Fabio Basile, Co-Founder of Mikleo Limited
Fabio Basile is a product designer and developer in the UK who founded his own studio Mikleo Limited.
Where do you work and what is your current title?
I am the Co-Founder of Mikleo Limited, a brand new Research and Design studio based in the United Kingdom.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.
I am a bit of a “hybrid” designer and developer combined. My background is in games development. In 2010 I obtained a Bachelor of Science with Hons from the University of Central Lancashire, where I studied mostly low-level programming for coding games, which is very different from what I do today.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
Whilst in University I had to sustain myself financially, I enjoyed being a coder, but I always had a bit of a creative mind, so I started designing for fun and soon after that for profit. I had a good circle of online friends, who where mostly coders, they needed help with some design work mainly for website and OS X applications, to my surprise they liked my work and even paid me for that!
What was your first design job? Any interesting stories about how you broke into the field?
I started in the industry as a back-end coder, I was very lucky that even before finishing university, a lot of local studios had shown interest in my skills, and somehow I talked my way through my first interview. I got a job at a sports company and worked there for a couple of years.
During that time I became very interested in the work the designers at the studio were doing, up to the the point of using my lunch breaks designing fake projects and showing them to my colleagues for feedback. You can say it became a bit of an obsession.
Please describe a normal day at your current job. What’s the workflow like? What are your primary responsibilities?
As a lot of freelancers will tell you, the first thing one has to learn is discipline. Discipline with working hours, with correspondence, with deadlines and generally anything else that will become ten times trickier when you work from the comfort of your own home.
My workflow has always been very flexible but as of late we are getting a bit stricter with it, as a lot of time was wasted re-inventing the wheel. We are a very small team and for this reason I tend to cover a lot of areas. Generally I look after new business opportunities, I design for our clients, and for ourselves, and attend meetings whenever I am needed there.
Are there any memorable war stories, client interactions or close calls that have taught you something important about how things work?
I had the fortune of working with some amazing people out there, as well as the occasional questionable character. There was once that client who asked me to work from his own home because he felt a bit lonely, or the one who tried to sue me because I politely refused to give free feedback to his own designs via email, or that celebrity who liked the work I did for her so much that — to my total surprise — she personally phoned me at home just to thank me.
What’s a common mistake you often see entry level designers make? What are some tips to avoid or overcome it?
The most common mistakes I see is the fear of experimenting for the fear of making mistakes or for copying other people’s work. It becomes almost a vicious circle of not having the knowledge of certain techniques or tools, not experimenting enough for various reasons, thus never learning those techniques or tools.
It’s something I see very often and that I am never tired of repeating, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes or if you’re ripping someone else’s designs, it’s just for practice and you will learn a great deal from it!
There’s something new and amazing coming out every day. What’s something awesome you’ve seen recently that you’re dying to share, or something you’re excited about?
Right now I am particularly interested in interactive designs and virtual reality, I am really looking forward to try the Oculus Rift or Steam / HTC Vive, creating interactive content and futuristic interfaces for both devices.
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?
- Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback.
- Experiment and publish your work no matter the quality.
- Don’t be scared of feedback, and don’t be too protective of your work, changes are easy and fundamental.
What do you think is the future of your industry?
I believe we are going to see more interconnected devices that will help us collect real life data, to help us learn more about ourselves, our habits and how we can improve our lives and the lives of people in need.