Introducing Petr Stanicek
Many of us may only know Petr Stanicek trough his great tool Color Scheme Designer, but what we probably didn’t know, at least for non-Czech people, that Petr (aka Pixy) is the author of a bestseller book about CSS, and that Petr, is a multitalented, multilingual, confident man with wisdom derived from his experience dating back to the "prehistory" of the internet. Today we learn, we get inspired, today we meet Petr Stanicek.
Q1. You are the "One" on SingleFunction this week, so, who are you really?
I’m 40 year old freelance designer, programmer and analyst from Czechia. Married with two lovely daughters. “Ye olde league” of the webdesign. The older, the better, anyway.
Q2. What made you start web development/design in the first place?
I’ve been addicted to computers since I smelled them first time, somewhere in the deep 80′s prehistory. I still can recall the smell of the heating Sinclair Spectrum… Later I studied programming at the university, but when a friend took me (in early 90′s) to a DTP studio and I saw these huge displays and ebony macs displaying newspaper pages as wysiwyg, I became addicted to design, DTP and typography. I spent all the 90′s with Quark, Illustrator and Photoshop in newspapers, advertising and publishing. When the web started to be more than a toy for nerds, I moved to the new media allowing me to join both design and programming skills into a new amazing profession.
Q3. What inspires you?
What can NOT inspire me?
Q4. What’s a typical day for you?
Oh, don’t tell me. I’m night-owl and I love to work through the night. Everything had changed 2 years ago, when my daughter started to go to the kindergarten. It’s horrible now. Before 7am I have to get up, drive the car to the kindergarten, go back, have some breakfast, have some cofee, do something on the computer for several hours, have some more coffee, and then, at about 10-11am, when I wake up, I start wondering where I am and what am I actually doing. Then I try to work all afternoon which is disturbed every other minute by my daughters. But when they fall asleep, and when my wife falls asleep too, my activity culminates. At 2-3am I have to use a force to myself to stop working and go to bed to be able to be a morning zombie again…
Q5. How does your "Command Center" look like?
As you can see, it indeed isn’t a home-sweet-home polished navigating bridge. It’s a busy working place, it’s Lister’s, not Rimmer’s spot. All my activities have to fit in this tiny corner.
Q6. What operating system do you use?
Mac OS X (Leopard) is primary and Windows XP (virtualized) for testing and debugging purposes only.
Q7. What’s the programming language you are most comfortable with?
Q9. How do you start a new project?
With an analysis. I think the graphic design is the last and the less important thing. I need to know the purpose, the target group, the message to be conveyed. Then the structure and navigation logic has to be designed. And if all background information is gathered, I start to sketch. First on paper, than in Fireworks.
Q10. What’s your design philosophy?
KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t confuse them, don’t make them choose too much, don’t make them think. Drive the user to the target.
Q11. What was your first website?
It had to be a local company presentation, I guess. I don’t remember, it’s a 1996 prehistory. Recently, I found one of my first sites, it’s a Jarre’s fan site from 1997. Very funny.
Q12. Speaking of music and hobbies, how many do you have?
I have lots of them, mainly regarding arts. In fact I’d need several hours more a day, for I have too less time for my hobbies. I play several instruments, mostly guitars; both acoustic and electric, try to learn mandolin and I’m planning to buy a bass and a banjo. I also sometimes use keyboards (but I don’t dare to say I can play it). And some woodwinds and brass too – I play flutes, clarinet and looking forward to buy some saxes in the future… Unfortunatelly I’ve never been in a band, I always play alone; but I’m happy with it too. I also compose music and really enjoy today’s technology: cheap and easy-to-use software pieces make for me a studio equipment only professionals could have ten years ago. It’s very impressive for me.
Besides music I write (poetry, song lyrics, funny columns), I like to translate for fun (i.e. Dave Barry’s columns)… I used to be a blogger, in fact I had one of the most visited blogs, in the pioneer era years ago. Sometimes, I play with photos, make Photoshop collages, I tried to paint etc. – but I really had to reduce everything to a tolerable level. Anyway, I feel it’s very hard to be resigned with the fact I can’t learn everything I’d like…
And since I have kids (now my daughters are 2.5 and almost 5 years old) my hobbies are reduced to play and sing some kid’s songs, play a couple of guitar licks every other day and try to write rhymed fairy tales for them…
Pixy Jamming at the Czech Webdesigners Potlach
Q13. What’s your favorite creation?
I prefer to love everything I’m recently working on. When I’m done I’m starting to see bugs and I want to redesign everything immediatelly. I always have to move on and focus to the next favorite thing.
Q14. What’s hot now and you would like to let everyone know about?
To me, it’s not any particular project or web site. For me the hottest thing is the fact the browsers finally started to behave. After many years of chaos I feel a touch of a standardization. The very first time in the history I dare to say I can code almost anything I can design. And I’m happy about this.
Q15. You are the author of a bestseller book in Czechia, can you tell us a bit more about it?
The title is "CSS: The Complete Guide", but all the information is in Czech only, I’m afraid. It’s a detailed CSS2 reference with browsers support and compatibility tables. It was published in February 2003 and still being sold – which is unbelievable in webdesign where everything goes so fast…
Q16. What’s next?
Today’s coder work is all about implementing browser incompatibilities. I think, these incompatibilities will reduce and perhaps in 5-10 years there finally will be good translators or compilers, able to fully replace the coder’s work. I think the webdesigner in a few years will only draw the web in a IDE and they won’t need to know HTML/CSS anymore. It’s just a prophecy, of course, everything may be totally different – but I’d rather be prepared.
Q17. Being the One, what’s the one advice you would give to the wannabes out there?
Graphic design is NOT the most important thing in the webdesign. Do not start designing web from graphics, finish with it instead. No web site is successful because of its graphic design, and vice versa: there are many successful sites totally graphicsless. Graphic design is only a bonus.
Thank you Petr for giving your time to answer the questions of this interview, and I wish you all the best.
Here are some links to get inspired by Petr’s creations and design:
Featured in SingleFunction Showcase – Click Here to Vote
- The Dogma W4 Manifesto
A public proclamation of attitudes of a webdesigners group
- A bestseller book – CSS: The Complete Guide
A detailed CSS2 reference with browsers support and compatibility tables (in Czech)
And for those who need to get in touch with "Pixy", either leave him a comment here, or connect with him at the following sites::
Next week, same place same time, an interview from a "planet" with so much to offer, so stay tuned…
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