"I like to create a balance between aesthetics and comprehension. It's important for me to create communicative connections between my work and the people who are looking at it."
I’m an information and visual designer. I’ve studied and worked in Milan, where I specialized in Information Design and Data Visualization. My M.Sc. thesis was selected and published on ADI Design Index 2015 – Targa Giovani and one of my projects has received the Honourable Mention in Data Visualization at Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2014.
Now I’m working as a freelance information designer and some of my works have been published on “Corriere della Sera”, “Wired Italia”, “Wired Germany” and “Wired Uk”.
I love to deal with complex topics providing a clear representation of them and – at the same time – to look for new visual forms and shapes. I’m deeply passionate about theatre, writing and acting and I always try to combine the things I love the most.
Tell me a little bit about your background, did you always have had a keen interest in infographic and what led you down this path?
Since I was a child, I had a strong interest in two different areas: science and math on one side, art and drawing on the other one. But I changed my mind so many times regarding the profession I wanted to do, and when I chose my university I wasn't totally sure of what I was doing.
I attended Politecnico di Milano and I had my first approach with infographic and data visualization in the last years of my academic path. I wanted to mix my interest in design with something new and – most of all – I wanted to deal with contents and with complex issues.
For this reason, during my Master Degree, I attended the Density Design Course with Paolo Ciuccarelli. In that period, I really understood how interested I was in this field. After the Course, I've started an internship at Accurat studio and I kept on working with them for three years.
During these years, I've also worked on my thesis – an information design project about organized crime in Northern Italy – with Paolo Ciuccarelli as supervisor. These experiences with Density and Accurat have been extremely important for my career.
More than one year ago, I decided to start working as freelancer. I was really curious to see how this decision would have changed my career (and I still am!). In the last months I have dealt with many different projects and topics and this is what keeps me so interested in what I'm doing.
What lessons did you learn since you began your work?
I've learnt to change my mind. To be "not too fond" of my projects during the design process and to be ready to change them completely if it's needed.
As freelancer, I've also learnt how to be my own manager and this is something I really enjoy doing. And by "being my own manager" I also mean being able to understand how to manage myself and my creative process. I think that it's interesting and funny to see how one's mind can work, to define a design–path and to follow it, in order to create something valid.
Can you tell us a bit about the way you design??
I work on different kinds of projects: the ones with a pre-existing dataset and the ones in which I can propose the topic and look for the data.
I really like the possibility to choose the subject to analyze. In this case, I usually start to look for topics I'm personally interested in. I'm passionate about art and literature and I'm very curious about science. I'm also very interested in dealing with complex and urgent topics, to communicate and spread them. The choice also depends on the data I can find (and this is often the tricky part!).
And then there is the visual phase. At first I analyze the data, in order to find the interesting insights and stories I can tell with them. I start sketching the first shapes and – in parallel – I look for visual inspiration. Forms, natural elements, landscapes, paintings... Every visual input is well accepted. I just have to wait for the moment in which my mind will find the right way to represent the data, in this mix of rational analysis and irrational inspiration.
Finally, there is the "artisanal–digital" work. And in this phase, my obsession for details comes out. Probably this is another thing I have learnt to do: to stop myself at a certain point from checking every single pixel!
Your work is positive, progressive, beautiful, modern, a way of using infographic as a medium to challenge narrow assumptions and preconceptions to give a deeper role to data in everyday life. So, why has infographic become so important today?
First of all, thanks!
In my opinion, infographic has become important because its correct use constantly confirms how useful it can be. I have never seen infographics and data visualization as substitutes of something else. I think they can be really useful tools: they can help the comprehension and reinforce the communication.
And this can be done in different ways and for different purposes: in order to entertain, to create knowledge, to facilitate the understanding of complex topics and to communicate urgent and important issues.
What do you enjoy the most about design?
I like solving problems, and this is an important aspect of design. I love how design can be useful, I'm always interested in working on socially useful projects.
I like the balance between rationality, analysis, science and inspiration and instinct.
And I love the possibility to create something and to communicate it.
In my mind, design has a broad meaning. I'm extremely passionate about theatre, I love acting and writing. I wrote two plays during these years and I've brought them on a stage. And this for me is design too. I'm designing when I'm writing and when I'm acting, because I'm building something, even if it's not tangible. And the act of communicating something to someone is very important to me.
Aesthetics has a pretty significant role in your work. How does it influence what you capture?
The things that I find beautiful drive me in my work. Nature (or its representation) is probably my first source of inspiration. This is something very common and I can see why.
But I think that – in my job – beauty is also driven by clearness.
I like to create a balance between aesthetics and comprehension.
I also like to create new visual forms, but I always focus my efforts on designing shapes that – even if they're not "classic" – can be easily understood. It's important for me to create communicative connections between my work and the people who are looking at it.
Anyway, this as always depends on the purpose of the project. There are projects that allow me to have fun with forms and new visual representations, other ones that need a more rigorous and classic approach. I always have to keep in mind the main purpose. But, also in the second case, I pay a lot of attention to the aesthetic component: even if it is "only" a matter of lines thickness or distance between elements. Details are very important and they can really help in creating something valid and clear.
What would be your dream creative project?
Probably my dream project is the personal project I'm working on in these months, a combination between my work and my passion, theatre.
Some time ago, I've written a play and I've visualized it, representing the interactions between the characters. I have a great team of people (and friends) I use to prepare plays with and, after months of rehearsals, we've performed this play on a stage, a few weeks ago.
The visualizations are being used in two different ways: they are projected on a screen during the performance, (they evolve and change with the story) and they're also part of a website that I'm currently working on, and that allows to explore the story from another point of view, purely visual and with some audio.
This is an experiment for me and it's constantly evolving. I would like to push more the experimental component of this project, but there are a lot of technical and economical constraints! (Independent theatre is not a wealthy field in Italy).
My purpose in this case is to create something complete, a story that is represented in two different ways: the classic representation on the stage and a visual reinforcement of what is happening. I'm trying to use the emotional component that can emerge from something as rational as data visualization. The public I'm communicating to is not made up by information design experts, and this is interesting, because I'm trying to design something that creates connections with people, without any barriers.
What single thing would improve your quality of life?
There are a lot of single things that could improve it!
But a very practical one could be to overcome my fear of flying! I use to take planes, but it's a struggle every time, and at the same time I love travelling.
(Anyway, I'm proud to say that I've taken a lot of steps forward in these months!)
What is the best moment of the day?
The people I love are the best moment of the day.
And I also love that moment during the day when I am finally relaxed, in front of a plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine! (Such an Italian cliché, I know!)
Informativa ai sensi dell’art. 13 D.LGS. 30 giugno 2003 n.196
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