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Webdesign and Graphical User Interface Design


  - Achieving a perfect combination between form (aesthetics) and function (usability) is a passion that goes beyond the purely professional.
  - Readability, scannability, accessibility and usability are just as important in webdesign and Graphical Interface Design as composition, colour, whitespace, contrast and shape.
  - A real web/interface designer distinguishes himself not by how intricate his design is, but by how he uses a few key elements in his design to achieve optimal results.

KEY FACTS (detailed)

  - Born 8th of December 1967
  - Studied 4 years of "Sierkunsten" (Fine Arts) at PITTEL in the city of Leuven followed by four years of Graphic Design (A1 long type or Master's Degree) at the High Institute of Arts Sint-Lukas in Brussels (Schaarbeek). Achieved Highest Distinction for "Elektronische Vormgeving" (design with computers).
  - Webdesigner & Interface designer since 1998.
  - From mid 2000 to mid 2011 active at DAD (Digital Age Design), after it's acquisition by the LBi Group rebranded as LBi Belgium. This is one of Belgium's major online marketing and webdevelopment agencies.
  - Did a half year mission at Accenture as Lead Designer and Ergodesigner for several Belgian Government websites, among others the first website (no longer online).
  - My carreer at LBi led me from Senior Webdesigner over Art Director to member (as 'Head of Creative Design') of the board of Directors.
  - As the Director of the Creative Design Department of LBi I led a team of 15 professionals with an additional number of freelancers and interns.
  - At LBi I was know as a creator of aesthetic yet meaningful interfaces and as a designer with an intuitive grasp of the principles of usability. That's why I was first choice for long projects for corporate clients and for European, Federal and local governments or organisations.
Spoken Languages:   - Dutch (mother's tongue)
- Leives (local Dutch dialect)
- French (good)
- English (good)
- German (notions)

MAIN SKILLS (detailed)

    Good webdesign is born from a perfect balance between the "Emotional" (creativity, orginality, aesthetic beauty,...) and the "Rational" (usability, ergonomics, CMS-limitations, WAI-regulations, best practices,,...). Too much emphasis on one half will result in the creation of a handicapped piece of art on the one hand or in a faceless creation devoid of personality on the other. I however do not consider the emotional and the rational to be extreme opposites as you can have (most of) the best of both worlds if you know where to start.

This insight has not gone unnoticed at DAD and LBi where I did hundreds if not thousands of designs for medium sized to large scale projects.

Thanks to the use of the most optimized tool for webdesign (see 'used software'), my user centric approach and my willingness to listen to other people's ideas I also was appreciated for my efficiency. This reputation results in the fact that even today as freelancer I am still being contacted by other agencies (often with ex-LBi personnel in their ranks) to work on projects with a high visibility.

    As webdesigner and Graphical User Interface designer I have worked with different Usability Experts for over a decade. In doing so I have learned to speak the lingo and I gradually acquired the necessary insights to be able to understand and properly communicate with them. What's more, because I am an experienced designer (which most Usability Experts are not) I can spot and correct typical "usability versus design" conflicts because I look at the Usability aspect from both angles. I am therefore the perfect designer to team up with a Usability Expert.

However, if the budget does not allow for two experts, I can function as a hybrid design/usabilty expert and create functional design without additional expert input.

One final quote: Usability is an attitude, not a simple set of rules. For more information about my "vision" on webdesign/usability interaction, read my Usability page.

    I do designs for applications on web sites, intranets and extranets, dashboards, Flex applications, E-learning modules, Widgets, Admin tools, Flash games, etc...

If it's something that's displayed on a screen (no matter how big or how small), chances are I can help you out, because of my user-centric attitude and my long experience in on-screen design. See examples.

    I create animations to be used in Flash based e-learning modules and presentations and in Flash banners. By using Adobe Fireworks I also design Flash and Flex interfaces in such a way that it makes the life of the Flash/Flex Developer easier. See examples.

    I created loads of banners for clients such as Belgacom, Permesso and Touring. For nearly two years I did all banners at LBi Belgium for British Midlands (flybmi), not just creating te banners and the animations but often also the creative concept.

To create banners I normally follow the IAB's technical specifications regarding weight, duration, number of loops, clicktags, etc... See examples.

    I create attractive designs for emailings keeping in mind the lowest common denominator in email clients. Even with these strict Word/Outlook-constraints there's still a lot you can do without compromising the appearance.

If necessary I can also create the HTML and inline CSS and incorporate the correct fixed URL's so you can go ahead and "hit the send button". See examples.

    HTML / CSS
    Although I am not an HTML-integrator, I know how to slice a design and generate the necessary HTML/CSS for static pages to be used in demo's or POC's or, if the project permits it, to be delivered directly to an IT-department.

Because I have enough knowledge in this matter I know how to deliver correct source files (Fireworks PNG's or Photoshop PSD's) that will not place HTML-integrators or Front-end Developers before an impossible task.

    The quality of a design often starts to deteriorate as soon as it leaves the designer's control. The graphical integrity of a design can be protected by doing a regular follow-up throughout all phases of the project's lifecycle following the design phase. More details.

Another central aspect are branding guidelines and the continuity of look & feel throughout all designs.

    As Director of the Creative Design Department at LBi Belgium (both offices) I built and sustained a team of 15 motivated professionals (designers, HTML-integrators and Flash developers) with an added number of freelance talents and interns.

