A series of interviews with creative people we've come across on the web. Some are friends, some are strangers, but all are interesting.

Dickon Sire, Web Designer

Dickon Sire, Web Designer

Dickon Sire with his son, Bruno

Play is a series of interviews with creative people we've come across on the web. Some are friends, some are strangers, but all are interesting.

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Owner and founder of design studio dsire, inc. Dickon's company works to conceive, build and deploy web solutions for a wide variety of clients seeking unique and engaging interactive experiences for their audience - which in essence means he designs and builds kick ass flash websites for movies like Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds.

Well not only flash sites - he has one web application on the way and another one coming. Either way, he is an interesting fellow with some serious design skills.

PAUL: What are you working on currently?

DICKON: Finalizing the movie site for Inglourious Basterds, getting ready to begin The Lovely Bones and The Last Airbender movie sites for Paramount, a big e-commerce portal for Marketamerica, designs for web start-up, and last but especially not least, putting the final touches on, my first web application that grew out of our needs as a design studio. I am really excited about this, not only so we can use it but it's awesome to be growing your own business.

PAUL: Did you study design or web design at a any school/college/university?

DICKON: No, in fact I didn't study anything anywhere after the age of 12... well, actually that's not true. All my studying happens as I am doing something. I guess I am always studying, hopefully always learning, but I had no formal education beyond eighth grade in Jr. High School. We moved to the USA when I was 11 so all my previous schooling was in England.

PAUL: Do you also run the business side of things in your company or is there some one else who does that?

DICKON: Yes, I wear many hats, and am probably not the best business person, but it works, and I like things small so I can keep close control over what goes out the door to our clients. Web apps help keep things organized.

PAUL: You often hear people say that they where there at the right time and right place when it comes to describing their success. Was there such a moment for you or has the development of your work and company taken a different path?

DICKON: I am very fortunate for what I have been able to accomplish, and the type of work I get to do. There was really no right place, right time thing. Kill Bill was a huge break for me being the first big movie campaign I worked on outside of another agency so that really helped. I always feel though if you're good at something, you stick with it, you respect your clients and colleagues that over time only good can come from that. This is what's happened for me. And I have the support of an amazing wife and good friends which definitely helps too.

PAUL: What is the best part of your job? And of course what is the worse?

DICKON: The best part for me is breaking out on a new set of designs for a new project. Having the ability to start with a blank (digital) canvas, taking all your knowledge (or lack thereof) of a project and combining that with the assets provided by the client to create something that is hopefully great and effective is a really fun challenge. The worst part is waiting for checks when they are overdue.

PAUL: You do a number of high profile sites in your portfolio, are there any perks from working on them (like free movie tickets or something?)

DICKON: I did go to the Los Angeles premiere of Mission Impossible III (Will Smith seemed to steal the show from Tom Cruise), and I have some movie posters knocking around for campaigns that I designed which are nice to have but a bit imposing on smaller office spaces. I think the biggest perk though is that this 'high profile' work is fun, and for the most part allows quite a lot of creative freedom.

PAUL: Do you ever have to meet your clients in person or can you do it all virtually?

DICKON: I do meet with them in person when needed, and it's actually good to have a face to a voice, it gives email more personality if you know what the author looks like. But I also have worked on projects never meeting the principal clients face to face. The virtual world is amazing in that it allows us so much freedom related to proximity to one another, but nothing beats sitting down for lunch with someone you're about to spend 6 months working with.

PAUL: What are you reading currently?

DICKON: Sailing Fundamentals, Sailing Big on a Small Sailboat and The Boater's Guide to Lake Powell. I just bought a small sailboat and we're going to put it on Lake Powell in Utah for the rest of this year, one of the most beautiful places on earth! Need to bone up on my sailing.

PAUL: Any life lessons you want to share with our readers?

DICKON: hmmm... fish don't need bicycles?

PAUL: Do you listen to music when you design - any favorite tracks/bands you dig right now?

DICKON: Only sometimes do I listen to music anymore. I used to be a tile contractor and I listened to music all day long, but not the radio. I'd carry my boom box and collection of CD's (even cassette tapes in some cases) to wherever I was working. I have a huge music collection now in my iTunes library but don't listen as often as I probably should. I am 41 now so not too hip on the current music world. I always liked U2, Peter Gabriel, old Genesis (pre Phil Collins as lead singer). Hedwig and the Angry Inch often keeps me going if I have to finish work past midnight. Moby, Coldplay, Sting, Seal, Annie Lennox, Pink Floyd, even the Sex Pistols in short bursts. And I like a sprinkling of classical music also, and there are some great movie soundtracks I love like The Mission, The Piano, Out of Africa, Immortal Beloved and Schindler's List. The thing I listen to the most now are BBC Documentary podcasts (do I sound like an old fart right about now?), they're really good and I know that if I've heard two of them I've been walking the dog long enough.

PAUL: What other people/artist/designers have you been inspired by in your career?

DICKON: In the early days I was super inspired by the work from Hi-Res in London, mostly their Requiem for a Dream site.. loved it and like most other people had never seen anything like it. These days I am a bit more jaded I guess and what usually leaves the lasting impressions are really tight combinations of design and technology, like the eco zoo, this guy Roxik is amazing. I can only imagine what his brain goes through on daily basis.

PAUL: If you could offer one piece of advice to future web designers what would it be and why?

DICKON: When it comes to technology don't get complacent with the skills you're learning, 'cos next month there'll probably be something new which you will probably need to adjust to or learn. When it comes to graphic design, nothing beats clean typography and quality photography.

Interview By: Paul Lopes

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