Jonathan Longnecker: FortySeven Media & The Kick Awesome Show

longkneckerHow or where do you find inspiration?
Most of my inspriation comes from what I see in my head or from work I’ve seen previously and subconciously decided it was awesome. I try not to deluge myself with other’s designs so that mine stay fresh and unique. Hopefully that’s working out for me!

Who is the biggest influence on your work right now?
I’ve always been a fan of Jesse Chamberlin’s work over at 31Three, though Dribbble has introduced me to quite a few more. Matthew Smith from SquaredEye, Dan Cederholm and Meagan Fisher from SimpleBits to name a few.

Where are your “design roots”? Print or Web?
Definintely print. I worked for 4+ years doing print design, artwork for promotional products and local ads for national brands.

How important is it to know the history of design?
I know that having had schooling and formal training in design definitely gave me a leg up coming into the world of web design. The history part is important to get your bearings, both on where we’ve come from and where we’re going. And obviously if you’re working on a project that will be invoking styles of the past you’ve got to know that history to make it authentic.

Serif or Sans?
Depends on the project, but personally I prefer clean, modern sans serifs.

Do you code and design? Are you a “Hybrid”?
Definitely a hybrid. In addition to designing, coding HTML/CSS I’ve also become pretty adept at integrating it all into ExpressionEngine.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
This totally depends on the job and where we’re at in the process. Sometimes doing the deisign is a blast where other times I just need to code and make the design work in the browser. I thoroughly enjoy both.

What makes your creative process different from everybody else?
Well, I’m not sure what everyone else does, so I’m not sure I can answer that properly! But since you asked, I’d guess it’s because we’re all different and can’t help but have different processes.

What do you see as the single biggest shift in the evolution of design over the past 5 years?
I think there’s two parts to this. The first is that we’ve gone from web designs that were so amature and “web like” (think all centered text, frames, flashing banners) to completely photo realistic sites with objects and textures and we’ve finally started to find a balance between those. I think design on the web is finally starting to find it’s own voice and it’s a mixture of all we’ve done in the past combined with all sorts of new interactions.

The second is the advent of using CSS for things like shadows and rounded corners. While it doesn’t fundamentally change the way we design it does change the way we implement it and brings in the whole notion of a design looking fairly different in browsers that don’t support certain features. While I personally wasn’t keen on this idea for a long time, it’s starting to make more sense.

What’s the difference between User Experience and User Interface design?
I think they’re both fancy titles for making something that’s fun and easy to use. You can get all scientific about it, but that rarely results in something magical.

What makes one a web design professional?
Working hard, producing great work and understanding how to make money.

What are designers/developers doing right (or wrong) in the web 2.0 world?
This whole web thing is so new I’m not sure. I’ve never been a fan of templates, and I see more and more cookie cutter sites out there. I just don’t see how that benefits anyone other than saving a few bucks. Is it better to make a bunch of mediocre sites or just a few amazing ones?

What’s your favorite flavor of design?
I tend to float between super clean and textured/grungy. Whatever works best for the project.

What is your favorite book?
Proverbs, you know, the one in the Bible!

What is your favorite movie?
Currently I really enjoyed Inception. Though I don’t ever seem to tire of the first Rush Hour.

Who is your favorite musical artist (or What musical artist are you listening to the most right now?)
Sorry I can’t give just one: Thrice, Muse, Switchfoot, Zoo Seven, Starflyer 59

About: Jonathan Longnecker

jonathan longneckerJonathan Longnecker is the co-founder of FortySeven Media
– a kick awesome design firm specializing in web, print and media creation. He is also 1/2 of the The Kick Awesome Show a video podcast dedicated to design, the web and general nerdery. It’s great!

Jonathan loves simple designs that communicate quickly, and is fanatical about the details that sets their work apart. Find him on twitter (@necker47), and on the web at fortysevenmedia.com.

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.