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.
Michele Angeloro is a multidisciplinary creative designer that admits to having a deep fascination with the convergence of art and technology. "I have a strong passion for print, design and motion, and currently I am living and working as Art Director and Digital Designer in Tokyo, Japan".
1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?
My parents bought me a Win 95 PC in the early 90's. At that time I didn't know anything about specs. Paint, Pinball, and Solitaire were pretty much the only things I used to play with. Good old times. Do they still make PCs nowadays?
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?
Prior to working for the web industry I designed and built an Italian Dragon Ball Z fan site (oh yes). It was a very long all-in-one-page collection of personal and friends' fan arts, comic strips, and curiosities related to the world of DB author Toriyama Akira. Frontpage was the only tool I used and it took me 5 months to put it online then almost 2 years and several emails to take it down, to be honest mostly because I had used Comic Sans shamelessly...
A few years later I was offered the opportunity to design a website for a real client: a tattoo studio in my hometown Napoli (Italy). At that time I wasn't even thinking about becoming a web designer but I used to play a lot with Macromedia Flash and since I am no coder the site ended up being a frame by frame animated gallery with polaroids and photo scans. I am very proud of that one as I have never felt being part of the Flash movement yet I can say I have a Flash website in my portfolio. Thanks God the site is not online anymore although it still lives in my hard drives.
3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?
I love the work done this year for the 9th Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. It was a huge project realised by the partnership of 4 Tokyo agencies (Saatchi&Saatchi Fallon, Copilot, SHIFTBRAIN, Uniba) for which I had the honour of providing creative direction, design and UX. The site showcases illustrations and stories of children from all over the world and features cheer music, SVG animations, and webGL interactive map.
4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?
Don't let other people tell you that you can't do things. You know how to give but should also learn how to receive. If you find yourself in a space in which there is nothing to learn, then get out because you are in the wrong place. Say no to junk food before it's too late.
5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?
Silly mode: on. I would go back in the early Japan 1600s and try to become Miyamoto Musashi's apprentice (note: he is the most popular swordsman of all Japanese history) and try contributing in making Japan a better place (until 1605 Japan lived more than a century of war). I know I would have probably ended up being slaughtered or something but at least I tried! Silly mode: off.
1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?
Definitely the creative part is what keeps me going forward as I get to interact and share ideas with talented and passioned people. I also love the versatility of it: being able to work for different clients allows me to touch different aspects of life and learn new things. That is absolutely glorifying.
2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?
If I had to pick only one tool then I would say Paper by 53, probably the most useful app I have ever used. Since I spend almost 2 hours a day on the tube it comes in handy having Paper as I can write down ideas or have fun sketching. Later I email everything to myself so I can keep working from the Mac. Paper definitely makes my work process a lot easier. Favorite font, I am currently building my personal site using Maison Neue Mono by Milieu Grotesque. Some good resources come straight from links shared by my connections via Twitter and Linkedin.
3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?
iPhone 5c&6, iPad Air&Mini, MacBook Pro 15", iMac. I am also willing to buy the iPad Pro when it comes out and use it mainly for business meetings and presentations.
4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?
Tokyo is my first choice. This city is crazy, there are hundreds of talented individuals and what I love the most is that art, design, fashion and music scenes are very active and especially design is executed with extraordinary creativity and complete freedom of expression. London and Amsterdam have a rich multi-cultural community of creatives and such famous multi-disciplinary studios. These cities produce a serious level of creative work and inspiration comes from everywhere, from small graphic design studios to big shows and exhibitions.
5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Movies. Music. Food. Family fun at the park. Walking. Bicycle. Recently I started taking pictures during my long walks in the low-lying areas of Tokyo. You can see them here: http://tanpopo.vsco.co
1. How do you stay motivated?
Most of my motivation and inspiration come from the outside of the digital world. I love playing old and new video games and spending quality time with family and passionate people. A simple walk can bring me a lot of clarity to the things I may be stuck on, and video games help me get past almost any problem I have. In fact, I do some serious thinking while I'm playing Donkey Kong or Super Mario with my wife. She is definitely part of the process.
2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?
My problem is that I think of my projects as if they were my little kids and I feel very bad if I ignore them or don't treat them appropriately. So the answer to your questions is no, not really. When I am not working on an office project you will find me working on something else, which makes me very happy and keeps me engaged for long but I know I should learn how to "unplug" and take a break sometimes.
3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?
With a little effort, anything is possible. Following your intuition will lead you to your purpose.
4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?
On a daily basis I check some stuff online. Product Hunt and Medium are amazing. Sometimes I buy softwares or apps just to see how they work and to test if the marketers were honest when they talked about things like "incredible time saver" or "ultimate solution".
5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?
I would move to the countryside with my family, start growing my own food and run a small "little house on the prairie" style farm.
Versus: In your opinion...
1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?
Considering the way we communicate and share today, even a high schooler can come up with an idea, spend a few months building a product and change the world. I don't believe I am one of them (yet, hopefully!) anyway I have never studied "web design" at school and all I know comes from books, internet and social life. For me everything except sucking the nipple is learned but you have got to have passion and the guts to make things possible.
2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. fulltime job?
For the time being, I'm enjoying where my career has taken me - a full time job in Tokyo - and I'm being gifted with a ton of opportunities that I wouldn’'t get elsewhere.
3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?
I have never possessed a smartphone that wasn't made by Apple.
4. Printed book vs eBook?
Both. I have never been a book nerd but I have always had at least one book in my bag. Right now I have "Kafka on the shore" by Murakami Haruki (paper, Japanese, 500p. circa) and "I am a cat" by Natsume Souseki (ebook, Italian, 500p. circa).
5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?
Thanks for your time. Any last words?
Many thanks for the interview and see you soon. Cheers.