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.
Lorenzo Bocchi is an Italian creative currently in Sydney working as Senior Art Director, Front-end Dev and Photographer at The Friendly Agency.
1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?
I have many fond memories of my first computer: it was a Pentium III, that my father brought home from the office. It was 2003 and I found everything about the computer amazing. I was 16 years old and I immediately started playing with the hardware and software, I was totally fascinated by this new technology. Thanks Dad :)
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?
The first website I made was for a farmhouse. In that period, I was doing a lot of Photoshop tutorials and I didn't know what development was. I took the job anyway and what I created could be probably considered the ugliest website in history. It was a rough mix of Photoshop tutorials, with ink splashes everywhere, and I developed it entirely by cutting images from the PSD file and building a table with the Design view in Dreamweaver. Yes, definitely the worst website ever.
3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?
I have a lot of projects that have been very rewarding to work with. However if I had to pick, I would probably have to say Gianluca Bocchi's website (and no, he is not part of my family). It has won some web awards and really helped in boosting my name in the industry by highlighting my skills as a UI/Interaction designer and developer. There is also another project that deserves a mention. It was for Live365. This project was a pure design and UX project for a music company based in San Francisco. However currently it is only on Behance, as the client is not yet to make the design live. If you are interested in having a sneak peek check it out here.
4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?
Like the majority of creatives that I know, I have made a lot of mistakes along my path, and the best advice I'd give to myself would probably be to make the same mistakes again. I've learnt so much from any mistake. You live and you learn is surely the best way to grow.
5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?
I would probably travel to the future to see how technology will change our everyday lives.
1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?
I love everything about this job. It is great when a passion and a career come together! Probably the best thing is the way that designers can prove their value. Sharing your portfolio is all you need to present who you are and what you can do. Furthermore you can work everywhere: it's so easy to move from a country to another or work from home, office or even coffee shop - as long as I have my computer I am set. Another passion of mine is music, so it's great that my job allows me to listen to music all day long.
2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?
InVision is absolutely crazy, amazing right now. I love what you can do with this tool and I can't wait to start using the new upcoming features that they have previewed in upcoming months. (And no, they are not paying me to say this!). I do think their platform is amazing and one to watch for. They are leading the way in allowing prototypes that can be shared with clients. There's also another company that will launch another new tool soon that will change everything. But I can't say more about that at the moment...
3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?
I am an Apple fanatic and I really love their products. I like to use different devices for different purposes. For example, the main device I'm working on at the moment is the iMac 5K (for design and photography). I also like the new MacBook for development (I can code everywhere, like when I'm on the train for example). I also use the iPad mini for sketches (with Paper by 53) and for eBooks. Then the iPhone 6 for everything else, from emails to social media. A device for every purpose, and I love to communicate from one device to another.
4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?
Sydney for sure. I love Australia, the way people live. There's the perfect balance between relaxed lifestyle, technology and innovation. The weather is amazing, you can train outside all year round. Then I'd probably say Berlin, a hub of creativity and tech nowadays, if it weren't for the weather... :)
5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Learning. No doubt. When I'm not working, I'm looking for new ways to do things, to improve my skills, I'm trying new tools and working on my personal projects. After working with The Friendly Agency I usually spend another 2 or 3 hours working on my design and dev projects. I also love playing drums, but I never have enough time.
1. How do you stay motivated?
I am continually motivated by other people's projects. I'm very competitive and if I see someone doing something amazing, I want to do the same thing, and then try to do it better. Seeing amazing projects is an incredible incentive to me. I keep watching what other agencies do as well as freelancers' projects. I use CSS Design Awards to keep updated with the latest web/tech trends and Behance for Design. Metalcore music is very helpful too!
2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?
Balance is everything. In my formative years, I had completely lost balance while I was trying to build my skills and my own business. Here in Australia, I'm working to find the perfect balance between all my professional and personal activities. I can always improve, but I'm happy right now. I wake up early in the morning and I go training before going to the studio. In the evening and over the weekend I often go for a swim. The weather is amazing here in Sydney and it's possible to do outdoor activities all year round.
3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?
Do it! Keep creating and don't be afraid to make mistakes. I also think it's better to work on a lot of different projects instead of on a single one, full of details. Why? Cause working on different projects can help you see the limits of your design and of your development skills. If you do many projects, you can experiment with different styles and get out of your comfort zone. Same thing for Development, what works for a project maybe doesn't when it comes to another. Keep trying and keep applying your skills to different projects, I believe that is the best way to grow your skillset.
4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?
Facebook is great from this point of view. The trick is to follow the right pages. When I land on the Facebook homepage, the first thing I do is to click on "Pages Feed". I also save the most interesting articles and keep an archive.
5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?
I would be a designer, for sure! I would do this job for free! (Don't tell this to my boss, please...) It's my real passion and obsession. I would continue to develop my concept projects. The most challenging thing for me is creating something new, from scratch. Then I quickly get bored. I've never replicated the same thing for more than one project, because creating something new is what I really love doing. And probably I would pursue the dream of being a professional drummer too.
Versus: In your opinion...
1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?
Made 100% by experience and mistakes. There's nothing you can't learn. The natural talent you are born with can give you the "final kick" but at the end of the day, if you work hard you can be great, no matter what.
2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. fulltime job?
In the mid-term future I see myself as a freelancer. I've been an (almost) "business owner", now I have a full-time position with The Friendly Agency and it is great to share all my ideas with the team, but probably in the next few years I'll move to the life of a freelancer. I see the limits of being both a business owner and an employee. I'm curious to see what being a full-time freelancer would mean. My career goal is to work directly with agencies worldwide, doing just what I'm very good at.
3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?
iPhone 6s, just for iOS. I've never considered anything else. Android is powerful but also too messy. I don't like the software design. And I don't like the design of the hardware either. As I said I am a self-professed Apple fanatic and it is great because the MD of The Friendly Agency is also an Apple lover, so we always have the latest toys to play with.
4. Printed book vs eBook?
eBook. Today you can have thousands of Books in your pocket. I love paper books too, but this doesn't make any sense in 2015.
5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?
The Lord of the Rings?
Thanks for your time. Any last words?
Thanks again to CSSDA for asking me to share my thoughts. A huge Thank you also to the amazing team that has built this platform and keeps improving it!