Interview With Louie Mantia, IPhone Theme Creator
There is one person out there who has set the standard for iPhone theme creation. This one person has raised the bar for what theme creators want to achieve. In my opinion nobody really even comes close. The person I am talking about is Louie Mantia. Creator of themes such as Renaissance, Buuf, and Agua, Louie Mantia is ahead of his time. His skill has even got him a few emails from Apple. I had a chance to talk with Louie and ask him a few questions myself:
CrownOfThornz: Tell me a little about yourself…
Louie Mantia: Well I’m a 19 (soon to be 20) year old student attending Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. I like Pirates, Star Wars, Tim Burton, Nintendo, and Bawls Guarana. Those are pretty much my most favorite things. I’m an Apple nerd, I follow as much as I can.
COT: So what compelled you to get into graphic design?
LM: When I was a younger teenager, and on a PC, I had a thing for customizing my computer. I remember downloading icons and themes for my computer, and I just kind of wanted to get in on that. When I first got a hold of Photoshop, I learned as much as I could. I Drenched myself in tutorials. Downloaded actions, color pallets, filters, brushes, anything I could.In high school I started developing a knack for designing things. I designed the desktop picture that’s on all the computers at the high school, over 1000 of them. It was cool, and, admittedly, an ego boost. I started taking art classes, and my math books were full of drawings. I still have most of them lying around somewhere. I did well enough in math that I could just sit and draw. Good thing I’m good in math, it helps now that I’m in design.
COT: What all is involved with graphic design?
LM: There’s so much you can do with graphic design, I’m pretty limited I think. I do little branding and mainly icons for computers. I used to do website design in the past, but it’s too tedious for me to do.
COT: Tell me your thoughts on the the iPhone
LM: The iPhone is a revolutionary device, I don’t care what anyone says. Well, in case I do, they say “it has email, and it’s a phone, and the Internet, so what?” but the interface pulls it together. The biggest problem I had with phones I had in the past were the interface. It just doesn’t work. Steve Jobs once said that “Design isn’t just how it looks, it’s how it works.” Making sure you have a beautiful and intuitive interface like the iPhone is what makes it perfect.
COT: Do you think they should integrate customizable themes into the iPhone in the next update?
LM: Well, as much as I’d like to see it happen, I know it won’t happen from them. It’ll happen from a third-party app, which is perfectly fine. SummerBoard does a great job at this right now, and who knows, maybe in the future we’ll see MobileCandyBar.
COT: Are you siked for the SDK?
LM: I’m very excited. I most likely won’t be doing any coding myself, but I’m really excited knowing that many other developers will. I hope it’s as open as can be. I’d love to see really nice chat apps and games.
COT: Will you update even if it means you can’t create themes for it anymore?
LM: I’m debating. Leaning toward updating. The new features like adding native rearranging the home screen icons and adding new ones for websites looks pretty neat. But we’ll see what happens.
COT: How are you inspired when it comes to making a new theme for summerboard?
LM: Well lately I’ve been inspired and working with David Lanham in creating themes based on his suites of icons for Mac OS X. David Lanham is an artist who works for the Iconfactory. He’s incredibly talented and has a great imagination.Renaissance started when I was browsing around some icons and loved the wax seal on Dave Brasgalla’s Word of Warcraft icons. I thought that maybe I could find an old metaphor for all the icons on the iPhone. It turned out to be harder than I thought. Making icons for things that didnt exist for hundreds of years was a difficult task.
COT: I can honestly say that your “holiday” theme was pretty lame…
LM: Yea, I rushed it. I basically re-colored icons based on Starbuck’s winter campaign.
COT: On the other hand Buuf is probably my favorite theme created by you.
LM: Buuf is a great style. Inspired by Paul Davey’s Buuf icons. Incredibly genius drawings. I really don’t know how he finds the time to make that many and so well painted. There’s just so much… but I guess when an icon set takes you years to make, that’s the result. There are just so many colors to choose from in his icons, and that’s what I find most inspiring. He has a wonderful pallet.
COT: What theme are you working on now?
LM: I’ll leave you with one hint. Some say it’s too easy. Some don’t get it at all. “All is Full of Love”
COT: Looks like I’ll have to google that one.
There you have it, a nice little hint for Louie’s next theme. To see more of Louie’s work check out his site at www.louiemantia.com and make sure to show your support my downloading his latest themes from Installer.