UMS Interviews: Mark Boulton

UMS Interviews: Mark BoultonWe are very happy to share with you one of our monthly interviews with design and web professionals, the goal is to provide some educational and informative insight into how people work, what inspires them and how they got where they are. This month we have Mark Boulton of Mark Boulton Design who also keeps up the very popular blog markboulton.co.uk.

How or where do you find inspiration?
All around me. I’m a big fan of architecture and popular culture (tv, films etc.) Nature’s also a good places to find inspiration.

Who is the biggest influence on your work right now?
My bank manager. Ha, no seriously probably writers are my biggest influence. I’m currently finishing off my self-published book, Five Simple Steps, and my editor, Carolyn Wood, has been a tremendous influence recently.

Where are your “design roots”? Print or Web?
Print.

How important is it to know the history of design?

Incredibly important. There is such a wealth of work from which to draw inspiration and learn from.

Serif or Sans?
It depends.

Do you code and design? Are you a “Hybrid”?
I’m a designer who can write html and css. I wouldn’t class myself as a programmer though – that’s a whole other speciality.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
Right at the beginning and then right at the end. I find research and initial ideas incredibly exciting still.

What makes your creative process different from everybody else?
I don’t think it is that much different. I think I can bring something unique to a project because of my time working client side at the BBC. It’s a completely different mindset to that of working in an agency. My current client seem to appreciate the effect that has had on my process.

What do you see as the single biggest shift in the evolution of design over the past 5 years?
The way that people are currently using the web is a huge shift from even two years ago. That said, I feel the underlying concept of design hasn’t changed much. We’re still solving problems for a medium that is changing and evolving.

What’s the difference between User Experience and User Interface design?
Well, I’m sure you’d get a different answer from every designer you speak to. I see it like this. User Experience design takes into account how the user feels when using a web site or service. A UX designer crafts that experience. A User Interface is the result of that process and is something that facilitates the experience.

What makes one a web design professional?
I think if you work in the industry, you can be classed as a professional. For a while there has been a few shifts towards an industry body – with qualifications etc. – but I’m not sure it would work.

What are designers/developers doing right (or wrong) in the web 2.0 world?
Wow, that’s a big question. I think they’re both doing a lot right. Thankfully the wrong things get left and forgotten pretty quickly in this industry. Personally, I’m a little disappointed with the standard of typography on the web (outside of the typography world).

What’s your favorite flavor of design or development programs/languages?
I use Photoshop and Ilustrator. I use HTML and CSS. And a pen and paper. That’s pretty much it.

What is your favorite book?
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

What is your favorite movie?
Probably Alien.

Who is your favorite musical artist (or What musical artist are you listening to the most right now?)
I don’t really have a favourite. I’m still quite keen on Sigur Ros at the moment.

Mark Boulton is a graphic designer from near Cardiff in the UK. He’s been a designer for over ten years now and primarily works on the web. He’s still partial to a bit of print every now and then though. He used to work for Agency.com in London as an Art Director before working as a Senior Designer for the BBC in sunny Cardiff. This was all before he took leave of his senses and formed his own design consultancy, Mark Boulton Design Ltd.

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.