Interview with Emanuele Colombo

Emanuele is a designer from Italy who creates beautiful animations, including the well known 'The Proof that we are Soulmates'. He is currently freelancing, enjoying working in the animation world from the comforts of his own home. We had a chance to speak to him, and found his background quite interesting.

What is your design background?

It may sound strange but I don't have any. I am not able to sketch anything with a pen, and I had never open an illustration program until 3 years ago. I have studied Audiovisual Communication at the University of Milan, it has been an amazing experience but it mainly enriched me from the general knowledge point of view, and I didn't learn anything practical. Fortunately, I have always been passionate with anything creative: music, photography, video editing. I just tried to put my passions together and I unexpectedly became a motion designer.

Have you ever worked in a design company?

After university I worked in a small production house within a communication agency in Milan. My role was video editor, working for pretty big companies such as Coca Cola, Allianz and Samsung.

Why did you decide to become a freelancer?

I was born and I still live in a little town on the Alps, a lovely area in the Italian Lake District. Every morning it took 2 hours to get to work to Milan, and 2 hours to get back. After 2 years I had to take a decision: move to Milan to keep my work, or stay here and try a new adventure. I took some time to think, then I decided it was time for a new experience, so I became a freelancer.

In the first period I didn't have much to do, since nobody knew me at the time, so I opened Illustrator and After Effects, trying to learn something by myself. The more  motion design videos I added to my portfolio, the more new clients contacted me. So in the end I stopped working as a video editor and I started working full time as a motion designer.

The turning point in my career was the release of 'The Proof that we are soulmates', a personal project that went viral and gave me international visibility and brought me a lot of important clients.

Do you work from home or do you have a space/office to work from? 

I have a small workspace in my living room. I am pretty lazy, why should I move if I can work from home?

From your portfolio, it looks like you mainly work in After Effects. Do you have knowledge of any other design programmes?

Exactly, I mainly work using Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects. Sometimes I spend some time playing around with Cinema 4d, but 3D is not really my thing.

What are the 3 things you couldn't live without? 

Biscuits, my blanket and solitude.

May I add a fourth thing? The wood beside my house, an amazing place where I can take a break and search for inspiration.

What is your typical work day?

I wake up at 9.30 (it's a bit late, I know, but that's why I became a freelancer!), and I spend the morning mainly sending emails and dealing with burocratic stuff like contracts, quotes and invoices.

After lunch my brain suddenly switches on and I start working on my projects. Usually, the part of the day in which I feel more creative is from 3/4 until 8 pm. Now that I am getting older I stop working too late, but when I first started my freelance adventure, I spent a lot of nights in front of my Macbook.

Where do you pick up inspiration for your work?

Pinterest and Behance are two very useful resources for inspiration. I also constantly follow a couple of blogs who post interesting stuff.

Who do you admire in the animation world?

Mark Magnusson and J-Scott are my favourites freelancers. Speaking about agencies, I really love Giant Ant (see our interview with them here), Plenty and Buck.

What has been your favourite job to work on?

I think one of the best projects I have done so far is the video I did for Euronews. I was given total creative freedom, I think this animation has a pretty unique look and some lovely transitions.

What would be your dream job?

I like to work for big, world renowned companies. If I should mention just one, I would say Google.

Do you feel you are still learning whilst working?

It depends, sometimes clients just ask me to replicate things I have done in the past, and that can be boring. But I always try to take on projects that I know will allow me to try new techniques (when there is enough time to do it) or at least have some fun.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your career?

Just create beautiful things, and they will automatically gain attention and bring recognition to you and your work.

And finally, what are your goals and aspirations?

Keep on enjoying my work as I am doing right now.

See below for an interview for CreateNow tour held by Adobe.

Euronews - One of his favourite projects

Interview for adobe

Thanks to Emanuele for taking the time out of his busy scheudule to answer our questions. It is interesting to see how someone can grow and develop through different creative areas, and how a big break can lead into instant recognition.

See more of his work here.

By: Lisa
Posted: Wed 18th Jun 2014

Tags: Interviews, Animator, breakthrough, chat, designer, Emanuele Colombo, insight, interview, proof we are soulmates, talk


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