Sites with the perfect balance of look, usability and relevance are rare but sooo nice when you find them.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I am 31 year old, Creative Director at In2media here in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In 1998 I bought my first computer, started at design school in 2000 and became intern at In2media January 2001. Since then I have followed the company’s growth, moved through the ranks and am now leading the creative department as well as being part of the company’s management team.

Besides that I am married and have a wonderful life with my beautiful wife. I have recently launched my very first portfolio http://work.iampelle.com

What do you do for inspiration?

I would lie if was to say that I don’t get my inspiration from browsing design links, but as I have gotten older I have found new sources of inspiration.

I like the logic of webdesign and especially designing intuitive yet innovative flash navigations, and inspiration for those can come from all kind of sources. It is more a feeling I will be looking for, and that feeling can be found in clothing-, interior-, industrial-, car-design etc. But most of all I get inspiration from my colleagues - and our solutions are a team effort with all pitching in.

Please list 3 of your favorite sites.

Three sites that have caught my attention over the past year. I could have chosen sites that actually gives me some value in my everyday life, but I have chosen sites that are visually inspiring.

1. Switch Mediaworks

The site has some old school design elements and effects and the design might not be my favorite style, but my god, this site is flawless. The animations are super smooth and the red line idea is really good. I simply love the transitions…

2. Working Element

Hello Monday is the new creative kid on the block in Denmark reminding me of In2media when we were a smaller company. They make fantastic solutions an recently this Working Element site caught my attention and really stood out.

3. SeymourPowell

Here is a site I feel simply has the correct solution for showing exactly this content. It is not super flashy nor is it pushing the limits of what is possible, they have found a solid solution with the panels and have made it there own. Love it!

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

I would say that my biggest personal achievement is that I have moved from intern to Creative Director in few years and I can actually say that I have the best job I could imagine in Denmark.

What software could you not live without?

Well software is the tool of the trade and you do what you can with what you have, it is all about pushing the limits. I use Photoshop as my main tool, the limits there are hard to find though :)

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Right now we are building a big solution for a pension company that will definitely turn some heads in that world. We are trying a different kind of non-linear communication with alpha videos in layers and an identity that clearly sets them apart from the competition.

We are also building a newsreader Air application for one of the biggest newspapers in Denmark, and I am preparing several launched projects for FWA submission. I am also participating in a designer toy show called VinylCPH with many exciting designers attending.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

Interior: Wonderwall (I have followed them a long time. Nice new site btw.)

Graphic: Build (all time favorite)

Automotive/Industrial: BMW Designworks (beautiful, minimal and in some ways very Scandinavian solutions)

What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

On some projects the design has a huge impact on the traffic, if the site wins awards you definitely see a boost.

In other cases you can see that a design that displays the content in the best possible way, makes the user want to come back to the site and even tell other people about it. The last scenario is the most gratifying.

Who is your target audience?

I don’t think I have a target audience; I try to design sites for the client’s audience. Of course I have a certain style, especially for my personal projects but I try to make variations and try new solutions and styles to suit the client’s goals.

What area of web design lacks the most?

In general there is still too many sites that just look good but have no depth in content. They are like a painting in the world’s biggest gallery, pretty but will be forgotten. There are also too many sites where function wins over form and the opposite.

Sites with the perfect balance of look, usability and relevance are rare but sooo nice when you find them.

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

It was a classic frameset with a left, a top and a content frame and some super anti exciting info about me. I think the world is a better place because it is not online any more :)

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

I haven’t written any books and I am not sure I ever will. Maybe one day I have so much knowledge that I want to share it with the world, but right now I don’t think I have enough to offer.

Some of my work has been featured in books, and I have been interviewed for some magazines but that is pretty much it.

What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

I am not a Flash developer so my challenges with Flash are mostly in thinking ways of using it in the best possible way. With the In2media site we wanted to implement a blog into the site to make it possible to use the blog content across the site.

We also implemented a history feature in the top, together with a list of new content since last visit, suggested content and a Twitter system where we can twit to the site using codes. All of these are kind of innovative features, or features used in new ways. That was a challenge for both the developers and me.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

I believe that the format of Flash definitely is here to stay. The way Flash eliminates platform depended restraints and gives the designer possibilities to think out of the box is groundbreaking and has a lot of advantages.

I still think it has a long way to go though, with the best 3D solutions looking like ten-year-old computer games, and even though SEO is now possible, it is still not supported completely and that is oh so crucial now and in the future.

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

Time has shown that it is very possible to be in our field without an education.

What you can learn in school are the evergreens like typography, color theories, classic layout and concept developing that will not grow old and are not depended on technology.

The teachers have a hard time keeping up with the students when it comes to applications and use of technologies and the study books will be outdated when they leave the printer.

I would recommend an education at any time though, because you will build a network there and you will learn a lot from your fellow students.

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

It is a case of show it don’t tell it. Make good solutions and the clients will come. Make a website for your company that shows what you can do, and you will find that you can control what kind of clients come to you to a certain degree.

They will not come if they don’t know you exist though, so make sure to make an impact in the business. Winning awards, getting PR, blogging etc., can do this but the most important thing is to have a good network, you will be surprised how many clients will come to you because they know you to begin with, or clients you have worked for have recommended you.

How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

When I started out, I copied other people’s work to the smallest detail. When something didn’t work, I found a solution and I would work on it until it was just right. I used what I learned to make my own “original” stuff and at some point my own solutions started looking good and actually work.

The great thing about flash is that you are not restrained by the same conventions that normally apply to web design. That being said, Flash gives you so many possibilities that it is very easy to make something bad. Always see your solutions from the users point of view, if an animation doesn’t give value, remove it.

Explore what would be a natural next step in navigation and see where it takes you. Test your designs on other people and listen to what they say, even though they are not always right!

What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?

I bought a 30-year-old French track bike on eBay, I got it cheap but when you think of it 400 euro is a lot for an old used bike! I have been building up quite a lot of bikes recently and I am currently hooking friends up with new rides.

The plan is to add them to my portfolio soon. I have always had a hobby besides my work and recently these bikes have been taken up a lot of my time. I like getting my hands soiled ones in a while :)

What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

I just bought a new winter coat; it is Comme des Garçons but the cheaper SHIRT label. I am a bit of a labels man, but I can also be a bargain man. I have quite a lot of Uniqlo’s super cheap clothing, and that is not only because they have nice websites…

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Not right now no, but follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/pelsen - there might be some pearls of wisdom coming there.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much.

The privilege is mine - it’s an honor!


Pelle Martin
Pelle Martin

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