co-owner and Creative Director of Long Beach, California-based
Visualade, 27-year old Jenny Dean is no stranger to world-class
From small, interactive flash sites to large-scale dynamically
generated content and ecommerce back ends, Jenny has created
uniquely fashionable and upscale design solutions for Blu
Dot (Flash Forward 2002 San Francisco nominee), Charlotte
Russe (SXSW 2002 nominee), Tarina Tarantino (UCON 2001 nominee),
South Coast Plaza, Bisou Bisou, Smashbox Cosmetics, Hot
Kiss and Glendale Galleria to name a few. Recently, her
designs for Blu Dot granted Visualade a Site of the Week
on prestigious Communication Arts' designinteract.com.
A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, with a BFA in Art and
Graphic Design, Jenny has been designing professionally
since 1998 and is not only recognized as a leading producer
of high-end interactive design but has since been acknowledged
as an outstanding individual designer by such sites as flashgoddess.com,
and netdiver.net. She also lends her talent and expertise
as a Design Theory moderator at were-here.com.
Jenny's upcoming projects among many include major fall
updates for existing clients South Coast Plaza and Charlotte
Russe, a new project for Body & Soul Cosmetics' online boutique
and a collaborative concept site called Chronographique.
And be on the look out for her contribution to Jessica Speigel's
New Riders book launching July 2002 "Flash MX Application
Design and Development: Thinking Outside the Box."
I've gotta say Were-Here.com
is my favorite site to visit. I'm there every day. (I'm
also a moderator in the Design Theory forum there.) But
it is such a great resource for news, inspiration, help
and assistance, and above all it is a great community. We're
Here Forums seems to have more women present than the other
Flash forums which hardly have any women at all posting
Why do you think that not very
many women post to forums?
Well, I think I am guilty of that generalization as well.
I don't often post to any other forums besides We're Here
because I haven't found too many other design or Flash related
communities that feel as comfortable. For the most part
the level of maturity at We're Here is high. The forums
are used by a great amount of informative and knowledgeable
people. On the other hand, it's also an open and light-hearted
community of Flash and design enthusiasts. It's easy to
have a good time there. And I think Jessica Speigel and
the rest of the Smartbabes at We're Here make it easier
for other women -or anyone- to feel comfortable jumping
into conversations and posing questions. I've gotten to
know some really fabulous people through it.
This is tough. I love all modern art. I am really into Chuck
Close. His portraits are just so intense. And I love Edward
Ruscha's work. Quite a pleasing mix of art and typography.
And I love all artist who remind me of the 60's and 70's
- flat color, graphic things.
Anything written or illustrated by Shel Silverstein.
I love all kinds of music. But what really gets me inspired
is some good electronic, or jazz, or something really poppy
and fun - like Fantastic Plastic Machine or Takako Minekawa
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspired by seeing something really innovative on
the web - like checking out natzke.com
or hearing a really energizing song. Sometimes just a found
object will hit me or a color combination.
Right now my hobby is to find time to relax. But when I
can, I love studying upon design history. I also like to
stare out my 4th floor window and people watch. I'm kind
of a collector of things.. Anything that catches my eye
graphically, I will keep. Decorating our loft is a great
time as well.
What do you like most about Flash?
I see things in motion. I love designing for Flash because
it gives me a medium to put things in motion. I think that
spawns from dance recitals from childhood and my love of
old movies. I love choreography and since I am no longer
dancing, I get to choreograph graphics instead.
When and why did you start using
I originally started out creating things in Director before
I got into web design, but let that fall to the wayside.
Flash became a major interest about 2 years ago while designing
for fashion and cosmetic companies. I think the first flash
site I worked on was the original Charlotte Russe site.
And Flash became a staple in October of 2000 when we created
the intro for Tarina Tarantino.
How or where did you learn your
Flash skills (was it in school or were you self taught)?
The only multimedia class I took in school was an old school
Director class making games and mazes. Wow, 1999 seems so
long ago now. The rest, I guess, has all been self taught
or on the job experience. But, I think the biggest emphasis
that I put into anything Flash is the design and storyboarding
of it. That skill comes from an understanding and practicing
music, years of dancing and choreography, and my love of
old movies and musicals, and growing up watching MTV. I
reach deep into all of those subconscious memories and experiences
to draw out the creativity and fluidity that I like to incorporate
into all of my work.
Do you feel there is a difference
between male and female Flash creations?
Well, from what I've seen online, very generally, flash
creations by males tend to seem more masculine and vice
versa. In my case, it's project by project. I like to think
my more feminine clients get a more feminine design and
masculine or non-descript clients don't get an overwhelmingly
femme design. And all flash creations done by Visualade
come through me and are finished by Jesse.
Do you have any thoughts about
where Flash is going or should be going in the future?
I think it's fabulous that Flash MX is pushing us farther
into the application development realm. It gives Flash so
much more credibility as a tool. I am excited to see what
comes of this and have things in the works as we speak.
However, I am not ready to lose Flash as a motion graphics
or art medium. I think there is a time and place for every
use. And I hope we can find a happy medium between solid
Flash applications for the web and beautiful art and motion
What are common Flash design mistakes
that you notice?
Well, I am generally really easy to please and I don't find
too much out there that I dislike or think is just totally
wrong. I understand that there are many levels of flash
experience and design out there. But I think my biggest
pet peeve - and I amazingly still see this happen on major
corporate sites - is this: Jumpy or twitchy photos - caused
by animation sequences on top of photos, there is an easy
fix to this...
What hardware do you use?
I use Apple all the way. I am die hard Mac user. (specifics:
I've got a dual800 G4, 1GBram quicksilver and a spiffy new
white ibook) The rest of Visualade, however, uses custom
built pc's (specifically: 1.6gHz AMD's in beautiful transparent
sided Lian Li aluminum cases).
Do you have any tips, tricks or
techniques you would like to share?
I can't emphasize this enough: understand who or what you
are working for and what their goals or the project's goals
are. Careful and meticulous planning accompanied by appropriate
graphics and refined design are what make successful projects
for me. I also opt to keep it simple and elegant as well.
Thank you very much Jenny! You're a great inspiration for
all of us.