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Head of Digital Design at @IKEA in China. Curious about the relationship between people and things.

I still remember this event like it was yesterday.

I had woken up in middle of the night with the fading sound of a train in the distance. I realized I left the window opened by mistake. A blinking light at the other side of my bed was signaling that my breakfast is scheduled to be ready at 7am.

It was one of those moments when you think you can simply go back to sleep and move on, however this night was different. In a time where everything is predicted, automated, and programmed, I still messed up with something as…

A short story on changing mindsets.

About 20 years ago I was dragging a bulky hand scanner on some photographs of a mountain bike trip. I think I scanned a bicycle’s photo about 16 times before I managed to get the wheel to register like a perfect circle, and not a jagged oval.

“One day I’ll be good at this” — I thought.

About 5 years later, I got my first ‘creative’ job at a small animation studio. I was standing in front of a big scanner, looking at how it sucked hundreds of hand-drawn frames through its feeder rolls, and turning these into a .tiff…

I’m a designer that can be described as “the guy staring at patterns and charts”. I take pride in the work I do. Nowadays I’m mostly figuring out how to enable people to have a better relationship with the technology that empowers and helps them achieve something positive. Nevertheless, arriving at that description hasn’t been easy.

The following piece is a written version of an old talk I gave a while ago. It has been formatted in a reader-friendly way. Views are my own.

Long time ago, I used to struggle with making good first impressions, with knowing if I’m…

A short piece that has been on my drafts for way too long.

This happened a couple of years ago but I remember as if it was just yesterday. It was damp, cold, rainy, and pretty gray — Standard winter in Shanghai. Around 5pm on a weekday I had a phone call with a recruiter who convinced me to prepare my résumé for a big role at a big place.

This was the very first time in my life that I’d have to put together my CV & Portfolio for a company I admired, but that probably never heard of me, or had the slightest clue of who I was nor what I’ve…

The first thing I ask when I first meet someone is: Tell me about what you do.

After years of learnings and conversations with lots of talented people, I’ve come to a general conclusion: More knowledgeable (and often very successful) people give simpler answers when asked about what they do. Answers filled with wonderful, straightforward and accurate stories of what they do, and how they do it. Some of them even go further and tell me why they do it.

It’s an incredible distillation of what they’ve become best at. It also gives me a glimpse onto some factors and…

Musicians, Painters, Sculptors, Designers, Dancers, Actors, Filmmakers. Creative minds worry about the outcome of their craft.

Depending on your line of work you might be dealing with different ways to define success, and that’s where your anxiety points to. Whether these success metrics are driven by client’s expectations, user data, growth, media exposure, money, or recognition, the simple truth is that we can’t predict the real impact of our work. Strategy+Research can do a big part of the job, but there will always be external factors to tilt your trophy.

If you’re an anxious creative, it means your work wants…

Parachuting into Experience Design.

Let’s assume you’ve just decided to wander onto the magical world of Design and Experience. Perhaps without knowing, you’ve been already exploring this territory, unaware of certain key points that can finesse you onto the true potential of what this practice can do for you, or your business.

To figure out where you are and what design can do for you, I’ll try to break down this complex topic into an unreasonably short piece. With my apologies to fellow designers for the brutal (and perhaps dangerous) simplicity of my writing, here we go!

The term ‘experience design’ (XD) would seem…

You’re at your desk and your boss walks in with a huge smile on his face. He wears a scent labeled epiphané, and a wristband with a usb stick that holds 12 photos in TIFF format. He is clearly on top of what’s #trending and regularly shares links to Gizmodo.

Nick, we have to go Digital.”

Cuts to a close up shot of his grin. Cuts to black.

The year: Doesn’t matter.

Just kidding. The year is 2016.

Note: This piece was written for Shanghai SMEs, based on specifics the Chinese market.

If you got the 4 jokes in the…

There is always that movie scene where an old wooden door with rusted metal slowly opens. Suspense music intensifies. A big reveal occurs.

Sometimes, this reveal brings scary things. Sometimes it unveils beautiful surprises. Sometimes it goes nowhere. Truth is, most of the time we tend to accurately guess what’s gonna happen next during this movie scene, and whether we get it right or wrong, it’s somewhat a relief when it finally does happen. Suspense is not for everyone, for sure.

I recently had to open a squeaky door myself. A door at the end of my comfort zone. I…

Photo by Janet Ramsden. Creative Commons.
  1. Hick’s Law says that the more choices you have, the more time you will spend trying to decide. This is particularly evident when we’re out there IRL trying to shop for a gift.
  2. My wife’s law says that I suck at buying gifts of any kind.

So, what happens when you have abundance of choice, and terrible taste for buying gifts? If you’re like me, you are fully aware of the consequences of it, yet you somehow don’t give a crap. But, don’t worry. …

Momo Estrella

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