This is the first Interview in our 2011 Interview Series, I’m happy to be joined by Luke from Vivoo Creative based in Nottingham. They deal in all things creative and online marketing.

First off, thanks for agreeing to this brain picking session!

Please can you give a brief introduction about yourself & your company: When was Vivoo Creative formed and how?

Hi! My name is Luke and I own Vivoo Creative which is generally myself but I employ in-house on a contract basis for larger projects.

Vivoo Creative was formed in March 2010 before this I generally worked in-house at other design and digital agencies, I am self-taught in what I do, I left school with 1 GCSE (in Drama) but at 15 stumbled upon myspace and gained an interest in HTML, through the years I was a Chef so creativity was generally in my blood, while I was working as a Chef thanks to Google and Youtube and my own dedication I taught myself website design and development and have gone on to SEO, UX, Social Media, and email marketing… eventually I left catering to take on Web Design and Development full-time.

How’d the name come about?

Absolut random, I try to be as different and unique as I can be within my designs so I figured why not do the same for the name? Originally it was just Vivoo but I decided to change it to Vivoo Creative so it at least signified something! It’s great when I get enquiries as the first thing that is asked is ‘is it viv-ow or viv-oo’? After discussing the name of the business I think it puts the potential client at ease and they get to know you a little!

I see from your Blog you’re in the process of refurbishing your studio, what’s the key to a great working environment? Any tips for our readers on how you gain that creative inspiration?

I’m glad you asked me this, I have worked at too many agencies which are just too dull and ‘call centre like’, Grey walls and florescent celling lights, what’s that about?

This is the creative industry so surely the environment you work in must be creative too! Full of colour, and fun within a motivated and interesting environment, with Mood boards on the wall or your own work, so you can look up and say… I did that!

Actually I do something called sketch boarding, it’s not only a good way to plan out your website for usability but it also gets you away from the computer I recommend anyone doing this if you are freelance or a team.

Another thing I try to do is my own stock photography, after reading a blog post a few months ago I build a few light tents, this is another thing I think everyone get involved in and have input in a working environment, me personally I do it to get my own shots and get away from the computer, though it can be time consuming!

People get creative inspiration from all sorts of things, above is just my approach, sometimes I wake up at 2am with an idea for a project I’m working on so I think in general inspiration comes from the mind!

What’s your Business Philosophy?

To be a unique input into the creative industry.

It seems you’ve just enjoyed a prosperous 2010, what’s the biggest lesson(s) you learnt about your industry last year?

Usability is a massive key for any project, even for the smallest projects always plan in detail! It’s worth the extra 2/3 days, I’m not a master at UX but I can understand why there is masters in usability.

Also, make sure you client knows who the designer is, I made the mistake once in just saying yes to I can design it like this for you, yes I can do it like that, and that was the last time I let that happen… don’t let them take over, they hire you because you know how to create, for some reason a lot of clients still don’t get this, I’ve lost clients previously because I have stopped them from trying to be the designer but that was my choice. The way I see it you wouldn’t tell a builder how to build a house, you hire them to build it,  just like we are hired to build and design websites!

And this is just a bit of advice to people starting out as I hear of this mistake every week, I have worked with a lot of agencies who outsource to me, sometimes they will ask for concepts (just like some clients do) before any payment is made or even before you even have the project in hand, I tell you now, it doesn’t matter if they are an agency, private client or the queen of England, say no to spec work.

And the biggest challenge of 2010?

Motivation, don’t get me wrong I absolutely love what I do, but working long hours by yourself really can take its toll! To overcome this I used to go out every day and do stuff, generally go for a pint in the evening if I’m honest! Or sometimes If I’m not doing dev or design work I would go and take my laptop some place and do admin stuff. Only having people on Twitter, Facebook and IM doesn’t count and it can take you out of the real world!

With the ever increasing rate of tech advances, what do you find is the most challenging aspect of keeping up with the ever evolving online world?

Dealing with Project Management, Admin, Accounts, Server Management, Clients, Marketing, social media, and of course the initial design and development work is what I have to look after on a day to day basis so trying to keep on top of the current trends and technology is somewhat impossible, I do try my very best to keep in the loop, but with all this other stuff going on and with there be improvements in technology every day it can be very difficult to have time to sit back and read a blog post, watch a video or have a chat about HTML5 or something!

Where do you see the web design industry in the future?

Very little flash…. HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery is the future oh and no internet explorer if we are lucky.

2011 is set to be yet another year of dramatic change in the online world. What do you predict will be really big this coming year?

Hopefully the death of Internet Explorer, but if not we can dream right?

And lastly, a BIG THANKS, if you have any final thoughts/ plugs, please feel free..

Referring to one of my answers Google UX sketch boarding, it’s interesting!


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