6 INTERNET The Web weavers
Forget Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. The hottest designers strut their stuff on the Web, not the catwalk. We meet three Of the best. Story: John Henderson and Ellie Carr
Amy Gadney, Web designer, 24
Some people might have found the fact that their college computer kept on crashing while digitising pictures frustrating, but Amy Gadney, a Web designer and ex-model from London, claims it was what sparked her interest in computers.
Trained as an artist at St Martin’s in London and Bristol, she became involved in Web design through her brother, until recently Penguin’s head of multi-media publishing. Her largest project to date has been Irena, an experiment in interactive fiction. Although concerned about sounding pretentious, she claims good Web design must involve some degree of anarchy. ‘You have to be anarchic as an artist to fight the limitations of the [Web] programmes,‘ she says.
Gadney insists that Web sites should offer some sort of ‘real experience’ rather than just plain boring information. As far as particular design fetishes go, she owns up to a love of texture, and is looking forward to applying that love to a new site for Creation Records, where that anarchy might well come in handy. (JH)
Jag Kooner, Internet consultant, 24
Coventry-born Jag Kooner is an Internet consultant with leading Glasgow Web design agency, www.design. Casual but smart, like the industry he works in, he originally studied aerospace engineering (gulp) at Glasgow University and stayed in the city because he ‘preferred the nightlife’.
Drawn into the Net as a student, when it was at its height as an information free-for-all with no state control, he’s stayed and played with it long enough to carve a career from its new-found business potential. With www.design — the agency started by a pal of his from Uni — Kooner acts as go-between for companies, programmers and designers putting together Web sites. It’s a job that simply would not have existed four years ago. A fact which makes him chuckle.
Kooner’s work with www.design has included sites as slick as that of Glasgow’s Sub Club, a simple but effective mix of morphing Subbie graphics, chunky icons and endless info on forthcoming dancefloor action.
And the best thing about the job? Being needed by the big guys in suits,’ says Kooner. ‘l’m going in and talking to company directors and I’m talking to them on a level playing field,’ he says. ‘That’s the best part of the job. It’s a young industry, and they [business people] need you as much as you need them.’ (EC)
Rob Henderson, software developer and Web designer, 40
In between running Edinburgh Net cafe, Electric Frog and knocking up software for corporates like Scottish Widows, Rob Henderson designs Web sites. One of his proudest creations is the Rebel Inc. site — the digital incarnation of Edinburgh writer and politico Kevin Williamson’s now-folded underground litmag of the same name. The link with Williamson’s buddy Mr Welsh and full transcript of the notorious Ecstasy interview between Williamson and the Trainspotting writer, has stirred much media interest in the site that’s keeping the Rebel Inc. ethos alive in Webland. Henderson, born in Fleet, Hampshire and an Edinburgh citizen of fifteen years, also has reason to be cheerful about ‘cutting’ Web pages live at lrvine Beach rock festival and the Fringe 1996 Headstate site, where audience members were encouraged by performers to ‘fuck the critics’ and write their own appraisal of the Boilerhouse/lrvine Welsh show. ‘People were rushing up here [Electric Frog] to type in reviews,’ says Henderson. So what is a sensible software professional doing mixed up in a crazy business like the Web? ‘I guess it’s the rock ’n’ roll side of software development,’ he grins. ‘lt’s still a little bit anarchistic, which is one of the reasons why I like it.’ (EC)
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20 YIELIST 21 Feb-6 Mar 1997