Michael Kane Interview
Michael Kane, owner of InLip Designs, is one of my all time favorite designers. But he tends to be a bit private showing his work to the general public. So, one of the most common questions I have heard lately, is “who the heck is Michael Kane?”
Now you know.
The truth is, I literally drool over this man’s work, everything from logos, corporate identities, web design, and print advertisement.
You won’t find his best work displayed in his portfolio though, and if you want him design for you, I need to warn you: you will have to get in a long line because he is often booked for long stretches in advance.
Now let me tell you, trying to get an interview out of Michael Kane is a little like trying to pull a tooth for an angry bear without the help of a tranquilizer gun.
If you want a glimpse inside this professional designer, you are going to spend weeks gathering snippets, and then bringing it all together.
J. Cricket Walker: How did you get started in the design world?
Michael Kane: Art has always fascinated me. I have a degree in it. Being able to create something visually pleasing has forever been of interest to me.
At one point, during college, at the peak of my online research experience for projects and so forth, I was honestly disappointed to find most sites online, were boring. They lacked character, personality, they got me to click away and sometimes cringe.
Research was all the more difficult with boring sites, lacked motivation in almost every way, lumps of text for one to read, sometimes clumsy navigation and so on.
A year before my graduation I had designed more than 40 sites within two months, 30 of which were already online and attracting users. By graduation, I had about 120 clients, most free however, all of which were running successful businesses. It just grew from that
J. Cricket Walker: I notice you like to stay under the radar, why is that?
Michael Kane: The last thing I need is people taking notice of me. I already get enough heart ache from those who know of my work, and try so hard to ‘prove’ they are better.
All I want to do is design, and earn a decent living, thus why I keep to the shadows, works best, else I’d spend half my time reading about myself.
J. Cricket Walker: If you could design anything you wanted right now, what type of project would you be working on?
Michael Kane: I would really like to find the time and design something for vision impaired people.
They have as much a need for the internet as people without vision impairments, but with flimsy designs, annoying splash pages and impenetrable flash interfaces, most are forced to stick to website feeds, and as you know, not every site has one.
J. Cricket Walker: Do you see changes on the horizon in the design world?
No, not at this rate, at least not good changes. You have 17 year old kids with a whole three hours worth of experience in design, if I can call it that, claiming to be freelancers and charging clients for work.
Soon people will find something else, and eventually stop caring for design. Unless we, as freelancers and designers in general do something about this, educate the public, then it will spiral out of control, if it hasn’t already.
J. Cricket Walker: What was your worst client like?
Michael Kane: I have never had a perfect client, only really nice ones, some professional ones, and a few challenged ones.
The worst client is the one that would come to me with everything they wanted in mind, and force me to follow it step by step, adding greens and shades of blue with orange and yellow, flash rollovers for the navigation bar and size10 font, only to HATE the outcome.
Then get me to start over, actually taking my advice and loving the design. By which time I would have come close to hurting them several times over, but that’s where patience comes in, and knowing what a client wants, and needs, knowing their product and client base.
Oh well, that is what you have to deal with sometimes. It’s the same with any career one chooses to follow. You’ll have the good guys and the mental ones.
J. Cricket Walker: What are the most important things a site owner should look at when choosing a designer
Michael Kane: Personally I think the most important thing when choosing a designer is does the designer know what you want? Like really know. You will find that sometimes, if you hire a designer, he or she will agree with everything you throw at him/her.
That’s not how it’s supposed to go. You’re not the professional designer. They should have input, they should make you go, “Oh! that’s a great idea, why didn’t I think of that.”
A designer should be well rounded and have been in the design industry for at least two years before taking on average sized projects, and know what the client wants, better than the client themselves.
The last thing you want to do is get a money hungry designer. Don’t get me wrong, all designers want to make money, difference is some can deliver what you paid for, while others will throw absolute crap (excuse my French) into your lap.
J. Cricket Walker: Michael, I know you weren’t real comfortable with letting me publish this interview, so I want to take a moment to thank you for letting us get a peek inside your world.
Michael Kane: You owe me girl!
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