Trends run through this industry at lightning speed and too many times it seems designs are created to look like something else instead of looking like something new.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I'm a 26 year old Art Director at Big Spaceship in Brooklyn.
Born and raised amongst the corn fields of rural Northwest Ohio. I attended the digital design program at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). I started as an intern at Big Spaceship in 2004 and have been working here since then.
What do you do for inspiration?
Play and/or listen to music, watch old tv titles on YouTube, look at design books, talk to my coworkers, watch 30 Rock.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
http://www.typeneu.com/: a daily typographic read
Everything that Uniqlo does (especially the mosaic product explorer http://www.uniqlo.com/us/)
http://www.npr.org/programs/asc: All Songs Considered, love that Bob Boilen
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I don't think I've had any monumental achievements so far, but a recent big achievement is the Flash On site my team worked on being nominated for 2 Webby Awards.
What software could you not live without?
After Effects, that program is really tops.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
An experience site/game for a new USA network show.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
I really think Group94, North Kingdom, and Odopod are doing some very nice things.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Hopefully I haven't caused any accidents...
Who is your target audience?
It varies from project to project, but rarely have we worked on sites that don't target the "18-49" demographic.
I think the type of sites we do most often appeal to a more web-savvy audience. However, it's always surprising to hear stats about the types of people using the sites we create.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Originality. Trends run through this industry at lightning speed and too many times it seems designs are created to look like something else instead of looking like something new. I think everyone suffers a bit from this vice.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My very first site was my portfolio site used in an attempt to get an internship after my second year in school. It was black, white, grey and red and had a trendy "cel-shaded" illustration of myself on the landing page.
I'm embarrassed now. It's not online anymore, I think it's probably buried on an old server in Cincinnati somewhere.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No, but that would probably be my crowning achievement in life if I ever do write one.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Probably one of my first Flash projects in school which involved an interactive version of my roommate walking in and out of a door.
It was my first programming experience and I remember distinctly using a mess of "if" statement chains. I accomplished it, but it was not pretty. It is not online, and never has been.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Yes, although not necessarily in the same way as it is used today.
Hopefully Adobe will continue to develop the relationship between Flash and After Effects, and as bandwidth increases, we will have the ability to use Flash to reach a massive audience with super-rich content.
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 think design school is essential for 95% of young people who want to get into this field. However, there is that 5% that are just wicked talented and mature enough to handle the job.
In school, one learns to think critically and to look at design problems from a theoretical background. When I look at how much I learned in school, there is no way I would be where I am today if I would have tried to jump into the field from high school.
Heck, I had never even used a layer in Photoshop before I went to college! I was pretty green.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I've learned so much from classmates in the past, and from coworkers now.
It's difficult to think of where I'd be without those that have taught me so much.
On an individual level, the best way I've found to learn something in Flash or any other program is to have a goal in mind, or something specific you want to accomplish. Then you figure out the tools you need to accomplish that goal. Also, learn shortcuts, they will save you massive amounts of time.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
Cab fare home from a show in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I'm 6'7" so I don't really have a lot of choices in that department.
I'm a pretty simple dresser -- t-shirts, jeans, Asics. Over half of my wardrobe has been made or gifted by my girlfriend (she's pretty good at that kind of thing).
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance." -- Lee Ann Womack