Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

The Importance of Doodling

Monday, April 12th, 2010

The act of Doodling is not given enough credit. Now, I’m not really talking about the scribbling you do while in a boring meeting. Neither am I discussing the science behind doodles or analysing the different shapes we scribble while on the phone.

Make sure and check out the rest of this article as it has a custom designed layout.

4 Pixels or Less

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Having too much choice is one of the main obstacles for 21st century designers. With virtually unlimited tools and possibilities at our fingertips in the digital age, our creativity can become clouded very easily. Being inundated with thousands of photoshop brushes or fonts can push the very concept of a design from the forefront of your mind.

Make sure and check out the rest of this article as it has a custom designed layout.

Who’s behind ‘Behind The Websites’?

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Continually frustrated, and quite frankly bored with the plethora of ‘Top 60 Footers’, ‘How to get more followers on Twitter’ posts, endless digs at IE6, and just general bad web design out there at the minute, it’s so refreshing to see a really simple, short, nicely illustrated and funny project!

mac magazineBehind the Websites is a daily take on the well known websites out there. Illustrator Ricardo Gimenes creates a funny illustration based on the characters/story behind a chosen site.  I got to chat with Ricardo about the project.

Could you explain a bit about yourself, your background and ‘Behind the Websites’?

I’ve been studying since I was thirteen. I later graduated in Art and Communication from the Panamericana School of Art and Design in São Paulo. More recently I have taken courses in Digital Cinema and Art Direction. Besides that, I have learnt quite a lot of computer skills myself, like Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, etc.

For a long time I was thinking about making a blog with illustrations, like a personal project and finally I came up with behind the websites.


It is a brilliant project. I love it!  Where did the inspiration come from?

I was working on a very boring project (the project was cool but the client was terrible).  After 5000 changes requested from “the art director client” I sent the final design.  After I sent it I was imagining the client looking at his computer and saying: It’s beautiful, perfect! but I want to change the color, and the font size a little, and swap the photo, etc… This was when I had an idea to illustrate the client behind the website and only complain…I didn’t illustrate the client but was the beginning of behind the websites.

Do you plan to have a new illustration up every day?

Yes, and I have plan to launch a new one behind the websites, a portuguese version, called “Behind the websites Brasil” it will mean, two illustrations everyday!

How do you choose your ‘victims’?

There’s no a specific way, basically I’m trying to associate an old cartoon with something new (as you can see I love Hanna-Barbera characters). Yes Im more than 30 years old.

I am incredibly bored with the Internet at the minute.  Wading through the constant ‘Top 10 Lists’, ‘how to get more followers on twitter’ posts and IE6 bashing sites is getting really tiresome. It’s great to see something different like your blog. Did it take much work to put together?

Thanks! To be honest I wasn’t thinking about creating something different or new, “behind the websites” is a time when I sit back and relax, a pleasure time for me, thats why it doesn’t take much work.  The problem is when I finish the illustration and have come back to “real world”.


What other illustrators/designers inspire you?

At the moment my inspiration is Arthur the Pins, he’s a master of shading, as you can see I’m far away from him but definitely,  I want to be like him when I grow up.

Have you used social media much to promote your blog? What other methods have you used?

I need someone to help me to promote my blog.  I only joined Twitter a month ago and currently there’s no other ways I promote my blog, only twitter and sending the links to friends and a few design sites.

You offer to show people what’s behind their website for very cheap. How cheap? :)

Super cheap, only $7500 dollars if you want you some images behind of any website! Of course I’m talking about if you want 100 images behind your website. ;) The price is $75 dollars for each illustration/character. Also there’s a very good feature in my blog, a donation button, but I guess nobody knows how to use the button, I didn’t get any donation, anyway someone has Paris Hilton email address?


Thanks Ricardo! Looking forward to seeing more illustrations soon! :)

Follow me @PaddyDonnelly on Twitter if you want to keep up with more interviews and thoughts of an irishman in Belgium.

