Interview with Designer: Fred Nerby
Fred is another one of the well known faces within our industry thanks to a few of his projects getting very popular on online communities especially Behance. He is a great inspiration for many – including myself – as his skills are simply breath taking. Under his belt you’ll find that he has worked with a variety of big names. Fred’s style of work is very sexy but simple which the exactly what is hot right now and which is also exactly why we all love his designs.
What got you into the design industry?
A friend of mine introduced me to the interactive design industry 1999 and the passion for design grew from there in to overseas courses and eventually employment etc.
What is it that you love the most about being a designer?
There are many different kinds of designers these days, I operate in the interactive space primarily and I love the fact that my work is changing people’s behavior online in a desktop, tablet or mobile environment. I love the idea of designing User Interfaces that are actually useful for the consumer and that simplifies their life.
What does it mean for you to be a visual designer?
“Visual Designer” is quite an airy description of an occupation yet people are still using the term. Digital has become such an involved media today and not everyone out there understands what’s even possible in the digital space these days. Designers are categorized in so many ways within this world and I believe it’s up to each creative to find its own space within that, what suits your style of work and what are you actually trying to achieve. The focus should not be on your title, whether you call yourself Visual, UX, Interactive or digital designer: you need a solid understanding of what does what and choose your path accordingly because sadly; you won’t be an expert on everything in digital.
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What do you love about UI design?
I love the systematic thinking behind the behavior of a UI, if done correctly. If you understand behavior and how people interact with an interface and dare to take the time to invest in this before moving in to a design phase you’ll find that the outcome of your work is far greater. When designing a UI you have the ability to make a huge impact on the user and how he or she interacts with their device and how that device is responding to that persons needs. Everything is turning digital today and good UI of any application is key; the demand for good UI professionals is high!
What is the biggest challenge you had to face as a designer?
I face challenges on a daily basis when designing. If you’re not challenged you’re most likely running on auto pilot which means that you’re re‐inventing something you’ve already done over and over (designing within templates, etc). If you want to grow and make it big as a designer you’ll have to force yourself out of that habit and take on work (or experiment with work) that you’re not always familiar with, that’s the only way forward! The larger firms in the digital space are looking in two ways of inventing media within digital where the relationship with the making is very different and it can be very hard for creative’s to understand and accept that because it forces them outside the box of what they’re used to or familiar with.
Do you have any cherished design books?
I do not ;)
Based on your blog posts it is clear you value function in design. Why is that?
Function is key for the interactive world. Understanding behavior is becoming an essential part of UI and any digital product these days. I think too many firms stare themselves blind at statistics and numbers where they try to measure results and placement “call to actions” based on figures instead of researching and testing the success of other platforms. Like anything creative you’ll always find opinions on what is good and bad and how a layout could have been done in 10 different ways but I think too many firms complicates their experience to much by adding cool and funky features (just because they can) instead of focusing on the product and what’s really important. Less is most often more and you’ll find that the user will appreciate your honesty of getting them straight to the point of what they asked for!
What is it like to be a speaker?
It’s flattering that other creative’s and digital firms are interested in your opinion about our industry. I love the idea of helping others to achieve their goals and pointing firms in the right direction within the digital space.
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What keeps you inspired and motivated?
There are many good design galleries for interactive work online and platforms such as Behance and Pinterest etc out there. I tend to keep an eye on the trends of interactive design and various UI work through a number of sources these days.
Do you have any advice that you wish someone gave to you when you were starting out plus any advice to people hoping to make it in the industry?
If you’re hoping to reach out and make it big in the world of digital you need to study that space and truly understand the industry you’re approaching or are already in. Have a deep look into what you’re actually able to create within that space because too many people treat it as yet another channel of media and it’s not!
It’s a very complex environment built on user behavior and it’s constantly moving forward and I’d recommend to do a bit of research into traditional narrative agencies and how they are different from digital agencies today to get a better understanding of where you fit in as a creative depending on what you love to do. As a creative you need to be true to your craft and you need a solid understanding and a full awareness of the craft to call yourself an expert in your field, which is essential and actually required today in our industry.
If you’re highly skilled in the digital space and you’ve been in the industry for a while then chances are that you’ll get noticed for making a bit of noise around your work because great talent is always wanted! But it all depends on what your goals are as a creative too and I’ve learnt that it’s important to take time out and really think about your goals and where you can see yourself in the future in the digital industry “before you promote yourself” because there are different ways of going about it depending on the desired outcome.
Who are some of designers in the industry that you admire and try to follow?
There are a number of experienced designers out there but before you dig in to specific work I believe it’s important to understand digital from a creative perspective and Nick Law (CCO from R/GA) is a good influence on this topic in terms of where we’re heading and how digital can be executed on a top level.
What are some of your favorite software that helps you get the job done?
Photoshop all the way!