Don't stop challenging yourself or your work and stay curious. Also read the brief from the client as you read the washing instructions on your clothes.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I’m 24 years old and I work as a Senior Designer at Fantasy Interactive. Before that I studied at Hyper Island / New Media Design and worked in London for a while.
My interest in design started early, with courses in art and I also studied Information Technology and Media at secondary upper school for three years. It was during those years I really started to get an interest in how to express myself digitally.
Q. What do you do for inspiration?
I think that creativity is something that comes spontaneously and it’s important that you rest to keep your passion alive.
I train at the gym to feel good and spend a lot of time with friends to get variation in my ordinary life, otherwise it is easy to get drained. I also read a lot of magazines, books and visit various communities within the design field to stay on top of trends etc.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Except for theFwa.com I like to visit Youtube.com, Google.com and Cpluv.com.
Q. What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Getting a salary out of my biggest hobby. Every morning I wonder if I’m dreaming to be honest, since I get paid for doing what I love.
What software couldn't you live without?
Photoshop I would say. I also use After Effects, Illustrator and Flash on a regular basis.
To me they are just tools which I use to create things from my visions and ideas so I pick the tool that suits me best at the moment. Once you know your way around one program it’s usually easy to learn others in a short time.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
We have a wide range of different and motivating projects in the pipeline at the moment. I can’t give you all the details right now but we have a nice combination of new and fresh vs. large and established clients and this gives me the chance to stretch my design wings in different ways.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Besides Fantasy Interactive there are a couple of design companies around the world which I really admire. I would say Psyop, B-reel and Preloaded and the reason is that they have a certain level of quality in all of their work.
There aren’t that many agencies out there who maintain a high standard throughout every project.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
One word: Huge!
Design has a huge impact on each visitor’s connection to a site. We get the audience’s attention by giving them an experience far beyond what they have seen before.
We always put a lot of focus on usability and ‘quality over quantity’ so that our products feel inspiring and unique. In this business you should strive to over-deliver and push the brief, while always communicating the client’s visions and goals.
Who is your target audience?
I would say that our target audience includes almost everyone.
We create portals/applications/sites that are used by millions of people daily (MTV, Road Runner, Ford to name a few) and our goal is to push the existing standards and create new ones.
In order to do so we need to both make sure that the average user is satisfied but also cater to those who are less demanding.
What I mean is that it’s easy to create something that works for people like me or people in our business. The true challenge is to create something for a person that doesn’t use the Internet on a regular basis and make it so that this person can use our sites as easily as if he/she would have done it for years.
Basically there should be something exciting for everyone.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Usability is something that needs to evolve a lot in the future. I still like innovative menus or right-click functionality but it doesn’t work if the intermediate or novice user doesn’t get it.
Design is about communication with the user and the design that survives is the one that communicates without complications.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
I don’t really want to remember (and it’s not online anymore). If I would be proud of my first site and still have it online that would just be sad, because that means I haven’t developed my skills at all.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Maybe in the future. I believe that a lot of the knowledge we gain in this business is something that you cannot find in a book since you basically need to experience it to be able to learn it.
The basics can be taught by books (standards in typography, grids etc.) but to be good or great at what you do you need to push those basics by working at them, on your own or together with others.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Design wise it must be the project I’m currently working on – I can’t tell you what it is about now but it will sure kick some ass when it’s launched (sometime during the spring) since it’s something that hasn’t been done before and will set the standards instead of relying on the standards.
Size wise it has to be a project for BBC in London I was involved with, which basically was a series of episodes which were all animated and built in flash (I think it was called Taggerz).
There where approximately 200 different backgrounds created for it and we had three-four animators working on the characters during those 4 months we spent on it.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
To me it seems that Flash is always at least one step ahead. In the old days I remember that I had to deal with technical restrictions since a lot was produced in html and java etc. and when I started using Flash it was like creating psd’s but for placement on the web.
So I believe that Flash will be around for a long time. I hardly think that it will disappear since it has so many advantages in comparison to other formats.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
When viewing a CV I don’t really care if the applicant has a good education. To me it’s all about the level of work I see in his/her portfolio.
In school they can teach you the basics and the tools to achieve a result, it’s also an opportunity to get in touch with the business and try out ideas that you maybe wouldn’t be able to do when working.
To me school was important, however most of my friends are self-taught.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Work hard, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and be very open to suggestions and new ideas.
It’s very important to be flexible. Also don’t take criticism personally when it comes to your work since that will just be a bottle-neck when working towards a final result.
Believe in what you do and don’t be afraid of pushing for what you believe in.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
That would be some of the furnishings for the upcoming renovation of my bathroom.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Usually a shirt, sweater and jeans. Unfortunately I’m bound to designer brands, I guess it has to do with my view on quality.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Don’t stop challenging yourself or your work and stay curious.
Also read the brief from the client as you read the washing instructions on your clothes.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Thank you! It's been a pleasure.