“The company was Energi Design. But when I started to think about design I decided to put it into one word, energi.design, and I thought that .design had to come out at some point, so I started searching for it.” – Steve Holmes, energi.design
Steve Holmes is not the typical .designer. He discovered .design a year before it was made available to the public. His diligence paid off. He’s been the proud owner of www.energi.design as soon as the domain was made available, which he now calls “his perfect domain name.”
Energi.design was founded in London in 1994. Since then, the company has moved internationally… twice. The company is now based in Munich, DE. Despite being in business for over twenty years, the company has remained a one-man-show. Despite that, the workload is steadily increasing. The month of August is especially busy, with seven video projects going on at the same time.
Steve has taught in colleges and universities and he has toured around Europe and the USA promoting Adobe After Effects. He has received awards both for his motion graphics and his typography and his client list is, in one word, impressive.
We were able to call in and get a bit of Steve’s time last week. Here’s what we talked about.
How did Energi.design start?
I started out in print and typography. That is where my interests still lie. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak, I like to make sure I can do it and it can be as good as it can be. I started freelancing around the time when Adobe Premiere took off, the first time you could do video on the computer and I was really interested in that.
At the time I was working freelance at a monthly publication, Marshall Cavendish, a huge print house. It was a magazine that you would buy and collect, kind of like National Geographic. With each edition came a CD, so they started a multimedia division. One thing that interested me was a WW2 history edition. Slowly I started working into animation and motion graphics. So it was through the print industry that my interest in motion graphics came around.
At the same time I was doing freelance, I was also teaching people who wanted to learn Photoshop and Premiere. During one of those classes I actually had some sales people from Adobe come in to take the class. It was through them that I was introduced to After Effects and thought to myself, ‘this is basically Photoshop with a timeline, this is exactly where I want to be,” and it took off from there.
What advice would you have for designers thinking about turning freelance?
My advice for someone thinking of turning freelance is just do it. You will never ever regret it. I frequently talk to people who worked in house and no one has ever felt as though they made the wrong decision. It’s a lot of work. You might think that since you’ll be able to set your own schedule you can work less, but the truth is you’ll be making so much more money that you’ll want to work more. You have to be able to manage your time really well, which is something I’m still working on. Look, just go for it.
Going back to .design, you’ve changed your domain four or five times, what’s up with that?
I adore what I have now, that’s exactly what I wanted it to be. It will not change again. It’s the ultimate. When I first started getting online I had two businesses, Click Energi and Energi Design. I then narrowed everything down to Energi.com. The company name used to be Energi Design, capital E, capital D and graphically, I never liked how it looked. Then I decided to narrow it down to energi.design, essentially a web address. That’s when I thought, I’ve got to start looking for a good domain name. That’s when I started looking for .design.
Are you happy with it?
Thanks to Steve for taking the time out of his schedule to speak with us, you can check out his website at www.energi.design. Check back at the end of September to see a video interview with him at the energi.design studio in Munich!