I was responsible for the correct and timely delivery of all design projects, for hiring new creative talent and evaluating team members. More details...

    Logo design, image compositing and manipulation, illustration or the creation of a house style (branding guidelines,...) are not part of my daily routine but they are additional services I can provide of needed. See examples.

To get an idea about my personality and how it is to work with me, you could read the recommendations written by colleagues and clients. That's probably more useful than what my subjective self image makes me write about myself here below:
  - Autonomous yet Team player.
  - Bionic eyes with integrated pixel rulers (eye for detail).
  - Not a diva designer.
  - I can handle constructive criticism (and give it as well).
  - Always open to new and interesting ideas.
  - Proactive.
  - Not afraid to challenge ideas, but always ready to accept better ones.
  - Chocolate addict (just don't feed the animal).

AWARDS (2005-2008) Inbetween 2005 and 2008 I had the honour of participating as webdesigner in a number of award winning projects. That stopped in 2008 when I became the Head of the Creative Design Department of LBi Belgium.

CMS Awards 2008
The CMS-Awards is Europe's leading award honoring websites based on a content management system, whether it is commercial or open source. 
Public Silver award
Category: Content websites
Project: AXA Conseiller
Client: AXA
Agency: LBi
My role: Lead Designer / AD
Used Software: Fireworks
MIXX Awards 2008
The MIXX Awards is judged by a panel of highly acclaimed thought leaders in advertising. The winners are honored each year at the IAB MIXX Awards Gala.
Prize: Bronze award
Category: Product Launch
Project: Minibreaks
Client: Thomas Cook
Agency: LBi
My role: Lead Designer / AD
Used Software: Fireworks

Inside Internet Awards 2005 (Night of Internet)
Prize: Winner
Category: Best lay out for a content driven website
Project: Studio 100 site
Client: Studio 100
Agency: LBi
My role: Lead Designer / AD
Used Software: Fireworks
Zulma (Belgian literary magazine) short stories contest 1999
OK, it's not design related but I thought I'd mention it anyway. :-)
Zulma was published by the Belgian 'Art Forum'.
Prize: Runner-Up (second prize)
My role: Author
Used Software: Wordpad

USED SOFTWARE (with motivation)
To me it's the result that counts, so I use the most appropriate (and therefore not necessarily the most popular) software for the different types of jobs.

> Why choose Fireworks over Photoshop ?
Thanks to Adobe Fireworks, the design program specifically built from scratch for webdesign, I was known at LBi not only because of my feeling for aesthetics and my eye for detail, but also because I had a high output and I rarely missed a deadline.

The advantages of using Fireworks:
Being a timesaving alternative to Photoshop, advantages become most clear on complicated, long projects that require many different iterations and that are subject to numerous change requests. More details.

Compatibility with Photoshop:
Since CS5 this improved tremendously. More details.


If Fireworks is the logical, ergonomical choice for webdesign, Adobe Photoshop is the best choice for anything concerning the more complex forms of image compositing and photo manipulation or pure bitmap editing. See examples.

Adobe Flash
is my tool of choice for animations. This rather silly music videoclip is something I created as an exercise and although it's not really representative of your average animated banner or Flash based elearning application, it's one good example of what's possible with Flash animation techniques. See other flash examples.

Depending on the complexity of the design, I either use Adobe Fireworks or Adobe Illustrator or a combination of the two.

    HTML / CSS
For the creation of HTML, CSS and inline CSS for static HTML pages or for emailing newsletters I use Adobe Dreamweaver.

Visit the 'Projects and Clients' page for a concise overview.ENDORSEMENTS
Visit the 'Endorsements' page to find out if the claims I made are just boasts of an oversize ego or if they are also seconded by former colleagues and new clients.

A short CV with a few project screenshots : PDF file, 1940 KB
Endorsements by Colleagues and ClientsDesign SkillsIllustration SkillsManagement Related Skills
Webdesign (websites, intranets, extranets, minisites,...)
Graphical User interface Design (ipad, iphone, smartphone,...)
E-Mailing & Newsletter Design (+ static HTML & inline CSS creation)
Logo Design
Flash (banners, animation & Flash Interface Design)
Illustrations (different styles & techniques)
Fantasy Art (for children's books & Role Playing Game books)
Image Compositing & Photo manipulation (aka. "Photoshopping")
Team Management
I am the former Director of the Design Department of a major web agency.
Art Direction, Quality control & Coaching
Follow-up of the visual quality and consistency of the project & support for junior designers.
Fireworks Coach
Teaching the most cost-effective tool for Web & GUI Design.
And... Non-Professional Activities and Articles
Curriculum Vitae (short)
Curriculum Vitae (detailed)
Why choose Fireworks over Photoshop? (article)
Underrated Music Albums
The Best CD Artwork
Selection of awful CD art
Dutch Roleplaying Games / Nederlandstalig Rollenspel
Starspawn (My live Heavy Metal band)
Unk! (My Dance Metal studio project)
My Children's book project
Connect via LinkedIn for professional purposes Connect via Facebook for non-professional purposes Follow me on Twitter Follow my art updates on Behance Visit my profile on the Flemish Illustrators portal
  Gratis NEderlandstalige Rollenspellen   Dowload free Dance Metal music   Read Foob's completely subjective music reviews of criminally underrated albums  
  Copyright 2012, design and artwork by Foob (Johan Wuyckens), +32 478 789128 / johan.wuyckens @