Web designInterview

Zander Brade on fashion, family and Kanye

Zander Brade on fashion, family and Kanye

Berlin-based web designer Zander Brade discusses building exciting things and landing a job at 6Wunderkinder

Zander Brade is one of 10 nominees for Emerging Talent of the Year in the 2014 net Awards. He works for 6Wunderkinder in Berlin and also on developing his own app. We quizzed him to find out more.

Tell us about your main areas of competency.

I've found it's very easy to lose yourself in focusing directly on creating a great UX or pretty UI, rather than an overall product that delights people. I don't necessarily feel that I have a main area of competency. What I do know though, is that I just like working on things that excite and engage people.

Are you currently working or studying?

In July of last year I left my boarding (high) school a year before graduating to move to Berlin and join 6Wunderkinder's Design team. After a three month internship I was offered a full-time position, which is where I'm at today.

Give us a summary of your web work so far.

My first real client must have been in mid 2011, but I'd been doing some on/off stuff for a while before then. From early 2012 until the summer of 2013 I was doing quite a bit of work in between failing at school. I got to do stuff with startups, agencies and some open source projects; all of which was pretty baller. In early 2013 I made an eBook, and then a newsletter for designers called Analog which people seemed to like. I sold it just before coming to Berlin.

At what age did you start learning to code, and how did your interest in the web get started?

I have two ways of answering this question. One is that I just have a love for building stuff and that I want to help people. The second is that around the time I got into the web, The Social Network had just come out. I saw that and assumed that making websites would get me rich, famous and a set of controversial yet humorous business cards. Four years later, my drive for success is still very much there, but my priorities and observations have become somewhat sharper.

What was the first thing you built?

I used to be absolutely killer at making these melted tuna and cheese sandwiches. I always added the perfect amount of sweet chilli sauce and peppers (incredible balance of taste and crunch). That's more made than built though. Tomato, Tomato. In terms of the internet - just after my 16th birthday I made this blogging platform called Summd where you could post stuff by replying to an email. It was pretty cool but completely impractical, like why the hell would you want to blog by replying to an email?

What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working hard on the new Wunderlist site. Wunderlist 3 is launching in the next couple of months and we're very excited because we've built something incredible. I'm also focused heavily on the Android client and a bunch of stuff for the other platforms (as we all do). Outside of 6Wunderkinder, I'm making an app called Cashmere that I think is pretty cool. If you're an iOS engineer, come talk to me. Besides that, I eventually want to produce my own clothes. The craftsmanship and intricacy of fashion design intrigues and excites me.

Are there any people whose work has been especially inspirational to you?

The longer I've been designing the less I've found myself 'inspired' by work, sights or places. I still find stuff cool, but I don't see something and strive for my design to reflect that - it feels like an unnatural and fabricated process. I mean, I have six other incredible designers sitting right by me, so I don't really need to go hunting on the web for cool stuff. I'm inspired by my family in many ways. I have the smartest father, most caring mother and coolest four sisters. I also love Kanye, naturally.

Vote in the net Awards!

Celebrating the best in web design and development, the 15th net Awards is open for public voting until 24 March. With a record breaking number of nominations this year, it's set to be the biggest and best yet. Have your say by casting your votes here.

Words: Tanya Combrinck

Tanya Combrinck is digital editor on net magazine.

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