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Q&A with Bastian Allgeier

Freelance designer and developer from Mannheim, Germany

Hi, my name is Bastian Allgeier, I'm a freelance designer and developer from Mannheim, Germany. I studied design and have a master degree in arts but started developing more than ten years ago. I try to combine those both worlds as good as I can. I'm the creator of a file-based CMS called Kirby and previously ran a visual bookmark service called Zootool. Besides my "side-projects" I still do client work for clients from all over the world — no matter if design, development or both.

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

I always wanted to be an illustrator and started pretty early with drawing cartoon characters and playing around with animations on a self-built light table.

I actually had absolutely no interest in computers for a long time, though my dad is a developer and we always had computers at home. I bought my first computer when I was 20 to play around with Photoshop and Premiere when my band colleagues asked me if I could built us a band website. So my career as a developer started with Dreamweaver, then learning how horrible Dreamweaver is and then falling in love with HTML, CSS first and Javascript and PHP later. The first amateurish band websites turned quickly into more serious paid jobs and I started to realize how powerful the combination of design and development can be. It opened a lot of doors for me that I was able to somehow do both. By the time I started studying design I was already working as a freelancer for quite a while and that helped me finance my time at uni.

What is your ideal work environment?

There's no such thing as an ideal work environment for me. I can work pretty much everywhere as long as I have my latpop. I'm often most productive when I'm in a train without WIFI. When I find the right amount of focus I prefer to keep going for as long as possible and not stop for other activities in the middle of it. That's why I'm very happy about the current combination of free time with my wife and son in the morning and evening. I rather go to work a bit later and leave sooner to spend time with them, but being really focused in between.

What software do you use for your work?

Nowadays I spend most of my time in Sublime Text, Firefox and the Terminal. If the Terminal starts to feel too nerdy to me, I switch to Tower for all the Git stuff. I still have to use Photoshop from time to time, but it's more like a love/hate relationship. I didn't manage to switch to Sketch yet. I'm not doing a lot of interface work outside the browser anymore and it's hard to find the time to get used to Sketch — though I really think it's a great app. I'm also more and more relying on web apps. Fastmail has become my standard email client and Sirportly is helping me a great bunch to keep on top of Kirby's support. I also love my Protonet box, which I use as project management tool file storage and chat whenever possible.

And what hardware?

I switched to a MacBook Air as my main machine about two years ago. I have a 27" Cinema Display at my office and the combination works perfectly for me.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

It's difficult for me to list names here. I get inspired by ideas and by stories more than by someone specific. I admire small creative companies with a focus on quality and sustainability. I admire determined practical people who rather spend time on their work than on talking about it. I admire small initiatives with huge ideas like the Indie Web Group.