.

We're all going to have brain implants feeding us a steady supply of GIF animations and product sales. In all seriousness though, I think the experience of websites are going to shift from the traditional “storefront” model to a more fluid and granular model. I also think the term “website” is going to die out once it becomes obvious to us that it’s based on an old idea of destinations.


question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

As a creative director at We Are Royale, I bridge the gap between cinematic storytelling and the interactive experience. A veteran creative in traditional filmmaking, animation and visual effects, my expansion into interactive and experiential work brings a unique perspective to the digital landscape, focusing on the heart of the story and the art of connection.

Previously, I worked at renowned design firm Superfad as a Sr. Art Director for the Seattle office, and as a freelance designer, animator and compositor in Los Angeles. Projects have included award winning traditional and interactive work for Nike, Lexus, Sony, Coke Zero and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

What do you do for inspiration?

Sometimes I find inspiration in a beautiful creative project and other times it’s when I’m traveling in a new country. Recently I set out to explore this very subject and what I found was my traditional model had become an overwhelming cacophony of eye candy and obsession. It can become an object of desire and a subject of frustration but for the most part, I find inspiration when I can lose myself in those moments that feel like utter distraction.

I'm inspired by work outside or tangental to my own field. It often helps develop an interesting perspective on design challenges I'm faced with daily.  It sounds counterintuitive but I love to let my mind wander around a bit in different subjects. The goal is that when it comes back, I'll have some unique concepts for ideas I've been kicking around.

Please list 3 of your favorite sites.

www.notcot.org, www.fubiz.net, www.creativeapplications.net

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

My greatest achievements, and it's ongoing, are my sketchbooks. In college I started making my sketchbooks by hand from brown, recycled paper because the clean white pages of traditional books were often too intimidating. I’ve kept to personally making my own sketchbooks and jotting down any and all ideas that randomly come up.

These books hold a constant reminder for me to never stop creating and never be afraid to sketch or jot something down. Sometimes the nostalgia of looking back to see what I was thinking about a couple years ago sparks a new idea to run with. Other times it's a reminder just how ridiculous some of my other ideas were. It’s my constant source of motivation and dialogue.

How many hours do you work each week?

I average 50 hours a week.

How do you relax or unwind?

I find relaxation in creating at my own pace. Designs, posters, lamps and short films. The whole processes of creating an object or a concept is both relaxing and exhilarating.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Same thing I do now. I think the internet provides a unique canvas for storytelling but we certainly don’t need the internet to tell a great story and share it. My side projects are often graphic design explorations and motion projects and I don’t see myself loosing that side anytime soon.

I don’t think any of the work I do relies critically on the use of the internet, it just makes things a little more interesting. Should Skynet become active and we're all forced underground, I'll just be designing for a more challenging environment.

What's your favorite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

Developing and executing on a truly original idea constantly reminds me just how fun this field is. Every day provides challenges that are honestly a lot of fun to figure out. Balancing an amazing concept with a fast deadline is always the hardest part of any job.

It can become incredibly stressful but with that stress comes incredible motivation to create a unique solve.  It’s a weird cyclical process in which all points are motivated by each other and I can’t imagine a project in which there wasn’t a little bit of everything. At the end of the day, it all comes together for an interesting journey. For those moments when my brain decides not to work, a trip to a cafe never hurts.

What software could you not live without?

Animoog on iPad. I would literally die if I couldn’t conveniently create sweet synth sounds.

How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

We will usually have about 7 jobs in office at any given time. 

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

Since a lot of the work I’ve done has spanned so many mediums, I use tools to execute an idea and rarely do I use a tool to create an idea. That being said, I'm excited and Impressed by the way the visual boundaries and capabilities are being pushed in the browser (with things like pixi, 3js, etc.).

Being able to create a truly screen-independent experience with a single location is a liberating design processes. As a designer I'm always excited to create and explore new methods of interactivity with the narratives we want to tell.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

At Royale, we've always looked to a large project with a specific goal in mind. What is the story we are trying to tell and what is it that we want our viewers to feel through the experience. Our most successful projects have been the ones where we had a clear and concise goal and allowed elaboration on that idea but only after our core goal had been met.

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

I made my first site in 7th grade on a mac program called digital chisel. It was an introductory project that taught the basics of web sites and lit the fuse for my interest in web design today. My knowledge of design and html was pretty sparse at the time. It consisted mostly of stupid pictures and hidden hyperlinks, the basic foundation of most sites today. My first site is not online.

