Don't sacrifice quality for time and money. Never stop pushing. Never be satisfied.
Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.
Aaron: I started my career interning as a motion designer in 2004 at Digital Kitchen's Seattle office, and have been entranced with interactivity and the way things move since then. Before starting Super Top Secret, I worked around Seattle at Wexley School for Girls and Publicis, as well as doing a stint at the Strategic Prototyping Division inside Microsoft.
Pete: Been doing development for about a decade now. Started out making sites for buddies and now I work on sites for Nike, Oakley, and Beats to name a few. I love to create sites that users truly enjoy, which at the same time have a purpose and are useful to the end user.
What do you do for inspiration?
Aaron: My inspiration usually comes from video games or exploring outside. A hike out into the hills or mountains can bring a lot of clarity to something you may be stuck on, and video games to me have always served as a look into where we should be pushing ourselves.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Aaron: Adidas: Nitrocharge Your Game / Lego Star Wars III / Clouds over Cuba
Pete: Leo Burnett: Big Ideas Come From Big Pencils / Yearbook 2006 / reddit
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Pete: Professionally I'd say having a job I love to go to every day that actually pays the bills. And winning a bunch of awards for our agency's site.
How many hours do you work each week?
Aaron: It probably ends up being anywhere from 40-80, but a lot of that time is spent BS'ing on the state of the internet and what we can do to make something better.
Pete: Does watching Twitch at my desk count as a work hour?
How do you relax or unwind?
Aaron: I'm not sure how I can put this legally?
Pete: What he's saying is he drinks the blood of his enemies.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
Pete: Probably sleeping with one ear open to the police scanner selling footage to news stations as a stringer.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
Pete: When I get stuck I get up and do something, anything else. it almost always helps me get past any problem I have. Sometimes I think I do my best work when I'm driving home.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
Pete: That depends on how much Adderall and Red Bull we have on hand. But I think the overall record here at STS is 35 hours straight.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
Pete: Interning in the New Media Initiatives department at the Smithsonian American Art museum as a newbie web designer gave me invaluable experience and opened up relationships I carry on to this day. They bestowed on me the confidence I needed to thrive in a wide variety of work environments.
In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?
Aaron: I really love what's being done in Unity and the power it's giving you to build something exploratory or interactive and compile down to multiple devices/languages.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
Aaron: I love smart design-driven companies, and I love those who have mastered creating a beautiful experience. If I had to narrow it down, I'd say North Kingdom, Big Spaceship & Firstborn
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Pete: We've seen more visitors since we launched the new site 3 weeks ago than we did in the last 2 years.
Aaron: Pete answered that in reverse, so I guess the question back is "what effect does design have on your traffic?"
What area of web design lacks the most?
Pete: Shopping on the web is practically the same it was 15 years ago. Being a slave to usability and user expectations is a disservice to us all.
Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?
Aaron: I think we're just finally starting to get past the "this could've been done easier and faster in Flash" days, and into an era where people can truly be innovative
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
Aaron: Oh most definitely! Beyond the fact that it gives us validation in the work we do, it's generated a lot of interest in our company each time we've been lucky enough to win.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
Aaron: Oh I wish it did! It was a little flash site that was overly animated and had a transition for everything, hahaha.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
Pete: don't sacrifice quality for time and money. Never stop pushing. Never be satisfied.
How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?
Pete: The difficulty lies more with finding the right people to interview. We've developed a set of questions, logic tests, and code exercises that make it difficult for someone to fake it once we get them in here.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
Pete: Probably the Monarch's Mighty Floating Cocoon.
Aaron: The Beatle's Yellow Submarine.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
Aaron: I want to start to do more work that blurs the lines between physical and digital interaction. Doing more conceptual work with sensors, environments, and projected & interactive elements is definitely of high interest to me.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
Aaron: $800 in fireworks.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
Pete: No thank you. It has been a long term aspiration to land an FWA.