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Q&A with Dan Counsell

Designer and Founder of Realmac Software

My name is Dan Counsell. I'm a Designer and the Founder of Realmac Software, we make RapidWeaver, Clear, Ember, and Typed.

How did you get started? What is your background?

Way back in the 90's I went to collage and did a Graphic Design and Illustration course. Unfortunatley I found myself getting bored in a lot of the lectures, especially in the PC based designs lessons. The course content was so out of date it was embarrassing. I managed to stay with the course for a year but finally I'd had enough.

After dropping out of collage I was lucky enough to get a job in London as a Photo retoucher. The trip door to door was around 2 hours each way, I did this for 5 years and it almost killed me. Towards the end of those five years I started Realmac Software as a side project. I’d spend my evenings, weekends. and the commute on the train learning how to program.

The first app I eventually managed to build and sell was called AquaMatic. I put it online one evening and went to work the following day and didn't think much of it. I certainly didn't expect anyone to buy it. I checked my email at work that afternoon and was amazed to see I'd sold five copies! Knowing people valued my app enough to actually pay money for it felt amazing. After that I kept checking my email every 10 minutes and more orders just kept coming in. That was the day I got well and truly hooked on software development. It's been over 10 years since that day and I can't imagine doing anything else.

What tools and software do you use for your work?

Running a company I tend to get a lot of email so a big part of my day is spent in Mail on the Mac. I also use and love Photoshop, it’s the killer app for me and probably the app I use most after Mail. I also use Clear for staying organised, Ember for storing mockups and Typed for writing.

What are you working on now?

The main project I'm working on with the rest of team Realmac is, it's our online blogging platform. We funded the project through Indiegogo and it's been a great experience so far. We're now at the stage where all backers have access to to it, and we're working on polishing it up for a public release later this year!

What is your ideal work environment?

Depends what I'm working on, but I find anywhere I can focus is ideal. I'm lucky enough to have a nice home office, and a great office to work from in Town. I also enjoy occasionally working out of coffee shops.

Where are your favorite places for art?

London is an amazing place to find inspiration, there’s no shortage of galleries, architecture and interesting stuff to look at. Just wandering around places like Covent Garden, Camden Town, or Old Spitalfield Market is always a treat and something I honestly should do more often.