.

This will sound like a jab but I think most "digital shops" really don't understand the value of a good copywriter. I'm always amazed how few of them have a writer on staff.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Bill Allen, Head of Interactive Development at BooneOakley. Born and raised in the south (USA). Basic work-a-holic type and yet somehow still happily married with two great kids.

Got an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in '94. Started as a painting major but ended up doing lots of computer based work at the Brown University Media Lab (at the time RISD didn't have many computer courses). Graduated and did the starving artist thing for a while. Started learning HTML etc. Worked a lot of freelance for small design shops. Eventually took a gig at an Ad Agency and got hooked. Been at it ever since.

What do you do for inspiration?

A real advantage of having a media department is lots and lots of free magazines. I love a good issue of WIRED. Also, getting away from the laptop and hiking or even walking the dog.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

I'll give you one that was my very first taste of what the web could be: Superbad.com - I saw it in about 1998, I actually looked it up the other day and it's still up, hasn't changed. It blew my mind back then ... still one of the weirdest things I've ever seen online.

Beyond that. I think WeFeelFine is pretty much the best work of art on the web today. I feel very humbled when I go to that site.

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Our involvement with The One Show (2009) was a real crowning achievement and generated some great work. Although ironically none of that work is eligible for The One Show :-. It was an affirmation for years of hard work that Dave and John have put in and what they've created at BooneOakley.

What software could you not live without?

OS 10 ... 8.6 was good too.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

We've been ramping up digital on all our clients so at least one of them will be getting a major overhaul this year. Also we have a pretty exciting project we created and then found a client for. Sounds crazy but it worked. That one is almost finished and will be launching sometime in the summer we hope. Should raise some eyebrows.

Who is your target audience?

Those Who Dare To Daring Work...corny to say, but true.

What area of web design lacks the most?

This will sound like a jab but I think most "digital shops" really don't understand the value of a good copywriter. I'm always amazed how few of them have a writer on staff.

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

My first paying digital project was a CDROM version of The Thomas Register. We stopped halfway through because someone had the bright idea to "put it on the web". This was 1997-98.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Yes, unless something comes along that delivers video in a much more compelling way. YouTube really helped solidify things for them. They owe a lot to each other.

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

The one real useful skill I learned at RISD was how to be critical and how to articulate those observations into something useful and actionable. You need time to practice that in groups and on yourself. School allows that time without the pressure of "Am I gonna get fired because I suck?". You have the luxury of failure.

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

Clients like to see rather than hear. They don't want to hear a pitch, they want to see something that allows them to see the potential of their own business. To that end, several times we just went ahead and built, shot, wrote, or designed something and then went and found a client for it.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Comment your code, organize your PSDs, AIs and FLAs so someone else can understand them and finally...be excellent to each other.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much.

Thank you.


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