Rik Barwick [rikbarwick]
What is your specialty?
Web Design and Front End Development
Where can we view your portfolio online?
What made you interested in design?
The best part of projects back when I was at school was doing the front covers, I spent more time on making it look good on the outside rather than the inside. I was always creative in some form so it just naturally progressed through school really.
What has been your professional career path?
I started working when i was at Uni on a few freelance projects to earn a bit of beer money. One of the sites i built is now one of the leading urban clothing online stores in the UK, Natterjacks.com. It now sells all over the world and we are about to give it a massive face lift for 2009.
As soon as i left Uni i found myself working at The Carphone Warehouse in their in house design team as a junior web designer which was great, after two years I learned loads about e-commerce design and e-marketing not forgetting new skills in Flash and Photoshop. However I found i needed to learn code as well to help me understand how the web was built so I taught myself HTML/CSS which gained me promotion to Middleweight Designer.
After a while though I was getting bored of the internal politics at CPW and decided i needed a new challenge as i felt i was standing still so i joined WDMP, Putney in their Digital Department as a Middleweight Designer. The learning curve was immediately steepened and i got to know some truly great talented individuals.
After nearly a year Electronic Arts headhunted me and offered me a contract working as lead designer on their online digital download website which was a great opportunity. I contracted here for a few months and set up my own Design Agency with my best mate who i worked with at CPW. EA became a client of ours and a year later we are still going strong.
I am now one of the Directors at Creativitea Design Studios, Pronounce 'Creativity'. the name came about as my mate and i always dreamed about doing our own thing and the plan was hatch out of our favorite drink, TEA!
We now work for about a dozen clients all ranging in size in both online and offline mediums and are looking to expand in 2009.
Have you received any awards for your work in the field of design?
A few of the sites i have designed won awards for Design and for being the Best E-Commerce site but that is more of a bigger team effort. I played a major part in 2008 to win "The Best International Commerce Strategy" at the Digital River Summit which I designed all the examples that won.
What is your motivation? What makes you get up in the mornings?
My motivation is my family, I work hard so they will have a better life. I also want to be a positive role model for my teenage nephew and inspire him to work hard to get what he wants.
I also love what i do, like the saying goes, "if you love what you do, you'll never have to do a days work again!"
How would you define your design style?
My design style is sympathetic, tradition with a modern twist.
How do you promote and move your work?
We promote our work mainly through Search Engine Marketing, Our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/creativitea/#/pages/Creativitea-Limited/20493263033 and word of mouth.
In which new areas would you like to experiment?
I would like to experiment more with Photography and different printing techniques to then generate assets for digital work.
Shapes, color, concept: where do you usually begin when conceiving a design?
I usually grab a pencil and start drawing out the concepts, time permitting of course! Sometimes its just straight to mac!
What are your sources for documentation and to generate ideas?
I read tons of comics which keeps the imagination open, i also love to look through the net at about 1000 favorite links to see what people are up to.
Which festivals or awards in your field do you find most interesting?
The FWA always keeps people in touch of what really is going on in the industry
I also like to look at Yellow Pencils from the D&AD
What is your favourite type of customer?
The ones that understand there is no magic button on my keyboard that generates hours of work in five minutes. The client that enjoys listening to other peoples ideas and not just the sound of their own voice. Also the ones that pay on time help. I think that always encourages designers to go the extra mile for people! I am starting to realise the bigger they are, the harder it is to get paid sometimes!
To a certain point, is copying justifiable?
Everyone copies, its human nature. Just admit that you took influence and don't take credit for the person next to you!
List some things you dislike seeing in design.
Inaccessible design in website, images as text, bored of rounded corners, people getting ripped off!
Do you believe the newer generations are better at designing?
Not really, they probably know the software a bit better but that's about it, Uni doesn't get you prepared for the real world to well!
With which type of client would you decline in working for?
Sweatshop owners, world polluters, unethical companies, or the people who start telling you what your doing and what they are paying you to do it, you don't walk into a shop and tell the owner what you are paying for their products why should they do that to me. Its all about discussion and compromise.
How do you calculate budgets for a design project?
I look into the client and see what they are about, what they hope to achieve and how much budget they have got. To some extent i look at their ROI and see how much what i do is going to be worth the client.
We also run a sliding scale policy for charging for an hourly rate which helps making working to 2am worth the push.
Which professionals in your field -contemporary or past- do you most admire?
In my field of business I admire my old boss Aaron Savage as he knows how to get things done the best possible way, he also knows how to say no and won't take any crap, which i appreciate.
I also admire Richard Brandson for keeping it real with his Virgin brand, if i was to be a millionaire i would want to be like him, not like a Russian Tycoon. Again my old boss Charles Dunston started CPW from nothing, his risk taking and hard work sure paid off!
Which software applications do you most utilize in your work?
Adobe CS3, CyberDuck and Firefox add-ons
Up to what point do your designs reflect your personality?
I do have a bit of an OCD with some of my collectibles I have hoarded away in the last 10 years. Everything is labeled, stored and organized as it should. I suppose my designs kind of reflect that.
How do you distinguish passing fads from mainstays in new trends?
I dont really take much notice, i look at new trend of course, if i like them i'll get on board if not i wont so much, i can always be persuaded though.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be doing?
Working outdoors in a country estate or something similar
At this moment, what would be your dream job or project?
I would like a little Point of Sale run for a reasonable sized company including some digital work, that would be great! I think if we could secure a few more regular design jobs it would make a big difference in how my company runs.
Can you see yourself in this field twenty years from now?
yep, hopefully teaching or something less stressful! Hopefully i wont be up to 2 am most nights! Maybe my unborn child will have taken over my company by then and I am just a director of business or something!
Which design resources online do you frequently visit?