and perception in interactive design. Right now it’s unfinished and waiting for my free time. Maybe in the future I’ll publish it.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
I think the last really tough one was the Volvo Design Project (for K2).
We did it in almost 5 weeks, and I’m really glad of it. It looks quite simple but behind the scene, there is a quite of masterwork in AScript coding (thx Magnum and Krzepa).
The site was designed for Volvo to be expanded in the future. Our goal was – to make it easy to use with an intuitive platform which will integrate multimedia and information in one.
The site consists of sections. Each section is a color in the matrix navigation system (Colors are from Volvo identity book). You can zoom out [-] or zoom in [+] with your keyboard. Sections can be simply added with XML.
Volvo Design is based on framework. As you can see, you can use the next and prev buttons in your browser, in address bar is always the link to the current section. You can just copy and send it directly to your friend.
When you read information on the site, the system is preloading in background an interview with YCC designer. (There will be a few movies more in the future). So overall I think we did an innovative and quite interesting piece of interactive design. Without fireworks, in Volvo line – pure simplicity. They just loved it!
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Yes. Flash is the medium of the new era of web design. It’s unavoidable.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Yes, of course it helps you in your designer path. But on the other hand I know many people who have nothing to do with designer education, and they became designers. It’s in your blood you know ;-)
When I came to Warsaw my primary goal was to find a good design school here. Unfortunately none such exists. So I’ve looked in Netherlands, I’ve found it but it was to expensive for me. My whole salary would be needed for it, so I have to pass.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I didn’t advertise myself. The best way of getting new clients is doing really good stuff, they come to you. It’s nothing new and you know it ;-)
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Do it through your work. It’s the best way to learn. Read books, and never stop expanding your abilities.
When you stop it you can just start another business. Sometimes when you think about new project forget for a while it’s for web.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
IPal Tivoli Audio designed by Henry Kloss and trip to OFFF Festival in Barcelona.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
No I really don’t care about labels. Mostly I wear red T-shirts I don’t really remember which brands are on them.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Don’t envy each other. Learn from the best, watch others and never stop expanding your abilities (not only in designer life but generally).
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Thanks Rob! It was a pleasure.