First, let’s talk about your journey. How did you get into design? When did you know you were meant to be a creative?
Growing up, I wanted to express my creativity but was really shy to do that. I think, most people are afraid to follow their creative tendencies due to a fear of standing out, not following the norm.
However, when I was in the university, I wanted to discover what I really want to do with my life. It was never a specific moment, but somehow I ended up becoming obsessed with digital design and more specifically, that illustration fulfilled me. When I started getting paid to do that, I never looked back, dropped my studies and dedicated myself to improving my skills, doing what I love.
Don’t limit yourself by rejecting things you’re not good or haven’t tried yet.
What is your favourite design discipline and why? How did you find out it was your favourite? How can young designers find out?
The easy answer, would be illustration. That’s how I identify myself as a professional and what I love above anything else. But creative work has to achieve tangible goals and depending on the demands of the project, I have to turn to other fields, such as photography, web design, animation and whatever is required to reach the desired outcome.
Young designers should explore and try to be mentored in as many disciplines as they get the chance and decide for themselves. Don’t worry about what you think your “talents” are and don’t limit yourself by rejecting things you’re not good or haven’t tried yet. Usually talent follows the feeling of success and is a direct result of passion and how much you enjoy the process, rather than something you’re born with.
Do you think young designers should try to learn many disciplines or focus on mastering a single one?
That’s a tough question. Mastering a discipline will allow you to reach the top group of peers worldwide and to create with more freedom, as you’ll feel confident. With experience and expertise you’ll be able to know when you’ve done all that you should do in a project, beat the pressure of sharing your work with others and every other obstacle that comes from displaying creative work.
However, that’s not enough. For example, an illustrator or an interface designer that does not know how her/his work will be practically used in a web project and what challenges and restrictions there are, will not stand out. You’ll most likely won’t be producing art in a vacuum but you’ll be collaborating with people in many different stages of the process and you have to be able to understand their own concerns and challenges that may result from your role.
Creativity usually comes from freedom and experimentation that you cannot just integrate in a strict process.
What is your creative process? Do you think young designers should have a set of processes or go with the flow?
I guess a combination. You cannot easily develop a process that fits-all. To borrow Scott Belsky’s book title, there’s a “Messy Middle” in almost every creative venture and that’s when your processes that affect the best possible outcome, will start to restrain you and pull towards safe choices, which usually turn out wrong. My advice would be to keep improving and building the processes as you go and become wiser, but creativity usually comes from freedom and experimentation that you cannot just integrate in a strict process.
How do you get inspired?
It really depends on the project or the client. Weirdly enough, a starting point that I consistently find myself choosing is the end-user and what she/he would like and find appealing. Trying to understand their desires and needs. That’s a process that I never had consciously adopted but I follow, almost religiously.
Do you think having a portfolio is important for young designers? What would your dream young designer portfolio be?
Of course and now I’m a bit embarrassed that I keep procrastinating to create my own. Sharing your work with others and receiving feedback is the best and fastest way to improve and is really important for your career prospects. You never know what chances you are letting slip by not being out there, ready to be discovered.
And it doesn’t have to be a traditional portfolio, but you sharing your work with the world. The only advice I’d insist on, is not to share just the completed and polished outcome but to try and explain your process, your logic and why you made the decisions that led you there.
Great design is not just standing out and pleasing aesthetics but also effective and intelligent.
What is the most important thing to know about design in your opinion?
The fact that every aspect of design has rules, logic and common sense that govern it. Great design is not just standing out and pleasing aesthetics but also effective and intelligent.
How can young designers get their first internship/job? Is it important to go to design school or not?
It depends but it’s not a prerequisite in any way. I didn’t go to a design school but had to make it up with long hours of studying by myself, reading and working on whatever I could think/find to improve my skills. If I had the chance and knew earlier what I wanted to do, I would probably had gone and that’s what I’d advise anyone that has the chance.
Did you learn any tricks during your career? Do you have any tricks you would have loved your young-self to know?
Focus on each project’s goals, embrace the constraints and where they’ll lead you. Don’t expect everyone to like you or your work!
Do you have any favourite books/resources you would have loved to read when you were younger to help boost your creative career?
For sure! "The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It may come off a bit strong, but it’s a book that will for sure inspire you and keep you motivated.
To wrap up, do you have a favourite quote? How is it relative to your creative career?
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”
It kept me motivated whenever I felt low or unsure and it keeps me going at it, even when my ego is too inflated to work! Haha!
Anything you want to promote or plug?