We like to aim our projects at people who like to be treated with respect and not have everything dumbed down like a 'Speak and Spell' book.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
My name is Ashley Ringrose, I'm 26 and I co-founded Soap Creative in 2002.
Soap is an interactive creative agency based in Sydney Australia, with big impressive looking clients such as 20th Century Fox, Hutchison 3, EMI, Foxtel, Mambo and Yahoo!.
And for starting out as two guys working out of our apartments, I think we've done pretty well.
My role at Soap ranges from coding in flash to the purely conceptual side of things. As our team expands (now 14 strong) I find myself doing more of the conceptual work, which I find the most fun part of any job.
What do you do for inspiration?
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Co founding Soap at 21 and turning it into a successful and respected company without having to screw anyone over.
What software couldn't you live without?
Flash, Itunes, Photoshop & Outlook.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
XPlanet which is a huge Xmen 3 Flash site powered by Google Earth.
A very rude pinball game for Beer League
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Preloaded : I love their design and the thinking behind their work
Bascule : these guys have recently appeared on the radar and everything they do is gold.
Big Spaceship : the US juggernaut cannot be stopped.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
A lot of the time it’s not the design but more the thinking or strategy behind the design.
If the design is great but it’s boring to experience then it will ultimately fail. With web design now it’s more about the experience than the design.
Who is your target audience?
We like to aim our projects at people who like to be treated with respect and not have everything dumbed down like a “Speak and Spell” book.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Respect from the other design/advertising fields. We’re getting there but we’re still the poor cousin at the Christmas party.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My first personal portfolio site was this atrocity.
The first site I did freelance was for a band called uBin back in 1998-99.
I’ve also been running a personal blog called The Slippery Truffle since the 2000. Back before it was trendy.
I also ran a Flash experiment site called Flashturbation back in 1998. It was pretty popular back in the flash 4 and 5 days.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
None yet although I’d love to do a pictorial book like Michael Wolf
We did put together a Big Book of Vectors internally combining 3 years of vector bits and pieces done for jobs. This came about after someone asked “Where’s that vector banana we did for that job”.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Personally early on (2002) I built an Ecard system and while that seems fairly straightforward it was actually a nightmare to get everything loading in dynamically so it could be reused for other clients.
We’ve since reused the engine for many projects like Saveyourself so my months of R&D have paid back in spades.
Not me personally but one of our flash developers here at Soap, Shane, is finishing off an Xmen 3 flash site called XPlanet, which taps into Google Earth/Maps API. This makes my Ecard system look like pong.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Does the Pope shit in the woods?
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
There are plenty of successful people who are in this industry without any formal training, they are just naturally talented.
Design schools help you harness your talent, it doesn’t create it.
However I think design schools help mature young designer’s skills and build up a body of work for your portfolio.
No one cares if you graduated or not they just want to see an impressive portfolio.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Every time we actively went after work we came up empty handed, then we’d get a call from an old colleague with a job.
Seems we’re not good salesmen just good at the creative side of things. Now work mainly comes from referrals from existing clients.
Those wanting to start their own company should first work at established companies for a few years. Learn off them, make mistakes with their money and then go off on your own company with a big list of contacts and a kick ass body of work under your belt.
Note: it was a lot easier working for someone else as who wants to worry about cash flow, company tax and AR & AP.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Don’t bullshit people, weird is better than boring and don’t copy.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
A rack mountable UPS for our new server. Pretty exciting stuff hey.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
We work with fashion label Mambo so many of my clothes are freebies from them.
I also haven’t bought a T-Shirt from anywhere else except Threadless in years.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Do a good job and the client will tell 3 people. Do a bad job and the client will tell 10 people.
For those still studying design; learning to work in a team and take criticism is very important.
Oh and the squeaky wheel gets the cheese :)
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Is that a question :) Thanks for the opportunity.