Throughout my years in design I have never worked on a banner ad. James did one a few years back no matter what he says, I saw it.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
James: Hey, my name is James Dvorak, I am one of the founders of LitFuse.
After college I moved down to Portland to get a sweet design job. It didn’t work out so well for me, the best job I could find was delivering pizzas, it was a good gig with some nice perks like free leftover pizza. I soon realized that I wasn’t cut out for the pizza business.
After that Scottie and I decided to start LitFuse. We had everything except clients so I ended up taking a paying job at interactive studio in Bellingham, Washington.
I worked my ass off for a little under a year and then they “laid me off.” That really sucked, but at least I was able to help my boss get a new house, Audi, Porsche and Ducati over the time I worked there.
I moved back to Seattle and started doing freelance work through site06. It was pretty cool, but I really didn’t like sitting in a cubical and I really wanted a window office, so I decided to start my own design studio. This was when Scottie and I started LitFuse, again.
Scott: My name is Scott Ichikawa, I am one of the founders of LitFuse. I picked up a degree in Graphic Design from Western Washington University, where I met my wonderful girlfriend Andrea.
After graduating from college the economy wasn't doing so hot. So I decided to drive down to Portland, Oregon to meet up with some friends who were nice enough to let me sleep on their couch for a while.
While in Portland I tried to talk my buddy James into starting up a design studio with me. That was the first steps for LitFuse Design. That didn't work out very well and James ended up getting a "real" job.
I lived with my mom for a while until a small design studio took a chance and decided to hire me. That was fun and it lasted for a while. Then that went bad and everyone decided to quit, and then I decided to leave.
I then moved back down to the Seattle area where I started to do freelance work as Scott's City. Then one day I got an office with James and we decided to start up the firm again. Thus LitFuse Design was born... again.
What do you do for inspiration?
James: Well, I don’t know. . . I think I get most of my inspiration away from my computer. Actually I get a lot of inspiration from drinking beer, camping, hiking, and riding my scooter.
Scott: I don’t drink beer and I don’t have a motorcycle but pretty much the same stuff as James. I also get a lot of my inspiration from family, friends, my girlfriend and the thoughts of my next vacation,
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
James: Yeah I don’t know, I guess these are the sites I go to most.
Errol Morris - I love the High Life Commercials.
Google - it is a pretty cool site, you should check it out.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
James: I live in America and sit in front of a computer all day and I am not fat.
Scott: Being selected for the fwa site of the month, naw just kidding. Throughout my years in design I have never worked on a banner ad. James did one a few years back no matter what he says, I saw it.
What software couldn't you live without?
Scott: iTunes, oh yeah, Flash is pretty cool.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
James: My motorcycle has been making some crazy sounds and I really need to tear it apart to see if I can get it fixed.
And the 84 bayliner hasn’t been running very well, it has been spitting oil like crazy, but I don’t know if I will have a chance or the cash to pull it apart, we might be paddling this summer.
Scott: Paddling sucks, you need to get off your ass and get your boat fixed.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
James: That is a tough question, I really don’t know who I would rate as the top design company.
The only studio that I have really enjoyed working at was LitFuse and that is mainly because I can drink beer whenever I want. Here are some pretty cool designers, I would hire them if we had more work.
Scott: I know these guys and they are pretty cool.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
James: We just launched a site for General Motors with Campbell-Ewald and it seems to be getting a pretty good response.
Scott: Seattle traffic sucks, so we take the bus, and I don’t think our designs have much of an effect on it.
Who is your target audience?
James: People with a sense of humor.
Scott: I tend to target myself a lot... I figure if I like it then everyone else will like it. I have recently found this to not be entirely true thanks to the forum at UltraShock.
What area of web design lacks the most?
James: Personality, there are a lot of bland sites that really lack any personality.
Scott: I would have to say Personality and Originality. Wait did I just say the same thing as James?
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
James: My first site was bad, really bad. I think it is gone forever.
Scott: Ass, complete ass. No, I am afraid that it is no longer online, but I might still have it on a zip disk somewhere. I think my professor politely described it as “definitely not a portfolio piece.”
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
James: No, can’t write good.
Scott: No, no plans, but I can make a website.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
James: Probably our site for LitFuse, mainly because we had no deadline so the site continued to grow for about a year.
Scott: Yeah, it was getting pretty ridiculous after working on and off for a year on it.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
James: Hoping so, it is kind of how we pay the bills.
Scott: Not sure.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
James: School is for fools.
No seriously, why would you not go to college? There are girls and beer. Plus the girls are forced to hang out with you in these things called classes. It is awesome, I don’t know why I am not still in school.
Scott: I think design school is important, but not necessity. Did you know that you can pick up one of those Flash books and "learn Flash in 24 hours"? I didn't believe it until James showed me.
Oh yeah, I definitely agree with James, college was a good time. Wouldn't have skipped it for the world.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
James: Bribing your friends in the industry with beer, this is still working for us today. It is amazing what type of projects you can get for 12 pack of Miller High Life.
Scott: Too true. It is almost scary.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
James: I spent a lot of time with Colin Moock’s book, does anyone know if he is coming out with another book.
Scott: I learned from James.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
James: I took a girl to a mariners game, it went pretty well, but damn beers are expensive, $8 a piece. I wish there was some sort of volume discount.
Scott: I took my girlfriend out to Dennys, and I also went camping and I think the campground was like $16 a night.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Scott: I wear a Brooks pullover a lot, they gave it to me after the last project.
James: I was really bummed, I didn’t fit into the free Brooks gear, but I have a Carhartt jacket, it is pretty nice, but it does make me look like a farmer.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
James: I don’t have much wisdom, how about you Scottie.
Scott: God is a dinosaur, I heard that from James.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Scott: Is that really a question, I don’t understand, it must be a British thing.