An Interview with Josh Nissenboim, Fuzzco

Nov 02, 2011Design

Fuzzco have one of the most beautiful studio websites I have seen in a long time, so after posting it on siteInspire, I was keen to get in touch to find out more about this quirky agency who consistently deliver lovely work. — Daniel Howells

When did Fuzzco start, and who’s involved?

Fuzzco started in 2005. We had just moved to Charleston shortly after graduating from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN where Helen studied Studio Art and I studied Mathematics. We’d had no formal training in design or development but we loved it. It took about a year for us to ween off our other jobs and buy our own computers so that we didn’t have to take turns working on my old college PC. We rented our first office in a converted warehouse in the old Navy Yard north of the city. In 2009 we took the plunge and hired our first employee, Mason Greenewald who is with us to this day. Since then we’ve moved our office twice and hired some incredibly talented people which today includes Mason, Melanie Richards, Erik Holmberg, Blake Suarez, Helen Rice and myself.

What’s your favourite colour?

Red - #F72E2A.

You have a beautiful office, situated in a converted church. Can you tell us more about the conversion, and what the office means to Fuzzco?

At the time we were working out of our house (we’ve had 4 offices in 6 years) which is also located on Spring Street. When we started growing we realized it was time to find a real office and get work out of the house. The church is located about 3 blocks east of our house and it’s size and condition were just right for us to come in and renovate without losing our shirts. The building is about 1300 square feet- it needed significant structural repair to the front entrance and back wall, a new roof, new wiring and plumbing, excavation of the old asbestos tile floor as well as a solution to the termite problem. We loved coming up with ideas for this space- we really wanted something minimal and clean balanced by warm, organic textures. The office is our nest. We love it.

You recently launched your agency’s website - can you tell us about the process and how you went about creating it?

Our process is extremely collaborative. Everyone has ideas that get trialed and tested and iterated until they work. When you are working on a project for yourself it’s so hard to commit to a direction with confidence because most of the time there are so many things you’ve been aching to do, you want to do them all but in the end it all has to make sense and have purpose so it’s a process of trying things you are excited about and that you hope will work over and over again until they do. Not to mention you have to overcome self-doubt and trust your instincts.

Fuzzco's new website

Fuzzco's new website

How does being based in Charleston influence your work and style?

I believe we’d work the way we do no matter where we lived. We love working and we’re always going to be hard at it. Charleston is a beautiful city that feels increasingly alive with each day that passes. There is a burgeoning creative community and lots of people doing cool and interesting things. Oh and the food is the best per capita anywhere in the USA.

What excites you about digital/web design right now?

It’s a great day to be a (web) designer. The vast number of ways people experience design seems to be growing by the day. There is always something new to be learned. In the digital space, from websites to web apps to mobile apps to device-driven experiences and the constant sharing- it feels limitless. Millions of people are creating great things every day. The world isn’t big enough and it can be overwhelming to stumble upon something great then something else great, and so on.

The revolution in typography for web is a big one that has really made a strong impact. We’ll always wrestle with the lack of a global browser standard and the limitations that puts on the efficiency of really using HTML5 and CSS3, so that creates a constant struggle. Doing, optimizing, doing, optimizing, testing, re-optimizing, creating browser-targeted overwrites, tweaks in font stacks, etc. If I could wish for one thing it would be for a global, singular, perfect browser that serves experiences as predictable as a copy machine. I’d like to reserve the right to take that wish back.

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