Published on

Q&A with Viljami Salminen

Web designer from Finland | Editor at Smashing Magazine

I am Viljami Salminen, a web designer living in Helsinki, Finland. I have worked in the web industry for over a decade and have designed websites and applications for start-ups and companies of all sizes. My core belief is that all content on the web should be accessible to anyone using any kind of device to access the internet.

I am currently working as a designer at Adtile Technologies (San Diego based start-up). I am also an author at Smashing Magazine and the founder of Helsinki Device Lab, which was established to help web designers and developers to be able to test their work on the ever-growing range of mobile devices.

I have created popular open source libraries such as Responsive Nav, Responsive Slides, Tiny Nav, Remote Preview and Molten Leading. These tools are being used by companies like AT&T, Converse, the jQuery Foundation, Microsoft, Ted, U.S. Government and Zynga.

How did you get started in web design?

I started off by studying traditional print design in two different schools. I have always been more interested about the web, but at the time I was studying (early 00’s) there wasn’t much to choose from if you wanted to learn web design.

Basically, I have learned most of what I know now by following people on the web; design sites, blogs and studying other people’s markup and CSS. One of the sites that made a big influence on me on my early days was A List Apart in 2001 and CSS Zen Garden in 2003. They both encouraged people to forget table-based layouts and adopt this new technique that used semantic markup and CSS layouts. I was just graduated and starting my career as a freelance designer and the new way of doing things, separating the structure from the presentation, just made sense to me. It still does of course.

What hardware and software do you use for your work?

I have a 13? Retina Macbook Pro hooked up to a Cinema Display, but recently I have found myself working more and more just on the laptop because of the higher PPI screen.

In addition to pen and paper, the tools I use most are Atom editor, iA Writer, Typecast and Browser’s built-in developer tools. I also spend a lot of time using Illustrator and Photoshop, but I am trying to move more towards Sketch.

What is your ideal work environment?

I love working from home. That’s, for me, the most creative and productive environment in the whole world. We live right next to the Baltic Sea with windows facing the water, so it’s nice to take breaks and just stare outside.

Your favorite books that you would recommend

I would recommend everyone designing websites to read Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee.

Who are the creatives you admire most?

I admire the work of Reid Miles. He was an American modernist designer, best known for his iconic work for Blue Note Records through the 1950’s and 60’s.