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Web design suffers badly from trends, flat vs beveled or hero vs long read; these shouldn't be debates but decisions. Design offers the ability to create whatever you can conceive so don't start a project by downloading the latest UI kit.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.

We are Ryan Bousfield (Creative Director), Iain Reid (Creative Technologist) and Chris Robinson (App Lead Designer) from Digital Annexe. We have been particularly focused on mobile projects but we also make up part of a multi-disciplinary team who produce all forms of work from micro-sites to digital point of sale. 

What do you do for inspiration?

We have an interesting mix of creative backgrounds on the team, from product designers and engineers to illustrators and typographers. This combination of thinking creates a constant stream of interesting ideas, articles and nonsense. We're inspired by all of these.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

- http://pttrns.com/ - An excellent resource of mobile design patterns.

- http://ffffound.com/ - Everything the attention deficient creative could ever need.

http://www.fastcompany.com/ - Daily inspiration, insightful and well written articles.

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

We've seen several of our apps in what's hot and as number one in their categories. Simply seeing your icon creates big sense of achievement. 

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

Making things just the same as we do but with different materials.

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

Favourite part, we all love to see a final piece launched but before that, during the design process, the point when an idea just clicks and everyone finishes the day, knowing exactly which route we're heading with it.

The hardest part is to see your good ideas relegated, this is the nature of the process and it only adds to the excitement when an idea is realised.

When we're stuck, we just take a step back. Focusing too much on one thing is the worst thing you can do, it's also worth getting another opinion from outside of the project.

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

We work long hours to get the job done but all nighters don't produce the best work, so pulling together and being efficient with time is our preferred route.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

We embraced mobile early, this has led to changing the way we think and work. Without the design patterns already established, we had to tread new ground in experience and interaction design. 

What software could you not live without?

Adobe creative cloud has recently given all of the team the full set of tools required, Typekit will change things this year for most designers.

Unity 3D has proven interesting for product marketing ideas along side Kinect and Augmented Reality.

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

We have to balance several large projects alongside a constant stream of smaller jobs from our existing clients. 

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

Sketch by Bohemian Coding.

Quartz Composer

What area of web design lacks the most?

Web design suffers badly from trends, flat vs beveled or hero vs long read; these shouldn't be debates but decisions. Design offers the ability to create whatever you can conceive so don't start a project by downloading the latest UI kit.

Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?

Cloud based software as a service has changed the way we live, websites and SAAS who have embraced this have created device agnostic platforms which we use daily to create, collaborate, communicate and consume content. Google docs, Readability, Pinterest and IFTTT are just a few examples of what is possible.

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

Hopefully, this is our first, so we're quietly excited.

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?

Different things work for all of us, we all agree that it's good to have an outlet that you do for the sake of doing rather than worry about the end result.

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

We're already designing online content that isn't delivered through a browser so in 10 years it may not be a discussion about websites, it will be about leveraging digital content and delivering it in the appropriate real world context.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Flash is having a tough time recently, there is definitely an industry shift away but Flash is still a superb multimedia authoring tool - we used it recently for a large touch screen installation and it proved incredibly robust and responsive. It is a case of the right tool for the right job.

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

The portfolio is key, anyone with a brilliant portfolio is welcome. Try to show that you understand a brief, include how you think, keep it simple and don't put everything that you have ever done in there. 

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

As a team we share interesting things, follow people we admire and discuss all of this in our weekly creative forum.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

We're lucky enough to work in the UK, there is a lot happening here in terms of start-ups and small businesses getting off the ground. Away from home, Kenya is seeing innovation happen in different ways due to the leap to mobile technology.

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

We're having a big push on our analytics and insights arm, we understand the value of this data from both a business and UX point of view. A live project isn't the end of the journey.


Links

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Digital Annexe Showreel

An example of Unity3D and Kinect to demo a product.

Pebble prototype: Bar Finder

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