Interview with Elliot Jay Stocks

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Elliot over some beers in Leuven last friday, where he was speaking at the conference. He was kind enough to do a skype interview so here are the thoughts of a designer, illustrator, speaker, author, sometimes musician and international man of mystery

Elliot’s links

  1. Website
  2. Book
  3. EP
  4. Twitter


  1. Tim Van Damme
  2. Khol Vinh – Subtraction
  3. Squared Eye
  4. Mike Kus – The Things We Make
  5. Jason Santa Maria
  6. Miguel Ripoll
  7. Sam Brown

The Tim Van Damme Situation

We mention Tim Van Damme a lot in the video. I interviewed him over skype a few weeks ago so why not hear his thoughts on social media next?

Follow Me

I’ll be doing some more exciting and interesting interviews soon so follow me on Twitter to find out first!

What’s all this talk about Web Standardistas? – interview with the authors

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

web standardistas

So who are Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson?

web standardistas twitter
We’re a couple of academics with a penchant for tweed. We teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Ulster, teaching interactive design at degree level and design theory at masters level.

On our interactive design course, we’ve been actively promoting a web standards–based curriculum for many years now. We’ve worked hard to develop a lecture program for our students that covers all of the fundamentals: a solid grounding in XHTML coupled with a strong grasp of CSS. We strive to ensure that when our students leave our courses they’re doing web design the right way: creating well-designed web sites built using a web standards approach.

In our spare time – when we can find some – we both maintain our own practice as designers, developers and artists.

Basically what is a Standardista?

web standardistas twitter
A Standardista is someone who knows and cares about their markup and who sees the semantic structuring of content and, equally importantly, the separation of content and presentation as an essential part of the design process.

How do I sign up?

web standardistas twitter
Signing up is simple: If you’d like to brandish your Web Standardistas’ credentials for the world to see you can become a card-carrying, badge-wearing Standardista by putting one of our stylish badges on your site. (Paddy has one in his sidebar)

How and when did this book idea come about? What was the driving force behind it?

web standardistas twitter
In addition to the lecture programme we deliver at the University of Ulster we occasionally take our show on the road and teach community groups, retired silversmiths and bicycle repairmen the basics of web design. The feedback we received from these workshops was overwhelmingly positive and we wanted to put the teaching materials we’d created for them to good use, developing this material further.

Our initial plan was to create an online resource, giving the material away for free, but our first draft caught the eye of friends of ED and, as they say, the rest is history.

In an industry that’s moving at warp factor 7, how difficult is it to teach students about technologies and techniques that you know will be out of date by the time they graduate?

web standardistas twitter
One thing we don’t do is teach software or frameworks. We focus on teaching fundamental principles and work hard to promote an attitude of self-motivated learning and discovery.

There is some emerging talent coming out of both your courses, Interactive Multimedia Design and MA Multi-Disciplinary Design. Who is worth watching?

web standardistas twitter
It would be unethical to comment on current students who are approaching their end of year assessments, however, there are a number of past graduates of both our BSc (Hons) course and MA course that are well worth watching.

Gareth Dickey graduated last year and is now working as a designer for Belfast based web design firm Design by Front. His final year project – The 11th Hour – was an exceptional piece of motion graphics.

David Henderson is another recent graduate and the winner of our 2008 Design Prize (a prize we sponsor every year through Web Standardistas), in no small part due to his excellent final year project The Best of Belfast, coincidentally another accomplished piece of motion graphics.

Lee Munroe and Kyle Boyd, both recent graduate of the MA Multidisciplinary Design we deliver, are also talented designers and developers worth watching. Both are currently developing businesses since graduating: Lookaly and the Disability Heroes respectively.

What would you recommend a student do to get onto the ‘worth watching’ list?

web standardistas twitter
The recipe for success is actually quite simple:

  1. Work hard.
  2. Be a nice person.

It’s all about karma.

