I'd really like for them (websites) to have the ability to communicate smells. And pixels look like they could taste so yummy!
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Alejandro Villegas, male, 30 years old. I was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. My father and my brother were architects and one of my sisters studied graphic design, so I was exposed to art at a very young age.
For many years I toyed around with the idea of being a professional musician, but I finally decided to study design and moved to the States when I was 17.
After graduating and spending a few months in Europe, I managed to land a job in Dallas, Texas at a large agency called MarchFirst. It was an awesome experience but it didn't last long since they went under during the dot com crash.
After that I worked at a couple of small design studios that are not worth naming. The greed and lack of talent and passion that I saw in my superiors made me resign and try my luck at running my own studio.
For almost two years, I ran a tiny shop called Zero-State. We worked on a few corporate accounts but for the most part tried to focus on promoting the electronic music scene in Dallas.
We did some really great work at the time but I was so burned-out from dealing with the business aspect of design that my creativity was really hurting. I desperately needed a break so I decided to take a hiatus for six months.
During that time I traveled constantly and had an insane amount of fun.
Towards the end of the six months I had one of the most vivid and intense dreams I can remember having.
The following morning I knew it was time to get back on track and within a few days found a position with the most amazing group of people I have ever met - T:M Advertising.
I won't get into specifics of what makes this place great, but it's freaky how much I like it here. I am currently an Art Director for the interactive group. I live in downtown Dallas with my wonderful girlfriend.
What do you do for inspiration?
I find that my creativity flows more freely after clearing my mind with very intense physical activities or through meditation.
My main sources of inspiration are: nature, electronic music, travel, science, and beautiful women.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
If I were to really tell you what my favorite sites are, my mother would disown me, so here's my G-rated list:
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement so far is where I am in life today. I am happier than I have ever been and have developed the ability to feel grateful everyday, even during the rough times.
Passionately looking towards the future, I love being aware of my own evolution.
What software couldn't you live without?
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
We are currently in the conceptual stages of new campaigns for American Airlines and Nationwide Insurance.
We are very excited because they are ideas that we consider innovative in terms of media and the environmental effects of advertising.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
I'd like to think that good design makes a more enjoyable experience and therefore increases its viral effect.
Who is your target audience?
It varies with each client and project, but generally anybody who travels or buys insurance. Ages range from 20 to 50.
What area of web design lacks the most?
It's the same it's always been - beautiful websites lack content and conceptual websites look like dirt.
As for the few that have both beauty and substance - I'd really like for them to have the ability to communicate smells. And pixels look like they could taste so yummy!
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
It was monochromatic, extremely minimal and had type so small it was impossible to read.
No, it's not online. It died along with most of my early work when my hard drive croaked. Thank God.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No, I never have and probably never will. Words are not my favorite tools for communicating.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
I actually rarely work with Flash anymore. I spend most of my time concepting and art directing.
As a group, the most complicated thing we have worked on was the recent Nationwide Insurance campaign in Times Square.
The way that project was built was quite experimental. We worked along with Firstborn Multimedia and Reuters to bring it to life. Yes, it's still online.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Of course. At least until someone invents a holographic interface.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Some of the best designers I know never went to school. For me, however, it was an invaluable experience.
I would never have been able to expose myself to so much information in such a short period of time had I tried to do that on my own. It also teaches you to interact and work with other people; you can't learn that from a book.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I wasn't around when this group started but I hear James Hering used some patented techniques that include neuro-linguistic programming, sodium pentothal, and a pair of brass knuckles.
No, seriously, not only are our creative directors extremely talented and articulate but they are obsessed with progress and are never afraid to present big ideas.
I think our clients respond to that as well as to the obvious effectiveness of the work that we do.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I'm not so much concerned with technical skills as I am with fostering my conceptual abilities. I do that by exposing myself to as much information as I can.
As an artist, experiencing the world is the best training you can have, even if it means taking part in activities that the average person will shy away from.
I also try my hardest to strike a balance between physical and mental training. My advice: always remain open-minded or you will cease to evolve. Be passionate. Be intense. Trust the universe.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
An ultralight tent, a multi-day backpack, and a bunch of other ridiculously overpriced backpacking gear.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
There was actually a time when I would literally spend hundreds of dollars every week on designer clothes. Now I wear jeans and a t-shirt during the day and sweats and a sleeveless at night. In other words, I dress like crap.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Love always wins.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.