An Interview with the Design Team of Cymax Media

Yesterday we had the privilege of being able to take an exclusive peek into one of Denver’s fastest growing web design firms: Cymax Media. Their seasoned outlook on digital design as well as their one-of-a-kind team dynamics offer interest to those who might consider pursuing a career in the industry, or just wants to hear about like-minded artists and their story from a small-startup to a quickly scaling and award-winning agency.

As a bit of background, president and founder Daniel Clawson founded the company in 2000, his goal being to switch careers from that of a music producer who was always on the road to being closer to his family as a work-at-home web designer. A graduate from Colorado University with a degree in business marketing, he paired his credentials with a desire to learn after the birth of his first daughter. Through much research and self-study, he was able to develop a solid understanding of programming languages such as PHP, HTML, Jquery and CSS. He also began to dabble in graphic design work, back when Adobe Flash was the most advanced technology in the industry for motion graphics. Daniel then partnered with several other designers to launch Cymax Media, the business’s website, which quickly grew to be one of the nation’s top websites for Denver web design gathering clients from around the world.

For over 16 years now, Cymax has been offering graphic and logo design modeled after the latest trends in the field. Talking with Mr. Clawson about this brings up some interesting points.

Is it interesting to see how design has changed over the years?

Absolutely. The funny thing is, while technology is getting more and more advanced and complex, design has kind of gone in the opposite direction. The gradients, the busy layouts, the Flash intros [laughing] all have gotten more “basic.” Clients no longer want the letters in their logos to look like gunmetal, well, most of them anyway. Maybe the older ones still go for that, but people who are younger, we’re talking early 20s to mid 30s, they want simple. Fresh. Crisp. I will say though that special effects are still a major part in design. Take parallax scrolling, for example. [Check out:] It actually started with the gamers, and probably will look dated in the near future but right now people drop their jaws at it. There are even more advanced effects that focus more on making the user feel like they are in another world, and that no doubt is complex, but still – the layouts remain clean and relatively organized. Lots of photos, and graphics have to be convincing. No clip art, right?

What do you think about these changes?

They’re here and they’re gone. That sounds kind of cold, but it’s true. With design, it’s always the next big thing, who can look the most cutting-edge, who can do things better and look more cool. It’s probably the only constant, that superior marketing take on things. That’s why, you have to stay flexible. Don’t get too caught up in mastering one thing because as soon as you do, it’s time to start over and learn something completely different. It can get frustrating honestly.

What is the most rewarding part of your career in web design?

Oh, that’s a hard one. We really like to start on a project, and see it evolve. Truth be told we sometimes spend more time perfecting things than we should. But the finished product, when it blows you away – it just makes everything worthwhile. And there’s always that moment of apprehension, showing the client the finished product and hoping that they don’t want the whole thing redone.

What programs most influence your creative process?

Photoshop, Fireworks and Illustrator are the major staples around here, although Fireworks is starting to go out the door. Like Flash. Creating a live demo is actually pretty simple, and requires more skills in the graphic design programs.

Are there any tips you would give out to aspiring designers?

Don’t give up. Everyone has failures, people make mistakes, and sometimes you have a client that is just hard to deal with. But learning to be creative within the confines of what they want – that’s the art. There’s always times when you can do your own thing, and some people really do let you have free reign, but ultimately you don’t want to be a know-it-all. Which is easy to be when you’ve gone to school and worked for big names. Try to be open to trying something new, if it fails it fails. But if it works, you can really take yourself to that next level.

To see examples of some of Cymax Media’s graphic design work, you can visit here.