.

Back when I was an exchange student I once skipped a night and didn't come out the room for 40 hours until the work was finally finished. Pretty intense!

question  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I'm a Belgian designer and creative director with a background in photography, advertisement and multimedia. I'm known for my focus on quality, beautiful design and hunger for technology. For years I worked as an independed designer (www.quidante.com) and since 2009 I run Little Miss Robot (www.littlemissrobot.com), together with Wim Vanhenden, Sven Luyten and Thomas Joos.

What do you do for inspiration?

Having time on hand and getting lost virtually or in real life is the best way to find new inspiration.

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Having the courage to get independed and launch a company. Although others had their doubts, I took a shot at what seemed to be the next step in my professional career.

How do you relax or unwind?

During the week I really enjoy my Judo sessions and browsing on the Internet. I like to discover & explore new things and experiences. In my free time I love to travel, it is my ultimate cure to relax!

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

My favourite part is working with talented people and create beautiful things. I also like the variation in my job. The hardest part is creating an environment where creative people feel comfortable. A place that stimulates the creation of great things we can proudly share with our friends, family and the creative community. I think that finding the right balance between effort and satisfaction is the hardest part of life in general.

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

Back when I was an exchange student I once skipped a night and didn't come out the room for 40 hours until the work was finally finished. Pretty intense! 

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

My decision to study graphic design at the age of 16. Start working freelance at 20 and gaining professional experience in bigger offices. And of course, starting Little Miss Robot in 2009.

What software could you not live without?

Creative software such as the products of adobe. And software to communicate via the internet such as my mail app and browser.

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

It depends on the time of year but in general we balance between 5 to 10 active projects.

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

That’s a difficult one because design has a very wide spectrum. Today I would go for North Kingdom, Art+Com and B-reel. And for a younger company I would recommend having a look at the work of Moonbot.

What area of web design lacks the most?

For the moment I would say HTML5 and native mobile experiences. If we compare them with Flash experience websites, especially in terms of animation and interaction, we still have a lot to improve. Also, the production process between design en development has to improve. After all those years it’s still very difficult to work pixelperfect and make changes at any moment. Tools are provided, but they are still complex and time-consuming.

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

Yes! It helps me to stay focussed and work on high-quality projects.

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

It always comes down to clear communication. Getting to know your stakeholders and carefully grow your creation with them. Stay focussed on the essence of what your doing together.

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

Yes, you can check it out at http://www.quidante.com/versie1/

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

I already had the pleasure of being interviewed for several books. I would love to write a book one day. I would focus on the creative industry and it’s impact and differences compared to other industries.

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?

For the moment I’m following a class for general management. I also travel to explore the creative industry worldwide, visiting companies and talents.

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?

Kony 2012. The video storytelling was so well done that it reached the entire world in a few days.

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?

My father was a carpenter and wood sculpture creator. I grew up with a lot of wood creations around me and I still have the urge to make something physical. The fact that pixels are leaving the screen into a physical world is an opportunity for me to digitally create something physical! For me one of the important reasons why we started building interactive installations with Little Miss Robot.

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

I believe that the Internet will be outside the screen into a diversity of devices, products and environments. The speciality of webdesign will be chattered in to multiple sections. 

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

I'm proud of a lot of our projects, but the really great projects came with a heavy NDA attached. To pick one besides that, I’d go for our first mobile FWA Award winner: Zona on iPad! (www.carldekeyzer.com/ipad)

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

The creation of a cash experience site for Kuro, a new television for Pioneer. It was a combination between video, papervision and flash interactivity. A hell of a job to make this experience seamless. But the result was stunning. 

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

The perception of Flash will shift in something else or will fade out. But Adobe will keep providing tools to fulfil the need of digital creation on the web, for sure!

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

Being a designer is a life long learning experience. Design oriented education can only give and teach you some ‘shortcuts’. I do think, because of the technology being used in creative projects, it's extremely hard to skip learning environments such as schools.

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

Look for heroes and read a lot about them. Doing so you can create & find your own values, which will help you to become better in your work. And of course keep looking for feedback and criticism from talent people in the industry.

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

The portfolio says everything.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

A flying saloon filled with friends, no digital access whatsoever…  and a bar!

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

Blowing their minds with beautiful concepts and creations.

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

Spending a lot of hours behind the computer. Creating, coding and testing. There isn't any alternative for hard work. Or is there?

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

Events, the Internet, visiting companies and talking to talents.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Scandinavia and the US. And of course.. Japan. A great place with high-level technical quality.

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

I have two: The first one is a combination between abstract and figurative. A poetic video project with classic dancing. Something I never saw before. And the other one is a physical device that expresses his personality digitally. 

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

I think the company is growing in a mature being with a lot of possibilities and I'm evolving along with it.

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

A new iPad for my mom.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Create every project with the passion as it was your first and with eye for detail as it was your last.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you. After all those years admiring FWA Award Winners, I’m honored to be part of it.


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