You shouldn’t expect all the answers coming from school — Lorenzo Bocchi
He’s the Creative Director at Friendly Agency in Sydney, but he came from Italy learning design as self-taught and was nominated as Best UI Designer of the Year 2016 and Judge at CSSDA.
R: Do you do some ritual every day outside of work?
Lorenzo: Meditation is the most important ritual I’ve ever had. Back in the days when I was in Italy, working by myself, I used to be stressed and unbalanced most of the times. When I moved to Australia I’ve started meditating and this has actually changed a lot for me. I’m more focused and relaxed now. I can deal better with problems and solve them easily.
R: What do you do that allows you to work efficiently alone or in your team at Friendly, do you have any ritual or daily/weekly activity at work?
Lorenzo: There are differences in working alone on my side–projects and working with the Friendly team, of course, but the core of my daily routine is the same. Before doing everything else, I stay inspired.
The first website that I check every morning is CSS Design Awards. There I can find the best in terms of cutting–edge design, animations and interactions. There’s also a great blog on that website, and it’s a great way to stay inspired and motivated in terms of high-quality projects and the latest trends.
After that I jump on Behance. Behance is perfect for pure design.
I can get rid of all the interactions and dev distractions and I can focus all my attention on pure UI Design.
These are my main rituals. No matter if it’s working for myself or at Friendly. I do these things even on the weekend most of the times.
With the Friendly Agency, we have a daily stand-up meeting. It’s a great moment to have a chat with the whole team and discuss the daily workload and stay up–to–date with everyone’s project.
We also have a weekly meeting to analyse and take inspiration from cutting–edge technologies and other great products that we individually find online and offline during the week.
R: How do you manage to do creative work every day any tips or technique?
Lorenzo: It’s all about constant thinking.
I think of my projects 24/7, and I get the most of the work done when I’m not actually at the office.
The best ideas usually come up when I play the drums or when I am in the shower.
The trick that always works for me is having my mind on a couple of projects beside the one I’m currently working on.
I always keep those projects on the back of my mind, and this helps me figure out things before I actually start working on the next one.
R: What thought or tip would you give to yourself in the past?
Lorenzo: Start coding from day one. This would have made a huge difference to my career. Now I’m trying to catch up with the dev but it’s getting hard to find the time for it.
R: Any study tip for a high school, university student?
I hear a lot of people complaining because they are not receiving a proper formation at their school. The truth is that you shouldn’t expect all the answers coming from your school.
Use your brain and work harder. It would be amazing to find a place that gives you all the answer, but the reality is that place doesn’t exist. So do your best and find solutions to your problem by yourself. Online you can find everything you are looking for, just search for it.
R: What would you focus (work,love,life) on now if you would go back to high school time?
Lorenzo: I’ve always done a lot in my free time when I was in school, but I would have done more. If you are still going to school you don’t have any of the real–life problems. I’ve been there and I miss that time :)
Probably you don’t have to pay rent, bills, equipment and you don’t have to take care of a lot of business related problems. You are not stressed and you have a lot of time.
So put all your focus on your projects and try to get the best quality you can.If you push hard while you are at school the rest of your life is gonna get a lot easier.
Be able to do great projects right after school and everything will be great for your future!
R: What would you suggest reading to young students?
Lorenzo: I don’t have any specific answer to this question. Just read online. Read everything.
And use social media properly. My social media are optimised to show me 99% work related news. This is a good beginning. When I take a break and I enter in my zombie–mode scrolling down my Facebook feed at least I get useful information.
Social Media are a big part of our lives today, so take the best of them.
Apart from that, online you can find very specific answers to very specific questions. Don’t look for a book that gives you all the answers.
Go straight to the point and find specific answers to specific questions.
R: How did you learn and became a designer? Layout all the steps that got you to your actual experience more or less or some tips.
Lorenzo: I started designing stuff while I was studying Industrial Design at the University. Never actually made it to finish it.
I found more interesting to create the presentation for the products than to design the products themselves.
At the beginning it was a mess.
I didn’t know the difference between branding, UI, photo retouch or a websites.
I just kept working every day and I figured things out with the experience.I’ve always admired great agencies’ projects and followed them. Scozzese Design has been probably the most influential ad the beginning.
I’ve been going through their projects all over again to understand what made them amazing. Piece by piece you can understand what makes a great project great, and you can learn how to create it yourself.
R: What the core for your design? Just esthetics or solving a real problem?
Lorenzo: Of course both. If the design is not able to solve a problem is art.
Even if the core of my knowledge and expertise is around UI, Animations and Interactions, I’m still designing in a way that can solve problems and guide the users where it’s required.
With the Friendly Agency it’s a bit different, because we have an incredibly strong UX team, so I don’t even bother myself to think in that terms. These guys are amazing in what they do.
Their focus is to solve problems through research and testing, and when the UI Design process starts the big problems are already solved. With the UX in place I can focus on adding an extra layer with UI Design and Interactions to make the whole experience more clear and usable.
R: How did you find most of your freelancing clients in the past?
Lorenzo: At the beginning it’s a real struggle. You have to go find them one by one and basically sell yourself.
As soon as you start doing a good job and as far as you are able to create a good relationship with the previous clients, your current ones will bring more work. But this works locally only.
If you have a kick–ass portfolio, a good website, and you are able to use social media properly you can easily get international clients as well. Websites like CSS Design Awards gives to your projects international exposure and if you are doing a good job, you can be in touch with international clients.
The same thing works for Behance with pure Design.
R: Any tips for young italians? What was the biggest challenge to live in Australia?
Lorenzo: Go abroad. I know, I’m sorry… But this is a smart move to make, especially if you are young. English is the key, so possibly move to an english–speaking country.
Being able to properly speak English can make a huge difference. Especially, if you wanna travel or work with international clients at some point of your career.
Apart from that, an experience outside of your country is definitely life–changing, and is gonna add value to yourself. The biggest challenge to live in Australia is deciding which beach to go to on the weekend ;)
Yeah, it’s pretty chill down here.