― Could you please tell us about yourself & the creative team behind your company?
A: After a venturesome vocational past (I was working as a stage designer for our local theater and TV station, spend a few years as special effects coordinator at the Bavaria film studios in Munich for several movies, including 20th century fox “enemy mine” , worked as sales and marketing manager for Siemens and every now and then as a studio musician/composer for several German music acts) I founded 247 media studios back in 2001 and became one of the numerous ‘bedroom designers’ with the vision to have one day my own web design agency.
Today, 247 is a creative web design studio with a rather atypical structure; we are an open company of talented designers and programmers forming a collective, sharing projects and ideas.This in turn leads us to create work for an eclectic group of clients such as SQUARE ENIX (Japan), Eidos (UK), National Geographics, Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), Bushido, Universal Music, Paramount Pictures, rosenstolz, Unicef, red bull and the FIA to name a few.
This freedom to explore what we like, leads to some immersive and powerful results for web design, multimedia and cross media productions. Our unique graphic style which has influenced many other designers worldwide was mentioned in numerous web design related books and magazines and honored us with some of the most prestigious awards in the design world such as:
- Promax BDA miami, 2001
- 11 FWA awards between 2002 – 2008
- Macromedia Site of the Month 2003
- Flash Film Festival San Francisco, 2004
- Animago, winner, 2005
- London International Awards, 2006
- Flash Forward Boston, 2007
- 38th Annual Creativity Race Day Awards 2008
So as for now, we have in-house one fantastic skilled programmer who is able to do wonderful things with all sorts of lines and codes and such (I actually have no idea what he’s doing…but it always works), one maniac who is responsible for 3D modeling, animation and all sorts of motion graphics, my wife Xantine Ramin (winner of the above mentioned BDA/Promax 2001 in Miami) who is taking care of concepts and copy writing and myself creating all the graphics seen in our 250+ portfolio. We also have 2 trainees and every 6 month an intern from all over the world (besides obvious Germans, we had interns form Brazil, America, France, UK and Sweden).
Small but effective team.
― What is your typical day like?
A: In order of appearance:
- Waking up (oh, really?)
- Having coffee
- Going for a walk with my four dogs
- Having coffee
- Walking to the office (with at least 3 dogs)
- Starting the computers and thinking about buying a mac
- Having some more coffee
- Checking emails
- Checking twitter
- Double checking emails
- Back to twitter
- Creating 3 stunning layouts and 2 amazing websites
- Writing emails
- Checking if twitter is still online
- Writing invoices
- Paying invoices
- Noticing that too much coffee can harm your health
- Leaving the office with 2 dogs
- Going back to the office to get the other missing dog
- Going home to my wife and son
- Going for a run
- Playing Xbox or PStriple (gamertag and ID: wonderwaffe)
- Falling asleep (right after checking twitter and my mails for sure)
― Have you been to Japan?
A: No. Now that was easy to answer.
BUT I WOULD LOVE TO. Really, this is one of my biggest dreams to visit Japan one day and spend all of my non existing money in Akihabara (major shopping area for electronic, computer & anime)…if i could only fight my fear of flying.
― What do you think of the design community in Japan?
A: I have a huge respect for Japanese designers and I have never seen more beautiful art when it comes to web design.
Teddies in Space – View Project
― I’m especially impressed by your interactive flash web designs. Where do you get your fun & creative ideas from?
A: Most of my ideas come from video games and mother nature. hm?…Ok, forget about that mother nature thing, I was only trying to be political correct: IT’S ONLY VIDEO GAMES. I own nearly every console ever made and while I save the world and kick some alien butts or become the greatest rally driver in the world, I really feel how I fuel up my inspiration tanks with ideas and images provided by those small digital worlds. While I write these lines, I have to say that some ideas are coming from mother nature as well…
― We see that you have international clients from Japan, America, Europe. Could you tell us what are some of the important points in taking your company further into international markets?
A: Especially the German market is a bit afraid of anything beside the “normal” corporate website. Coming up with something like our teddies in space webbernet, might have scared the **** out of some decision makers. But we love to think a bit outside of the box, therefore especially America was a huge playground for us (bigger, badder, bolder). Due to my love for video games, I was able to reach one of my favorite video game company SQUARE ENIX in Japan and now I’m waiting for some love letters from Capcom, Konami, Namco, Clover (we luv you)…!
― What are your 5 favorite sites online?
A: Oh, that’s easy. Mine, mine, mine, and my own.
Nah, just kiddin’ ;-) My all time favorite site is still the original ‘Ray of Light’ by Yasuto Suga (ok, it’s not online anymore , but i have it backup on my server).
Kangubo – View Project
― What are the tools you couldn’t live without?
A: Photoshop is definitely the most important and powerful tool for me, followed by flash (even if I’m a bit in war with AS3), zBrush (the greatest invention since sliced bread), Cinema 4D (because it’s the only 3D program even an 50 yr old like me can handle) and Adobe Audition for all those little whoosh and sizzle sounds. So far it’s the normal designers toolbox, but beside that, some of those nasty little tools and apps in my iPhone are so much fun that I could hardly think of to live without them.
― How do you typically start a new project?
A: After a long briefing via mail, skype or phone (like mentioned before, most of my clients are from overseas), I try to get myself into the right mood for the project (for example: playing through Final Fantasy I – XI when I have to design the Final Fantasy XII website, or listening to Glenn Miller if there is a retro project coming up).
Then it’s up for some sketches using old school pen and paper. Next are some rough drafts to check if I’m on the same track with my client. If i have a ‘go’ here, I switch to the back-end programming (form follows function…at least I try to do so sometimes).
If the technical part is done and approved, I go back to finalize the design, showing the webbernet to the client, listening to him saying: ‘oh, we luv it. it’s perfect…just a few minor changes’. Spending the next 2 weeks to go for those few minor changes, thinking about charging more next time and ending up with a happy client and a tired designer.