Niccolò
Miranda

Amsterdam-based Creative Director & Visual Developer creating iconic digital experiences through motion, typography and creative coding for agencies globally.

Amsterdam, Netherlands • July 9, 2021

What led you into design?

My first visual memories are these painting hung on the wall. My father was an underground painter up to 90’s, he’s always been his vision encouraged me deeply staring at them every day trying to understand their meaning. 

I grew up and was born in Italy in a simple, but artistic and lovely environment. I have been incredibly fortunate in having grown up on all kinds of pictorial art as a kid (and wacky I'd say). While in school, I began to be passionate about Photography, taking a graduation in Architecture and Surveyors and doing a bit of Illustration, I learned how to be an observer.

When I enrolled in University, I signed up to a 3-year Computer Science degree. And although I appreciate the tireless beauty of "Internet of Things" I started to get tired of the medieval Italian school methods, so I started to travel abroad to New York, Patagonia, Iceland, Norway and beautiful place around the world.

And while in New York, at the Strand Bookstore in East Village (on of the best for Visual Arts in my opinion), I was looking for a Photography book when I came across a basket full of design books.

End of story? I spent about 2 hours there without realizing it flipping through hundreds of pages. I was blown away by the beauty of the layout, even though I had definitely been dealing with it until then, but I had never been so taken with it.

What does a typical day look like?

My typical day is a bit like "the life of Benjamin Button", so I start at the end. In the late evening I am able to express my creativity better, searching for new fonts or being able to work on wacky details to obtain elevated design for ongoing projects. For some strange reason the night brings me advice. On the good days, around 7pm I decompress the workday by taking a bike ride in Amsterdam looking for new spots surrounded by greenery (Vondelpark is my favorite) or I search for inspiration around the city.

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Afternoons are the ones I devote my logical side to, divided between meetings with clients , QA's testing and development stuff. After already having had two coffees, I cook something on the fly for lunch with my girlfriend.

My working days in Amsterdam go super fast. I wake up at 8am every morning, make myself a fruit extract (blueberries, mango and kiwi) and some ripped up eggs to get my day started with a boost. 

What’s your workstation setup?

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Where do you go to get inspired?

My father show me “Shining” by Stanley Kubrick's when I was 6 years old, it's one of the first visual memories I have. The irrepressible beauty of Cinema is something I carry with me in everything I draw. I watch movies every spare moment of the day (David Lynch, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan & Tim Burton are among my favorite directors). I grew up in a small town, in a small region of Italy. I think one of the main sources of inspiration is generally a "delusional paranoia" coming from the ugly graphic signs we use to make in Italy, so I pushing my mind migthy hard every day, trying to bombard it with visual information sourced everywhere.

Most of my daily inspiration comes from just about any object, a piano, the layout of a newspaper. Conducting brainstorms, explore new layouts or reading social platforms like Dribbble, Pinterest, Behance and Awwwards on a daily basis are a perfect gym to stand out. I love turning physical objects into pieces of UI Layouts. I am incredibly blessed to be a part of the Awwwards community. It has brought me so much. I've been able to grow, trying to learn from the best every day, by never giving up. The goal of seeing a better version of myself several years from now, is what drives me to always do better. Hard work, but it is perhaps the knowledge that is creativity itself! 

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

The Gucci Spring/Summer 2018 collection, designed by Ignasi Monreal. He has managed to combine a pop-impressionist style with digital art, but showcasing the Gucci collection at the same time. It is the piece of art that has long been missing from the digital industry. It's a remarkable pieces of art, isn't it?

Credits: Gucci©, All Rights Reserved

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What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Design Side – A few months ago I had the great chance to teamed up with the dream team at Adoratorio on The Hiring Chain, a site campaign to hire people with Down syndrome. The real challenge was to be able to create a project that could convey a message, a challenge I had never set myself before. Design with a with a story first, with purpose, is totally different!

Live Site: hiringchainorg.org

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Development Side – Chiara Luzzana is an Artist Sound Designer. We showcased her incredible work through a 3D Interactive Music experience website portfolio. Based on the Art Direction, we wanted to use a sound narrative that could make the user perceive the ethereal nature of his work, through a consistency visual design and micro-interactions. 

Live Site: chiaraluzzana.com

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What design challenges do you face at your company?

Trying to learning everyday, while managing several projects at the same time. Sounds unreachable, but with the right approach you can reach a good work-life balance. (meditation and cooking helps a lot!)

As budgets go up, so do the responsibilities, and as a freelance designer and developer they are not few. Stopping complaining and approaching the problem by 'never saying maybe, but always say yes' – With the right attitude is the best action one can take.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Stay Curious
The conscious mind is able to pick up many ideas, only if they are supported by knowledge.

Think, Create, Publish
It is an iterative process that allows for training, understanding of mistakes and be always better.

Make Art, Not $
Design with your heart, not your wallet. Trying to respect the client brief at the same time.

Be Crazy
Try combining an apple with a carrot, you will see that it is not always so bad.

Communication is better
There is a solution to every problem, it just has to be communicated in the right way: to Google, to the client or the team.

Work Hard
Obvious to say, more complicated to deal with. But it always pays off!

Anything you want to promote or plug?

The new Paper Portfolio (https://niccolomiranda.com) which I hope to launch before the release of this interview ('laughs').

Many Portfolios today are perfect developed digital products. All the same, they lacked something essential to design: the unifying vision of offsets and blank off-white spaces. With this work, I wanted to test whether a balance could be achieved between Design and Accessibility trying to create a one-piece portfolio. 

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If you want to 'Sai Hi, you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.