Experience Lab and the Brazilian flair

Will Nenes is passionate about creating visual narratives for different media. It can be a visual identity, packaging, editorials, interfaces, an illustration or any other unusual format. His second secret "super skill" is his passion and an unconventional taste for music. His perfect mixtape would have everything from Brazilian tropical sounds to punky brazucas bands. Will believes that creativity comes from mixing skills. We got to chat with him about design and the amazing experience he had receiving the Adobe Community Fund and being asked to design the whole brand for Adobe's Experience Lab!

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

I studied graphic design at Universidade Tiradentes in Aracaju/Sergipe. I entered college because I loved to draw. My first job was with a person who worked in marketing and made some graphic materials for my Aunt who had a beauty salon. He called me to help him with the creative part of his “company”. I remember it was in a small room, downtown. It only had a computer and a small sofa at the reception, nothing more. So when he was visiting his clients I was responsible for creating the artwork for business cards and leaflets. It was my first work experience. I worked for 3 months and my only payment in that period was 5 tickets to a heavy metal show that I had made the poster for. I remember the thrill of seeing my first creation spread around the city, at various bus stops, lampposts and murals. And of course, I enjoyed and had a lot of fun at the show!

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

I don’t know if this was the worst, but I worked at an agency where one of the directors told me that to be a good designer or art director I needed to be better at Photoshop. It taught me that I didn’t want to be a ‘technical’ designer who focused on the tools. Instead I wanted to be a creative person who took on design challenges and developed something that is meaningful to people.

Talk us through your typical work day. What are some of the best and worse parts of your job?

I usually start my workday at around 9 am. Always with a big cup of coffee on the side. I check the emails first, if there are any meetings scheduled for the day and other things like proposals and budgets, sometimes social media. Mornings are not always creatively productive.

When I work on multiple projects, I usually split part of the day into two projects, it feels a lot like juggling most of the time. My working hours really depend on the nature of any project I’m working on and the amount of work to be done. It can sometimes be difficult to know when the day ends.

How did you hear about Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund? Why did you apply?

I remember it was at the beginning of the pandemic here in Brazil. I was reading a design blog when I saw the news about the Community Fund and I got more information about the application process.

I thought it would be a unique and very relevant opportunity in my career if I was chosen to participate in the Community Fund and develop a design for Adobe. I was right, a lot of good things have happened after this project!

You worked with the ADOBE XD team on designing the new Experience Lab identity. How did you get chosen for that? Did you know about this project when you applied?

In the first conversation with Tara Knight from the ADOBE XD team, I remember she commented that she loved how I explored colours in my work, I believe that this feature has aroused interest and was the reason why I was chosen. When I signed up for the Community Fund I had no idea which project I could work on, only when I was selected and received the briefing did I know that I would work with the ADOBE XD team. It was amazing.

As a Brazilian, do you find it hard to get some international exposure in the creative industry? Do you think programs like this one creates the perfect opportunity for their participants to get their name out there?

I believe that not only for us Brazilians, but also for creatives from other countries outside of Europe and America, the path is a little more difficult. This kind of program has helped bring awareness to other international designers, studios, and creatives.

I believe that especially during pandemic times, programs like these are a unique opportunity and that can make a big difference. We don’t always have opportunities like working with Adobe. This has been fantastic.

Another important aspect is being able to be part of a creative community, meet, connect, and learn from so many other talented designers. It’s been a very valuable experience.

We heard that you won an award for this project! Were you excited?

It was a big surprise. I thought that joining the ShortList for some of the most important design awards in Brazil would be a great achievement. When I received the news from BDA – Brasil Design Award, that I was among the three winners in the category, I was thrilled. It is a feeling of collective achievement, a lot of people around me contributed for reaching this moment!

What have you gotten out of this experience? Would you encourage all the designers out there to do the same?

This was my first job for a big client like Adobe. It was an enriching experience in many ways. I believe that the final result attracted the attention of many people. So, yes, I have indicated it to other people and a friend who also managed to join the program. Designers, sign up for Community Fund!!!! This is an excellent opportunity to work for a big client and be part of a unique creative community.

When I received the news from BDA - Brasil Design Award, that I was among the three winners in the category, I was thrilled.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2020?

I would say that, above all, perseverance is the key. Do the kind of work you would like to do and don’t stop, share it with people and have fun! For the vast majority, it is not an easy life, but do not bow your head, even if it does not happen immediately, you will find a place for yourself somewhere in the future.

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

I intend to develop some personal design and illustration work with themes related to the music and regional culture of the northeast, especially working for an editorial or zine. I would also love to work on more amazing projects like the Community Fund if you are reading this and have a project that I can collaborate with, get in touch!

I might consider creating an online vinyl record store for reggae, punk and extreme metal music. Music is very present in my daily life.

2020 for you in a sentence.

“Last year I died, but this year I don’t die.” From Belchior.

If you have an awesome idea or project that you want to work on, click on the link below and apply right away for the Community Fund. Adobe is taking applications monthly, so don’t wait!

Where to find more about Will

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