.

We take up to 2 months per year to do non client work, to research. It is during those times that I am recharging.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I was born in 1979 in Bochum, Germany. At the age of 18 I started out as an intern and was dragged along for another 3years by the new economy hype.

Around 2001 I started freelancing and studied Communication/Illustration Design. Meaning: more freelancing, less studying :).

In 2004 I co-founded Artificialduck Studios, teaming up with Dirk Hoffmann.

What do you do for inspiration?

When I am in the middle of a project I am often lacking the time and concentration to be really inspired. It is more like soaked up ideas are unfolding and becoming part of my work during those phases.

We take up to 2 months per year to do non client work, to research. It is during those times that I am recharging.

To me scientific topics, physical and mathematical principals are a great source of inspiration, as well as contemporary art.

The personalities that I work with or that I studied with are inspiring as well. You hardly get to know someone as close and personally, unless you do a project together.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Artificialduck.net

infosthetics.com

processing.org

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

To be honest, at this point I have the feeling that the biggest achievements are still to come.

Working in the bigger agencies has taught me a lot, but has constrained and limited me at the same time.

With Artificialduck I am feeling that I am working in a meaningful way for the first time.

With regards to the time up to today, my biggest achievement would be the installation in the Goldfish bar in Hamburg. To experience interaction design unfiltered by any mouse input was an important step for me.

What software couldn't you live without?

In the worst case my text editor.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

We are currently working on the multiplayer mode for PACE, a fashion label is getting a new webpresence. Also my mother does need a website...

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

It is difficult to isolate 3 companies. The good studios have their own particular style that stems from a strong personality and a consistent way of working. These styles are not easily comparable though.

For me, I could say that for example wefail and group94 are both outstanding design studios, although they are not easily put into comparison.

What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

Most of the time I am rather interested in the session length, so to say the "stickyness“, the relevance.

With some projects it is reasonable to loose 90 percent of the users if the rest is spending intensive time with the work.

I often have the feeling that a lot of designs are made for quick and one-off consumerism. They are too boring for a second visit and one year later it appears dated already.

But I have to say that we are always happy about the traffic that comes with an FWA :)

Who is your target audience?

Mostly clients in need of a unique digital design. I am happy though if Dirk’s children (6 and 12) approve of our games and navigations. Children really are very good for usability tests, as they use applications more intuitive.

What area of web design lacks the most?

Originality

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

Oh, no. It was a full flash site, just when Flash3 came out. To my amazement it was still online 2 years ago...

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

Nope.

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

The navigation on http://www.01importexport.net/ has cost me a very long night and even more red wine. The next morning it did work, but until know I don’t quite understand how.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Maybe once it will be replaced by a program which works nearer to the hardware. But the mixture between graphics and programming is surely here to stay.

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

Sure, especially as not all of the schools are recommendable.

In the end it is about the people you meet, you work with and from whom you learn. Therefore some schools are a good environment for this. It could also be own projects or good teams though.

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

For us most important was the qualitative output. If there weren’t suitable jobs we worked on own projects. With time our name and reputation developed.

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

The correct answer to this question would be book named above. Take inspiration out of random mistakes is a good technique, especially in programming.

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

The new ignition for my Maserati.

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

No, most of the pieces I like I buy twice straight away, so I don’t have to run through overcrowded department stores too often.

It's been a privilege, thanks very much.


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