Web Designer, Freelance Digital Art Director
Lewis Lopez is a multi-disciplinary digital art director and web designer.
Where do you work and what is your current title?
I work in a IT company as a Web Designer / Visual Designer. I am also a freelance Digital Art Director. My goal is to become a 360° Digital Art Director.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself & your background.
I was born in El Salvador, but I grew up in Milan, Italy. I studied digital communication in high school and started to work almost immediately, but not as a Designer. The first year after high school I did many different jobs in order to collect enough money to pay university fees. Because of some events, I ended up in the software house where I currently work, and since I started there was no time for other things.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
My first passion is music, and my dream as a teen was to become a rockstar. Life has its way, I didn’t become a rockstar but music led me to digital communication. I started to take obsessively care of my band’s online promotion. It was during the MySpace era and I used to spend summer nights watching designer’s works for music bands, taking inspiration and trying to apply some ideas for my band. I was 15 and at the end of summer I started studying digital communication in high school.
What was your first design job? Any interesting stories about how you broke into the field?
My first job was for a famous band in Milan punk’s scene. I remember I didn’t know they were so well-known until my pals musicians told me so. I must have done a good job anyway, since after them I started to handle the image of other bands. My speciality was creating covers for their Myspace profile, I was good at doing animated images with flash.
Please describe a normal day at your current job. What’s the workflow like? What are your primary responsibilities?
My normal day is made of tasks to be completed. First of all I do technical things, like maintenance works, so then I have all the time to dedicate myself to the creative part, that is my favorite. I do a lot of web surfing in order to get to know all the last trends and get some good ideas for my work. I have the responsibility of all the creative process, from the very first idea to the technical realization.
Are there any memorable war stories, client interactions or close calls that have taught you something important about how things work?
I understand that clients sometimes don’t realize how much work you need for changing something. It happens to me more than once that clients wants to change some feautures, also huge ones, after the developing phase, that is a waste of time and money, of course. So for me a very important thing is to make clear agreements during the planning and design phase; this includes showing detailed moke-ups, with all the functioning explained, so the client can have a clear idea of what he will get.
What’s a common mistake you often see entry level designers make? What are some tips to avoid or overcome it?
A common mistake beginners make is to copy other designer works, most of all WordPress themes. It is like when you first try to play guitar and just do covers instead of creating a song by yourself. My advice is to be more self- confident: a simple work is not a bad work, but an unoriginal one is.
Any industry sites or blogs you read on a regular basis, or anything else you read for inspiration?
I read Best Design as a morning newspaper. Then I also take inspirations from Awwwards and Behance on a regular basis.
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?
My favourite work of this year, or maybe my favourite over all is Year in Music by Spotify. I found it very insipring and innovative. Another work I like, recently is the new Stinky Digital’s website.
What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the industry?
Someone that wants to start has to study. This is my advice, studying technique but also improve creativity; an open mind is feed by watching a lot of works. Also experimenting on your self-branding. is a good thing, because is formative and also very fulfilling.
What do you think is the future of your industry?
I see a radiant future for digital design. I think that it will follow the current trend of customizing, so digital communications will become more and more personal and they will read and interpret our emotions.