Edinburgh, United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
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#028

Cecilia Righini

Founder and Creative Director

Hi! I'm Cecilia (they/them) and I'm the Founder & Creative Director of Studio Lutalica, a Design Studio for Feminists and Queers. I am a dog person and a musical fan!
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Where are you based?

I am based in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

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What led you into design?

I was living in The Netherlands and working as an Au Pair when I realized I was attracted by everything that was well-designed. And with that I don't just mean pretty, but easy to use, fit for the purpose, sustainable, and accessible. I have always been very passionate about fighting against social inequalities, so design for me became a tool to get more visibility and reach more people in my activism.

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Why did you start your own studio?

In August 2019, I started a master degree in Gender, Media and Culture at Goldsmiths University in London thinking I was going to learn a little more about myself after coming out as non-binary. At the same time, I began volunteering with a few LGBTQ+ charities, including Pride in London, while working full-time as a Design Manager for a jewelry company. I can say my life was divided between this luxury and non-inclusive environment on one side and the Feminist and Queer community on the other. I started thinking about how I could dedicate more of my time and skills to something that had so much value for me, so I looked for a design job in a more inclusive and diverse environment but couldnโ€™t find any. I was especially researching for Design Studios which were only focused on the Queer community and I was honestly surprised by how little was out there in this specific niche. Therefore, thinking about how I did not fit in any job, I came up with Lutalica โ€“ which literally means, โ€˜the part of your identity that doesnโ€™t fit in any categoryโ€™ (from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows).

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What does a typical day look like for you?

Aside from running the Studio, I also work full-time as a Design and Project Manager for Lattimore and Friends, a web development agency working with creative studios across the UK and the US. Usually โ€“โ€“ I wake up, write for about an hour for my Masters thesis due in August (!), I work my hours for L+F, trying to get better at actually getting my hour off for lunch. And finally, in the evenings I work on the Studio, usually getting in many client calls and then design something while listening to some relaxing music. And it's already time for bed! What even is time anymore...

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What is your current desk setup?

I don't have a single one! Depending on how I feel each day (or hour!) I rotate between my desk, the couch in the living room, my bed โ€“โ€“ although never in the afternoon, or I would be too tempted for a nap ๐Ÿ˜ด ย โ€“โ€“ and sometimes, even on the floor! As I have many different tasks in my workday, I enjoy changing locations depending on each requirement.

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And your workstation setup across devices?

I love to organise all my folders on my iPhone and iPad. For work, I mostly use an 'office' folder and a 'design' folder. These are not even all the apps I use, but surely the most frequent ones.

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What work are you most proud of?

Good question! The past year has been a rollercoaster in terms of work, moving between London, Italy, and Edinburgh, and starting my own studio. I guess the thing I'm most proud of is that within these incredible adventures, I was able to grow significantly, not only as a professional but as a human. Taking the risk of sounding cheesy, I am incredibly proud of the team I am working with at Studio Lutalica โ€“โ€“ these people inspire me every day to be a better team worker and make me appreciate the importance of having a diverse point of view in order to achieve more thoughtful and well-rounded deliverables, whether it's a website for a client or a funding application.

In terms of work, each project I worked or currently work on is as unique and special as each client. With that said, I definitely cannot play any 'favoritism'! ๐Ÿ˜œ

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Tell us about a product, project, or initiative that recently blew your socks off?

Calendly! I arrived late to the game on this one, but my oh my, it changed my life. I have four calendars โ€“ personal, Lutalica, work, and volunteer work. I used to spend ages trying to figure out a suitable time for calls with clients, especially if they were based in a different time zone. Calendly is saving probably a few hours per month in back and forth emailing.

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What challenges do you face as a Designer/Founder/Entrepreneur?

I guess the biggest issue I am currently facing is time. It's marvelous to see how many people approach us with amazing ideas, and we want to help them all! However, when starting any practice, whether it is freelance or a studio, it is hard to figure out how many projects you can take on with the time and resources you have available to make sure you don't let anyone down. We are really transparent about what we do and how we do it, and at times we have to go to a client and admit that we underestimated the size of a project, or we were too optimistic about the timing, or simply something came up and we were not able to deliver on time. Ultimately, we need to make sure we learn from our mistakes!

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Three suggestions for budding designers?

  1. Learn from your mistakes and unconscious bias. Keep an open mind and listen to everyone and everything around you.
  2. Never fall in love with your first design! Explore, iterate and enjoy the process!
  3. Every designer experiences impostor syndrome โ€“โ€“ that's part of being a creative! A little dose of it is good to make sure not to become arrogant and cocky, but don't let it take away important opportunities: sometimes it's ok to 'fake it 'til you make it' โ€“โ€“ย whatever 'to make it' means for you ๐Ÿ˜‹

Thanks for reading my story!

Edinburgh, United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

Cecilia Righini

Founder and Creative Director

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I'd love to grab a coffee and chat about
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