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.


Simone is an Hyper Island graduate, currently working in San Francisco as a Creative director at Impossible Bureau. He is responsible for crafting design systems and leading the team through practices and common sense.

Time Warp:

1. When and what was your first ever computer? Can you remember the spec?

It had to be a Mac Classic. It had classic specs.

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?

I think that when you're learning something, you're not really too concerned with cutting edge, you're learning the basic mechanics first. I created my first website by linking rasters of the layouts I had drawn in Photoshop together. I don't know what I used to do that, possibly Dreamweaver, but I do remember thinking "this only sort of works - I mean, you can read words and see images - but it feels like this is not the way you're supposed to do it". That day I dug around a bit and discovered actual HTML, which opened my eyes to a very different way of thinking, structuring content and designing.

3. Which project has been most rewarding for you over the course of your career and why?

I don't think there is a single project above all. Some have been interesting because of their reach, some because of their potential, their constrains or lack of thereof. I really believe that if you want to be happy and successful in this industry you have to find the opportunity in every project you work on. In essence you have to manufacture your own rewards: work can be chaotic and unpredictable and you simply don't have control over that. You only have control over fulfilling your ambitions. Try to find an angle that's rewarding for you on every project you take on and work for that first.

Outside of work, the rewarding projects are the ones that usually allow me to explore things that I don't do daily (coding - or shooting in studio). There are less expectations and a truer sense of experimentation compared to straight computer graphics. I don't have patterns or habits to fall into because I haven't done that for a long time, so it's a new world to discover for me, which is exciting.

4. What career advice would you give to yourself if you could send a 'temporal text' 5 - 10 years into the past?

Don't be an asshole. But then upon receiving it, I would be like "who the hell is this asshole?".

5. Better still, if you had your own hot tub time machine, what time period would you travel to and why?

To a time before social media - that's what diluted the value of the internet so much. It used to be a place where you could learn something, not a forum for everybody to voice their non-opinions about the latest non-issue.

Favourite Things:

1. What are your favourite aspects about working in design?

Chasing the tension between the rational side and the unintelligible part, and how the goal of a designer is to find a common rhythm for them to briefly dance together. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it always hits home.

2. What are your favourite design tools, sites, fonts and resources right now?

Right now I'm on design news blogs a lot. I'm educating myself about the latest incarnation of the design community. When I started there were maybe a few hundred people who would actively discuss design. We mostly knew each other by name and chatted over AIM. Design wasn't "a thing" back then, it was just something that we did. Today, design definitely is a thing, and the community around it is way larger - and so is the volume of information exchanged.

3. What are your favorite devices right now from mobile to desktop?


4. Which 3 cities would be your favorite to open an office in and why?

Probably Malmo: it is in one of the last few civilized countries in the world, but not too far off the mainland.

5. What is your favorite activity outside of work?

This year I've rediscovered photography. I'm mostly fascinated with the technical side of it and mostly in studio as it allows me to have better control over light. Digital tools have made photography very accessible, but the challenge of creating something as close to perfect as possible straight out of the camera requires a very different set of skills.

Life Hacks:

1. How do you stay motivated?

Motivation and reward are intimately connected for me. I try to work on something rewarding everyday, even if it's for just half an hour.

2. Do you have a good life/work balance? Could it be improved? If so how?

I do and always made sure to. It's important to find the balance between being responsible for your own work and understanding that nobody's life depends on your design. You need perspective and measure.

3. Do you have any career advice for young designers and developers?

Periodically ask yourself if the work you're doing is relevant. It doesn't have to be relevant to the whole world (of course, better if it is), just start from yourself outwards.

4. How do you keep up with the latest trends & tech?

I subscribe to a lot of websites via RSS.

5. If money was abolished and nobody needed to work anymore, what would you do with your life?

Probably shoot portraiture.

Versus: In your opinion...

1. Are great designers born Vs. made by experience?

It all depends on your definition of a great designer. You can learn a lot by repetition, especially when you find your efficiencies and processes that will help you deliver good work, but only a few have that uncanny sensibility that you can only attribute to talent. A great designer is not only executional, he's someone who asks the right questions, and that is a talent of its own.

2. Is the best long term goal to be a founder Vs. freelance Vs. full­time job?

The best long term goal is to be free.

3. iPhone 6s vs Samsung S6 vs other?


4. Printed book vs eBook?

Printed, then after you read it you can leave it at the park bench for someone else to read.

5. Star Trek vs Star Wars?


Thanks for your time. Any last words?

The quality of your life is going to be determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself.

Check out Simone's work at Serio.us™