What led you into design?
As a kid, I always enjoyed drawing. I loved immersing myself in it, staying hyper-focused on a specific detail, crafting it from a close distance, and then zooming out to observe a full composition as rich as the details themselves. That joy moved from hand drawing to using a computer and from observing a static piece to interacting and seeing others interact with something I had created.
Throughout my childhood, I drew comics, put together manga fanzines with friends, designed stickers, and CD covers, and made websites, logos, and photoshoots for my friends' metal bands. All those seemingly disconnected efforts somehow aligned at the very beginning of 2004 when I finally got paid for doing what I loved.
What does a typical day look like?
It really depends on the day. Since COVID I only go to the office once a week or so. A typical day starts with me waking up, saying bye to my kids as they leave off to school in the morning and going to the gym (new habit 🤞). I start work around 9.20am, check emails, linear, slack, and twitter and if my overnight render came out as expected (🤞🤞).
Depending on the project we are working on I might have more or less hours of focus design time VS organizing, directing, critiquing or collaborating with the broader team.
I always make the time to have lunch with my partner and then jam until the end of the day. Kids come home around 5, and from there I switch from focused work to more brainless tasks until 6pm where I get off the computer and start making dinner.
From that time until my kids bed time is all about spending time together, chatting, talking, watching a show, helping with homework, etc. Around 10pm I tend to go back to my computer to either keep working, jam on a personal endeavour or get a render going for the next day.
What's your workstation setup?
Over the pandemic I invested in a MacPro, a decent desk and a good chair. I have a couple of displays, my Opal C1, a couple of old but solid Bose speakers and my trusted Wacom Intuos 4, a heavy tablet that can’t get any better. My next purchase should probably be a better Mic.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Not so much "where" but by whom. I am mostly inspired by my peers. Working with talented people that make me want to get better at what I do every day is inspiring to me. Working on the fringes of what we are used to seeing and what could be new and noble inspires me.
Other things that inspire me are:
1. The amazing online community that I follow on different networks.
2. My kids are a massive source of inspiration. I love showing them work and asking for their opinion. They are pretty opinionated and always ask me to change things around. I love being directed by them.
3. Travel is always great to recharge, mostly because I force myself to disconnect.
4. Finally, of course, occasional books, video games, and films from all over the world.
What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?
I've been consistently inspired by the work of Teenage Engineering for the past decade or so. Both on product and Marketing they continue to hit it out of the park. Their approach is honest, and factual and has a touch of irreverence that gets you to giggle.
I started working at Opal Camera because of this very same reason. From the moment I unboxed the Opal C1 to my experience with the software I saw how much they cared about the end-to-end journey and that inspired me to join.
In addition to utility software and hardware design, videogames are always a great source of great design. My kids and I play together regularly. I found a lot of joy in small and indie games like Boomerang Fu , we have played for close to a year now, it's an incredible game for all ages.
Other than that I've been enjoying and admiring the latest Zelda. It's so much fun I'm in no rush to finish it.
What pieces of work are you most proud of?
I'm rarely proud of any work I have ever done. It's rare that I see some old work and still like it.
What I'm normally proud of are the journeys I have shared with teams over the years to complete projects. Working with fully dedicated and passionate individuals, who are masters of their craft is pure joy. To bond and to achieve something together is something to be proud of.
We have been working on a bunch of really cool things for the past year, some of them public and some others still a secret (for now). For instance we recently released Opal Composer, a new companion App for your Opal Camera. It's available to download from our site. Screenshots below.
We also recently launched our new site, you can check it out at opalcamera.com
And finally, here is a bunch of highlights for the past few years. From a physical installation done for Google's latest building in Mountain View (done with my friends at Huge) to personal experiments and other initiatives done for a bunch of different companies.
What design challenges do you face at your company?
What music do you listen to whilst designing?
Any advice for ambitious designers?
A few at the top of my mind:
1. Find what you want to do and do it over and over and over. Consistency over time will make you good at anything.
2. Don't let the tools you use constrain your creativity.
3. Nothing is impossible to learn but you have to start now.
4. Find joy in the journey, not just in the destination.
5. Share your work, don't be too precious about it.
6. A Design Influencer is not a designer. Decide who you want to be.
7. Like, subscribe, appreciate, thumbs up, star and share this post 🙃
Anything you want to promote or plug?
I'm jamming on a talk this year I think will be interesting for designers. It's called "
Design Trends to Live And Die For" and I'll be presenting it this May in Toronto, Antwert and maybe later next year in Tel Aviv. Join me if you can.
Apart from that you can follow my work and musings in the links below.