Most of my moments of inspiration come to me in the bath, as I'm falling asleep, or in the middle of the night from dreams.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Whilst completing a seemingly everlasting number of fine art degrees at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, I began working commercially in digital design, firstly in my own business; on top of teaching at university, part-running a gallery and keeping up my own arts practice - and taking on any other jobs I could find, including training as a theatrical taxidermist to pay the bills!
Whilst still keeping my design business running, I took on a job as digital Creative Director of a publishing house in Sydney in 1997 - helping them to move all of their magazines online, and from there went to digital agency deepend, who had just opened a Sydney office.
Their head office (and love) is what brought me to London in 2000, and I've gradually worked my way up the design ranks at agencies here, with a spattering of uni lecturing thrown in, before joining glue at the beginning of 2005 to head up their brilliant design department.
We work for a huge range of clients here: Adidas, Mini, Sky, Mc Cain, 3, Eurostar, Virgin, Coke, Navy, Marines, Barcardi to name a few... all really good fun.
I still do as much art as I can, and keep myself out of trouble helping to run She Says, an organisation set up to encourage women to broaden their horizons and look at a creative career in digital...
There are too few of us out there, and too hard to find! You can find out more at http://www.myspace.com/shesaysuk
What do you do for inspiration?
I'm an avid absorber of design everywhere - not just online. I get out to plenty of exhibitions, filter and collect flyers and other material, take screenshots and shoot street images on my phone.
I'll often hold onto something for ages because it has an interesting design feature to it - a font or a layout. I also collect colour palettes I see around me, to use later. A really good book often sparks a hundred visual ideas - I'm forever writing down song words and sentences from novels I find interesting in some way.
I'll also spend time really soaking up the brands I'm working on until I really start to feel their personality as a physical presence - the designs just fall out of that.
Most of my moments of inspiration come to me in the bath, as I'm falling asleep, or in the middle of the night from dreams. I've kept a dream diary since I was about 15, and that's a great source of material too.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
1. We Make Money Not Art - I check this site every morning for an instant shot of creativity. It's pure genius - and always makes you think about where digital is going post-monitor...
2. Elektra Digital Arts Fesatival - I fell in love with this site when it was first launched and it remains one of my favourites – it's just SO beautiful as a piece of pure design... and so simple.
3. The work we've just launched for Adidas - http://www.impossiblestory.com/. This was such a collaborative piece of work, and a great opportunity for everyone to let their imaginations run wild!
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I'm really proud of so many things I've accomplished on my own and with my team here at glue- every piece of work, every time a designer here does something amazing and every opportunity I get to do something like this...
I think the trick is to always take pride in even the smallest jobs and opportunities... Can I say winning the competition at primary school for being the fastest rope-skipper when I was 10? (Editor's note: My brother won a similar title but he's not so keen to bring it up in conversation.)
What software couldn't you live without?
I'm still a total sucker for Photoshop - no matter how much time I spend in Flash, Illustrator and the rest, using Photoshop is like coming back to an old friend... I'm starting to play around with Processing too at the moment to see what it can do.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
So much! We've got some great work for McCain coming up, some lovely Adidas advertising and a really extraordinary top-secret project launching in September... And we're just about to get started on Eurostar and 3...
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
For pure (digital) design I still love Hi-ReS! - I think I spent more time on the Donnie Darko site when it first came out than any other site before or since...
Umeric is a great little digital design house in Sydney
What area of web design lacks the most?
I think that digital design in general is too susceptible to fads - 15% grey one minute, left-aligned Helvetica caps the next... A lot of it lacks a reference point outside its own medium... that, and a real honesty and empathy for a client's brand values...
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My very first site was geekgirl, "The World's First Feminist Hyperzine" in 1994, which I did with Rosie X in Australia.
If you could see it now you'd be shocked by how primitive everything looked, and how non-existent our tools were!
Back then there were no WYSIWYG editors for HTML, and any animations were gifs or (eventually) Shockwave files.
Everything was written in Simpletext. I concentrated on the layout/design and Rosie looked after the editorial, and it was a real labour of love getting every issue out - writing tables by hand and having to re-save and check your updates in your browser every 5 mins... At least there was only one browser to check!
I still remember the joy of Flash coming out and how frustrating its lack of decent bitmap support was in the early days!
The geekgirl URL is still active, and has gone through many incarnations, but Rosie uses it as a blog now... http://www.geekgirl.com.au
I think some of my early attempts at Shockwave are still online somewhere...
The earliest Flash site of mine that's still online is probably for the photographer Alistair Dunn, from about 2001. I remember thinking that the coding was so advanced back then... it certainly looks pretty rudimentary now!
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I've been a contributor in a couple of things, and am working in collaboration to put together something bigger for 2008.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
At glue, everything is such a collaborative effort, so I guess the toughest things I've done in Flash are the projects I've done for friends, where you are trying to finish every little piece of the project yourself, from the XML all the way through to the fancy trimmings and copywriting... and doing it all between 9pm and 3am every night!
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Absolutely - though we tend to do a lot of our work in After Effects as well now, there'll always be a place for Flash, its interactivity and its ubiquitous delivery. Its come on so far since being a poor cousin to Director.
The nicest projects we do currently tend to be an amalgam of different techniques and software, pulled together into Flash. I think the crossover between After Effects and Flash, and how it'll be addressed by Adobe is going to be really interesting over the next few years...
What are your views on design/graphic school? Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
I did Fine Arts, not Design, though at a campus with a great Design degree, and a lot of the technical skills I use I taught myself - so if you're really pro-active I think you can come from everywhere, and I certainly don't disclude people without a conventional degree when I'm looking for newbies at glue! Portfolio and personality is the key!
Having said that, I found college absolutely invaluable for the contacts I made there, the creative environment I had to work in and the access to facilities to allow me to experiment - that would have been almost impossible on my own.
It also taught me to think critically, to think about the "why" as well as the "what" and "how", and got me used to the idea of a more disciplined approach to work - something that seems lacking in a lot of CVs I've seen from people without a college degree.
So, in a nutshell it doesn't really matter where you come from, but I can't overemphasise how good (and how much fun) a degree can be for getting you started, if you're into that kind of thing.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I can't speak for glue, but in my own business I certainly found that word of mouth got me more clients than anything else I could have done.
Spending time understanding their needs, delivering great work on time and on budget and always putting a little bit more than you had to into a project means a good recommendation.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Personally, I've been lucky in that I've been designing for the web since 1994, so I've picked up a lot along the way.
It was all self-taught though, and I think the best advice for newbies is to really go for it - be passionate - teach yourself, set yourself briefs, ask your local business if you can put together sites and identity work for them... above all take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. I'm still always learning something new!
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
It wasn't very expensive, but I bought some huge vinyl stickers for my walls from a great French site that does vinyl art from Genevieve Gaukler, Tado and others: http://www.domestic.fr
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I'm a labels woman, thankyou very much ;-) (Editor's note: busted again)
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Don't wait for your ship to come in, swim out and meet it...
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
Always a pleasure!