From his dream of being a fashion designer as a kid to discovering UX-UI after university in Italy, Federico Marson has explored many aspects of the world of design in his life.
Dianne: Hello everyone and welcome to the pixelated Perfect podcast. I am super excited to chat with Federico here with us. Thanks Federico for joining. So Federico is actually a designer at the design project right now, he's been with us for about like, a year year and a half now. Yeah crazy. So yeah, he's been with us since almost the beginning. An amazing product designer. He's worked on some really, really interesting products projects for us is some of our customers so I'm sure we can dive a little deeper into some of those as well. But I'm super excited to have you Federico and I'm excited for you to kind of tell your story of how you got started and kind of what you're working on today with us. So yeah, thanks so much for being here.
Federico: Okay, since I was kid, I was pretty young. I was around 12 or 13 when I realized, I really wanted to do to be a designer, but I didn't know what kind of design the beginning was more was more inclined to be a fashion. That's fashion designer Then I changed my mind and was more towards for need to design industrial design. And that was about in high school. And then after high school, I realized I was interested in graphic design. So I started three years University course in Venice, Italy. And I basically, I realized after that still graphic design was a right thing to do back then, but when I had the possibility to start an internship here in London, so I moved from from Italy to London and then after a while, I had this opportunity to start working for big tech company as an intern and they had these, you know, digital Studio, London, digital studio, and these other designer was really focusing to digital. So I first, that was the first time I heard the UX UI words in my life and I was really, really interested in doing that. So I can consider that as part as part of my beginning of my career as a ux UI design. And yeah soon after that I started you know kind of working and doing some freelancing work but I didn't it wasn't enough and so I decided to start a boot camp like three to two and a half years ago I guess. And that was a game-changer in that was at the beginning of the pandemic as well. So I'm I was 2020 and I started this course at Flatiron School in UX UI design and was the first boot camp in Europe of from flat iron, and well, that was my my best choice because so far I really I, they were like my teachers and and my ex-teammates my friends were amazing that where was the time where basically, I had the chance to go deeper and studied and be mentored and thoughts on on the major you know you know you actually I wear concept. I've been told being you know them design process how to deal with many many things and was. Yeah I think that was and now I'm here. I've been working with you for one year and a half, but after that experience, I worked in few. Few other places before it can be clear. That was a was my path.
Dianne: So tell me what we're well, actually, let's start from the beginning. Then we can kind of come back to this time. So I love that you use started early as like when you were 12. 13. And when you really got into design, a lot of people when I ask, like, tell me your story of Designing, usually start from college. So I love that you've had this like passion for, for some kind of design since you were little, so that's awesome in fashion designer. I didn't know that. I don't know why you're so fashionable fitted. You're so funny. That's why? So through your University course and you so my question. So I persons about you got an internship as a graphic designer in London and then you talked about like this other person that was more digital. Not was the first time you heard you, why you act. So what kind of things were you working on at that internship? When you were, when you were like envious of this, this other guy who got to do some UI UX?
Federico: So obviously since I was an intern and you know in three months, you can now you can you can achieve just just as much, right? So the idea was to basically when I when I spoke with the manager there so you kind of have certain go over certain topics that they asked me to provide to them. So at least of things that I wanted to learn from from out of these experience after three months. So, yeah. So I kind of lease it out all the, like, a design process kind of phases because this is to me, like they're made sense, like, I don't know much about it, I just want to learn everything. So I started there and basically they make me work on, on a side project on an app, actually a website. And that was a mobile version of one of their client. So I, it's called bright out. Basically, they sold everything. And in terms of I think digital products device, is that sort of stuff electrons. So the idea was to create a like, marketplace for, for, for them that would help people lend and borrow their stuff. So that was the idea and then obviously it was kind of fictional so we but but we like the my mentor, like take it seriously in the fact of explain to me, okay, now, to a little bit of research like what kind of you know, in you start doing a little bit of research about competitors, and then a little bit of research about, you know, they had some data about, for example, personas and those kind of things but they were obviously no directly related to my project busty and, you know, it was like, going through these documentation, just get to get familiar with all of these, you know design methods tools. And yeah, that was, that was great. And then I remember pairing with this other other guy doing the Whiteboard, the kind of like to come up with some ideas, the name, etc. nd yeah, I guess that was that was great. That was the project. And after the three months I was there, I was able to use, You Know, sketch to prototype them. To me, that made me feel empowered because I could make something similar to what we normally use, like an up or that was the trigger like made me feel even more inclined to choose UI design. Let's say, because for me was a natural consequence of having studied graphic design. I feel like that was that was it? But yeah. At the same time, I've they asked me if I was interested in ux design and Bastille after those three months of us, they saw me that they had like a very good experience with all of them but they were looking for some some some more UX oriented person candidate. And so from there as I said that everything you know chains and hired to find I did the other short courses to kind of enhance my skills andn the Design Lab to make some project to get you know, the opportunity to make a portfolio in the end that can be used to get you know, like an interview and that was interested that was the plan but still I felt like I didn't have enough for soluble.
