Explore, be curious.

#BeforeDigitalMischief: PowerEFX (1998)

20 Dec 2016

Previously, I posted a showreel to commemorate my Decade of Digital Mischief in adland. For this #BeforeDigitalMischief series, let me take you back way back back into time. Back to my digital roots.

PowerEFX, 1998

This was my first “commissioned” website work.


First off, I’m from a family of car nuts. Some time in 1998, my mom (who ran an ad agency) and brother (who is an OG car nut) launched a car magazine called PowerEFX. Circulation was mainly for Malaysia’s down south (Johor Bahru and Singapore) market, with intentions to expand beyond that.

When I took on this project, I’ve been experimenting a lot with DHTML (which to me is the true predecessor of HTML5). Macromedia (bought over later by Adobe) had just released Dreamweaver v1.0 into the wild, and I was having a go at it. After playing with its timeline layer animation tool, I decided to design a splash screen that would assemble itself onload. I know, it’s so gimmicky, but back then this trickery was like having Jedi force powers hahaha!

As a self-taught designer (I ran a retail skate business at the time, before furthering studies… which is another #BeforeDigitalMischief story I’ll save for a different post), the software I used to design was called Micrografx Picture Publisher. It wasn’t the best choice, for sure. Of the many features it lacked, you couldn’t undo more than once. Yeah. Undo. Only. Once. Can’t describe how painful it was just to design that UI, although less painful than masking out the bg on that mouseover placard holding navigation guy!

You can still (somewhat) view the demo version of PowerEFX here.
(Thanks WayBackMachine for keeping a copy!)

Obviously, experimenting wasn’t my only motivation. I was quite a car nut myself and drove a Honda Integra DC2 (which I owned for 5 wonderful years). Being a Honda guy through and through, I preferred following sites like The Temple of Vtec (of which PowerEFX’s website became an official member) for the latest lowdown, rather than printed magazines.

Even though the Web was a tiny place at the time, and that being a web designer wasn’t a viable career choice yet, I thought otherwise. I visualised a future working with my favourite automotive brands. And as insane as it seemed at the time, the vision became a reality. Since then, I’ve worked on the websites, online presence and even award-winning marketing campaigns for Volkswagen, Honda, MINI-BMW and Proton.

The next #BeforeDigitalMischief post will be about Web Standards Malaysia (2005), the movement and adventures that came from that. Stay tuned!