I recently had the chance to interview Collis Ta’eed who runs Envato – quite possibly the coolest company in the world! In this interview Collis answers tough questions about bananas, hex colors and emerging web technologies.
1 First off, Do you like bananas?
Yes! Growing up in Papua New Guinea, bananas were plentiful and various. We even had fried and cooked bananas (though they are a different sort of banana).
2 How did you get into web design? What peeked your interest?
My best friend was a web designer and he always looked like he enjoyed his work more than I did (I was studying maths at the time). Although people like to make remarks about grass being greener on the other side, in this case it really was a lot greener, so I’ve never regretted switching.
3 What is your favorite project you have worked on or created?
Definitely Psdtuts+ (http://psd.tutsplus.com). That site started out as a tiny side project and just escalated like crazy. I’ve always loved Photoshop so it’s pretty cool to work on a site that encourages other people to love it too!!
4 Where do you get your inspiration from? Online? Offline?
99% online. My job involves a lot of perusing of design sites and I wind up getting a lot of inspiration from them. I very much love blogs like Smashing Magazine or BuildInternet (a site I just recently came across!) as well as CSS galleries like WebCreme and CSSRemix.
5 If you could be any html element – what would you be and why
<q> Because it’s my favourite letter! Meanwhiles in case you don’t believe this is actually an HTML tag: http://www.w3schools.com/TAGS/tag_q.asp
6 I know you are a traveler – where the heck are you located right now and where are you headed to next?
For the last year I’ve been trekking around the world working from different locations. But just two days ago my wife Cyan and I finally returned home to Australia. It was a great year but I must confess I’m more than a little happy not to have to live out a suitcase anymore During our travels we stayed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, the US and Paris. They were all fantastic, but I think Hong Kong was my favourite, that city is just so alive!
7 What was your first design job? What was it like? What did you do?
My first job as a designer was for a little company (at the time it was just my boss and me) in Sydney called Cyrius (http://cyrius.com.au). Working in a little company was really great because I got to do a bit of everything. I met clients, learned SEO, reprogrammed a site in ASP (which I didn’t actually know until then) and of course designed and built lots of websites. Looking back some of my designs were not so great, but they did the job and I loved every minute of it!
8 If you could only view 1 typeface for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Oh my, definitely Zapf Dingbats … just kidding, I would have to say Helvetica, anything else would be rather painful I imagine.
9 Favorite pantone or hex color?
#111111, it’s such a cool dark grey. I love it!
10 Any emerging web technologies, or other cool things you would like to learn about?
You know I’ve always wished I knew Ruby on Rails. But these days I get less and less time for development, in fact recently I handed over my last HTML/CSS work to a new employee and now I only do Photoshop design.
*11 Bonus Question! Any suggestions out there for students or newbie designers trying to learn and grow as designers?
Absolutely! The best thing I ever did when learning to design was to spend copious amounts of time in my local Borders reading through all the expensive books on design and typography which I couldn’t afford to buy. There’s so much great information which isn’t yet available online, in fact with books often there’s a lot to learn simply by looking at how the books themeselves have been designed!