News & Views

The FWA Interviews Clemens Conrad

Vectorform’s Executive Director of User Experience & Strategy at Vectorform & Co-Founder and CEO of VF Germany talks with the FWA about his experience, inspiration and more!

Stay hungry, surround yourself with people that are better than you, or have the potential to be better than you. Always give back, teach and train your colleagues and inspire them! Take risks and accept to fail! Get out, travel, and explore the world so you can experience different cultures. Learn from the world around you!

Clemens Conrad

Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.

I’m Clemens Conrad, Executive Director of User Experience and Strategy at Vectorform as well as Co-founder and CEO of Vectorform Germany. Although I work in an innovative technology and design industry, I am actually a trained banker. This part of my life has been, and continues to be incredibly useful. It provided deep insight regarding the needs of others. Engaging with people from a wide variety of backgrounds gave initial insight in how others think; this has helped with UX design tremendously.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Besides of all design and award sites these are my regulars




How many hours do you work each week?

I want to stay sharp and focused throughout the various projects and the client meetings and conference calls I participate in.  My ultimate goal is to try not exceeding a 60-hour workweek.

How do you relax or unwind?

Cooking has been a passion of mine for most of my life, and the entire experience puts my mind at ease; bringing up nostalgic thoughts of cooking with my mother growing up. Creating a satisfying meal out of random ingredients is an art form that I try to perfect, and I have come to learn that being a “good” cook requires creativity for what you’re creating. The final product is something completely different than its original parts, made with consideration for those that will be enjoying it.

There are many things about being psychically active that put me in a steady state of mind as well. The endorphins released, a raised level of self-confidence, and knowing that I am working towards an overall healthier self make the majority of life’s taxing moments disappear.

Our Vectorform team also does a wide range of group activities that help get our minds off the arduous day-to-day. Our design team engages in late night creative nights where we cook, listen to music, and pump out creative aspirations that we may not have had time to get around to. Additionally, the general collective will participate in movie nights, 5K runs and company outings to switch gears mentally.

If you weren’t working on the internet what would you be doing?

Building robots has always intrigued me. They present the concept of a connected future through technology, additionally offering the potential promise of helping those in need when humans will not suffice. To construct a robot, many “dead” pieces are married to one another resulting in an animated, helpful tool to humanity.

Currently, I enjoy looking at robotic concepts that use alternative power sources. Taking in the wide range of ideas, and visuals representing how they could move the human race towards a different approach of tool making.

What’s your favourite part of your job? What’s the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

The favored part of my job is creating the future. The general mentality at Vectorform (myself included) is to work with our clients on the latest technology, and identify business opportunities to create something that has never been done before.

The hardest part is finding enough really good talent, while at the same time growing at an appropriate rate so that our company culture stays intact.

In case anyone gets stuck in any phase of a project we do various things to get out of the hypothetical rut. Prime examples include: engagement with the other team members, brief yet lively video game sessions, in and out-of-office sports competitions, and change of space in taking a walk in some healthy fresh air.

What’s the longest you’ve ever stayed up working on a project?

The Microsoft Retail Store design, which encompassed concepts for various apps and several pitches, kept me up for 30 hours or more. Those are great times when you get to collaborate with a team you connect with. When you look back at those moments you realize those are times to be cherished, even if the only way to get by is by throwing back too much Red Bull, and Monster.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

Retaining a successful, independent business through two recessions. Having to navigate through those experiences shapes a business and the individuals within. It forced myself to make wiser decisions in multiple ways. Our team’s design strategy, business strategy and worldwide client communication had to be reworked to keep us going during those two recessions.

What software could you not live without?

My browser and any tool that enables me to be creative and communicate such as Chrome, Adobe Creative Suite, Office365, and Skype.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

They have changed over the time! Some classics would be North Kingdom, R/GA and Google X. It’s a wide range, but I’ve been digitally designing since 1996.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

Websites will transform to any screen in any situation for the user. This all depends on how much more hardware access browsers will receive at that point in time, otherwise native apps will remain a necessity. Looking 50 years into the future ,however, we will see a definite paradigm shift from web to a whole different base of technology.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Every tool should be used in its best case scenario, and Flash has to find its niche to stay relevant. We still use flash based websites/experiences but with HTML5, and native apps.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

No question, a spaceship.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

USA, that’s why I moved there from Germany. Looking through history, and how settlers used creative innovation and hard work to build a country with almost nothing required a lot of spirit.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

Since I was inspired by science fiction movies from my early age, I’ve always wanted to be part of an intense production like a new Star Trek or Star Wars film. There are great folks and companies like Ash Thorpe, Andrew Kramer and Prologue, a collaboration to create a trans media experience, an experience that lives beyond the movie screen; that would be a dream.

I started as an intern in the design industry, now being part of an amazing 100+ team. Establishing a new office, building and enabling teams have been a great challenge already. Pushing that to the next level by reinventing how we do business, generating the best talent and creating experiences and products that transform our clients business is a big goal. A second and equally important goal is to develop tools and hardware that will be used not by thousands, but millions.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Stay hungry, surround yourself with people that are better than you, or have the potential to be better than you. Always give back, teach and train your colleagues and inspire them! Take risks and accept to fail! Get out, travel, and explore the world so you can experience different cultures. Learn from the world around you!

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