Who are you, where are you from, why Paris?
I’m Tristan Bagot. I am originally from Paris, which is still my home.
I am still really keen on the city and its energy — there is always much to do and discover and it is quite cosmopolitan.
Paris is evolving; it’s a melting-pot where fashion, art, music and visual creation are intertwined.
How did it all begin?
At 6 years old, I started with Windows 95, a 2GB hard drive and a few lines of BASIC with my older cousin.
I did not really touch code afterwards but the idea grew over the years, and it was only at the end of my graphic design studies at ESAG Penninghen that I got back in touch with coding.
After becoming a freelancer, I started to use Kirby and its impressive simplicity, then dived into terminal command-line, learned code compiling… and discovered all of the possibilities of these tools for creating new interfaces and imagining algorithmic concepts.
To me the digital world is thrilling as every new project is a new adventure into the unknown with a huge variety of possible outcomes (which is less obvious in print design).
What is the focus of HTTB? Would you describe your practice?
Thomas Hervé and I started working together as HTTB.EU after collaborating on a couple of websites a few years ago. We felt our skills complemented each other and we were on the same wavelength. On one hand, Thomas is good at typography, layout and design knowledge, and on the other hand my strengths are developing new digital possibilities, animation, transitions, content refactoring and design automatisations. In close collaboration with our clients, we define their expectations and try to simplify and optimise their needs. With that in mind, we ping-pong back and forth and find ambitious digital/design solutions that excite us while building fun and pleasant websites to navigate through. We like to call it “digital processing”. We also like to invest time in some crazy side projects…coming soon!
How do you develop ideas for your sites?
A movie, an image or an exhibition can be the starting point. Often I organise visual references using the great Are.na platform. I usually make a lot of small interactive tests on Codepen.io to experiment and find interesting visual results.
Sometimes, ideas spring from the first dialogue with the artist or client, from their wishes or the content/design constraints of the project. One of these could become the main idea that will be elaborated and improved.
I try to consider websites as video, motion design or opening credits – it helps to forget the classic web shapes and to think out of the box.
How would you describe the role of the scientific approach in your design practice?
The hack-engineer, powerful-geek, creative-scientist side of coding pleases me as well, as the idea of smart laziness of letting the computer do all the hard work by setting a certain amount of initial parameters. The machine almost becomes the designer.
Karl Gerstner in Designing Programmes resumes quite well this approach :
“Instead of solutions for problems, programmes for solutions […] To describe the problem is part of the solution. This implies: not to make creative decisions as prompted by feeling but by intellectual criteria. The more exact and complete these criteria are, the more creative the work becomes. […] It is a kind of designing automatic.”
Conceiving a website for a client is comparable to solving a big equation where X and Y are usability and satisfaction with the visual result.
It needs to generate design on its own and adapt to any shape, be configurable in every detail, be fast and evolutive…much like a sci-fi robot invention.
What are the most important trends for creative coders today?
Lately, the inception of variable fonts in web design opens new possibilities. I would also pay attention to artificial intelligence as the outcomes can be both interesting and scary. Also webhooks, P2P protocols like DAT, text-to-speech API…
What would be the perfect new commission?
I would love to be involved in a creative project where I could work hand in hand with really talented developers to push the boundaries of digital concepts even further and enhance my skill set.
Which CMSs and frameworks do you use the most?
I mainly use Kirby at the moment because it needs very few configurations to get a project going, and it can be strongly customized. Kirby 3 will come out soon and after having tested the beta, it will be much more powerful in many ways and can even be used as a headless CMS.
For smaller static websites, I prefer to use Parcel JS and Netlify for quick and easy deployment.
As for the frameworks, I don’t really use one; I prefer to create the CSS and JS components specifically for a given website as it makes less unused code at the end. If I had to mention one, it would be gr8.css created by Jon Gacnik (Folder Studio) as it is small and powerful.
Your portfolio has a surprising variety in UI-design. How do you begin when you make a website?
It comes from the the fact that I work with many different studios and graphic designers. Most of my work is the result of collaboration. Having skills in design and code makes it is easier discuss and connect new ideas. Also, I always attach a strong focus on the client’s desires and the references, even if they are different from what I am used to, as it allows me to take up challenges in design or code.
For each website there is a different way of working and approaching a solution, therefore a different UI. I regard a website more as an experience than as a content receptacle (this is Instagram’s role!) and a unexpected navigation makes the site easier to remember.
How does your stack look like?
A custom boilerplate with the following:
Kirby CMS for the back & front-end
Stylus with Jeet & Rupture
Shopify API and GraphQL for e-shops
It is not using the latest trends but it works quite well!
I started learning React and I will try to go more towards this kind of technology from now to gain in reactivity and to be able to spend more time on front-end animation and fine tuned details.