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Antimo Farid

Design for Non-Designers
SEASON
1
EPISODE
8
ÔÇó
February 2, 2022
Antimo: If you think about it, not everybody could learn design 50 years ago, 40 years ago. Today. That's not true anymore. Today, everybody can. So it's a bit of a... it's up to us, the onus I think which is something that I'm trying to pinpoint in these last few days, is I think that the onus is on designers, ourselves. Who else is going to do it, right?

[Intro music]

Bruno: Hello, everyone. And welcome yet again to the Design is for Everyone Podcast. A project that intends to explore the reach of design as a language for everyone, not just the professional elite of pro designers.

In this episode, we're talking with Antimo Farid.

Trained in a comic book school, started early as a designer, but was taken off a design career through life's path. Antimo found in design a language for everyone to communicate better, and he's made it his purpose to share that vision and that knowledge with have everyone ready to listen, or to read his book.

And okay, so we're live. Essentially that's it.

Antimo: Let's do it.

Bruno: Let's do this. Okay. And welcome everyone to another episode of the Design is for Everyone podcast. And today I have Antimo with me. Hi Antimo.

Antimo: Hey, Bruno. Thanks for having me.

Bruno: You're welcome. So I'm going to start like I've started every episode so far, which is: asking you a little bit about your journey into the world of design. How did you got here? How did you became a designer?

Antimo: That's a nice question. It was actually a very quick trip, but it didn't start in design specifically.

So... at the beginning I enrolled in the... it's called a Roman School of Comics. And it's a, it's a comic book art school in Rome. Which by the way is a very peculiar things. Like, there are not so many comic book art schools in the world, and most aren't in Europe, I think. Yeah. And this one in particular, super fun of it, it exists still today and now it's modernized had all the iPads, iMacs and stuff. But the nice thing about this school is that every teacher is a practitioner. So everyone is like actually famous comic book artist. With... stuff like Dylan Dog... I don't know if you're familiar with Italian comic books. But they were all like...

Bruno: I'm not, unfortunately.

Antimo: But, you know, It was a very nice experience. So they knew how to talk about it, and you could feel the passion. But... and I spent actually three years and a half. They have a professional course that lasts for three years.

And in the third year, they cover, you know, like illustration, colors, everything you need to actually package and publish a comic book professionally. So that's when I start to get into the, you know, we started taking a look at that Photoshop and then digitalization. And that was very interesting to me. And I had this kind of intuition that, as a profession, comic book artists is not as viable as... you know what I'm talking about, right?

Like if you think, if you think about the process of getting hired as a comic book artist, forget the fact that there's not so many jobs, just number wise. But you have to like make a comic book, which is a ton of work. And then you have to go and apply. And it's just, you really need to have a passion for it. And I'm sorry to say that I didn't have it, which is good, which leaves space for people actually do have it right.

And that's where I went into design. And I was very lucky, I got my first job drawing a little mascot thingy on... it was an Italian forum. A bulletin board. And then his name was Mirco. And he also needed, like an icon set, and a website design and the software design. Every time he asked you for something more complex. He was like, it was the same story. "So have you ever done an icon?" "Hey. I do that every day. All day, every day." like he knew I would lie, you know? But he paid like $50 for two weeks jobs. So that's how it goes.

And so I did freelance design when I was 16, 17, 18 years old.

Then, like the... the Cinderella story ends because I moved from Rome to London and I did anything and everything for five, six years.

Like I did work in a stockroom as a, like a warehouse boy, in an Italian restaurant, and these and that. I always had like side projects. Like I used to teach English to foreigners, and every time I had a side project like this, I always did my own design. So like, I designed my own flyers and my website. And I very much enjoyed that.

And then... I mean, I kept doing this. Until I wrote the book a year and a half ago. And that's when I decided I wanted to get serious about this, and get back into the design industry.

But yeah, so... you could say that I've been doing freelance design since 2005. Pretty much. That's true, but I've never, for some reason I never considered the classic agency route as an option for me. So that's where I am today.

Bruno: Yeah, that's an incredible path. And even being thrown off design by life, which it this is what happened here. But still being able to bring it into the way that you do your side projects which, if you're like me, there are always a lot of side projects, there's a lot of things that you want to do.

Antimo: Of course.

Bruno: But bringing those things into the conversation. Bringing the design as part of what you can do for that extent is interesting. And then it also connects really well to what you got out of it, which is: nowadays, and you've talked about the book. You've started talking and creating about design for non-designers, and it comes a lot from that experience, right?

Antimo: That's the, the main focus of it. Because as much as I, as much as I... that's what I am. I am a designer. There's no, like denying that. That's the core of my professionality. But that's why I never went the classic agency route. It's because I.. I didn't see myself only as a designer, but also as an entrepreneur, or a founder, however you want to call it.