If you could design a perfect multimedia course, what would it entail?

web standardistas twitter
It would focus on the fundamentals of design: typography, grid systems, information architecture, user interface design, usability and user experience. It’s important to cover the fundamentals without losing sight of the fact that in this industry a strong technical understanding is equally important.

We don’t believe that there should be a split between the role of designer and front end developer, at least not whilst still in education. A solid understanding of design, coupled with a firm technical ability makes for a more rounded and more employable graduate.

Mike Rundle covers this very well in his essay Designers Who Are Technical: The More You Know, The Better Your Work

How can you describe the Northern Ireland web design scene in 2009? Has it changed in any way since I left in January?

web standardistas twitter
It’s a very exciting time with a great deal of activity and a multitude of new talent emerging. Belfast is rapidly establishing itself as an emerging centre of excellence internationally and attracting the attention of respected designers from all over the world.

We’ve worked hard to develop a very successful International Guest Lecture Programme and we’ve been fortunate to have been supported by an all-star cast of designers, speaking at the university. Most recently we welcomed Nicholas Felton to Belfast for an extremely inspiring presentation on his work. We’ve also, amongst others, enjoyed presentations by Nicholas Roope of Poke and Hulger, Andy Stevens of Graphic Thought Facility and design critic Adrian Shaughnessy. All have commented on the growing vibrancy of the web design scene in Belfast.

Can you tell us a little about the book writing process?

web standardistas twitter
The book writing process is a simple one, it involves the following key ingredients: hard work, late nights and weekends, and the occasional reward of Carlsberg and sushi.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about writing a book?

web standardistas twitter
Similar advice to someone considering doing the Ironman: Are you really, really sure?

How have you used social media in promoting the book?

web standardistas twitter
By agreeing to do this interview.

Does a blank canvas in Photoshop excite you or intimidate you?

web standardistas twitter
You should come to Photoshop with your design and ideas already established. A blank napkin or a blank page in your sketchbook might be intimidating; Photoshop shouldn’t.

When was the last time you had an apricot?

web standardistas twitter
Dried, canned or fresh?

You guys are giving away some free books I hear? Want to tell people how they can win a copy?

web standardistas twitter
Our publisher, Friends of ED have very kindly given us some free copies to be distributed amongst our Twitter followers.

In a shameless drive to boost our numbers, we’ve created a carefully crafted pseudo-random-number-generator-system™, through which we’re selecting three lucky new Twitter followers who will win a free copy of our book.

If you, or anyone you know, would appreciate a daily dose of carefully selected web design inspiration via Twitter, all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to follow @standardistas.

A constant dilemma is bugging me. When you have to do a smiley inside brackets, should you leave a space after it or not? (This :)) or (This :) ). Neither looks right to me.

web standardistas twitter
This problem can be resolved by always sticking your tongue out when smiling. ( :P )

So what’s next on the cards for you Mr Murphy and Mr Persson?

web standardistas twitter
Given last year’s summer was spent writing our book night and day, this summer we plan to retire to our respective dachas in Donegal and Northern Sweden where we’ve lined up a number of personal projects (which may, or may not, involve iPhone development).

What is going to be book number two?

web standardistas twitter
Web Standardistas is firmly aimed at beginners, providing a solid understanding of the benefits of a web standards approach. It’s intended as a starting point, providing a solid foundation on which to build. It’s focus was primarily on markup and our next book is intended to focus on design as applied to the web.

To get an idea of the mix of content we have in mind, stop by the Web Standardistas’ web site, where we’re publishing content daily.



Thanks guys! It was great chatting to the guys who represent web standards and tweed simultaneously.  If you’re at all interested in web design, web standards, design in general, the Internet or tweed then following @Standardistas is an easy choice to make!

Follow Me

Follow me on Twitter @paddydonnelly to find out first about future interviews and hear the daily ramblings of an Irishman in Belgium.