Martin from Albruna.nl [albruna]
What is your specialty?
I am a web designer, which also includes the coding part of my designs. The designs I deliver are tailor-made so every website looks different. Because of this, I also do not work with fixed prices, as every client is different so is every site I make for them and therefore cost prices are different.
Where can we view your portfolio online?
Part of my portfolio can be seen on my company website
What made you interested in design?
It was a gradual road I took.
I created my first site for a magazine I am subscribed to. For this site, I hardly looked at the design, but by the time it was finished I started to get a better understanding of what was required to give it a better "look and feel". I made a few other sites to get better at the whole design part of a website (instead of purely looking at the coding part) and implemented the design elements I came to like. After a while, I totally re-designed the first site, but now with a better understanding of what design means (at least to me).
What has been your professional career path?
Purely speaking as a web designer (I answered most of this question in the previous question), I started out creating a website for a magazine I am subscribed to and after that job, really started learning designing a website. Obviously one is never finished learning, but I realized I really liked this creative work and started my company Albruna (http://www.albruna.nl).
Have you received any awards for your work in the field of design?
No, I am still waiting for my first award:-).
What is your motivation? What makes you get up in the mornings?
The biggest motivation for me is doing well for my clients. Service is one of the biggest things I expect from a company and is one of the major things I give.
I really want my clients to be as happy about their website as I can possibly make them.
This really motivates me to create new things and go the extra mile.
How would you define your design style?
My design style tends to lean towards a business look whenever possible. However, whatever style I need to use (in accordance with the clients wishes), it still needs to have a user-friendly feeling about it. The visitors to a particular site I designed, need to feel 'comfortable'. Seeing that every client is different and therefore every visitor, the designs can vary hugely.
Still, I really like to design a website that is made up of blocks. I created a few sites where every element looks to be random (which they are most definitely not), but personally whenever possible I like to design a site which has a clear header and footer and where everything in between is devided neatly into blocks.
How do you promote and move your work?
The main promotion tool I use is my own website http://www.albruna.nl/ and the portfolio http://www.albruna.nl/portfolio.html.
Another promotion tool are my business cards I give to everyone. Long ago, I learned that it does not matter to whom you give your business card. It might be to someone who has no interest in websites or who has a vague interest but will never want to have one designed. It is still possible they know someone who does. Business cards are cheap so give them away to everyone!
The use of brochures is also a promotional tool I use. There are many potential clients who you will never reach, so why not send them a brochure and tell them what you can do for them. No need to limit yourself to people who have no website, there are plenty of sites that could do with a design update.
Obviously social media also takes up a large part of my promotion. I am a huge fan of Twitter and use my account http://twitter.com/albruna_nl a lot and a while ago I opened a Facebook account http://www.facebook.com/albruna.nl which I am currently getting to grips with :-).
Last but certainly not least!
One of the major promotional tools is word of mouth. When you create something beautiful, user-friendly and professional and give great service, people will recommend you to others!
In which new areas would you like to experiment?
The main area would be starting designing business cards, letterheads, envelopes and so on.
Shapes, color, concept: where do you usually begin when conceiving a design?
After an extensive talk with a client, I usually create a mood board, which contains all the fonts, font sizes, font colors, color scheme, buttons, logos, icons, patterns, pictures, illustrations, and any other design element the client and I think should be implemented into the design of the website.
When that is done, I create a wireframe and with the mood board and wireframe, I talk to the client again.
What are your sources for documentation and to generate ideas?
New ideas can come from all over the place. It can be from some great piece of architecture to a flyer I have been given in the street. It is always good to keep your eyes open and make a mental note of the things you like and why you like them.
Which festivals or awards in your field do you find most interesting?
To be honest, none.
What is your favourite type of customer?
The best customer that one can wish for is the one that does not want to change too much in a design. This usually only leads to disaster and those designs are often totally ruined. I like a client to just tell me what they want and then leave me to it and give me the freedom to veer away from their original plan and make it into something even better.
To a certain point, is copying justifiable?
Seeing as almost everything has been done in one way or another you are always at risk that a totally new design you made has elements that have been used by someone else. In that sense, copying is justifiable. However, there are limits! Where those limits lie? One could probably write entire books on that question.
List some things you dislike seeing in design.
What is now called old school. I do not like those kinds of revival.
Do you believe the newer generations are better at designing?
Not better just not so limited. In the old days of design, (before web design even existed) people were not as free as they are now in their design. Just like people are more free in wearing whatever clothes they like, so are designers free to design whatever they like (in accordance with their clients of course).
With which type of client would you decline in working for?
Obviously, those clients that want to have me design something for them that is in my eyes offensive or that is hateful. But also those clients that think they can have an ecommerce website for 100 Euros. They really exist!
How do you calculate budgets for a design project?
I do not calculate a budget I calculate what a client needs to pay me. Maybe I am misunderstanding this question (English is not my native language).
I never use a fixed price for anything. Some clients pay less because they have a limited income or are just starting their small business, some pay more because they are part of a big corporation.
All in all I calculate my prices on a list of things like: cost of living and so on and how many hours I think I need to get the job done. Only then, I set a final price for a client which is, as said, dependant on the client.
Which software applications do you most utilize in your work?
Most used are Photoshop for designing the layout of a website, Dreamweaver - HTML-Kit and TopStyle for coding a layout, Colorpic and Colorimpact for choosing the right colors for a design, Wampserver for locally testing a site and finally CuteFTP for uploading everything to the server.
Up to what point do your designs reflect your personality?
Well I am someone who looks at details, which reflects in my work. I am also someone who likes order, which is also represented in my designs.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be doing?
I would be an author. I love writing and have published some articles and have written two books.
Can you see yourself in this field twenty years from now?
I am not someone who likes to look that far ahead. However, I still love everything that has anything to do with the internet. Therefore, I assume that, seeing as things keep on changing and changing very fast, I would still work in this field.
Martin from Albruna.nl