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Fantasy Interactive spills the beans at OFFF 2012

This morning at OFFF 2012 we caught up with Irene Pereyra, Anton Repponen and Claudio Guglieri from award-winning global digital agency Fantasy Interactive (FI).

Having started life as a boutique design shop in 1999, today Fi has offices in New York, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Stockholm, and has narrated brand stories for some of the world’s biggest brands including Google, HTC (opens in new tab), Porsche and CNN.

We met them fresh from presenting their talk in the main room, for a quick-fire Q&A…

Computer Arts: Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do at Fi?
Irene Pereyra: I’m director of UX and strategy
Anton Repponen: I’m creative director
Claudio Guglieri: I’m art director

CA: How would you describe Fi's work and style?
AR: Perfectionists.
CG: Action-oriented.
IP: Hyper-creative.

CA: What inspires you?
Being in a room with a lot of creative people with a tight deadline, trying to solve for the impossible.
AR: Deadlines.
CG: The competition I feel with other creatives, always trying to be one step ahead.

CA: What’s been a standout project to work on at Fi?
The History Channel's 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, which we presented at OFFF today. I oversaw the strategy and UX for this project, which was incredibly challenging yet rewarding
AR: The Fi case studies of completed projects that are on our site - they allow us complete freedom and experimentation.
CG: The ‘Ramayana’ Chrome experiment to promote the Chrome browser. I did the art direction and design for the project.

CA: In ‘Ramayana’ you added a couple of extra details that the client didn’t know about – is this something you do a lot?
We do it quite a lot. It’s something we do in terms of design, it helps us get excited about what we’re doing.
AR: Clients sometimes aren’t necessarily in the process – they’re reviewing things on a daily basis, but at the end of the day they care about the final thing. And sometimes designers want to spend time having fun and just playing with little elements. It’s all about the little things that everyone puts into the little components. At the end of the day it’s a big project, but there are a lot of little things that maybe the client has never seen.
IP: They might still never have noticed!
AR: Yeah. It’s something that we as designers want to show to the community – all the little details that we put in, which at the end of the day form something big and something nice.
CG: The ending titles of ‘Ramayana’ are a good example. The client didn’t ask for them, but we made them and they thought: ‘That’s pretty cool’ and didn’t have a problem.

CA: Have you ever got into trouble?
Not trouble I would say.
AR: If they feel something is wrong they tell us and we try something else out. Or replace it, or maybe remove it and try to innovate somewhere else instead.
IP: A lot of decisions in terms of functionality get made during wireframing, so when it comes to the design phase there is a lot more freedom to explore other things. They don’t have to worry about ‘What if the structure…’ because everything is already determined, so they have the space and the time to then focus on very small details.

CA: What’s your favourite secretly added detail?
Something we did for Nintendo…
CG: Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this!
AR: It was an Easter egg – it was a very subtle detail. We did a project for Nintendo a while back for a game. And in the background there was fire and you could see little particles coming out of the fire. It was done in Flash and if you right-click and keep zooming in, you can see the particles were burned out of the FI logo – bit no one will ever see that.
CG: It’s things that designers will notice. But every little thing we add – we like them all.

CA: What’s in the pipeline for Fi in the coming months?
We're opening an office in London, and are hoping to captivate the world with new European-based clients, employees and projects.

CA: Why London?
Right now our Stockholm office is handling a lot of our Asia and American clients, and London is right in the hub – all the big companies are there, so it’ll make it much easier for us to get to client meetings and pitch. Like with our clients in the US, who are either being serviced by our West coast or East coast offices – we’re trying to recreate that symbiotic relationship that we have with our clients in the US.
AR: Plus it’s about the creative talent [in London] – there are so many great agencies, designers and developers.

CA: Who are you most looking forward to seeing at OFFF?
IP: Jonathan Harris
CG: Jonathan Harris
AR: Jonathan Harris

CA: How important is it to be involved at events like OFFF?
It’s important to see how other professionals are tackling different kind of projects, and it allows us to stay fresh and keep on our toes. It’s also important to be part of the community and share some of our battle stories with others, to hopefully inspire them as well.

CA: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
The most important ingredient in this industry is passion and love. With the long hours we work, you have to truly love and be passionate about what you do.

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