I did it not because I had some kind of God given talent, but because everybody can do it. So I chose to do it as well. Like, the entirety of my design education was a 72 hour course in this fantastic school, it's called the Quasar Institute for Advanced Design. But it was 72 hours, like three hours every two weeks or something like that. And the teacher was fantastic. It was amazing. But it was a ragtag of people. There was a wedding photographer who couldn't design for his own life. But the teacher was fantastic, and passionate. And it stayed with me that he taught us everything we needed to know really, to be professional at design in like 20 hours at most. And then the rest of it was a filler. So it's like, well, listen. It isn't so complicated. Isn't it?

Bruno: So, with all of that package and that knowledge, when did you really started thinking about design for non-designers as a more structured thing?

Antimo: So I don't have... I forgot to get the exact date, but it was some, some time, I think, four or five years ago.

The input was very simple: as everybody who's a designer knows you, you're always surrounded by friends who needs something, right? And I always helped them, obviously. You do what you can. But my attitude was always like: "can I also, besides helping you physically do this flyer or this website or this logo, whatever it is. Can you also like take 5, 10 minutes to learn how to do it?" So like learn how to fish. And beyond getting the fish this time, right?

And that was always something I wanted to do. And these four or five years ago, is when I wrote a syllabus for a design course. Which was my first idea. But the... big fat stumbling block that I had, which is the reason why you didn't end up actually doing a course, and which was also the reason why I'm not a hundred percent satisfied with my book, is that as much as you may want to do this as non-designer or learn design... before Figma, and this kind of software, you had to download and learn to use Photoshop, or InDesign, or Illustrator, which is a huge undertaking.

First of all, it costs money, obviously. You know, there's like you can download it illegally also you, although you shouldn't kids don't download illegal. But, you know, it costs money and it costs a lot more in time, than in money. Because, this is something that I remember writing in the book, is that my feeling, I don't know if you can relate to this. But I feel like every version of Photoshop, which is a lot by now. It's like, I don't know, version a million or something. It start from the assumption that you've all used the previous one. So if you're a non-designer and you fire up Photoshop for the first time, you're like the Millennium Falcon, you don't know....

Bruno: Greatest metaphor of all times right now.

Antimo: You know what I'm talking about?

Bruno: It's an incredible machine that can do a lot, but it's broken everywhere when you don't really know what's broken. Because, you know you got to know the corners of the house. That's how intricate Photoshop is, and Millennium Falcon too, for sure.

Antimo: That's it, and it still happens. Like I know no designer will admit it, but like a few days ago, I opened up InDesign for the first time in like 10 months, because I wanted to correct a few titles in the book. And this is a whole experience like, InDesign is a whole level.

Bruno: It's a completely different tool. And that's something that I, although it will be as great at trying to ease your way in and out of different softwares and wants to create connection points and everything, then you went through a different software and all of a sudden all of your shortcuts are different. All the ideas behind the layouts are different. Like InDesign and Illustrator are not that different in terms of what they actually allow you to do. InDesign is a little bit more for a load of work, a lot of paginnation but Illustrator, is not. But the way that they handle that information, the way that they handle the concept of layout is completely different. Why?

Antimo: Oh yeah.

Bruno: If they are part of the same family, why can't we have a mutual understanding of how those things work and make it easy for everyone?

Antimo: Yeah, you'd have to ask Adobe.

Bruno: If someone from Adobe wants to come to the podcast and talk about this. Come. Please. I really want to know, because that's the thing. I truly believe that these all new generation of tools that you just thought about, like Figma like, I dunno, Webflow. Even more of note taking tools like Notion and everything. These are tools that are coming in with the assumption of users are always new. I'm not sure where they're going to be in 20 years. If they're going to be like Adobe again, we don't know. But the fact is people go after those tools because they have this need to find tools that are easy to use, that are ready to learn or that you can get into the tools more easily. And Adobe doesn't make it easy for anyone to just pick up. Their design software for iPad, for example, it's getting there a little bit more. But their main design tools are still this mastodon of features and things that you can do, but you really need to put a lot of efforts to learn.

Antimo: And like, if you ever used one of these iPad versions of Adobe products, if you're like me, you can quickly get so point where you think like: "okay, this was. Fun and it was cool, but now I need to get back to this real version of it.

Bruno: Exactly.

Antimo: But to be fair to Adobe I think this is a real problem that they... I hope they try to solve this. But it wasn't easy. It's that design really existed for so many years before computers were a thing. And so, during that transition phase, and during the nineties, they had to make software for people who never use a computer. And so they had to like adapt. Create digital version of tools, which were not digital. So, that must've been hard.

