About Jan Thomassen

Firstly, can you tell us a joke?

Sure! What’s an aliens favourite place on a computer?

The spacebar!

Why the name Ufoninja?

It's just a silly nickname that derives from the design communities back in the day.

What do you like to do outside of work?

If you haven't figured it out already, I like to play American pool – that's my mental yoga. I try to go at the gym and workout 2-3 times a week – I'd never get tired of watching my self in the mirror. Speaking of which, I like to relax with all kinds of TV shows like antique shows, Gold rush, HBO - & Netflix series like Carnivàle, Chernobyl, GOT, Stranger things and Breaking bad. Watching the modern gladiators in the UFC is also a guilty pleasure of mine.

3d has also been an interest, but unfortunately the famous time-squeeze has been an interruption. Last but not least playing with my 5 year old son obviously means a lot!

What kind of hardware do you use?

At the office I have an old PC with two 20" screens and a large Wacom. Don't ask me about details, because I don't remember. I am embarrassed of how little I know about hardware lol. At home I have an old iMac 27" 5K Retina with a small Wacom board.

How did you end up in the digital design industry?

Actually it’s all caused by a failed lifeguard test in swimming, while I was a physical education teacher student at the university in 2001 (OMG is it really that long time ago?!).

I was planning to join a class at the Norwegian School Of Sport Sciences in Oslo after the bachelor program, until this plan got cancelled by the failed lifeguard test. Instead I went on with a year of administrative computing. I got the taste of web design and even though I finally managed the lifeguard test the same year, I chose to go further with a bachelor degree in media technology instead.

In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t end up in a sweaty gym the all day long, even though my waist line perhaps doesn’t agree with me ;)

How do you approach a new project?

I always like to frame the project one way or another. Before we can start making something we need to know what the problem is and that the problem is the actually problem - it’s stupid to build a higher fence to keep the cows not escaping, if the actual problem is that the cows get abducted by aliens!

Further we need to clarify the business goals/KPIs, who the solution is intended for, what needs do the actual users have, is there any visual guideline to follow, what timeframe and budget are we talking about and what is the technical limitations. Usually this is done by collaboration.

Can you explain your design process?

Although the design process will vary depending on the type of work involved, I always try to follow some basic guidelines.

First we have the problem and the discover stage. When I know what it’s all about I will maybe check what type of solutions the competitors have (if there is one) and what we can learn from them, or find some inspirations from other areas which falls naturally. I will maybe create an inspiration board and collect images of other designs based by things like #style, #look, #feel, #patterns, #shapes, #colours, #typography, #UI and #user flow.

The next stage will be the ideation and prototype stage where I try different things. This usually is done by combining the inspiration I get from other works, design by following best-practise routines and just iterate on different ideas that has foundation from the discover face. I like to find some kind of logical connection that ties the concept together, or a user flow that feels clear & intuitive (even though this can be highly individual based by your mental model I know I know, but you have to start somewhere right..). Usually I will end up with 1-3 suggestions that I first validate with some of my work colleagues. Thereafter I maybe change something based on the feedback I get from them, before I present my solution(s) to the client unless it’s an internal project.

The next stage will be to get feedback from the client and then do a revision based on their experience. If we can collaborate and validate ideas earlier in the process that's even better.

Next up will maybe be to prepare the design for development, and keep sure that the developer is on the same page. l like to validate the work the developer is doing in the development stage as well, to keep sure that we're not getting a big upset in the end.

Hopefully, we will learn something that will be valuable for the next task.

Tools in use


Digital designer

Aug 2015 – Present
Oslo, Norway
UI/UX-design of digital solutions like sales tool for Mitsubishi Electric, quality rating system for The Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv) and a visual identity for The Norwegian Billiards Federation. Also Designer of Cuescore - an internal startup.

Freelance Designer

May 2014 – Aug 2015
Oslo, Norway
I did digital- and graphic design projects as part of the Expology Experience Network. I was the designer of the visual profile of the new primary sales office of Selvaag Bolig, which is one of the major housing development companies in Norway.

Digital designer

Jan 2013 – May 2014
Oslo, Norway
I contributed on UI-design and did some concept development to projects like digital learning games, web and digital installations for clients such as Nobel Peace Center, Evry, Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) and Norwegian Maritime Museum.

Digital designer

Dec 2011 – Dec 2012
Oslo, Norway
I was responsible for the development and design of the website, which promoted the digital initiative for JCDecaux Norway. In addition, I assisted the sales department with motion graphics. I did also do some film and photography intended for documentation and marketing material.

Multimedia designer

Dec 2008 – Jul 2011
Oslo, Norway
The assignments consisted of creating visual content for E-learning courses using Flash and create concepts in collaboration with copywriters.


jørn jørgensen as (now modus design aS)
Aug 2006 – Nov 2008
Oslo, Norway
Visual communication for exhibition areas intended for trade fairs and the like, and 3d visualizations of stands.


3D & multimedia

university of agder
2004 – 2005
Oslo, Norway
Classes in 3D, Multimedia design and Java programming to complete my bachelor degree from Gjøvik.

Media technology

university of gjøvik (now nTNU)
2002 - 2004
Oslo, Norway
A versatile education that gave insight into a wide range of disciplines. Everything from web design, programming and computer architecture to animation, 3D and film production.

Administrative computing

hedmark university college
2001 - 2002
Hamar/Rena, Norway
Increased understanding of the use of IT.

Physical education teacher

hedmark university college
1998 - 2001
Oslo, Norway
The study had a close link between theory and practice. I gained experience in various activities and sports, and developed physical- and teaching skills.


The World's Leading Billiards Management System.
Visual identity + Digital prototype for a new online psychologist service.
Nobel Peace Center
BeDemocracy - a fully dynamic and interactive exhibition about social media and democracy.
Digital brand identity environment for one of the biggest IT-companies in the Nordics.
Mixed work
Archived + personal works.
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