Marcus Stenbeck. is Swedish by birth and Spanish by adoption, because in 2009 he moved to Madrid, where he is co-founder of Binalogue, the multidisciplinary design studio, where he works as Technical Director. In 2011 he also formed a video game development studio, Noobware, with 3 other partners.
Marcus is interactive director and has been working in the digital world since 2002. He specializes in project management and communication design and website development. He describes himself as “a Web fanatic and digital and design lover“.
Since January this year he is also an Awwwards judge. In this interview he tells us a bit more about his work and experience. Get to know him better…
Marcus Stenbeck is judge in Awwwards
Awwwards Team: How did you get into this industry?
Design. It’s not that I fell in love with design per se – but more that I realised that I had been in love with it all my life. Then back in 2000, I fell head over heels in love with Flash and that was it – the combination was irresistible and I just rolled with it. Complete 180 – started over education-wise and switched career path from a business/engineering degree, and I have never looked back. Ever.
Are you learning any new technologies, techniques, software or programming languages right now? What are you planning to learn in the coming months?
I don’t know if they should be considered new, but at the moment we are looking into the Laravel framework, and three.js. Stepping back even further in time I’d like to have a look at Ruby On Rails as I never got into it, but that’s about it for planning. I don’t like to plan too far ahead with these things – much prefer to get a project that we’re not quite sure how to do, discover what it is we need to research in order to get it done, and off we go – we dive straight into it.
What part of your work do you most enjoy?
Pretty much what I just mentioned – getting a project where we are not sure how to go about it, and having enough time to look at options and discover the best approach. Getting deep DEEP into code – to get completely submerged in a tricky issue and only coming up for air once it has been solved properly, neatly, without any hacking compromises. I have been transferring these skills and lately I am getting quite a kick out of helping others with their programming problem solving.
What will the world be like in 10 years time?
Exactly the same, but with cooler gadgets. No, but seriously, 10 years is a very long time in this industry. It’s not that we will have it easier because there is no more IE6 to worry about, or because we only have to worry about touch devices because desktops have become obsolete as web browsing devices. There will be something else, something new, fresh and awesome, I think in terms of human interface, that will be considered non-standard that we will have to work around. It is all part of the game, never-ending change, but that’s why we got into this in the first place, right?
What visual influences can you see in current web and mobile design?
The trendier sites at the moment tend to be visually more towards graphic design as opposed to web design – I guess the lines finally are beginning to blur as we now can achieve many things online that before were only possible with flash. As a seasoned flash guy I have to say that I do see a lot of re-hashing of old flash trickery techniques and to that I say c’mon people – we can do better – we can push it further or at least push it elsewhere. There are so many truly innovative pieces out there, and more released every day and those are the projects that we should focus on. Let’s exercise some restraint – Just because you could doesn’t mean you should.
Apart from using digital techniques, do you often draw, paint or work with physical materials?
I’m afraid the answer is no, and much like I wish I read more – I wish I did more of this. I’d love to roll up my sleeves and get down and dirty, because I find the experience amazing once I get into it. I remember very well visiting a pottery class my wife was taking a while back. I got on the throwing wheel and created with my bare hands, probably the ugliest clay vase the world has ever seen, but the experience was awesome. There is no undo in the real world, which is something that shouldn’t be feared – it should be embraced.
Which city do you live in? Is it a good place for designers?
I live in Madrid and although it would not be considered the capital of Europe when it comes to these things, there are communities, exhibitions and events that certainly meet even the pickiest of expectations. It is a great place.
How does your culture and background influence what you do?
Taking a look in the rearview mirror is always interesting and I believe that on some level it would influence day-to-day decisions but probably a more general type of approach to decision making – at least on a subconscious level. But as a Swede who has spent almost a third of my life in Australia, only to move to Spain to start a design studio there with a business partner from South America and employ people from all over the world, I would say it is the mixing of cultures that is the really interesting bit and therefore my primary source of influence. I guess you never stop shaping your culture and vice versa – it never stops influencing you. At the same time I feel that the global online community very much has its own culture, separate from traditional classifications. It’s a nice place and I like having it as part of my mix.