Please share a summary of yourself and your career "in a nutshell" to help introduce you to the community.
Design is the pillar of everything. Doing awesome work and changing experiences. Innovating even when you can't is the way to go.
I started designing at a very young age, 16, using freehand and animating with Flash. Learning how to code was a big breakthrough for me, a whole new world. I love design in every format and at the places I've worked in I tried to bring design to the next level.
I've always tried to put design in front of everything and I think that all the places I worked before Aerolab didn't do it. I really enjoy what I do and I love the way the new wave of designers is taking place. The product designer is a new type of designer who shares a lot of other areas that were not shared before, participating in business & strategy decisions; it's really awesome. Designers usually have brilliant minds, not only to design but to stir things up with whatever task sits/is put in front of them. I consider myself part of this movement and I'm always pushing my team to do the same.
In The Beginning:
1. Can you remember who or what gave you the idea to begin a career in design?
I saw my first animated 3D motion picture at the age of ten, Toy Story. I was mesmerized with this movie. That day I told my parents that I wanted to work at Pixar. When I was 14-15 I started experimenting with Flash, the easiest animation tool I found. I could learn quickly and I could even draw in it. For Christmas, at age 15, I asked for the Flash MX Bible. I started doing animation and learned actionscript. I started playing around with interactions and learned to use Freehand so I could design. By the time I was 17 I started doing all the Posters for drama, and learned how to work with Photoshop. When I finished high school the smart way to go was to graphic design; what I really loved.
2. What was the first website you were involved in designing and / or developing and how well did it go?
Of course, my personal site was the first thing I ever did. Also, making my portfolio and interactive CD with an .exe that executed the .swf movie were probably among the first things I did. But, when I learned HTML and CSS, I started building sites for family members and friends who started seeking for my help.
3. How would you describe your career thus far? Is it all going to plan or is there no plan?
I think nobody plans their career, and if they say they do or did, they're lying. I really love how everything turned out for me. I started out testing and trying new things nobody did, I explored Flash to the next level. And, after my first two jobs as a Flash developer I wanted to design more so I started looking at my options and thought about moving abroad. After a bit of thinking and a girlfriend who begged for me to stay, I said to myself "Why not build something awesome in Argentina?" So, after working in a couple of small & big agencies I thought that it would be great to build something truly different, so when I found the right people I did :D
4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send yourself a "temporal text" 5-10 years into the past?
Do great stuff. Don't let anyone limit you. Try new things, learn more HTML & CSS instead of so much action script haha and keep on going. Trust yourself and trust the people that you work with, the good designers and work always as a team.
Wow, that was hard.
1. What are your favorite aspects about working in design?
I love creating stuff that people use. I love watching them interact with a device or showing everyone what I do. That in other industries is quite hard. And the most magical thing that happens is when they see something and they say "this is amazing" that's the most rewarding comment anyone can say :)
2. If you could pick only one favorite project from your experience thus far, which would it be and why?
Games. Building games is truly hard and difficult to measure how the user is going to use it. I think it's the most challenging thing you can do and last year I had a chance to build a couple and the experience was amazing. Doing stuff that is used by millions is probably my favorite thing to do, for example now we're changing the online banking experience, that's gonna be a fun project.
3. What would be your favorite trend in web design and development from the last 5 years?
I think flat design was one of my favorite. I really enjoyed working on skeuomorphic design, but sometimes it was either hard to implement, cross browser or devices and it was really recherché to build nice looking apps. I also think it's a trend that's gonna be installed for a while, but we'll see, we never know.
4. Are there any favorite trends you would like to see more of in 2016?
I think photography and video is going to be a trend that will be used a lot more. Since we're having better phones, better computers and better browsers we can build robust interactive things. That's something that already existed but wasn't used so much. Also, the hamburger menu is here to say :P
1. Did you always want to work in the creative industries or did you consider any other career options?
I started out with the ad world. I think almost every designer starts working there. Making campaigns is something that designers really like to do because you can think of a concept, design everything, launch the campaign and see it everywhere displayed. Of course my mind & heart was set on digital but when I started out there weren't a lot of agencies that specialized in digital. Life advice: don't work in an ad agency.
2. Do you have a good work and life balance or is it a work in progress? Any tips?
The way I see it is a continuous work in progress. Loving what you do really kills work/life balance, since work is work and when you really love it you're always thinking about work. What I try to do is, if I work in digital design, when I'm in "life mode" I try to do other design stuff, more analogical design. For example, during the first quarter of 2016 I learned how to screen print and it was really amazing. But, I think it's sometimes hard looking at an app and not think about how you could improve it. Or going to a restaurant and criticising the font in the menu, that's just impossible to change.
Finding other activities to enjoy with friends such as playing soccer or going to the gym is definitely a must. Don't ever lose that, and if you have a girlfriend/wife she'll understand in the long term; but be nice to her, love her, treat her nice and do fun stuff with her too :)
3. What advice would you give to younger professionals wanting to find success in design?
Don't stop. Build stuff, explore, expose it in the design networks, learn from everyone, go to meetups, go to conferences, work in cool places, try new things, travel, enjoy life, party hard & work hard, fool around, be happy, leave things if you're not learning anymore, don't be scared to try new things, always keep going and never stop!
4. If you had all the money you would ever need, what would you do with your life?
I would probably share it with all my friends and co-workers and take an awesome world tour together to beautiful & amazing places. Also, I would build the coolest office in the world and make a really huge party for everyone :)
Finally, I would buy a big drone and throw water bombs at everyone that was ever mean to me :P
1. What type of projects and what industries do you prefer to work in?
I think all industries are awesome. However, I really love product related work. Building stuff from the ground up is really amazing. Games, as I said before, are something that I really enjoy doing. Nonetheless, I think working in anything that combines all our skills like UX, UI, motion, concept, design & illustrations is something I would probably love doing.
2. What memorable challenges or highlights have you experienced from the projects you have worked on?
I love finding places where things haven't changed for a while and working on them, banks, for instance. Having a good banking experience is something we all deserve but since there are so many security measures, UX/UI is left behind, it's always sacrificed. Radio is something that still hasn't really been re-imagined, tvs are starting to do so, but I love finding places where really cool experiences can be created and aren’t. Those are my favorite jobs.
3. What are your, or your company's, greatest strengths?
I think our biggest strength of all is being malleable; our capacity to adapt. We don't marry any software, framework or methodology. We love to try new stuff all the time, but always doing what we love with a great team. I think, if we find a good balance in what we're doing and how we're doing it, amazing stuff will come out. We love to learn, listen and try new things all the time. Afterwards we usually try to share our experiences in medium or on our blog :)
4. What is the latest project you worked on or what are you working on right now?
The last project I worked on was a game for one of the most important newspapers in Argentina, La Nación. Here you can check out the results here . There is much more of the process in dribbble. Also, the case study will be coming out soon.
Right now my team is working on a new experience for a bank which I can't say much about till it's out there. I'm working on a new way to make a companion app when you listen to radio. Something that's never been done before, let's see how that goes :P
Alejandro is Creative Director at Aerolab, and passionate for digital products. He's trying to improve the internet experience by building an impressive & talented team.