Dianne: Well, just gonna ask is like, so it sounds like you were using sketchy. you had like a you were doing UI, and a little bit of ux. So what, what was that Catalyst for deciding to go to a boot camp because you weren't doing it. Completely from scratch. You had like dabbled, I guess you would say and in UI ux design.
Federico: I felt I needed, I needed to be prepared under every like every aspects of from from a design point of view. But also from, you know, like searching for a job for interview as well and like be be able to create something promote myself in the right. Way with the route right? People support you. You like no just one one month. One Sprint, that was my main reason feel like when I thought the whole course, with a being with, we teach you everything, you need any Zone, our interest to you succeed, if you also want to succeed, we help you achieve in that we have these results. So, I felt like, okay, we are doing this full time for 6 months.
Dianne: It was like that mentorship and that ability mentorship to have like case studies and like real but like experience would put into that portfolio and yeah. Get that job by spit.
Federico: Yeah. And something. Super valuable is the is the coach you like the mental coach after you finish. So she follows you and make you like them incredibly good. Let's say I'm not incredibly good but still like she she gave us so so many techniques. So many advice, so many tips and tricks on how to like it. still valuable like now not just for that moment like what's an example of some of the tips and tricks she gave you well, okay from from the CV, from the way you write your CV, use actionable, powerful verbs, write them like, write your experience, what you do in a way that I did that. because of these and I cheat at this is the result, right? And many, many, my even my friends, I can look at their cv and they don't even though they describe what they need. But if just these simple way, like of building, the sentence is ready, it's already time. For this can be something that I learned from there, but also, you can use some tools to scan the job offer and those capture like you can use. What's the name of the cloud to so you can see what they what what kind of words have been used the most and so you can use them to reach out to them. What a these words in your cover letter in your city as well another thing would be like, reaching out people that work in the company are interested in applying for and then maybe when is the moment just you know you are prepared because you been introduced or you met this guy who had a conversation then maybe you know told the told you something that you didn't know.
Dianne: And so so with this like coach, after taking this course, what was how long until you got that next job, right?
Federico: 3 months And and that and that because I feel. So this is a these delivery deliver that delivery company. Sorry that is not it's not existing has been acquired from another group but back-to-back. Then what I did was using their app, I don't know that the And I tried their service and I felt like that up could have been improved. So I knew they gave me the opportunity to have this interview with the CEO and I downloaded the app. I used it. I order something. I talked with the guy that delivery guy, what would you like to improve here? What do you feel like can be proven your app? And then I made like a little presentation of the day of the interview. I presented the last 10 minutes. I told you guys, we have ten minutes. I want to show you something and then was like an Menthol are certain features like the map where you see the guy where he is and Dot sort of stuff, and that was a no-brainer for him because I I show in that moment, something that maybe no, no, everyone would do right, but this is something that I learned from the coach Ranger force.
Dianne: That was, yeah, that's super awesome, for any listeners out there that are looking for that first gig after their boot camp. I think that's a really awesome way of, like, standing out from all the other candidates. Yeah, that's really cool. I love that. That's power. That's powerful. It's really totally. And it's like you're literally showing your process, your ux design process. Very cool. Yeah. It doesn't have to be complicated very, right? Exactly. Just showing like you're, you're putting an effort and you care about the company. Okay, so let's talk about your role at the design project. I think one of the things that I'm excited to talk with you about on these, this podcast is like some of the customers that you've worked with in some of the really interesting like problems that you've been solving because I know you've solved really cool problem. They think other people like to hear like how how you like went from boot camp grad? First job out of boot camp to where you are today, which is like a mid to senior level designer working with our customers solely completely on your own, understanding their problems and solving their problems. So like I guess putting you on the spot. What was your favorite project that you worked on at the design project so far?
