I think that Flash will be here for a couple of years - but I do not really think that flash will be around in 2014.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Hello! I saw my first light of day on a Monday in the early 1980s in the good old county of Vejen, Denmark. Twenty-five years later, I decided to start my own company, Hello Monday together with two graphic designers.
What do you do for inspiration?
A lot of my inspiration comes from music – but most of my inspiration comes from walking around in the city, observing the architecture, the people, and the nature.
A good cup a coffee can also be inspiring – not just its content but also the foam and the bubbles that slowly explode and die.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Naturally, I will have to put thefwa.com up here – since it is usually the first place I go to keep myself updated on what’s happening on the flash scene.
Whenever I work late, which happens more often than I am willing to admit, I sometimes need entertainment – XPLSV.tv quenches that thirst with its different show reels and motions graphics. It also gives me a million ideas for different flash animations (that you would need some freaky computer to be able to generate, though).
Danskdynamit.com – Newly created site on, well, everything creative – and a great deal of info on the Danish design scene.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I would say that the start-up of Hello Monday is definitely my greatest achievement so far. Making a hobby into a living has always been a dream, and today this dream has become a waking reality.
I am proud of the things we are achieving work-wise, and this is mainly due to the fact that we work with clients that aren’t afraid of trying out new things.
In February 2007, we started to share work with a Manhattan based design studio, TODA. This collaboration has taken Hello Monday to new places, spaces, countries, counties and clients.
What software couldn't you live without?
Flash, Photoshop, and my post-it program (it helps me more than any of my other programs). The post-it program also happens to be my quick to-do list, copy/paste holder, and idea pad.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
We have several - and just to sound important – I cannot talk about most of them at the moment.
A few days ago I traveled to New York where I am staying for a month to design a website for a company that has 44.000 employees. To achieve this task, I work together with a programming company from India that has 90.000 employees. It is a crazy world!
Besides from that we are doing sites for a photographer, architectural company, international product-design firm, an Emmy-participating film in the new Broadband category, and a flash-web-shop (innocent words by themselves – but quite tricky when you put them together) for an exclusive fashion-shop.
All of these projects are using out new framework that works with forward/backward buttons, SEO and WYSIWYG CMS (hooray for strange abbreviations).
Finally, we are also about to start up on doing a project management tool for a client and… well a few more programs that I won’t tell about just yet… All in flash of course.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Big Spaceship – They really push the limits of Flash design.
North Kingdom – Beauty?
Struck Creative – Great ideas put into great websites.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
It pretty much depends on what project we do. The websites would naturally have a positive impact on the traffic, but we are more focused on giving the user a positive experience.
When all that is said, we are definitely responsible for some traffic jams on the Internet Highway.
Who is your target audience?
Once again it depends on the project, but we mainly create B-to-C sites. We find this type of projects to be the most interesting as we are allowed to play more, graphically and flash-wise.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Most areas in web design lack something – but I believe that user-experience / usability is the most neglected. I see so many sites that confuse even an experienced web-user like me.
Sometimes, I think that people forget to think the following thought: “what would be the most natural thing that would happen when the user clicks here”. Especially in Flash, I believe that there are so many great ways to make the Internet a better and more logical place to navigate in….
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
I think it was a brutal website for, not surprisingly, a Quake 1 clan. Called WFC – WarFare Clan, or something like that. I filled it with loads of loud noises and stretched, bouncing text.
Luckily, I do not think it is online anymore – and if it were, I would never tell you the URL!
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I once wrote a fairy-tale about a mouse, when I was five years old – with illustrations and everything. But I do not plan on writing any other books.
But who knows – maybe I feel compelled to tell the world something – someday. As for now writing this interview is more than I have written in the past three weeks altogether.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
I believe that creating this new framework (as described earlier) that we are going to base most of our websites on has been a great challenge, however, when we succeed in finding simple solutions to “simple” problems like back/forward-buttons and SEO, or if we create a CMS that is really, really easy to deploy, it is all worth it….
On the CMS alone, I have been working for about a year, but it has been worth the effort, especially because the CMS is about 99% Flash. If only I had my own online version of Photoshop to put inside the CMS, everything would be perfect….
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I think that Flash will be here for a couple of years – but I do not really think that flash will be around in 2014. Everything is changing and happening so fast (technology-wise), that we will probably see a flash-killer or just a whole new way to do web design. Who knows?
I for one hope that flash will be here for some time to come.. I have to say though, that Silverlight looks very promising, unfortunately I have not had the time to play around with it, but I definitely see that it has a huge potential.
And, it is only good that flash will get some competition; I think it will be healthy for the industry as a whole.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Being self-taught – I do not think you necessarily need any educational experience.
In Denmark we haven’t got any really good web design/Flash schools.
I guess that projects like Hyper Island is the way to go... Damn Sweden for always being one step ahead of Denmark! The tables will turn – soon.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Always be nice and honest and make sure the work you do is always flawless.
We rarely contact any clients for work – they usually come to Hello Monday because they have seen or heard about us from another company. It is pretty much all word-of-mouth for us at the moment.
The philosophy is that if you make things right – and do not compromise on quality – things will always go your way. Luck can definitely take you far, but it is a thin branch to count on.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Buy a book on Flash. And remember – that it is all about the ideas – design, and slick motions. Coffee can only get you half the way.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
A brand new snowboard from Burton’s 08 collection! Too bad winter is more than 5 months away.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I am mostly a fan of Diesel – probably because they get a new edgy website every second months or so! I am always eager to see what they come up with next…
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Always carry an umbrella – oh yeah, and don’t walk barefoot into a public toilet.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Thanks for having me.