I like to make things happen, put people together, oil the wheels, create and spot the opportunities. Get stuck? Keep going. Come at it from another angle.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Born on the South Coast of the UK. Grew up making things. Studied architecture. Built brand environments. Still building brand environments, many online. I moved from London to Amsterdam in 2000 and have worked globally ever since. Amsterdam is my home.

question What do you do for inspiration?

I do three things. I work as Executive Creative Director at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam along with Dylan De Backer and Joris Kuijpers. I’m founder of the global digital collective Creative Social with Daniele Fiandaca and I work with artists and art, hosting shows and making opportunities.  Heads up to Faile, Ludo, Parra, and ROA.

Essentially I surround myself with inspiring & brilliant people.

question Please list 3 of your favourite sites.




How many hours do you work each week?

I’m on the same rollercoaster as everyone else reading this. The secret is recognizing the hours that matter.

question How do you relax or unwind?

I tend to stay busy but a good ‘yang’ to digital’s ‘yin’ is I like to do physical jobs. I’ve been working on and restoring my house for years. But getting busy with the art is also good.

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

I like to make things happen, put people together, oil the wheels, create and spot the opportunities. Get stuck? Keep going. Come at it from another angle.

question What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?

22 years. Does this quest ever end?

question What area of web design lacks the most?


This is the year we’ll see the brand experience and the product experience cross the room and have a love affair. To date they’ve been pretty much separate experiences, not even a flirt and that’s very much a hangover from traditional company structures.

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

I’ve been behind a couple of books with Creative Social. ‘Digital Advertising Past Present & Future’ – a collection of essays from the pioneers in our industry and ‘The Best Piece Of Advice Ever’ with the fantastic Louisa St.Pierre and her team at Bernstein & Andriulli.

“What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?” is a simple question worth asking people.

question What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

Pretty much anything by Beck is consistently genius. The social aspect is so seamless it doesn’t even have to be mentioned. That makes sense.

From releasing an album of sheet music to delivering a 360 sound experience with director Chris Milk.

question 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?

Yes I solve problems using all mediums necessary. Consider digital a base layer.

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

I don’t think there’s any limit to where they can go, they’ll improve, refine, focus and find their place adapting to any of the many screens in our lives.

We have a huge capacity to accommodate many different tools and media in our lives. Things that appear to do similar things live alongside each other and do different roles. Instagram, Vine, Vimeo, Youtube, or Smartphone vs Tablet vs Laptop vs Desktop. They all find their sweet spot.

Now it’s the TV’s turn – Apple TV, Chromecast and gestural navigation via Leap and Kinect means the living room will be a new significant playground.

question Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?

I’ll hand this question over to my colleagues and creative directors at DDB & Tribal, Bart Mol and Pol Hoenderboom. They just landed FWA Site Of The Month with this. Launching adidas’ new Nitrocharge boot with a great second screen experience.

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

Most importantly find creative mentors. Find people who’s work you respect. They can be school tutors or people at work. Get close to them. Be useful and learn from them.

Many people don’t know what to do. What direction to take. It’s tough. I say do something. If you like it, great. If you don’t like it, great. Now you know what you don’t like. Move on.

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

For FWA, I am sure Rob will have a much better informed opinion haha!

My advice is be single minded in your approach to online. Try and do one thing really well and the rest will follow. Follow this approach from the purpose and functionality through the design.

Regarding the industry, all newcomers are digital natives. Great. Don’t forget your craft. Whether that be strategy, UX or typography. Have a point of excellence.

question What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

What? Besides the Back To The Future Delorean? There is nothing else.

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

Creative Social has a huge role in that. We have global meetings and each one of us takes a few minutes to share our latest piece of work. Often work in progress. Typically a group of 35 people from 15 different countries you get an instant global snap shot of now. And if you consider each Social sharing is the creative chief of their company. It’s pretty mind blowing.

question There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

Dear Beck, Dear Christo, Dear Mr Smit,

I would really like to work with you.

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

A garden fence. It’s an interactive one. It has a gate.

question Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

An idea is not an idea if it’s not in a sentence.

question It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you FWA. Big hand to you Rob. You continue to do an amazing job.


Mark Chalmers, ECD at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam
Mark Chalmers, ECD at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam

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