Don't let anyone limit your ambition. Ignore convention. Trust yourself, know what you want to do, and do it your way.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I design and code and enjoy both. I grew up in Verona, Italy where I started freelance designing in for Italian companies in 1998. Came to Colorado in 1999 on an engineering scholarship, but dropped out after realizing that I wanted to design, and I didn’t want to wait. I decided to start my own interactive shop and about a year later I co-founded FL2 and never looked back.
I believe that success comes from hard work and a dedication to self-improvement. Never wait to do something you want; trust your gut and start right now. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow.
What do you do for inspiration?
Take photos. Drive. Observe the world. Listen to music. Inspiration comes from within; we all have different experiences that make our work unique. Good design and innovative programming comes from taking the time to find that spark within yourself that inspires you to create a new solution.
I get my best work done at midnight; everyone else is sleeping and there are no distractions - I can listen to myself.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Love the style and animation. They also do great work in addition to having a great site.
Sleek, stylish and inspirational.
Content and navigation options are great.
And one more that I use every day,
For organizing your life. Slick system built on AJAX.
What are some recent projects you’ve done?
ShopComposition / 2005
It was a great opportunity for me to show that Flash can actually enhance the ecommerce experience. It also allowed me to redefine (and break) the typical ecommerce mold by creating an artistic and emotive environment centered on quality design, large photos, and intuitive programming.
Larimer Touchwindow – / 2006
We turned a retail window into an interactive monitor, Minority-Report-Style.
New site for a great local agency. Their work speaks for itself and we wanted to let it be the hero of the site.
Left Hand Brewing / 2006
New microsite for a local micro-brewery focused on elevating the palette of beer drinkers nationwide.
What software couldn't you live without?
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Currently we’re working on a lot of interactive installation projects, turning windows and tables into touchable screens that control video and 3d projections. We’re also working on a lot of cool new sites for various resorts and high-end real-estate developments throughout the country.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Design covers so many facets that I have to cheat and give you three categories.
Always innovating with progressive navigation and great user interaction.
Consistent quality and high design.
Always pushing the envelope of the interactive environment.
Individual designers that I respect; they are constantly trying to better themselves and their work.
Greg Washington / JeeDub
Nessim Higson / I Am Always Hungry
Ryan Katrina / NeuArmy
Who is your target audience?
I seek clients that expect innovation and appreciate high design. I try to work with people that share my commitment to quality and want a progressive approach to their project.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Design itself. There are too many agencies using the web to drive empty concepts, and view design secondary to the 0bjective. A concept alone does not create a great project.
Design is paramount, from layout to interaction. It takes high quality design to make a progressive concept viable and sustainable.
If done correctly, design should challenge users intuitively, not technically.
There is a higher purpose to the web than viral videos and quick gimmicks. I feel many agencies, advertising in particular, view the web as a big mySpace or youTube account. It’s unfortunate, because many companies are starting to rely on Ad Agencies to manage their interactive.
From a creative perspective, I feel that designers should challenge themselves to find new solutions for new sites.
There are a lot of great sites out there, but too many are piecing together the best parts of other sites, as opposed to creating a new solution (where it is applicable). Flash is limitless; let’s continue to innovate.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
I made my first site in Italy, in 1998, for an Italian Cement Mixing Company. The site isn’t online anymore, thankfully, but it was definitely terrible. Black background, yellow text. Beveled tables and font tags.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Haven’t published an official book, but I am currently working on a self-published letterpress book. I own a 1950’s Asbern Letterpress (german proof-press, similar to a Vandercook) that I hope to run a limited edition book in early 2007.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Without a doubt. Flash is a bona fide coding application and will be around in one form or another for quite a while.
I think the industry is finally learning how, and when, to use Flash appropriately.
We went though a growing phase where everyone thought the only options to build a great site were Flash or nothing. However, technologies such as AJAX, advanced DOM scripting, and xhtml/css allow developers to create good sites that didn’t need to be Flash in the first place.
That being said, Flash can integrate multiple forms of media that other technologies cannot, and it will continue to be the standard for rich internet applications and highly interactive sites that require integrated content such as 3D and video.
With another break-through Flash version right around the corner, and the merge of Adobe and Macromedia, the best is definitely yet to come, and the potential is limitless right now for creative designers and developers.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Absolutely. I did, so I may be the wrong (or right) person to ask, depending on your point of view.
However, regardless of educational experience, you need two things to be successful, both in design and life: Dedication and Ambition.
You need to be dedicated to self-improvement, from every aspect of what you want to do. Hold yourself accountable for everything you touch. Be dedicated to a consistent level of quality and be prepared to work hard to maintain it. Don’t settle for less than what you are currently capable of.
Don’t let anyone limit your ambition. Ignore convention. Trust yourself, know what you want to do, and do it your way.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
To me, the most effective self-promotion strategy is to do great work. By creating high caliber sites, being passionate about our projects, and working hard for our clients, we create long lasting relationships that bring new work to the table.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I’m self-taught in both design and coding. I learned with tight deadlines and sleepless nights. There is no better way to learn then when you promise the world and you have to deliver.
Advice? Work, work, and work some more. Make as many sites as you can. Challenge yourself. There is nothing you can’t do – you just have figure it out. Always try something new, and hold yourself accountable to it. Learn from each project and make sure you apply that knowledge to the next.
Believe in your ability and get the job done yourself. Seek assistance, never solutions. If you can’t create solutions yourself, you’ll never innovate, because you will always depend on what someone else has done.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Vacation in San Francisco. I love cities.
Music and Movies you’ve enjoyed lately?
Movies I’ve enjoyed lately:
Little Miss Sunshine, Walk the Line, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Music I’ve bought lately:
Lucero, Josh Rouse, The Killers, Nina Simone
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Your work is only as good as your pride. Take pride in yourself and your work.
Work with clients that you respect, and respect you.
Set your standards high, produce quality work, maintain your creative integrity, and you will get the clients you want.
You’re not entitled to anything. The amount of work you put in dictates the success you receive.
Design does not stop at layout. A great interactive project starts with the layout and continues in Flash development. Just as many ideas can be born in the development process as the design process.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.