The challenges when working with large clients lay not so much with their target audiences, but rather with internal stakeholders for whom you are tempted to always design for.
Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.
My name is Lucas Onofre, I am head of production at Elespacio. I am Brazilian, but have lived most of the time abroad and Barcelona has been my home since 2008. I am a producer at heart, I enjoy rolling up my sleeves and working very closely with creatives to deliver awesome projects.
My name is Jacek Zakowicz. I am a front-end web developer born and raised in Poland currently senior lead front-end-developer at Elespacio in sunny Barcelona. During my computer studies I got seduced by the animation potential of Flash 5. I started working in this field around 10 years ago (who would count) and have stayed on the visual side of things since then.
What do you do for inspiration?
Lucas: I like going to conferences and mingling with creatives from other agencies and people from the design community. I also like to spend time doing other things outside of Elespacio. In 2012 my girlfriend and I founded Ada Blackjack, a brand of bags and leather goods - it's been a great experience to build something from scratch and to be involved in a totally different industry.
Jacek: I don't really do anything in particular to boost my creativity, but I enjoy attending conferences and meeting with people from the industry.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
L: Tumblr, Medium and Boiler Room.
J: Google, Youtube and Tumblr (ah those hours of scrolling… still scrolling tumblr pages …)
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
L: Becoming a father.
How many hours do you work each week?
How do you relax or unwind?
L: I go on Facebook. Joking...
J: On the usual day I go for a hard CrossFit workout. On the unusual one, I love to go to the mountains to make full reset.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
L: I'd probably be a chef. I actually was one during my student years, but obviously not a very good one. Never made anyone sick though.
J: I would be a CrossFit coach…or I would make Youtube videos of my countless hours spent on my PS4. But yeah, this is also internet, so maybe a speaker or an architect…or just a maker of things. The world is missing artisans, I admire them and all the small studios and workshops.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
L: The favourite part is helping clients define a project and get involved with the creative team to translate a brief into the initial ideation to get the project rolling. For a producer, that's usually the most time-consuming and challenging part, but also the most gratifying one. It's at that stage where you know whether the project can be successful or not.
J: The hardest, and at the same time, the most common one is to always face the unknown, always having to figure things out and stretch the brain…This is especially gratifying if it's followed by success. In the end, the developer’s work is a set of little wins that sum up to be the whole project. To get out of the blockade I take either a solid break to focus on something else unrelated, or I just start over again the whole damn thing.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
L: Until 2.00 am on a pitch project. Never again.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
L: Definitely moving from client-side to agency-side. Agencies are usually more efficient, well organized and bring in more talented people.
What software could you not live without?
L: Basecamp, Mailbox and Dropbox.
J: Right now I believe it is Git, build tools like Gulp or Grunt and probably CSS preprocessors.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
L: We're a relatively small studio and we don't usually take on many engagements at the same time. We prefer quality over quantity and luckily we can be selective when it comes to projects.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
L: Hello Monday, Dogstudio and Rally Interactive.
J: Hello Monday, Huncwot and Tool.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
L & J: Winning a FWA is an amazing recognition of our work and a great endorsement for our studio.
When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?
L: The challenges when working with large clients lay not so much with their target audiences, but rather with internal stakeholders for whom you are tempted to always design for.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
L: I try to spend as much quality time with my family. I have a 1,5 year old son and it's awesome to be with him.
J: As for every single CrossFitter, the trainings let me clear the mind, allow me to start the day right, help me fight the difficulties of whatever struggle I might be facing and learn not to give up.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
L: I guess school in general is a great place to meet people, if you choose the right one. That certainly applies for design schools. But real growth usually happens outside when you go places and work on real projects.
J: From my tech experience I can easily say that, yes. Even though, I met many talented developers and designers who did not follow the usual path of education.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
L: Do your best and don't try too hard.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
L: Bicycles, always.
J: For me such a thing does not exist unfortunately. I would say that bikes are close to be perfect. They are ecological and force people to do a bit of exercise. Secondly, it prevents commuters from staring at their mobile screens. The only thing missing is the lack of ability to talk to people. I love having a good conversation.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
L: Reading stuff online and talking to friends from the industry.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
L: For web, definitely the US. Just because they're able to attract and hold so much talent from everywhere.
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
L: We definitely like to see Elespacio grow a bit in the next 2 years and establish itself as the digital boutique agency of choice in Spain.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
L: A blazer, but I won't tell how much...my girlfriend may read this.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
L: Don't take yourself too serious, it's only work.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
L, J: Thank you!