Judging an international design competition is no easy task. It takes a special kind of person that is willing to give their time and experience for the betterment of the industry.

It's time to shine a spotlight on these special individuals and dig a little deeper to see what makes them tick. Therefore, on behalf of the CSSDA founders and crew, please enjoy the following interview with one of our esteemed judging panel members.


Colin Orij, founder of Bold Interactive, started as a web developer 10 years ago and has fulfilled a number of other roles within the digital sphere including producer, concept developer and strategist. In June 2014 he combined all of these roles with the launch of Bold. At the time of writing this, Colin was preparing a trip to Asia and Australia as a digital nomad.

Time Warp:

1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?

I need to thank my uncle and cousin for introducing me to my first computer when I was 1 year old. My uncle worked as an IT consultant at a big Dutch insurance firm. He set me up with a 386 (AKA as the pc with a Intel 80386 processor). This was around 1994. Then in 1996 we bought our own computer, a Pentium 1 150Mhz. Which I often used to play Command and Conquer.

2. When and what was the first website you were involved in designing/developing? Which elements of the project did you do? Can you remember the 'cutting edge' tech used at the time? How did the site turn out and what did this experience teach you?

In 1999 I created a website called Phoneworld.cjb.net (Unfortunately no screenshots). I created this website with a neighbour so that visitors could compare mobile phones. It was the first time I did some HTML coding, but most of the time we used the design view of Microsoft Frontpage 98.

We didn't create it for the money, we just loved mobile phones. A couple of months later a guy called Ben Woldering created Bellen.com, he did exactly the same only he had some investors. He was one of the youngest multi-millionaires in the Netherlands...

3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?

I think this would be a website I created during my first internship in 2004 at Eyecom Images. It was a website for Van Dijk en Partners, a company which is specialized in light. Together with another intern (Designer Frans Twisk) I created my first PHP powered website with a custom CMS. This was my first website created from scratch, I loved it and I learned a lot.

4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?

Stop designing, focus on development, and probably something like, build a search engine, start an online book with faces of people or a website where people can post messages to with a maximum of 140 characters.

5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?

Travel to 1997 and start a couple of years earlier with Phoneworld and get rich at a very young age :-). No just kidding, I'm very curious about the future of the web. So I think a sneak peek into 2020/2025 and see how the web has been evolved.

Favourite Things:

1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?

What I love is building well designed websites. Designs that really forces me to move my boundaries and learn new technologies and possibilities to make them work.

2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?

Everyday I'm busy with optimizing my workflow, these days I really love Gulp and GIT in combination with the deployment cycle of Pantheon. These 3 tools are making my life a lot easier. With a few command and clicks I can build and deploy my projects.

3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?

Since a few weeks ago I no longer have one single workspace. You can say I'm already practicing my life as a digital nomad, only now I'm still nomading in Amsterdam. Normally I have 2 screens in front of me while coding, so I needed a solution to combat the issue of needing to drag a second screen with me all the time and I came across the iPad app Duet. This app enables me to use my iPad mini as a second screen. I just ordered Mountie so I can mount my iPad to my Macbook.

4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?

I'm not going to open an office! Are you nuts :). At this moment I want to stay independent and travel the world while working. If I need to mention 3 cities that I'm curious about it would be the cities where I'm travelling to in 2016 as a digital nomad. Changmai in Thailand, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Ubud on Bali - Indonesia. Visit https://nomadlist.com to check them out.

5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?

Stay strong, healthy and active doing Crossfit. See my Design Stories for more...

Life Hacks:

1. How do you stay motivated?

I keep looking at what other people are creating on the web, stay inspired!

2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?

I think Crossfit really adds the right balance to my life. It's like meditation, it clears my head and after a workout it's far more easy to focus on the things that has to be done. Also sleeping and relaxing is a logical consequence of giving everything in the box.

3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?

Stay fit ;-)

4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?

I think a year ago I stumbled upon a slideshare presentation with tons of tricks to stay up to date as a developer. One of the things really helped me is just subscribe to a couple of good newsletters. If you're a developer I really can suggest the following newsletters:

5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?

Explore the world by bike!

Versus: In your opinion...

1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?

Of course a mix of both. 25% talent 50% experience 25% inspiration.

2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. full­time job?

I think this isn't a goal, I think you need to try all of them and then decide what's working for you. It could also be connected to the phase in your life. In my opinion it's best to start working at an agency before you become a freelancer or a founder of your own agency.

3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?

I'm an Apple fanboy :-). But I need to say the Samsung phones are starting to catch my attention. Especially the S6 Edge.

4. Printed book vs eBook?

eBooks - Because eReaders are so practical. Just stuff hundreds of books onto them and what I really like about my Kobo reader is that it has a connection with my Pocket account. So all of my bookmarks are automatically on my eReader as well.

5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?

Honestly I never watched Star Trek - Back then I wasn't a big Sci-fi fan. I choose Star Wars, after Revenge of the Sith I watched all the Star Wars movies on one night, and I was hooked. Maybe I will plan a Star Trek marathon weekend coming winter :-).