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.
I am an art-inspired thinker, creative director, designer, entrepreneur, co-founder, colleague, husband, father, friend, snowboarder and CSSDA WOTY 2015 judge. My job is digital storytelling: my amazing team at AQuest and I love to stir digital emotions using originality and focusing our minds on building new worlds for the brands we work for. We are challengers, innovators and we love designing stuff that make sense! We mix and spice things up a little to create work we can be proud of, and our clients love.
1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?
If I told you, I would be admitting my age! ☺ My very first computer was Spectrum ZX 1 that I mostly used for games and entertainment. After this one, I met Apple, we fell in love and it's been a steady relationship till now.
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?
Wow, let me remember... One of the first projects I worked on was a website for a tour operator. I created the site's structure and design. Thanks to this experience I realized how powerful the internet would be one day and how it would change the world. I think the client was quite satisfied.
3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?
I would say the new website for Italian men's fashion brand Hotel Style. The client had quite a limited budget so we found a compromise with one condition from our side - to give us complete creative freedom. We had a chance to think big and create something unique we were very satisfied with. We put all our body and soul in it and as a result the site has been rewarded by many independent international awards. The client gained not only a new eye-catching digital look, but also higher brand visibility and awareness. Such a collaboration was a win-win for both sides. It's a nice example of how brands can benefit from giving their trust to professional creative agencies.
4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?
I would write that the most important thing is to always deliver the highest quality possible, no matter if you work for a tiny local business or a giant international corporation, no matter the budget, the limited time or any other obstacle; just plunge into challenges, do your best and you will rock. I believe that all the effort will be rewarded, sooner or later.
Another important thing is to surround yourself of people who are better than you and who share the same creative culture/approach (detail-focused, masterstroke, passion for digital, etc.)
5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?
Personally, I think we are quite lucky already because we live in era of digital revolution and it's awesome! Maybe it would be interesting to see how our work and effort will influence the future. At the same time it could be nice to go back in time, before my first Spectrum ZX was invented and try to lose all the comfort that modern technologies has to offer us.
1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?
What I enjoy the most about working in design is that you have to be on the look-out all the time, you have to continuously search for new inspiration and new challenges.
2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?
I check many design platforms on regular basis such as CSSDA and other leading award sites, Behance, and online magazines like TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Smashing magazine... In terms of project and time-management tools we use Trello for task-organization in the bug testing phase, Basecamp for communication with clients and sharing documents, Invision when it comes to interactive mockups, Evernote to collect and organize ideas and inspirations... The list goes on and on! All these amazing tools and platforms make our work easier and more effective.
3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?
I wouldn't say I have any favorite ones, I use all of them based on where I am and what I need to do.
4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?
Silicon Beach because it offers the right balance between web surfing and wave surfing; New York because of its energetic pulse and infinite opportunities and London which is a kind of NY of Europe and we opened an office there a year ago.
5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Well I have to admit that I've been quite busy recently because we're working on many new interesting projects in AQuest, but if I'm not at work I'm with my family and I love playing with my children, snowboarding and playing football.
1. How do you stay motivated?
Well, I have a job I love, a family I love, I'm a part of an amazing team, I live in a beautiful place so, all in all, everything around me gives me some kind of inspiration, an energy that pushes me forward. I think the secret is to stay focused on the positive aspects of all situations/people/things. My colleagues often tell me that I'm too optimistic ☺
2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?
My job is my life. Of course I wish I had more time for my family and hobbies, but the truth is, if I worked less I would probably miss it.
3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?
Follow your passion, don't compromise, focus on one main thing and become the best at it.
4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?
I surf a lot, I study a lot, I try to visit important digital events and of course, I often jump into new adventures. I love challenging my team and myself. I love trying new things and surprising our clients and users with an unforgettable experience.
5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?
This will probably sound like a cliché, but I would do my job in any case. I really enjoy it. It's the way I express myself, the way I communicate with the world. But if money were abolished I would travel more. I would love to meet designers and artists from different cultures and learn more about their worlds.
Versus: In your opinion...
1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?
Born, but in any case you need a lot of experience. An incredible talent without experience means nothing.
2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. fulltime job?
3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?
4. Printed book vs eBook?
Printed for home, ebook for traveling.
5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?
Thanks for your time. Any last words?
Thanks for your time guys, it was my pleasure talking with you today, catch you soon!
Fabio is Creative Director at AQuest, a digital creative agency in Italy.