Get to know the Italian Academy alum whose international travels brought her endless inspiration and ultimately, a creative community.
Tell us about who you are: Name, age, location, and current professional status.
I am Valentina, I was born in Italy in a small town close to the Adriatic Sea. When I was 18, I moved to Florence to study communication, and then to Milan to complete my studies. I was a recent graduate who really didn't know what I wanted to do, so, in 2009 I took the opportunity of an internship abroad in e-commerce, and moved to Barcelona. It was there that I ended up working in digital marketing and client services for different tech companies. Work also brought me to Berlin, where I lived for one year, before realizing that I wasn’t happy or fulfilled with what I was doing. I took a break, traveled all the way to Australia, and realized that I needed a career change in order to pursue a more creative path, which I felt was what I had always wanted to do.
It was in 2017 that I embarked on this journey, and I started studying graphic design. After three crazy years of juggling working during the day and studying every night and weekend, in June 2020 I earned my degree. Since then I have continued to work in my previous job, however, I have been actively trying to transition into a full time design job.
What are the topics you’re most interested in?
I am passionate about photography, especially analogue and film development. I am an avid music listener, a magazine collector, and I am fascinated by architecture and interior design.
Tell us about a project you were excited about.
The last project I worked on is a book about Superstudio. I have always wanted to design a whole book, and this was particularly meaningful as the book was inspired by my uncle, one of the founders of Superstudio.
Tell us about a collaborative project you worked on.
In 2019 I developed, together with a classmate, the brand identity of a video-on-demand platform. We literally spent about three months of sleepless nights working on the concept, content, web design, app design, UX, communication and every collateral of the brand. It was a very fun and rewarding experience, I love collaborations and teamwork. I think you can achieve amazing results when you join forces with others.
How was (or is) your first year after school?
I am still in my first year after school and it’s been a bit difficult to find my feet due to the current situation. Being isolated, motivated, and productive is not always easy but, luckily, the Wix Playground Academy happened :) We could connect with other designers, get to know new people, learn, share experiences, thoughts, projects, and opportunities.
What's the best advice you've received (and from whom)?
One of my professors once said, “Go through life as a forever student and time will not be wasted. The day you stop learning is the day it’s all over”.
What do you look for in your first job?
I am looking to face new challenges and I would love to work in a creative studio—to be part of a team and to work on a common project. I think you can learn a lot from others' experiences, sharing ideas, and thoughts. I would be happy to contribute and utilize the skills I’ve developed through my past work experience.
With which projects did you fill your portfolio? What was your selection process?
I am very passionate about editorial design, so I focused my portfolio mainly on the editorial projects I am more happy with.
What are you working (personally or professionally) on now?
I am still in my full-time job, but also studying Cinema 4D and about to start a new book design project.
What do you find most useful in your projects (research, visuals, softwares, etc.)
I think research is a key part in every design process. I always sketch my first ideas, thoughts, and all that comes to my mind in a notebook, and start the research with a moodboard.
Book recommendation: what book had the biggest impact on you, and why?
I’m a keen reader. A book that stayed with me the most in the past is “Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea” by Kira Salak. It’s a book about her epic solo jungle trek across the remote Pacific island of Papua New Guinea. And, as she says, “Only four words of advice: It can be done”.
What are the most significant things you took away from the Wix Playground Academy?
What an amazing experience! Being able to meet, work, and connect with so many nice and talented people during this time of isolation has been so fulfilling and inspiring. You really feel like part of a community, which is something I value a lot and it’s definitely not easy to find. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if I could!