.

I don't ever actually work with Flash nowadays but if I did I'd definitely do it bare chest with a red bandana on my head. And cowboy boots.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I'm the founder and creative director of click5, a web agency based in Poland.

I was born in 76, always had a passion for drawing and painting stuff and started mixing computers into the equation probably around the age of 12. The tape recorder equipped Commodore 64 was what began it all.

I studied marketing at the local University of Economics in Katowice.

Without any money, previous agency experience or prospects for future clients, straight out of college I decided to start a web design company in 2001.

Somehow this foredoomed venture worked out and today click5 employs 10 people and works with some of Poland's and the world's largest brands.

A huge part of my life is snowboarding - I love it, ride a lot and spend quite a bit of the winter working at snowboard events all over the world.

I live in Gliwice, Poland with my wife, Agnieszka, and son - Franek.

  What do you do for inspiration?

Step away from the screen for a while. I get some space - go snowboarding, windsurfing or take my 2 year old son for a bicycle ride.

One thing that really works are also those long morning showers that make my wife and kid bang on the door and yell at me to get the hell out already!

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

I love to waste time on flickr, always lurk at yay!hooray! and probably visit Google the most often, although lately it scares me.

When it comes to favourite flash based design sites some of my all time favourites are:

Havaianas,

Aiga Design Archives and

Conclave Obscurum

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Meeting and later on marrying the best girl in the world, having the greatest kid certainly take the top spots in the personal area.

Business/Career wise - it's still out there somewhere. Establishing a successful company is something that boosts the ego but I'm still waiting to achieve something more meaningful than launching another successful flash website.

Don't get me wrong: I love what we do and really enjoy working with the great people at click5 on our projects. It's just that somewhere deep inside one thinks that there are far more important things to be done than putting a product campaign online. You can call it a bad case of preserved teenage idealism.

  What software couldn't you live without?

As far as the graphic workshop goes it's Illustrator and Photoshop. I do however spend much more time typing away in Outlook, Word and the Instant Messenger - much more than I'd like.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Right now we're working on a really fun website for a polish mineral water brand, another one for an international snowboard apparel brand and one for an alcohol drinks company.

What I'm really excited about though are some internal projects we have going that will most probably be launching this year.

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

Burton Snowboards for product and graphic design combined.

It always amazed me how this company directly answers the needs of the actual product users in an unprecedented way. They've managed to push forward the industry they are in and still stay independent, true to the core and really close to their customers.

Psyop's motion designs knock my socks off and as far as the interactive design companies go it's really hard to choose one:

HiRes!, north kingdom, Bigspaceship, Second Story, group94, firstborn, odopod, ... Too many to mention.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

Basically the internet comes to a halt whenever we launch something. OK, maybe that's a bit of an overstatement.

We always do have quite a bit of traffic, usually from Poland, since most of our sites are polish language based.

Our Md-Extreme site launched over 2 years ago was probably the most popular one up to date.

  Who is your target audience?

Lately we have been mostly developing sites for the FMCG group of products: energy drinks, sports apparel, etc. so we usually aim at 18-30 year olds.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

Accurate research and a down to earth approach. I have a feeling that many sites out there are developed for the webdesign community instead of the actual target group.

Of course sometimes this community is the target but in many cases it's the source of huge but worthless traffic for the client.

On one hand we have the 'Web2.0' craze - simple, quick loading, community based websites, designed with big fonts, intuitive links, standards compliant - on the other there's the flash websites - video, 3d animations, intros, eyecandy and loading times.

It seems that these trends are heading the opposite ways but are trying to attract the same users. It's a schizophrenic web out there.

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

Fortunately it is offline - it could make your eyes bleed if it wasn't.

That site had it all - tiling freeware background, oval shaped beveled pictures and those funky animated glowing gif buttons. Probably an html marquee as well. If there was a webdesign hell I would be taken there alive in 1997.

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

Haven't written any, have been planning to since the age of 6. Only the possible topics change every now and then.

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

The hardest thing was probably the first site put together in Flash.

I had to discover a new tool and a totally new way of thinking about creating a website. Nowadays it's the flash masterminds at click5 who take on the heavy lifting and I just sit in the corner and stare in awe.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Yes.

  What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

I do believe in the idea of specialist school education being a great fundament for knowledge acquired on your own or in a workteam environment.

Unfortunately reality is different and usually the portfolios we receive from art/design school majors are far worse than the ones sent in by people without a college background.

It has changed for the better in the last few years but still most of the design schools in Poland are set in the middle ages when it comes to teaching design for the modern media.

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

Networking and gradually building a solid portfolio. You really have to get the word out there from day one.

Let everybody know what you do and don't be modest about it. A bit of luck and a lot of patience might come in handy as well.

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

Get your hands dirty. Planning, preparing, reading, thinking about what has to be done are all good but the real learning starts when you finally get down to business. Do it.

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

Probably some floor tiles, cement, a sink and a toilet for the new click5 office. The never ending renovation is killing me.

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

I don't ever actually work with Flash nowadays but if I did I'd definitely do it bare chest with a red bandana on my head. And cowboy boots.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Stay true to yourself and don't be afraid to say no. Switch off that computer every once in a while. Go watch Poland win the football World Cup (yeah, right!).

  It's been a privilege, thanks very much.

Thank you. A pleasure.


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