You’ve recently created your first augmented reality experience. What have you learned from it?
We learned that most of what we thought about augmented reality was wrong. AR isn’t something that is easily applicable after the fact. You need to design specifically for it. One of the biggest challenges of designing for AR is the inability of the designers to control the camera. So much of regular entertainment relies on the creators being able to show players where and when to look. This type of orchestrated storytelling is almost impossible when the player has the freedom to control the ‘viewfinder’ of the world. It has massive ramifications for how we communicate in-game events and interfaces.
What tools can't you live without and why?
Photoshop. I have been using Photoshop for more than 15 years and despite being involved in many different disciplines I still spend many hours in Photoshop each day.
How do you juggle client work, your own products and various pet projects? How do you stay so productive, and what part of your work do you enjoy most?
To answer all of that I’d probably have to write a small book. But to summarise: I like to keep a very diverse schedule, changing my focus between various initiatives. I work with some incredibly talented people and I keep a simple completable todo list every day with just a few tasks. Three to four things at most, usually one bigger thing and a few smaller things. All of them as defined as possible as to avoid any vagueness or obstacle in doing them. Productivity isn’t really a sprint, but more a long marathon.
A guiding light of my career has been a childlike pursuit of creative work that I genuinely think is fun. It sounds so obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t do this. We become what we work on, and when we work on something we’re consequently presented with more opportunities of that nature. It catches us in a loop that either reinforces the things we truly want to do or brings us further from them.
How did you get into the industry, and to where you are now?
I got into the industry in the old days of the early web by making digital art, forum signatures, wallpapers, icon replacements and just about anything I could produce on my computer. It’s been a pretty long road to where I am today. I’ll share some of that road in my talk at Pixel Pioneers.
My time is currently divided between three main jobs and a few smaller side projects. First, I run my entertainment design studio Northplay. This is where I spend most of my hours working with my really talented team on games and entertainment products for ourselves and for clients. I then run Pixelresort. I have been making things for people around the world through Pixelresort for more than 10 years now, and it’s my retreat as a visual designer where I get to work on icons, logos, and UI. Finally, I work on my growing design resource platform, Apply Pixels. Here I offer industry standard design tools in the form of downloadable icon and UI templates. My normal days are usually a mix of those three initiatives.
A few side projects are sprinkled on top of those. I run the co-working space Spilhuset in Copenhagen, and I spend an increasing amount of time on traveling giving talks, writing, and making videos on YouTube.
What are you currently working on?
True to form, I’m currently juggling a few different projects: working on a new game with Northplay (can’t share that yet but come find me at Pixel Pioneers and I’ll show some stuff). Working for a few interesting clients and playing around with a few side projects like the Adobe Creative Cloud replacement icon set. Here's the Photoshop icon: