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Q&A with Atle Mo

Designer at Vivaldi Technologies

I’m Atle Mo. I’m a designer at Vivaldi Technologies and I’m also the founder of Subtle Patterns.

How did you get started in interaction design? What is a turning point in your professional career?

It started as a hobby, looking at the source code of other websites. I was fascinated by the fact that this code could create content that other people all over the world could see. I quickly realized, though, that I cared much more about designing the site, rather than the coding part. Remember that this is the time when «Under Constructions» gifs was at it most popular, and totally accepted. It looked like shite, but it was a ton of fun. Everything was new.

There was a great community online already, and I took part in a lot of design & development forums, making friends and learning every day.

Later I got an internship (11 years ago now) at an advertising agency, to complete my Graphic Design degree. The agency did not have any web designers at this time, so they let me do some crazy Flash micro sites for many of their projects. The internship wen’t well, I loved my job and never looked back.

I eventually got a new job with Hyper (, where I worked for over 7 years. That was a great place to work and where I really grew up as a designer.

Eventually I decided to change areas a bit, away from advertising and over to more product based design. An opportunity at Vivaldi came my way, and I was intrigued by the notion of working on such a diverse product that this browser is now becoming. It was a rather big shift in the way I work, from an idea and visual concept based task set for external clients to being my own client and working more hands on with both design and development.

I guess I needed to challenge myself a bit in order to progress as a designer.

What is your ideal work environment? 

I’m usually most productive when I’m alone in a room – which sometimes leads to working late nights, but I need to be surrounded by other people to get my ideas and thoughts flowing. Discussing the latest iterations or new approaches, solving problems, all those things work best in an office environment, at least for me.

Where does your work inspiration come from?

I usually don’t actively go looking for inspiration in that sense. In one way it’s impossible to not be inspired or influence by other peoples work as I’m surrounded by design most of the time. My mind subconsciously picks up details here and there, I’m sure. But in order to not loose my mind and get a complete brain block, I rely on hobbies outside of the screen. One major things I’ve been doing for the last decade or so is flying RC airplanes and quadcopter’s. It forces me to be outdoors, I get to work on soldering and wiring, and enjoying spectacular views – all things that give my mind some much needed breaks from everything related to work.

Where are your favorite places in your city or outside?

No place in particular, but bringing my wife and son out for a trip is always great, wether it’s in the city (Oslo) or some hike.

Who are the designers you admire most?

I don’t really have some list of designers I admire, but Wilson Miner pops in to my head. His approach to problem solving and general attitude towards our industry is admirable. I remember being very touched by his “When we build” speak.