Featured Designer/Creative Director

Claudio Guglieri

November 2018

Former CD of Microsoft who made the jump to full-time freelance in 2016, Claudio Guglieri, is incredibly generous with his knowledge and time. You'll find lists and lists of blog posts and conferences he's contributed to on his website — we're talking TED talks, AIGA, Awwwards, you name it, it's probably there. In our chat with him, he tells us about his first few jobs and his money-saving goal to buy a laptop and learn English, that time he coded a flash site (yikes ), plus we discuss creating your own briefs by considering real-world challenges.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied Advertising and Public Relations in the city of Malaga which is in the south of Spain. I never formally studied to become a designer but I did by following my passions and was lucky enough to transition my hobby into a full time job which lead to being exposed to the right kind of people and companies.

My first job in this field was an internship at a medical research center doing illustration work for interactive teaching materials on Flash. After that I joined a small company making webs for local businesses. I worked there for 7 months until I had enough money to buy my first laptop and go to the UK to learn English for 3 months.

What's the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

The worst design job I ever had was a website I designed for an electrical panel company 13 years ago. I had to go over what felt like hundreds of pages of the least inspiring products you can imagine and had to understand and document everything on a flash site that I coded myself (yeah I know). Having done projects like these has helped me stay grounded and helped me find the bright side of any project. I can’t stand listening to people complaining about clients and projects that aren't “portfolio pieces.” Everything can be a portfolio piece.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I design interfaces and lead teams to do the same at a larger scale for multiple platforms. It’s as simple and complex as that. What defines my work is my passion and willingness to find a unique expressive angle to every project I am a part of. When I first started working in this industry I bought the domain WhyDontWeTry.com and to this day that motto still defines my approach to work and how I deal with every single challenge along the way.

With that said I’ve done and led plenty of work for TV, VR headsets, Web, Apps and even ATMs and have had experience working on many verticals including healthcare, education, e-commerce, travel, news platforms, gaming and entertainment. That experience helps me approach new projects and empathize with my clients and their customers.

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Do a lot of work until you are able to identify what you enjoy doing, what you don’t and ultimately find your own voice.

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What do you look for in a great portfolio?

It all depends on the job that the person is applying for. Let’s pretend I’m looking to fill an entry level design position. A good portfolio for this specific case is a portfolio that shows potential and direction. It’s all about showing off your skills on a variety of projects (real or self initiated), and showing what you would like to work on or would be great at if you were to join a team. My recommendation to designers starting to work in this industry is simply to walk the walk — just do tons of work. If you don’t have it, just create a project out of thin air. Think about real challenges (banking and healthcare still suck, voting participation in elections is still pretty low, etc), or just create your own. Do a lot of work until you are able to identify what you enjoy doing, what you don’t and ultimately find your own voice.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

One field of study that I find extremely interesting is the one dedicated to the human factors and abilities that condition our perception of the world in a broad sense and specifically define our interaction with digital user interfaces. For the past few months I’ve been working on a small research project that I condensed into my new talk titled “How Far Can We Push It.” In this talk I basically cover the most important abilities designers should keep in mind when designing to improve their work. I’m currently talking to event organizers so hopefully you will see it around soon :)

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

It’s a surprise; stay tuned :)

Website: guglieri.com

Instagram: @guglieri.live

Twitter: @claudioguglieri

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