We ADORE colourful Milan lady Olimpia Zagnoli! Here she takes us through her typical work day which includes – ‘draw, drink tea, get distracted’ (saaaaaame) and has some beautiful advice for students about developing their personality.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I remember meeting a guy named Keith Haring when I was about four years old. I was so young I don’t know if I found it inspiring at that time or not, but I like to think it was a sign.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.
I make illustrations for magazines, advertising campaigns, books, products, fashion brands and fun.
What does a typical working day include for you right now?
Wake up (not early), go to the studio, avoid emails, draw, eat, look at the internet, avoid calls, draw, drink tea, get distracted, deliver finals, walk home, stop at the supermarket, cook, watch a show, sleep.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?
At 16 I didn’t know what a career was and I’m glad. Life is made of little everyday things and sometimes a few big adventurous ones.
What advice would you give students starting out?
Work on your personality, not necessarily your skills. Once you’ll become a person, you’ll put a little bit of it into everything you do from painting to kissing.
What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?
Milan is an interesting city with great roots in interior design, architecture, graphic design and fashion. But its character is not of a braggart, it’s actually quite understated so you kind of have to find your place quietly with respect and curiosity. It could take years to feel like a Milanese, but once you get there you certainly will be rewarded with the perfect little fruit stand, the art deco window you never noticed before or a forgotten post-it left by Sottsass.