A good conceptual idea badly designed will never have the traffic it deserves. Conversely though, good design will never pull a bad idea out of the mire. The two are inseparable.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Matt Ross, Head of Creative, Tribal DDB, London, UK
What do you do for inspiration?
I photograph everything with my phone. Everything. Read this as well.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Retaining my sanity and perspective.
What software could you not live without?
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Something HUGE for September where Gordon Gekko-like greed is good. Something that will finally answer the question of which sex is smarter than which. And some more epic VW work.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
R/GA; Big Spaceship; Pentagram
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Odd question, unless you mean what effect does good design have on traffic. In that case, massive. A good conceptual idea badly designed will never have the traffic it deserves. Conversely though, good design will never pull a bad idea out of the mire. The two are inseparable.
Who is your target audience?
For the GTi Project it was 25-40 year old boy racers who haven’t grown up. So, basically everyone I know.
What area of web design lacks the most?
e-Commerce. Amazon... Rubbish. E-Bay rubbish. Their IA and UX may be spot on and researched to the nth degree, but their design and application thereof is atrocious. Their ‘shop front’ looks like Poundland.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Ha! It was a flash site that used vector illustrations in multi-layers. The animation chugged at about 2fps as the processor turned to goo. Horrible. Unfortunately it’s not online anymore, nor do I think I even have the swfs anymore. Pity... It’d be worth a good chuckle.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Have an unwritten novel under my bed. It’s rubbish though. Just reads like a bad Hunter S Thompson.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
The toughest thing... Hmmm.... Probably trying to do 3D when the plug-ins didn’t exist. Had to use cell animators, but that was fun in itself actually.
Do you think Flash is here to stay
Yes, though it may very well morph into something different. Flash being launched onto television in the next 2 years will be a seminal moment. I think the de-ownership of universal software will also be a good thing.
Instead of 50 similar products fragmenting the user base, one platform that is refined and developed with a scalability to satisfy any user. Then again, the mobile world still hasn’t managed any semblance of platform consistency. And they have almost 3 billion users...
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Yes, but rarely. The only time I’ve seen it done with success of any meaningful longevity was through the creative code route (I stand to be corrected though!). Visual flash designers with no schooling, in my experience, struggle.
It is always obvious to a trained eye that there is simply something... missing. There is real value in being bored out of your skull in a Renaissance art slide lecture, even though it may not seem like it at the time. It teaches you to LOOK at things properly.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Tribal has been around for many years. We find it most effective winning new clients when both agency and client have the same long term vision. Chemistry is essential. As is trust.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
The single most important skill I can say on a Flash design side is this: If you’re a designer, make sure you understand the capability of code.
If you’re a developer, make sure you can translate a design perfectly into Flash AND take it from something flat and lifeless, to a piece of work that sings. If you can do both, you are a very very rare breed. I’d hire you tomorrow.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
A sandwich. When did airport prices become the norm for a standard high street sandwich? Do these people know what everything else in the world costs??
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I do like white overcoats. Makes me feel laboratorian.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Practice kaizen. And be brave.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much.