Bruno: It's a whole story there. There's a whole history. And the same way that now people are used to if your starting point now is having a Android or an iPhone. And you open your iOS and the really simple editing tools are very natural, very fluid, and they have a specific language. Converting that, into that language, that Adobe escalated from that point that you just said, that it's something that not many people talk about, which is coming from a point where design was not digital and turning it into digital, and teaching people how to use digital tools.

Antimo: Right, right.

Bruno: It's not the same conversation that we're having. We're not talking about the same inputs, the same elements at all. And it's very normal for a kid, for example, nowadays, to pick up on things like, I dunno, Canva or Figma, which are really simple tools, that you can do a lot of stuff with it. Because the language is much more connected to what you get out of a software, like an app that runs on an iPhone or an iPad, than it is to what Photoshop tries to be.

Antimo: And, you know. I'm looking, I have the browser window open right now on my computer. And there's the Graphic Means documentary webpage, and they have a little... image of the Photoshop toolbar, but I think this must be like Photoshop 2 or 3 or something like that. And the icons haven't changed much really.

But it's so funny. If you actually look at what it depicts, like the paint bucket, right? It's a paint bucket, but like the clone stamp tool, it's a stamp. It's like a physically a set. And then it, the crop tool is something that I think if you showed, is one of those memes. Like when you show a cassette tape to a young kid today, they don't know how it works.

Bruno: Or a Disk, right? If you try to show a "Disquete" (Portuguese term for disk) to someone like, it's a save icon. What's that? I don't know. Like.

Antimo: Exactly. And I had to... when I thought about it, cautiously, I had to look it up. When I saw it, I was like, oh, that's what it is. I don't know the name. It's a thing that used to cut and things like... two sets of rulers connected. You know? That's what the crop tools used to stand for.

Bruno: It makes sense. But we never thought about it because we look at those things and we don't really look at those things. I would say.

Antimo: That's right. Yeah. And by the way, I obviously, you know, I don't know how much we want to go down this rabbit hole, but...

Bruno: Go on a little bit more. We have time.

Antimo: Okay. And it's so fun. But if you think about graphic design, Photoshop this is still like graphic design. If you think about it only existed for the last century, you know? But then, if you start thinking about print, as in InDesign. That it's like a millennium. It's a thousand years of this. Or even more for typography.

Bruno: Yeah, because. We talked, we talked about Gutenberg, but it was recently discovered that in Turkey the print press existed like 300 years before, Gutenberg or something like that. So there's a lot of history there, because people wanted to communicate through the language and they found out to use that. We say it as if design, as in graphic design, as a structured thing exists for a hundred years. But design, as in the way that we communicate through and create images to communicate different things, exists for way more. Not just typography.

If you look at the way, even visuals were part of the communication on other ancient... uh...

Antimo: Civilizations.

Bruno: Civilizations exactly, sorry. You can see that there are things that we're already getting into the world of what it is to communicate with the language that is more graphical. From Egyptians hieroglyphics to other African communities. Africa, for example, is a very visual continent. If you look at history, that doesn't really... it's not well-recorded because well, colonialism and whatever. But there's a lot of great value in design just from that continent. If you look at things like pattern recognition, a lot of use of color to represent different states and stuff like that. And that's... that's thousands of years old type of communication.

But yeah, like there's a whole story about how people used visual and design to communicate throughout human history, throughout human existence. Right? Because I wouldn't say history, I would say existence because it's many of these are now trying to be recorded as history, but they were not, they were lost to mistranslations. They were lost to colonialism. They were lost to a lot of...

Antimo: That's a very good point. That's very good point.

Bruno: Yeah...

Antimo: Yeah. And oh man, you're Portuguese. You were the first guys to go around.

Bruno: I can't talk much and Portuguese are not very... not very open about that. They are not very open about the whole history.

Antimo: Nobody is.

Bruno: I think everyone is still catching up right now, but yeah. There's a lot of stuff there when it comes to actually, what is design, and what is the graphic design. And actually this brings me to a different point, which is: when you first started thinking about the book design for non-designers. And the concept of the course that you've just talked about. Back then what did you mean with design?

Because design has changed so much. You started four or five years ago, thinking about this. What did you mean about design?

Antimo: Well at its core, it's a very simple idea, which has to be simple because otherwise I couldn't believe that anybody can can learn it. And it's just communicating your ideas visually, right? And then depending on how complex the ideas, and the problem is that you're trying to solve are, then the skill level that you need to attain in design climbs up higher and higher.

But at a basic level, it's communicating your ideas visually. Just as what me and you are doing right now, we're talking. We using, you know... you got to be able to speak, but you also need to be able to read and write. To communicate in this way, right?

And I think design is no different. It is newer because, like from a practical standpoint, if you think about it, not everybody could learn design 50 years ago, 40 years ago. Today. That's not true anymore. Today, everybody can. So it's a bit of a... it's up to us, the onus I think which is something that I'm trying to pinpoint in these last few days, is I think that the onus is on designers, ourselves.

