I’m 100% Italian and just like any other Italian Millennial without a future I emigrated abroad, precisely in London (UK). I was born and half-raised in a super small village of 500 souls in the NW region of Italy called Liguria, where Pixar’s movie Luca has been set. I then moved to Bologna where I graduated in Musical Theater and Performing Arts and before moving to London I’ve spent 7 years in Milan doing anything you can possibly think of. Well, not really anything, but I did a lot of stuff, even pretending to be a designer!
This is near my small village in Italy. The view is just stunning! (Although I don’t like the sea, or summer, or my region in general!)👇
Le Due Torri (The Two Towers). These are the most iconic symbols of Bologna, you can’t see it from this angle, but the left tower is leaning towards the other one. Apparently, nothing stays straight forever in Italy! (pun absolutely intended)👇
London, the view outside my house when it’s not raining and there’s no traffic and I’m not in a rush and I have time to take a pic of the sun to remember what it looks like. 👇
The unexpected journey that brought me to the whimsical world of design is very unusual and with more plot twists than a Shonda Rhimes tv show.
I graduated in Musical Theater and Performing Arts and like any young struggling artist, I ended up flipping burgers in a fast food and I worked through every possible customer-facing job until I landed in a VIP Customer Service role for a tech company. Everything was going smoothly until a global pandemic decided to throw a funny-sized wrench into my cute little gears and Miley Cyrused all the plans I made for my future.
All of a sudden, I had too much free time on my hands and that made me realize I wasn't happy with what I’ve accomplished in my life up until that point (yeah, why not have an early mid-life crisis in the middle of a pandemic?!). I needed to drastically change my career path, do something that made me feel happy to be useful, even if that meant learning a new skill and not feeling exploited by a corporation for their own benefit.
As I said before, I pretended to be a graphic designer for several years just by watching tutorials on YouTube, so it only made sense that I wanted to find something that combined my love for technology with my natural predisposition in helping others. And that, my little cookies, is the story of how I discovered the incredible universe of UX/UI design.
I joined the intensive 12-weeks UX/UI Design Bootcamp with a lot of enthusiasm and the few notions I was able to learn by myself through lots of videos, and I quickly fell in love with the UI side. I enjoy way too much creating shapes that do stuff pretending to be a real app... Like me, pretending to love human beings and Figma. (Not a joke: Figma hates me and I can prove it!)
The reason why I chose this particular Bootcamp is fairly simple: I didn’t know anything and I wanted to learn about everything! But the reason why I chose Memorisely over other courses is one that shouldn’t be overlooked: it’s human-based. I’ve spent a good amount of time online searching for the right course to invest in and there are thousands out there, one more valid than the other. Some of them were totally free with very mixed feedbacks and some of them had incredible reviews but cost a fortune. And you know what they all had in common? They were a very well-organized catalog of videos where some random voice explained the fundamentals of design without even showing you what they were doing, just some basic background created with Microsoft Paint. On the other hand, Memorisely has one or more teachers that you’ll meet over zoom, it has classes with real people you can interact and share your experience with. When you enroll in a Bootcamp in Memorisely you start working on real-life products, you learn by doing, or better yet, by making mistakes and asking questions. And instead of ending up with a “thank you” video recorded 7 years ago by someone who’s only interested in taking money from you, in Memorisely you end up with a portfolio ready to use and enough experience to get a job almost immediately.
Ok, I sound like an overly enthusiastic advertisement on local tv, but that’s just the truth!
My cute little class! From top left to right and down: Vanessa, the increadible hard worker of the group - Zander, the supateacha - Martina, my Italian pal - Selene, the smiley queen - Julez, she rulez! - Ben, the first one to add me on every social - Claire, she’s super organized - Marjorie, she’s the sweetest - Minnie, the design slayer - Allison, my wonderful partner in crime - Hey, that’s me - Austin, who is now always awake at 5am - Dee, who is happy to not wake up anymore at 5am - Sherry, she will be everyone’s teacher one day.👇
I’m about to say something really cheesy and you need to be prepared for that. Are you ready? Ok, here it is: I LOVE BEING A STUDENT IN MEMORISELY! It’s the most exciting yet relaxing learning environment I’ve ever joined. Usually, long Zoom calls make me dizzy and sleepy, but not here. Between Zander and the other classmates, there’s always a level of energy so high that it keeps you awake, focused, and most of all stimulated, even if it’s early in the morning or you’re having a severe case of food coma. You simply can’t help but love being a student here! If you take the time to really commit to it, it’s literally impossible not to grow, whether you already come from a design background or you’re switching careers like me. It’s a real safe space where you can genuinely collaborate with others without any judgment, allowing you to make mistakes and learn from them. Do not underestimate the importance of Design Crits and Office Hours: that’s where you can test what you’ve learned, refine your skills, and get inspired by everybody’s work. You can thank me later for this tip...
(FYI, I haven’t been paid to write this. Please, take another long sip of your beverage, I feel like you need it...)
The best part so far was our mid-term presentation of our case studies. It was amazing watching how we all grew as designers in such a short period of time and seeing it reflected in all the different takes we had on our first case study. I was honestly surprised that I was even able to be at the same level as the others, knowing I was literally starting from absolute zero. If it wasn’t for the supportive and open learning environment that Memorisely provides, I probably wouldn’t have been able to learn as much as I did and move past the mistakes I made (because trust me, I made them all!).