Federico: All right. That's that's no easy. There's too many too many. Yeah there's there's not there's no easy because I mean I enjoy working in doing some even my of my recent you know, customers that I'm working with I think, I think my, my answer would be more towards like the one that I have more fun. We all know it's probably Sook but in terms of in terms of, you know, like type of company thinks that they were asking me to think of that are a bit you know, extra or not like like in terms of interactions, you know, animations and then, give me these sort of, you know, like Spotify playlist to come up with a brand, you know, brand idea there was a line to, you know, this, you know, like a like a techno kind of place 45 playlist. Yes. Also like, think about movies like Matrix. Like, I don't know, like Blade Runner. That was fun.
Dianne: Just like a little background for people so it was our customers, this customer was building essentially blockchain NFT platform. A lot of other details of why it was so cool. But one of the things that I think really stood out from that project that you worked on through, goes like and some of your strengths is like, you kind of mentioned this in beginning. Like you, I, you really like you. I like you got super deep into figma and white you built from a prototype perspective was something I haven't ever seen. Before like so for the audience, like this prototype that Federico built, like it had animations, it had visual like you could like feel and interact with this prototype and like see and it was kind of like brought to life like this vision for this crypto like web, three capabilities that we could do. And maybe you can kind of like explain a little bit about like prototyping and creating some of those like animations and
Federico: Basically to help me building and designing the dashboard like the mail. It's called it the main dashboard for them where which is it is a portfolio platform where someone can see whatever he holds in terms of nft and as T. But was so was I there need to be very visual. So with some motion where I don't know like the cover, for example, at the top of the page had these. These Howard told like the logo of them of the game like rotating and 3D like, like 3D. Yeah, we'd like a shiny and reflects of this coin that was flipping, And also, you know, everything from there, like when you wear, hovering certain things trick, the trigger, the animation self, and that was, that was kind of exciting. I feel like someone would, you know, use it and be like pleased because it's something that no, very common. et's say but was interesting to see all of these effects, all these, you know, like it was a carousel of cards that was in the cards where why every time someone clicked on on the Arrow to see the next one. The car itself was flipping and, you know, those kind of effects that eventually they they have deals and seeing them on these called, you know.
Dianne: What was your process to learn some of those skills and figma?
Federico: Yes, I think I think YouTube as a as a as the main resources but I would I would not go too crazy with interaction in Prototype Because unless you work for no seasoning and then something that has to be very, very, very animated and very, you know, wanted in that sense animation can distract the user in the end. So in general, in general also feed Mama Community as an excellent, you know, kind of guidelines for for interactions. I don't I don't have a specific kind of manual book or this literally Google I'll say and and see like, maybe go through some website where you can see, for example, dream, bow now, where you see certain things, but like only certain because sometimes it's even too much there, but avoid you can actually do in Figma for. Yeah, I would just see there. What other people do or use the app? Every app you like itself, just Study and stop like when when you click something, what happened? What actually happened? Like, try to break that into like the first step, then it opens up and then you close again. So, just frame that in three pieces. Okay, that's the interaction that, you know, that just happened. That's that's what I try to do. Like, and I try like and try to do this at the beginning and like I didn't Work. But sometimes now I use I use apps and I feel like okay this works like that because like I can frame it like I'm I recognize that path or whether before was just watching a looking at it, passively. So maybe my advice is just try to use an app when get to studying. Okay? This has just happened like whether he's our something. Comes from the bottom up or just slide or it's just I don't know. Whatever effects. I like that. I think that's great. Like, actually using it because like I think the big thing you caution is like animations are great as long as they're providing value. As soon as they're like too busy, then you're going to lose the user. So like finding that balance of like oh this is really cool and usability.
Dianne: Yeah, I have an idea for TDP. I think we should have a Fede teaches Figma interact. So everyone out there feeling the lookout. Fede going to teach you! What else what what other is there? Any other project that kind of stands out or anything that you've learned? That's really like changed the game for you and how you design?
