I've been a creative technologist of different shapes and forms since I was a baby.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I'm Markus Forsberg, born in Stockholm, Sweden where I still live. I'm the Interactive Director and a co-founder of Acne Digital.
I've been a creative technologist of different shapes and forms since I was a baby. I've formerly worked for companies such as Fantasy Interactive and Randommedia. I've always been a very creatively driven person and I love to challenge myself, I think that's why I love working within this constantly evolving digital industry.
What do you do for inspiration?
Apart from being inspired by other peoples work I find that disconnecting from my digital life to find inspiration elsewhere gives a lot of perspective and insight. Leaving the city for some nature or being with loved ones both gives me inspiration and charges my creative batteries. Music also affects me greatly. I love and need music of all sorts all the time.
Please list 3 of your favorite sites.
Right now those three would be gettyimages.com, cgtalk.com and of course thefwa.com
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I am very proud of being part in building Acne Digital as a company. That is definitively one of my biggest achievements so far.
Both in regards to the productions released, but also for recruiting such great people along the way who are all providing to a pleasant, humble, fun and creative atmosphere at the office each day.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
We have a couple of projects in the pipeline right now that are very exciting, ranging from game development to movie making. Working with digital production which seems to present new technologies every other day is such a privilege. Ideas and possibilities just keep growing!
What software could you not live without?
I think that the Adobe suite, FDT and Spotify have been some of the more important software releases for me the last couple of years.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Design wise I've always been a big fan of Your Majesty, Big Spaceship and North Kingdom to mention three.
Who is your target audience?
I always try to think of each projects respective end user as target audience. Both in terms of storytelling, interactive progression and how activated the user expects to be. I tend to ask myself questions like: "why is the user visiting the site? What does he or she expect from it?”.
It's important to not only to deliver the message, but to deliver it in an engaging and memorable way and let the user leave the site feeling delighted.
Of course my dream audience would be one that wants to explore every last bit of a website and has all the time in the world. Audiences with such high expectations, ambition and time are not very common. That's why quickly and constantly giving back the feeling of control to the user throughout the experience is so important.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
The best way to get new and to keep old clients is of course to always deliver top quality productions and keeping an eye on even the small details.
Updating clients on new technologies and pitching ideas from time to time without necessarily getting a brief first hand, is also a good way of keeping clients interested and educated.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Web design is such a huge area. But to mention one thing that I think lacks quite often; two way communication and an understanding of what users needs and interest are.
When on the web I'm looking to be engaged and to participate more actively than if I was for example watching the TV.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Absolutely awful. It's not online but it consisted of a large amount of hand drawn images of a room that I cut in to an insane amount of smaller bits to create clickable links within each drawing.
Clicking around brought you around the "interactive room". It's a good project to have in the back of your head when complaining about the graphics/animation software and programming tools we have today.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No but I hope I will find it in me to do that some day.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
It's definitively going to stay for some more time. Flash has built great a relationship to it's users and audience and they keep coming with more.
It's really been a revolutionary addition to the overall online experience. I must say I also love seeing alternatives such as Silverlight and Unity Web Player appear and deliver such high quality and performance as well. I hope they'll keep coming as well!
What are your views on design/graphic school? Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Some of the best creatives I know have no education from design/graphic school. So I have no doubts that it is possible.
But I do think that learning the principles in school is the best way to go, especially for designers. It's a tough industry with a lot of competition so no matter if you go to school or not you will need to love what you do to succeed.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Whenever you learn something new, enjoy that special feeling and let yourself feel great about it. That's what is going to keep you wanting to learn more.
Competition is good, and so are ever-growing aspirations to become even better but take pause and don't forget to take pride in what you do and where you're at right now.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
I bought myself a new laptop and so far I'm very happy with it!
It has been a privilege, thanks very much.