My biggest challenge so far has been trying to not feel intimidated by the fact that I’m a 40 years old person trying to change my career path while surrounded by 20/30 something young designers coming into this Bootcamp just to refine their expertise. I know it sounds silly, but as an elder Millennial I can assure you that leaving a steady job to learn something completely new and exposing myself to unnecessary uncertainties is terrifying. It’s even scarier than answering an unannounced phone call from an anonymous number!
First of all, I need to find the courage to wake up. I’m not a morning person, I’ve never been a morning person, and I have no intention of becoming one. I don’t function at all until I had my morning half-liter of hot black American coffee with my breakfast, which usually consists of some rye crackers with peanut butter and cooked ham, smoked salmon, or eggs and an apple. Some people like to do yoga, running, or walking, and that’s totally valid. For you. I just stare at the tv watching one of my morning tv-series (those that don’t require a brain to follow the plot, like The Flash, Drag Race, Nailed It) and take all the time I need to activate the synapsis or whatever creature lives in my head and drives my body. By lunchtime, I’m usually able to formulate complete sentences and I can happily join our classes, ready to learn all there is to be learned. My afternoon continues with a Zoom meeting with my classmates, where we discuss what we’ve done during class and we start tackling our homework, but I make sure to wrap things up by 6pm because I don’t want to spend all day seated in front of a screen. And this is my favorite time, between 6 and 8... I like to lie down on my bed and listen to one of the special playlists of music that mean something special to me. They’re just 30 minutes long each but they always give me a little mood boost for the evening that I complete with a nice Yoga session. After dinner, I watch a movie or a couple of episodes of tv shows that require a brain to follow the plot (basically, anything I can’t watch in the morning) until I fall asleep sometime after my goodnight herbal tea. Repeat until I’ll get rid of my Covid-induced agoraphobia and I have money in the bank to do literally anything.
I’ve just upgraded everything and I feel like I’m ready to design the whole universe! I have my gorgeous new MacBook Pro 16” M1 Max and she’s a sassy machine that laughs in the face of your prototypes when it comes to rendering. Her sidekick is a stunning iPad Pro 12.9” which I sketch like there’s no tomorrow and I also use them as a second screen whenever I need more space. I just bought also a couple of led lights called to look cute during class and to Zoom with style with my future clients. I have my AirPods Pro called that I use to listen to music or white noise (if I need to focus) on my iPhone 13 Pro Max named “Thirteena Applegate” that you can’t see because I’m using it to take this picture. It feels super fancy, but it’s just an illusion.
Don’t be fooled by the stuff that I got, I’m still - I’m still Andy from the block!
*I give names to things. I mean, they deserve one too! If you listen closely they will whisper how they like to be called and what are their pronouns. And you have to respect that otherwise they’ll get offended, they’ll stop working or break on purpose before you can save your work, and you will suffer physically and emotionally, and then you’ll perish! #TrueStory
From left to right: Ipad with my cute little logo for my future website called TheySigner, Quee Pro Pods charging, Barbara hanging on the wardrobe, my macon her pedestal where she’s supposed to be, my mug, keyboard and mouse, and some sticky notes on the wall because Zander has a very bad influence on me! 👇
Almost 5 years ago I’ve decided to go paperless for good and since then I’m always searching for apps that can improve my workflow without having to rely on ink and paper. It’s my very small contribution to saving the planet, the trees, and the squids out there... That been said, I loooooooove using Mockup on my iPad: it’s a very small app that allows you to sketch using common frames like Desktop, iPhone, etc... To work on the go I’ve installed Figurative that allows you to run Figma on iPad and use it as if you were on your computer. I use Figma as my life depended on it for my prototypes and wireframes (even if we hate each other), paired with the mobile app to check my designs on a real device. I also like to work on FigJam for sketching and jotting down ideas. To be honest, though, I kinda prefer Miro to Figjam for mind maps and quick notes simply because it runs (with some very painful performance issues) natively on the iPad. Don’t get me wrong, Figjam is incredibly powerful, I’ve been able to literally sketch and create low-fi prototypes in minutes, but I’m waiting and hoping for a native app because working with the Apple Pencil is just sublime (when things actually work properly).
Procreate!!! I know, it’s completely unrelated to UX/UI design, but I had the fortune of downloading it for free through my work and... I’m literally obsessed! Let me tell you this: I don’t know how to draw. Seriously, give me a pencil and a ruler and I can’t make a straight line, that’s how horrible I am at drawing. But not with Procreate! I don’t know what kind of wizardry they’ve included in their code, but basically anyone can draw with it. It has a simple and intuitive UI that reminds a little bit of Photoshop but better, there are ZERO extra purchases or hidden costs, and you have all the tools you might need to create a digital Sistine Chapel. With only a 5 minute Google search you can watch all the tutorials you need to learn all the pro features of the app and start drawing like a novel Bob Ross from the comfort of your couch. I’m telling you, if my career as a designer doesn’t work the way I’ve planned, I will start making “art” with Procreate and call it a day. I mean, nowadays anything is art if you know how to sell it, am I right?
I drew this, all by myself! I mean, I followed one of those super-quick 30sec tutorials you find on TikTok, but still... And it bears repeating, I don’t know how to draw! How is this possible?! 👇
Normally, I listen to white noise, it helps me a lot stay focused whenever I need to be concentrated on something. But when I’m prototyping, I usually put on my happy playlist named “Andy PartHEY”. It’s really really gay, meaning that it’s happy and joyfully, it makes you wanna bounce frantically on your ergonomic office chair until you sweat like parmesan cheese left too long under the sun.
Sorry, it’s on Apple Music, I don't use Spotify. I don’t understand it and they don’t pay artists enough.