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Juxt Interactive Spotlight on the Firms
FL: How did Juxt Interactive come together?
JI: Steve Wages and myself worked in the architecture industry together many years ago and were led into various aspects of design communications. I started doing freelance graphic and multimedia design while working in the architecture industry. Eventually we got an opportunity to start up a web design company working for a previous employer in the architecture industry. They suffered from lack of vision consequently Steve and I left to form Juxt Interactive in April of 1998.
FL: What importance do you place on your roots in architectural design?
JI: We brought a great deal to Juxt from the architecture practice. Planning, strategy, organization, project management, client management, visual communication skills, and the ability to manage large scale projects that result in a successful marriage of design and technology.
FL: Where did the name Juxt Interactive come from?
JI: Juxt is derived from the word Juxtaposition which is defined as putting two or more elements side by side or close together. For us we juxtapose design and technology to create our product.
FL: In juxtaposing design and technology, do you feel that it require a trade-off in most cases or can they often work in harmony?
JI: They balance each other and if done well create a perfect harmony in which the lines between they 2 are invisible.
FL: How many people work at Juxt Interactive? What do you look for in potential recruits?
JI: We are 20 at this point. We look for people that understand the internet intimately and think out of the box. On the design side we look for experience with branding, as well as experimental work. We also look for individuals whether they be designers or programers with a passion for quality and design.
FL: What would you say are some of the design influences for the Juxt Interactive style?
JI: We are inspired by architecture, nature, people and culture. We draw a lot of inspiration from the particular problem we are working on.
FL: Have you ever found that your firm's "style" limits the type of clients who want to work with you? Do clients ask for you to design something in a similar vein, or do they just let you come up with what works best?
JI: We are not bound by a style we have had many projects that on client request follow certain directions that were explored on previous projects but we have done a diverse body of work. We look for projects that allow us to be creative and take risks that is the bottom line. But we do like typography on the whole which I think shows.
FL: Which do you think has the biggest impact on the look & feel of a project: typography, photography, illustration, interactivity, animation, or content.
JI: CONTENT all the rest should reinforce the content.
FL: How big an impact on your firm's business and client list is the mix of books, articles, and speaking engagements you're involved with? Do you find that this not only brings in new clients but perhaps brings in clients open to the types of design/interactivity that Juxt Interactive prefers to do?
JI: It is definitely good for our brand it does open many doors that lead to opportunities for the studio. It also attracts talent our way. For me I really like sharing what we have learned with others I see many people struggle with this medium and if we can help in any way that is what it is about.
FL: How do you think the web industry in the LA area compares to other areas (SF, NYC) and what advantages are there for being located there?
JI: SF is very Dot Com based (ouch) and NYC is more balanced between branding, entertainment and dot coms. LA is traditional brands, lots of entertainment and apparel. There was a lot of content dot coms in LA as well but they are having a real bad year.
FL: What's the biggest challenge facing your company or the industry as a whole in the months/years ahead?
JI: We are very optimistic. We are doing well and working with some great brands. I think the challenge is actually the marketplace, The backlash has made many people hesitant to proceed on work they need executed. With such a surplus in talent and the elimination of so many competitors, it gives us more advantages than we have ever had.
FL: If the web industry disappeared tomorrow, and your entire firm had to start doing something else, what types of work would you all be doing?
JI: Murals on Dodge vans, preferably the Star Wars genre, although we are also partial to Conan the Barbarian as well. The real challenge there is finding those amber plexi-glass diamond shaped windows... they are just not as easily accessible as they were in the 70's.
(spotlight first ran March 2001)


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