OTTO GREENSLADE

PEOPLEText: Mayumi Kaneko

This month’s cover design was produced by Otto Greenslade, a multimedia creator living in London. You can see a number of interactive works with unique interfaces on his web site Chaotic. Though he has only been working in web design for a year and a half, he has been implementing his ideas for interactive experiments. We interviewed him about the web scene in the UK, etc.

First of all, please tell us who you are.

I’m Otto Greenslade (A.K.A. Chaotic). I am 28 years old, and I live and work in London.

What are you currently doing?

I am working for a multimedia company in Central London called Noomedia, as a Creative Director. I am involved with some interesting projects – the new Bacardi Breezer web site, creating graphics for shockwave games on Lycos, and re-designing the corporate ID of an online UK club guide called Rehydrate. Apart from that I like to go out and party or, if I have time, sleep.

How did you start working on web design?

I have only been working in web design for a year and a half, before that I was designing posters, CD and video covers, etc. for a studio in Soho. I have learned everything I know by trial and error. I bought a Mac about five years ago, and set about learning how to use it. I didn’t take any courses, or have anyone to ask, so it was up to me to just try everything out – it was a lot of hard work, but now I really appreciate how worthwhile it all was!

I learned Flash because I was studying the design industry trying to be one step ahead with what would be the next big change, I knew I wanted to do something related to the Internet because I found it so exciting as a medium. I found HTML on its own a little restrictive and unpredictable, but once I saw the power of Flash I knew that was what I needed to learn next. I had already established Chaotic as my personal brand, appearing in the promotional book ‘Making Sense of Abstract Design’ by Public Art and wanted to create an identity on the Internet to display my ideas and launch Chaotic into the public eye.

Could you tell us more about Chaotic?

Chaotic is my personal web presence, an online portfolio, although to me it is a lot more. It is the avenue or opportunity for me to do exactly what I want, with no restrictions and to feel that I don’t have to fulfill any criteria other than my own expectations. I have had a lot of positive feedback, people seem to enjoy my work, so I guess I must be doing something right! I am considering a completely new interface design, I’m just not sure when to implement it, or if it might be more interesting to evolve the current one.

What are your ideas on design and which personal principles do you follow in creating a design?

I just like to design things that are aesthetically pleasing, captivating and entertaining, even if only momentarily. Sometimes I toy around with just the colour schemes for what seems like an age until I am completely happy. With regard to personal principles, I have to take a quote from my site – simplicity plus complexity equals beauty.

You are using Katakana in your design. What does Katakana mean for you?

I find the Japanese language to be extremely visually pleasing, it adds something special to particular pieces, and for someone who can’t translate it there is an element of mystery, an added dimension which I like. In art, I find you don’t necessarily have to understand something to appreciate it (this is the reason I don’t supply explanations to any of the artwork on my web site, I prefer people to draw their own conclusions).

When you made the cover design for Shift this month, what did you imagine and how did you work on it?

It was all based around the name, I was thinking about what it meant to me, in a literal sense, and I kept coming back to the same basic idea of constant movement and change. It started with a simple wave motion (similar to that of a fish), which progressed to more complex animation over time. It did actually start off a lot more graphically complicated, but I came back to it a few times and refined the concept, pulling out all the unneccesary elements for a cleaner approach.

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Yuka Kasai
MoMA STORE