GW has been our creative director for the last 7 years. I first heard about Gary’s talents when he started his own design agency, Blue Dot Communications, around the same time that we started Plank. He then spent a couple of years at Airborne Entertainment working with Christiane Magee, who helped to found our little company back in ’98. Having admired his work from afar for years (as well as his bass playing), we were delighted when he decided to join our team in the Fall of 2006. Over an informal interview and a beer, Gary and I were discussing if he came to work at Plank, what exactly would that look like. I gave him the ground rules; “I take care of the business development, the administration and you worry about doing the highest quality design work”. We had a deal.
Plank: Happy Anniversary Gary! Here are 5 questions for you.
As of last week, you have been part of the Plank team for 7 years, thoughts?
Gary: It’s the longest time I’ve spent doing anything. Previous jobs, relationships, and various creative endeavours have all ended well before the 7 year mark. I guess I’ve never been around a group of people I enjoy spending so much time with.
Plank: Over that time, you have been responsible for the creative direction of everything that Plank has produced, what is the work you are proudest of?
Gary: I’m most proud of the work we’ve had creative freedom over. The jobs where clients trust our vision and expertise are always the most fun to work on, so head-to-toe projects like Elua and Canada World Youth really allow us to spread our wings and show the client what we’re capable of. And The Sun Magazine site still holds up almost seven years after launch.
Plank: Over those 7 years, what has changed with the way you work?
Gary: The more I learn about human behaviour, the better designer I become. Understanding the how and why of people’s actions, especially in an interactive medium, is a powerful tool.
Plank: Where have you been looking lately for inspiration?
Gary: For UX, I just keep my eyes open. Inspiration is everywhere. From a poster on a telephone pole to a digital billboard in Times Square. I find it fascinating how brands try to capture the public’s attention. For UI, I look at big commerce sites. They’ve spent a lot of time and resources on A/B testing of basic elements like form fields, call to action wording, etc. If I’m stuck on a button placement, I’ll look to them for some guidance. Also, I can usually find some inspiration on thebestdesigns.com and behance.net.
Plank: Bootsy Collins or Larry Graham?
Gary: I don’t really like the sound of a slap n pop bass. I prefer the deep groove. And I consider myself an entertainer before a musician so I gotta go with the flair. Bootsy all the way.