Greg Wood

gregwood_imageIn this interview we take a look at how Greg Wood (@gregwood) works and some of his opinions on design. Greg works at Erskine Design as a Designer. Make sure and sped some time on his website at, his site is one of the better examples of Editorial design on the web I’ve seen. Honestly we could feature just about every post here on UMS.

How or where do you find inspiration?
The word “inspiration” is a strange one when it comes to design. I’ve always thought that the content subject matter should inspire the presentation of that content, not something else that’s entirely unrelated. Sure, there are things that influence my tastes and the decisions I make as a result (see next question), but I would say I try in most cases to let the content direct my thought process.

Who is the biggest influence on your work right now?
Anyone has the potential to influence me, I’m like a sponge. Things or people that influence me on a regular basis include: Wired magazine, Jason Santa Maria, Guardian newspaper supplements, European graphic design thought the 50s, 60s & 70s, and anyone that uses a colour scheme, layout, or typeface that I haven’t experienced before.

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

How important is it to know the history of design?
I certainly think it makes a learned designer’s job easier, being able to reuse or adapt solutions that may have been successful in the past, but it’s not absolutely essential. Having said that, if you’re not even interested in the history of the industry in which you’re working, you’re probably in the wrong game. The web design industry needs more people with the sort of passion that makes them want to learn more about everything they’re involved in.

Serif or Sans? It depends on everything.

Do you code and design? Are you a “Hybrid”?
I love implementing my designs into front-end HTML, CSS & JS, and I think it’s a necessary skill. Like architects, I think web designers need to know exactly how to their designs will be put together, even if they don’t actually do any of the building work.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process?
Usually the part when you start being physically creative with a project. You’ve done all your research, you know everything there is to know about what you’re designing and who you’re designing it for, and the time comes for you to be let loose, as it were.

What makes your creative process different from everybody else?
I work upside-down, like a roosting bat.

What do you see as the single biggest shift in the evolution of design over the past 5 years?
I’ve only been working on the web for about 4 years, so it’s quite difficult for me to have an industry-wide perception of this. Personally however, the ability to implement any visuals we want using web standards has been significant. Because of the way browsers are continually incorporating more ways for us to style our web pages and the currently ongoing evolution of the web fonts world, I don’t think there’s a lot more we can do visually that we can’t already achieve.

What’s the difference between User Experience and User Interface design?
I could be wrong, but User Experience design is the design of an experience, and User Interface design is the design of an interface.

What makes one a web design professional?
I rarely consider myself “professional”, so it’s pretty tricky for me to answer this, but I guess if you can earn a living from doing something, you have the right to label yourself as such.

What are designers/developers doing right (or wrong) in the web 2.0 world?
I’m assuming this question refers to the stereotypical “web 2.0” website, which would promote sharing of content and rely heavily on the social activities of it’s users? If so, the fact that people can communicate and “socialise” on the web to such a large degree and often within quite marginalised subject matters is obviously a massive success. Sites that achieve this and that have been designed and built properly around a single objective are obviously massively beneficial to the internet as a whole.

I also think however, that this is the way many folks are going wrong also. A lot of sites that were popping up a year or two ago seemed to miss that primary objective. I reckon a lot of these kind of conversations were happening:

“So, we’re going to need to give this website a social and user-generated content angle.”
“Cool, why?”
“Not quite sure, but let’s go ahead and do it anyway.”

What’s your favorite flavor of design or development programs/languages?
I use Photoshop to mockup my designs, and use Textmate to hand-code them. I used to use a sketch book to plan out my ideas, but these days I generally just go for it.

What is your favorite book?
Impossible question to answer, but I do know the book I’ve read most is Mort by Terry Pratchett.

What is your favorite movie?
I have quite a few, and my top 5 is likely to change from week to week. Currently it stands something like this (in no particular order):
* Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
* Shaun of the Dead
* The Evil Dead
* Planet Terror
* Jurassic Park

Who is your favorite musical artist (or What musical artist are you listening to the most right now?)
Right now (August 2010) I’m listening to the following:
* The Flatliners
* Arcade Fire
* Jawbox
* The Antlers
* Bluetip
* Piebald
* Blakroc


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, the ConvergeSE, ConvergeFL, ConvergeRVA and the Breaking Development conference series.