Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain

If you don’t know Jesse Bennet-Chamberlain’s work you should stop what you are doing (okay read the interview first) and go look at his work. His portfolio site is 31three.com, we’ve featured his work here on UMS before. Personally I started following Jesse’s work after the designs of the Campaign Monitor website and Cameron Moll’s Mobile Web Design Book website.

You can follow Jesse on twitter at @jessebc and on Dribbble as well as his website.

jessebc

The Interview

How or where do you find inspiration?
I think it comes from different sources depending on what type of project I’m working on… and what type of problem I’m trying to solve. If it’s a purely visual problem, I will sometimes just browse through stock photography sites looking for a dynamic photo that stands out. A fresh icon set can sometimes offer a good starting point as well. If it’s something more related to a UI problem, I’ll often resort to sites like patterntap, or just browse similar sites that have already solved the problem I’m working on.

Who is the biggest influence on your work right now?
I honestly have no idea. There’s definitely designers that I look up to, and admire, but I’m not sure how much of their work gets filtered down into mine. Edwin Tofslie, Fabien Barral and Paul Lee are all at a level I would someday hope to achieve.

Where are your “design roots”? Print or Web?
My first design related job was at a local newspaper doing print ads for the real estate section. Nothing too exciting. I do value the experience I gained though, as knowing InDesign has really come in handy for prototyping websites and applications.

How important is it to know the history of design?
It’s something I definitely wish I knew more of. Anything that gives you more perspective and understanding is a good thing when it comes to design.

Serif or Sans?
Definitely sans serif. I appreciate serifs, and love it when I see a designer work well with them, but I’m a bit more comfortable with sans serifs.

Do you code and design? Are you a “Hybrid”?
I can do both, but prefer to focus the majority of my time on the visual design side of things. The majority of the clients I work with are developers, so they’re often more comfortable working with their own code. Win win.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
I love it when a design solution unexpectedly comes to me. Sometimes I have to fight and wrestle for an idea, and other times, it seems like an idea will just present itself to me. I love the moment when everything clicks… and I get the feeling that I was made to do this.

What makes your creative process different from everybody else?
I honestly don’t think my creative process is really that unique. Like anyone else, I just do my best to listen to my client, and figure out what the problems are that they need solved. When I think I’ve figured out all the problems, I attempt to come up with solutions. Most of the time, the client actually has the solution… they just need someone to ask them the right questions and pull it out of them.

One thing that might be unique about the way I work, is that I only work with one client at a time. My clients really love that I can completely focus on their project, and I love it that I no longer have to juggle projects.

What do you see as the single biggest shift in the evolution of design over the past 5 years?
In regards to the web specifically, we’ve seen a huge change in the way interaction problems can be tackled with javascript animations, transitions, and dynamic content. Javascript libraries and browsers have matured to the point where we can solve problems in new and exciting ways. The aesthetics of design may not have changed much, but the user’s experience on the web sure has.

What’s the difference between User Experience and User Interface design?
The UI serves the UX. User Experience should come first, and includes, but is not limited to UI design.

What makes one a web design professional?
When people like your work enough to pay you a decent income for it… I think you qualify.

What are designers/developers doing right (or wrong) in the web 2.0 world?
One thing that I’ve seen more of lately, is designers and developers doing their own personal side projects. Whether it’s to make a profit, or just keep things interesting, it’s a good thing to do.  

What’s your favorite flavor of design or development programs/languages?
I spend most of my day in Photoshop CS5, but will also use InDesign and Keynote from time to time when I need to prototype something.

What is your favorite book?
It’s a small one, but I really enjoyed “Epic” by John Eldredge. I also just finished up one entitled “The Me I want to Be” by John Ortberg and I thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

What is your favorite movie?
Probably one of the Bourne movies. Can’t wait for the next one to come out.

Who is your favorite musical artist (or What musical artist are you listening to the most right now?)
I’ve been relying on the iTunes genius feature a lot lately to serve up music for me. Some of my favourite bands are Bon Iver, Brett Dennen, David Gray, Eddie Vedder, Editors, Feist, The Format, Frightened Rabbit, Jesus Culture, The Killers, Patrick Watson, Radiohead, Spoon, U2, The Verve, and The Weepies.

Author

Gene Crawford

With over a decade of experience in the industry he has overseen the design and architecture of hundreds of web sites and applications. An active member in the design community, he's the editor & producer of unmatchedstyle.com, the ConvergeSE, ConvergeFL, ConvergeRVA and the Breaking Development conference series.

  • Patrick (whak)

    Jesse sets the bar high and I’ve been following his work since he designed the ExpressionEngine 1.0 website a few years back.

    Thanks for the great interview and the new music to check out!

  • http://www.superuserstudio.com Stu Collett

    Great interview. Jesse’s work as always remains an inspiration to us all.

  • http://www.realgrey.com Ron

    Appreciate the interview. I find Jesse’s humble spirit as refreshing as his work.

  • http://www.leathersich.com leathersich

    Looking forward to meeting Jesse (if we ever cross paths at Steinway & Sons)… currently working on a limited edition piano design… very exciting! I love your work dude.

  • Mobile Website Design

    Just checked out his work on 31three.com. Awesome work and great interview.