Visual Arts - IED Alumni Interview: Davide Colla
IED Milano Alumnus and teacher, the graphic designer is the founder of 150UP, a booming digital - branding studio. Read his interview!
INTRODUCE YOURSELF: the IED School you attended, the year and the Course you graduated in.
Hello everyone, my name is Davide Colla and I graduated in Graphic Design from IED Milano in 2011.
YOU NOW: your job description, where you work, projects you are working on. Can you also tell us about one of your latest projects? What was it about? Did you face any challenge with it?
I’m the Founder and Creative Director at 150UP, whereas I have also been teaching Interaction Design at IED Milano for a few years now. One of 150UP’s latest projects that really stands out is the creative direction we followed throughout 2020 for the Italian design brand Alessi. I’m particularly proud of the wide variety of the campaigns, where many media and technologies were involved. In the end, our primary goal was to tell the story of the brand and its products in the best possible way. And it’s good to know we succeed at it!
150UP for Elle Decor
CREATIVITY: IED means creativity, culture, projects and planning. Let us know how both these aspects led you to choose IED and how they helped or influenced your career.
IED's 4 pillars are still the pillars of my working methodology. My time there was so much more than a formative experience. It felt already like the best job, composed of workshops in collaboration with my classmates, academy sessions, and lectures with international guests.
Bella Italia (Alessi)
IED LOCATIONS: all our schools are found in some of the most creative and vibrant cities around the globe. Let us know why you choose the city you went to and what role it played in your student and future life.
I was born and raised in Milan, my hometown. At the age of 19, I started travelling and working as a waiter to learn languages: first London, then Seville and finally Dublin. During these experiences, I focused on design, particularly graphic design: I was designing the restaurant's menu where I worked, and I said to myself: "Wow! This is what I want to do in life!". So I discovered IED Milano, right in my hometown, and the match was perfect. My IED path coincided with Milan's remarkable growth in those years: I rediscovered my city with different eyes. Full of stimuli in the world of design, exhibitions, festivals and of course, the design week. Milan is the home of many designers who are my source of inspiration: Giulio Iachetti, Achille Castiglioni, Massimo Vignelli. And it seems incredible to me to live in the same city!
MEMORIES: let us know of a particular episode during your studies in IED, that you remember fondly and is a moving or funny experience.
For the course of “Fenomenologia delle Arti contemporanee” my classmates and I (most of them now my colleagues) have invented a brand of t-shirts designed and printed by us. We conceived this brand as a "happening": we went around the city and printed live t-shirts with the graphics chosen by the customer. Each was then numbered to become a unique piece. For several years, we carried on this project, then developed an e-commerce and partnered with many events in Milan. The funniest part? The teacher at the time did not promote this idea to us... But we continued to pursue it anyway.
CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES: how have the challenging times we're living affected your professional life?
Working primarily in the digital world has not affected our work drastically, but we have definitely improved our 3D department. In fact, we have developed many virtual projects in the last year: first and foremost, the Virtual Tour project for Elle Decor.Due to the pandemic, the 2020 furniture fair was cancelled, as it was the exhibition organized by Elle Decor. This gave rise to the idea of creating an alternative way to visit the exhibition, designed by the international architecture firm Vudafieri-Saverino Partners: we, therefore, thought of creating a virtual tour inside Palazzo Bovara. This project was welcomed with instant enthusiasm by the Vudafieri-Saverino firm and the Elle Decor Italia team. A few months later, we also worked on the second edition with studio Palomba Serafini.
ADVICE: your recommendations to future graduates for a bright and creative future in your field.
My advice for students is to have a tireless attitude and never get tired of learning from other designers: everything starts from study, culture and external incentives. Of course, technology makes every project possible, but it all starts from a great idea behind it. Every project must tell a story that will make it unforgettable. I always recommend the book "Steal like an artist" to my students. I read it in three hours in a very delicate period of my working life, and since then, it has been my mantra.
150UP for Elle Decor
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: what was the activity that you found most valuable to your personal growth? Also, can you tell us about your thesis project?
After graduating from IED, I spent two years in Germany, working in a small creative agency that collaborated with many startups. This allowed me to see the birth of brands from scratch, following their path from concept to market launch. They were years of hard work, but they allowed me to grow professionally. The same happened for my thesis project, where I had to invent a product from scratch. My classmates and I - together with Indesit Company's research and development department - created a unique lamp, able to monitor users' eco-sustainability. Through this product, people could monitor their daily lives, improving their behaviours through an app. We took care of all aspects: naming, adv campaign, website, social strategy. It's a project that I still tell my students about because it reminds me how important it is to always be creative and push the limits. And for this, I will never stop being grateful to IED.