Martin Wecke

2. June 2018

From the homepage of your website the need to consider your projects through three perspectives (design, code and lab) is immediately apparent. Could you explain this choice?

These three terms — that can be read separately or all together as one entity — came up when relaunching my portfolio and trying to find a common ground in the various projects I worked on. My practice is rooted both in a traditional graphic design education and a strong passion for interaction design and technology. What I tried was not putting a label on what I do but rather spanning a space between these terms in which things can happen.

Your projects have a strong visual component. How would you describe the balance between design and development of your practice?

This is an interesting one because it raises the question about the border between these disciplines. Most of the development work I do has a strong impact on the “personality” of the product: How I can interact with it, how it responds to my input, how things are moving/not moving and how it is guiding me from point A to point B. For me this is very much design although it might not be “visual” at all. In website projects the actual visual design is only a small — but still important and fun — part of my practice.

How do you combine personal experimentation and client needs?

In most projects — even the ones that seem very defined at the beginning — there is some room for experimentation. It’s this space between the lines of a briefing or what’s missing in static mockups that can be filled with interaction, movement, animation. And besides that it helps a lot to let clients know what you are interested in…

Is it important to be able to browse an experimental project on all devices and browsers? And on the other hand, is it convenient to design a web experience for only one type of device or browser?

Developing for all these various platforms can indeed be painful. On the other hand it’s all about priorities: Does the website or interface have to look exactly the same on all platforms? Or isn’t it enough if it “works” and delivers the content and keeps the fun things for the more capable platforms?

Some of your projects — like 108 and QIPU — are effectively tools available to the users. Would you describe the choice of developing actual tools as speculative projects?

The concept of the “tool” is definitely a tempting one. What’s better than seeing the thing you built being used in unexpected ways! The examples you mention are fully working little apps so I would not call them speculative. Only their usefulness and user base lies in the realm of speculation 😉 With that said I’m becoming more and more critical towards the whole “speculative design” sphere. It’s just so hard to discuss pieces that never faced real-world friction or the need of compromises.