Fixate is a Joburg based web, illustration and design agency; the brainchild of two designers and two developers who say, “Designers and developers don’t often see eye to eye, but by some marvel, we managed to break the old stereotype and be friends!” Fixate was launched about a year ago in the hopes of bringing customised design and advanced functionality together to create cool stuff.
We chatted to them to find out how they work.
Who is the team behind Fixate, and who does what?
We’re a small team of 4 people. Cassie and Ali do all the design and fancy UI stuff, Larry shows off his nifty CSS skills with the front end development, and Stan does amazing, mysterious things with the backend.
What’s the story behind the name?
It would be nice if the story behind our name was one of unexpected inspiration, or some other kind of eureka moment. Alas, it was something much more mundane. It involved thesauruses and checking domain name availability. We like it though!
What was the first project you ever tackled together?
Our first job, which is an ongoing project, is for a new baby food company called Bumbles. This has been such an exciting project, as we have been able to build the brand from the ground up. The website will be launched this coming December, while the baby food, yoghurt and additional products will be launched next year. So, next time you stroll past the baby food aisle in your favourite supermarket, keep your eyes peeled for our designs.
What have you been up to since then?
Working our asses off! We’ve also got an exciting product we’re developing in house, but we’re not allowed to tell just yet…
What do you do outside of work? Any interesting hobbies?
This might come as a shock, but the designers like to spend their free time doing arty things, and the developers like to dream about code. There’s also some scuba diving, singing, and travelling thrown in there somewhere.
What are some of the main challenges you face in the digital industry?
The pace at which technologies and trends advance is incredible, so there’s a lot of research necessary to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world. It makes for a challenge, but it always keeps us on our toes! It’s inspiring to work in an industry where everyone is so open to sharing, and making things better and faster.
Tell us a little about how you work, take us through your creative process? Any interesting rituals?
Well, it all starts with a cup of tea and some mood-setting music (this is tricky as we have fans of both metal, and theatrical music in our office). We then all sit together racking our brains to come up with the best solution for a particular project. Then comes the hard work.
How does a web design agency go about designing their own website?
There’s nothing more difficult than designing your own site. We scrapped designs that took weeks of work on multiple occasions because they just weren’t right. Eventually we decided we wanted something that we had never seen before. We tried to stay away from any trends so that our site would stand out. It was quite a scary way to go as we had no idea what the reaction would be. We’re thrilled with the positive feedback we’ve received from all around the world!
What has been your favorite project so far, and why?
We loved working on the Hugo Orthodontics brand and website as we were given the opportunity to create something clean and modern. We also learned more about teeth than we ever thought we’d know! The current page is just a holding page for the full site we’re in the process of building. It will launch next year.
(Keep an eye out for it here.)
What are your plans for the future?
Our most important short term plan is to enjoy a relaxing December holiday! We’re moving in a software-as-a-service direction, so, in the long term, we’d like to expand the size of our company a little. We do, however, consider ourselves a boutique agency, so we don’t want to get too big for our boots!
Also check out their new website.