Industry Icon Rob Ford Talks Design Revolution
Rob Ford is an industry icon, best-selling author and champion of ground-breaking digital creativity. In 2000, Rob founded the FWA (Favourite Website Awards). For 20 years, the FWA has been a beacon for challenging, celebrating and highlighting the best of the industry. Today, the FWA boasts more 300 jurors from 35 countries and it remains the global standard for showcasing the most progressive and forward-thinking digital projects from individuals, agencies and brands. Rob is also the author of four best-selling books. His most recent is an epic chronicle of creativity and the digital revolution: Web Design. The Evolution of the Digital World 1990-Today. SoDA’s Executive Director, Tom Beck, caught up with Rob to chat about the book, the current state of digital design, the personal challenges of being a creator and why it’s high time for the industry to get its mojo back. How did you decide to start FWA and what drove you, personally, to champion digital creativity over these past two decades? The 1990s became a time in my life where I wondered why I was here on Earth. My father buying a Windows 95 PC in 1997 took me away from my Amiga 500 games into a world of downloading screensavers and anything else the web had to offer. This door to a new world blew my mind and totally captivated me. Looking for affirmation for my work, something I have always mentally needed, I stumbled upon internet awards and a huge awards community who enforced rules and criteria and were passionate, but were also more focused on their awards and award ratings than the work they were awarding. It was my time as a member of this community that inspired me to set up my own award where the focus would be all of the amazing work I was seeing, instead of becoming embroiled in a world of rules, criteria and score sheets. Treecity Favourite Website Awards very quickly became FWA in May of 2000, at a time when web design with Flash was exploding. The buzz I got from seeing or finding a new and cool web experience is what drove me and still does to this day. I always felt if I found a website that gave me goosebumps, I wanted to share it with the world and that’s pretty much the FWA ethos. “Treecity Favourite Website Awards, 2000. Image credit Rob Ford. While you write about, chronicle and champion digital creativity you are, of course, a brilliant creator yourself and writing a book such as yours is no small feat. What’s something new you learned about yourself in tackling this project? Well, Web Design. The Evolution of the Digital World 1990-Today is my fourth book with Taschen and the most challenging in a big way. I actually started writing it, in February 2008 after Nokia invited me to their HQ in Finland to do a talk on cutting edge web design. Due to anxiety, I couldn’t face the thought of doing the talk and offered to write an article detailing the last decade of web design. This became the starting point and I continued to write a summary of each year of the best web work, including writing a monthly cutting-edge web design round-up for Adobe’s flagship newsletter for 7 years. “Rob Ford’s book on web design. Image credit Rob Ford. » Read More
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