Monday, March 23, 2009
Q: Introduce us to yourself and your company.
Hello Monday is a boutique ‘designery’ in Denmark, and in Autumn 2009, in New York. We specialize in innovative Flash websites and visual identities that tickle brains and eyes around the world. My name is Anders Jessen, and I am a partner at Hello Monday. We started Hello Monday because we wanted to build a creative playground rather than a production factory—obviously not an easy endeavor but an absolute necessity to keep creativity alive and to avoid becoming indifferent towards the design. Our office in Denmark is a 350 year-old town-house. It is built in the days where kings and queens ruled the world and the fastest transportation was a horse. Since then a lot of things have happened in the field of technology. I bet that these old-timers would be puzzled if they saw what is going on in their town-house today.
Q: Interactive Producers come from all walks of life, they are a hybrid of talents, tell us about your background and how you got interested in digital production?
13 years ago, we were the first family in our suburb to get broadband internet access. Subsequently, my dad saw the potential in having a website, and to help him realize this potential, I taught myself HTML. In 1997, something strange happened. Gabocorp launched a Flash website (www.thefwa.com/flash10/gabo.html) that surpassed anything I had ever seen before. I faced the consequences and broke up with HTML. I have background as a market economist, but from that special day in 1997, my heart was beating in key frames.
Q: How do you stay on top of emerging technologies and keep your team informed and motivated?
A lot of my inspiration comes from music or walking around in the city, observing the architecture, the people, and the nature. In regards to staying on top of emerging technologies, blogs and the FWA keep me updated. We encourage our team to constantly explore new ideas and think of new ways to do things. By allocating time to carry out experiments, we ensure that we always stay on top of innovation.
Q: What does your ideal client/project look like?
Perfect clients are ambitious and visionary, and they want to create something that is unique and memorable.
Q: How do you educate your clients and set realistic expectations for a project?
The key ingredients are honesty and openness. Any design process entails different ideas and perspectives and disagreement is unavoidable. Instead of fighting this premises, we try to embrace it. Sometimes, difference of opinion can open up for new, interesting discussions, new ways of thinking and often better designs. If clients feel strong about a specific feature, you cannot force them to take another route, however, if we disagree, we tell them which approach we think is best for them. If they still disagree, at least they are aware of the choice they are making and the alternatives. It is obviously always tempting to take the easy route and tell them what they want to hear, but for us, it has not been the right way to go. Dialogue is the key to any successful project.
Q: What was the best project you have ever worked on?
Internally, we have an imaginative company called Hello Funday through which we can live out our design dreams. This way we don’t have to wait for the right client when we have a great idea. 90% of the work we will do in Hello Funday will probably be a world wide waste of money but we need this to blow out some creative steam and give wings to some of our many ideas. These include ideas for innovative ways of navigating the web, packaging for candy, edgy illustrations etc. The draw-navigation for red-issue.com was developed in the realm of Hello Funday, and this was indeed an exciting project.
Q: How many projects are you comfortable producing at one given time?
We plan our time so we have a maximum of three projects at a time. The good thing about having more than one project is that you can let ideas marinade while you work on other projects.
Q: What does your dream production team look like?
It is easy to find designers, developers and strategists, however, it is very hard to find the right ones. The perfect team consists of talented, innovative and passionate people.
Q: How do you ensure that your client's best interests are met?
We talk to them. Then we talk some more, and afterwards we talk a little bit more. Communication is key to understanding our clients’ interests. If the concept is strong and the output reflects the vision for the brand, we know that we have elevated our client’s business.
Q: What is your vision of what the next phase of our industry is going to look like?
Two letters and two words: 4D and virtual reality. No, seriously; I have absolutely no idea what the next phase will look like. It will definitely be new and different, and I can’t wait to be part of the development.
Q: Please share a snippet of wisdom that you would like to impart on our readers.
It might sound like a cliché, but it’s important to have fun while you work. For obvious reasons this is not possible all the time but try to do it as much as possible. When you stop having fun, your projects will look accordingly.
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