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

I try and travel as much as possible. It’s kind of funny but every time I’ve gone on a big trip, I’ve become motived to make something while on that trip. I’ve been struck with motivation while lost in the Albaicin in Grenada, Spain and became overwhelmed with ideas in Icealand. Moving my mind around the world has brought beautiful insights and ideas I don’t think I would have had otherwise.

Placing myself in those new experiences and moments will often wake up my brain from moments of familiarity and habit at home. Lately I’ve taken to not only laying out every idea I have in my sketchbook but also pitching them to myself on multiple levels. I’ve found this exercise to not only help the idea conceptually but also keeps a record for those moments when I want to kitbash for a different project.

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

I am constantly crossing mediums to create projects that feel unique and provide that bit of self satisfaction that I get from making a physical lamp one day and a website the next. At Royale we've done everything from traditional web sites to non-traditional online sweater designing/manufacturing contests.

Royale is a creatively diverse company that is truly motivated to make projects in any medium necessary to tell a great story. When we sit down and discuss how a project is going to be experienced, I often include the same concept on multiple mediums at once. A familiar exercise we go through is to design WAY beyond the scope of the job to test our creative boundaries, then a quick peek at realities brings us back to earth. I also like to score that whole creative exercise on the Moog.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

We're all going to have brain implants feeding us a steady supply of GIF animations and product sales. In all seriousness though, I think the experience of websites are going to shift from the traditional “storefront” model to a more fluid and granular model. I also think the term “website” is going to die out once it becomes obvious to us that it’s based on an old idea of destinations.

The internet is slowly becoming the global consciousness and with it will come important discussions and explorations on how we navigate and integrate with such an omnipresent network. The usefulness of the storefront model will probably remain in some form but we’re already seeing a stratification of user experiences which suggest a shift in focus from destination to aggregation.

Site experiences that tell a story will become portals to an evolving narrative which will span many online content locations all at once. That visualized web of interconnected experiences will grant us the ability to tell an even richer story built on the evolution of the human condition.

There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients based on tools and services, that many times have simples interfaces. How do you see that trend developing? Will Flash suffer?

I think Flash is a useful tool just like any other used in our toolbox. As our focus shifts around to accommodate our audiences those tools will shift. It really comes down to context and just as a good web experience is based on user context, our tools will play the same role. We may not use flash as much for web experiences but that doesn't mean flash doesn't have a usefulness in another medium.

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

Everyone should get an education in the field they are passionate in, one way or another. Online tutorials were a great way to spark the interest and motivation to create, but it was the teachers and the classrooms which created that safe environment to design and create.

It’s important to have mentors that can help guide you in the right direction and the great thing about higher education is that you get a bunch of them! The usefulness of higher education though, is truly based on how much effort you put into it.

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Keep creating. This should be a no-brainer for most but keep motivated and just keep making things. Build cool experimental sites, design posters, create short films, take pictures and travel.

How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

For me it’s not about the titles. I look for the personality and the drive to create. The people we surround ourselves with are the ones who have the motivation to create no matter what the medium is.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

A daily morning ritual of a good coffee and perusal of my go-to reading material.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you!


Links

hr


Space Needle: Travel up the Space Needle in this interactive ride to the top of a Seattle landmark.
Space Needle: Travel up the Space Needle in this interactive ride to the top of a Seattle landmark.

Mission Control: A webGL project mapping site traffic on a 3D particle globe in real time.
Mission Control: A webGL project mapping site traffic on a 3D particle globe in real time.

Jimmy Johns Sandwich Cannon: A sandwich shooting iPhone app.
Jimmy Johns Sandwich Cannon: A sandwich shooting iPhone app.

Xbox Frost: a kaleidoscopic spot featuring transforming snowflakes designed from two of the best selling Xbox games.
Xbox Frost: a kaleidoscopic spot featuring transforming snowflakes designed from two of the best selling Xbox games.

Coke Zero Sweater Generator: A sweater building site where users could design and win their own tacky holiday creations.
Coke Zero Sweater Generator: A sweater building site where users could design and win their own tacky holiday creations.

Time in Place: A real-time re-purposing and interpretation of movement as generative graphic design.
Time in Place: A real-time re-purposing and interpretation of movement as generative graphic design.

Generative spacial mapping project that creates personal designs out of GPS data.
Generative spacial mapping project that creates personal designs out of GPS data.

All rights reserved © 2000 - 2014 Favourite Website Awards (FWA) -  Terms & Conditions -  Privacy statement -  Cookie Policy -  Advertise -  About FWA -  Contact