Federico: Haha sure, but let me know in advance. yeah, I could say that he's unknown in terms of nothing was designed at all, and that was that was scary the beginning as well as. Yeah. Now I was terrified to make mistakes everywhere because the project was a little bit, no complex in a sense. Since they were like data science scientists involved, they were talking about, you know, how to use machine learning and etc, etc, to predict Something that will happen to just help know, basically these. So I know to whoever doesn't know who I know is, is a company that basically was we worked with we work with. And we were trying to build this scheduling up to, basically, 12 teams to figure it out, if the candidate while doing there. No. Not their courses, where own timing, they will be finishing that because in time or not. But yeah, that that project in general was the one that I realized help me a lot, boosting my confidence as well because I didn't know a lot many many things and starting from scratch and testing wireframes and build a dashboard was in a sense like also complicated like heavy data, visualization type of thing. For me was dealing with many, many things.
Dianne: I think that's like great advice to designers is like Like you were nervous. Going into building, something from scratch because you hadn't had experienced and that specifically, but you kind of just do Vin and you were like, let's see. Let's see how it goes. And that you brought so many learnings from that and Confidence from that, which is awesome. And I think that like said you up and you're probably using some of those tools and techniques that you learned and all of your projects today. So like don't be like if you get an opportunity like Yeah, I think I think the other project that I feel like I keep talking about this but I think your your Deep dive into design. For designers out there or even like customers like can you talk a little bit about like the benefits of a design system and how it's helped the our customer Oxio?
Federico: Yeah sure. This is a this is a project that has been as being is be known for. It's been going on for a while I guess been a year and a half since I started and basically, Oxio yourself, it's creating has created this product, the main product, they're white label products. And the, so for them was was mandatory, let's say have a design system in place, because if we think about material Design This, that the way they build that is and is that is a product as well. Level product itself. So we took inspiration from Material design as part of the process because what's new for both of us and we try to build and we built out a good a good design system for now, in terms of set it set up. All all the other resources we need basically to to create a to create future features. And also, what was interesting about this project was that basically the, for example, the marketing team, so they have they have their own customers. So their own customers need to apply their own brand to these aqsa program. Let's go this way. So we needed to find a way to create a product that was easy to change, in terms of for, in terms of colors and look and feel but still the same kind of characteristic. And so the design system is important in this sense because you can buy, it might be out there at the beginning because you need to create everything from scratch and it takes time but the same time it gives you, it gives you like that. The benefit you get people about benefit from that in the long run and obviously do like I'm not an expert and I feel like there's a, there's always something to learn.
Dianne: Yeah, no and yeah I think it's like I feel like we've talked a lot about figma and today's session but I think like what capabilities like being able to build a design system, be being able to take these components and change The Branding. It's like so cool. It's like changing how the marketing team works and like the benefits of what a design system can do for a company and just speed up. Everything is really, really interesting and see What you put together is amazing. I mean, and you work really closely with the dev team to to make sure that like they have, they understand how all the components are put together, you won't like everything down to like the pixel defined and documented. So that the developers can build these components and so that you can reuse them and the company can just move weight quicker. It's that's really, really cool. So yeah, yeah, yeah. It's we spent a lot of time talking about the work you did. So thank you for indulging me. But one of the, one of the last questions I would ask you is like, where do you see yourself in the next like, five years? Like what do you want to achieve? Where do you think your design career is going to go, right?
Federico: So I think I told you this before but for who doesn't know ideally, ideally laying my my had I I'd like to experience as many things as possible in the next three years and, you know, get a better sense of really, really, really, really like, and do that for another five years and be like, specific, get up the best I can. In that thing, that I feel like it's gonna be my, my favorite and then, who knows? I don't know, I give these are already 80 years by the way. But, yeah, ideally, I don't know. Now, maybe have something mine or just be. I mean, it's still early, I can still change my mind. So he got. But I really now is like, he's like focusing on learning as much as I can from different experience. whatever up tips, I'm gonna be fine, something that I really like, and just focus on that.
Dianne: And I love that and I like seeing the growth and the year and a half. Like when we brought you on to like the confidence, That's where you're going and your career in like yeah, the visual aspect of the designs that you do are really awesome. So like I'm really excited to continue to follow along and help support you on your journey of becoming an expert or becoming a design manager. I don't know. We'll see, we'll see where you go. It's very exciting. Well, very good. Thank you. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me about about your design career. And kind of where you came from starting at age, twelve, thirteen all the way up to now. I, I really appreciate it. And I will see you like tomorrow at work.
Federico: Thank you Dianne!