Creative Perspective: Oliver Haase-Lobinger

Creative Perspectives is a series of interviews with Designers and Creatives discussing their tools, design and how they use MODX. Want to share your Creative Perspective or want to hear about someone in the community, send an email to hello@modx.com.


Who is Oliver Haase-Lobinger

Name: Oliver Haase-Lobinger
Location: Cologne, Germany
Titles: Owner/Creative Head
Company: mindeffects
Twitter: @mindeffects

Mini-Autobiography

With my first computer, a Commodore C64, I got a graphic tablet. Maybe that started it all. With the following Amiga 1000, and later with an Atari Mega ST, I continued to do creative stuff, mostly design and music. In school I made layouts for my term papers and helped friends with theirs.

Later, at university, I founded a publishing company with a colleague and also started to successfully write books on Internet stuff myself. And I began to design websites. After I had my diploma in Economics I decided that this was not the way I wanted to go. So I left the publishing house and started my little design company “mindeffects” in 2000 – and that is what I am still doing.

I work a lot in the film industries where I can cover the full range of my services, starting with the cinema artwork, creating and programming the website (with MODX) and finally authoring and mastering the DVD/Blu-ray. I love it.

Thanks for being part of our Creative Perspective Series. So, before asking any CMS-specific questions, a little about you...

Remember your first computer? What was it? Any interesting stories behind it?

Well, besides the stuff in my bio (might have got that topic wrong, sorry ;-), I started to listen to music in the early/mid 80s. But guess what? My stars were people like Martin Galway and Rob Hubbard (later Depeche Mode, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis – the synthy stuff, you know). I recorded countless audio cassettes with C64 music and was kind of addicted to them – and I still like to hear those incredible 3-voice tunes (I LOVE the “High Voltage SID Collection”).

I also got into the whole MIDI thing with my Amiga (Dr.T) and the Atari Mega ST (Cubase). So, my creative roots are a little more on the ears than on the eyes. But back then it was easier to make music on a computer then to design things. That all came later.

Did I mention that I was a long time PC user? No? I built nearly every PC I had from ground up. Handselected components, you know. When Vista came I watched a Steve show and I knew at once: OSX is my future. I switched to Mac in 2007. So I never had to go through the Vista hell. Boy, am I glad! So, I am a Mac now, not a fan boy, just a guy that wants his tools to work for him—not the other way round. Does this make you think of MODX? I do.

So...Photoshop or Fireworks or both/neither and why?

I started with Photoshop 3 and was very thrilled when Macromedia came up with Fireworks. But as with all Macromedia products, I did not really like the user interface. And, Fireworks was not accurate enough for me: ever try a small triangle outline? Not possible back then. So when Photoshop got better at web stuff (let’s just not talk about Image Ready, OK?) I switched back and stayed there.

Many things I do for print/media projects just cannot be done with Fireworks so I decided to master only one tool for the creative process. And that is Photoshop – along with Illustrator (since I never understood/liked Freehand). They lack in some parts that I really liked in Fireworks (e.g. export PNG8+alpha, patterns) but overall it PS+AI is the combination that covers the widest range.

And that’s what I need: tools that help in many situations, like a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife; like MODX, for web projects.

Who is the person who inspires you the most creatively, and what you admire most about them?

Hard to say because I am quite bad with names and somehow remember the work better than the person.

What are young designers and upcoming art directors missing today that you got to experience first-hand, when you were starting out?

As I am in the middle, between young and old, I sometimes think that the younger people are not able to see the problems older people have with modern technology. It’s hard for a non-ringtoner to text a message with his forefinger. But generally I don’t think that young designers are missing too much.

It’s more that the older people are not so good at keeping up with the speed of the Internet and technological developments. Life changes faster and faster. That’s nothing for the old rebels of those days.

Similarly, if you had to do it all over again, what do you wish you knew then, that you know now?

The power of the community. I spent too much time on creative solitude where I should have been more open to the networked world out there. But, it’s never to late, right?

Quick, name your favorite 3 “must-have” apps and what makes them so?

Twitter, Mail, Safari in iPhone/iPad. The other stuff I use is on my Mac, where I still like to call them applications. “Apps”—for me—is only for mobile devices.

What HTML editor do you use? (or are you secretly using DreamWeaver in design view? :P)

None. TextMate/Coda. OK, DreamWeaver for content stuff on a very old site which I have not yet migrated into a MODX website—but it will be history soon.

So, how long have you been using a CMS? What led you to start using MODX?

I've been using CMSs since around 2005. I started with Joomla and that was also the main reason I began to search for a system that I did not have to fight against. At some point I really started to hate Joomla? Because exactly that happened. I am thankful for the first steps I did with ol’J!, but then it was time to leave that behind.

I cannot say if I found MODX or it found me. I can recall the way I made first “contact” with MODX but something in my guts told me that I just found a gem. It had something magical. Sounds goofy? I cannot help it. Calling MODX a “revelation” would be a little over the top, too. Still, I am happy that with MODX I found my CMS.

What are some “must-have” features and add-ons or features you like most about MODX?

It’s more the whole MODX package with it’s incredible flexibility. For some projects I need these features, for others I need those features. Gladly they are all there.

What capabilities does MODX give you and/or your team that you appreciate most, and why?

That I can do whatever I want. The easy integration of PHP code rocks. What one can do with simple [MODX] Output Filters is just so amazing!

Who touches your CMS? All members? Freelancers? Your Clients? How is that working?

Who? It depends. Me, them, everybody. And everyone likes MODX. They all grasp it quickly and get their work done. In short: my clients love it!

What are the most important things you’ve learned, using a CMS, versus the “old days” of static web sites?

That it is no fun to re-invent the wheel. I am much faster at building websites with MODX than I ever was with pure HTML/PHP. I use MODX for every website—even the smallest ones.

Bonus question: If you hadn’t decided to go into the creative realm, what do you think you’d be doing today?

Crying—and possibly complaining the whole day about my job and life in general. I just cannot think of doing something not creative, mixed with some good knowledge on I.T. and a sense for beauty and style.

More from the Creative Perspectives Series

If you enjoyed this Creative Perspective take a look at the complete Creative Perspectives series for more inspiring and interesting stories from designers who use and love MODX.

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