Who else is going to do it, right? We have the professionalism. We have to, you know, spread it. And there was something that I don't want to talk about because I always try to keep my contribution positive in a way, right? But, the Futur. I don't know how to pronounce it, thefutur.com, Chris Do. They have done an amazing job.

I remember when I saw that I have a... I think half of my background is in sales. So that's something that for most designers is hard, but for me, comes naturally. So when I saw that, I was like: "Yes! Designers, definitely sorely need to be able to sell themselves, and communicate their value.

But then I think that's only half of the conversation. Because... so a lot of this is role-plays, and classes and online videos, or like value-based pricing. So if this logo solves a problem for you that you value at $20,000, then you need to pay me $20,000. And that's like, sacrosanct. Okay.

But I think it would be much easier to get to this outcome if they, on their own, they generally valued the value of design, at whatever that is. So I think it would be easier for everyone, Instead of demanding, adversarially, that you appreciate the value of design, and the value of designers as professionals. You also appreciate it as a client, as a person. The intrinsic value of Design to communication society, to the corporate world. And the only way to do this is to learn.

The goal of my book, the goal of what I'm trying to do, my courses, is not... and this is something that's been quite hard for me to articulate, I am not trying to get more designers into the field. There's a ton of people learning design who actually wants to become a designer. The goal is not for every one of us to become professional designers. The goal is to go from being able to do nothing and read no kind of design, to be able to do something.

Bruno: Yeah.

Antimo: And when you're able to do something, you expand also this fear of what you know that you can't do. Because this is Dunning-Kruger curve, right? If you know nothing about design, you think, you know it all. And you think you're able to school your designer on how big the logo has to be or how to make it pop. Right?

Bruno: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That classic make it pop is always interesting too... When someone comes in and says: "make the logo bigger" I have one instance where that actually made sense, and it was a win. And I was like, yeah, that actually makes sense. But it's not normal. And we get a lot of really weird conversations around that because of that, because knowledge about what design is or I would say not what design is, is more of what design can be used for, or how design can be used. Because, even the definition of design is very difficult to get for designers.

Antimo: Yes.

Bruno: Even worse for non-designers. But it's easier for us to talk about the frameworks around design. To talk about the things that you can do with design. To talk about what design can be used for than to actually define what design is.

Antimo: But you know, what's even easier. Getting to, you know, like opening up Figma and then making a simple flyer that will be horrible. But getting your hands dirty, and try to make something. As soon as you try to do this most tiny thing yourself you move from the 0.0 on the Dunning Kruger curve,to zero point something. And then immediately you appreciate: "Well, this is actually not that simple."

Bruno: Exactly.

Antimo: So maybe if this guy is telling me that the logo shouldn't be a hundred percent of the page, there might be a reason. But you need to get there yourself.

Bruno: And it's a process. Um... I don't know about you. I've worked with people that thought they knew about design. I worked with people who actually knew about design. I had different experience with both of them. But it's always a journey to see someone trying to use a design tool. Or trying to learn a design tool. To try and collaborate with you.

Even nowadays. And that... look, my whole journey started as me in my company, deciding that: "Okay. You guys want us to do this much? Heck. Yeah. We're five people in a thousand people company. Yeah, we can't do all of that." Okay. There's more designers, but they are doing like UX or something, but the visual designers in that company we were 5.

Okay. 5 visual designers in the company. That need to work for a1000 or, now almost 2000 people. Can't do the job. So let's deputize everyone who's a non-designer to learn a little bit of design, and that way they can do...

Antimo: That's fantastic.

Bruno: ...the things we can do. The process of trying to figure out what are the right tools for them to actually do. What are the needs that they have to feel with design. Do they need for social? Do they need for print? Do they need for presentations? Where design will serve them and where can we meet half way and give them the tools that they learn, because learning our tools is not as easy. Or when do we need to bring them into our tools?

That is what eventually led me down to the path of Design is for Everyone.

Antimo: Oh, yeah?

Bruno: Completely! That was the first point that was like 3 or 4 years ago, I started this journey of trying to get other people to learn design. And at the end of the day, I got to a conclusion, very similar to yours, which is. The same way as everyone learned to read, and to write, and to talk a language or even a different language, like we are now talking in English, but it's not our native language, the same way as everyone nowadays can pick up a phone and with the easability of cameras on phones, they can actually take photos and getting to experiment themselves, with the creation of images.

Design is not that different. It's something that you can actually teach really fast. Is something that the tools can speed up? You might not know the concepts by name, but you might start to understand: "Okay. If I follow these three or four simple rules, I can do something with this that is considered design." Either visual, or experience design, whatever. And you see that in companies.

Like corporate world is getting more and more into a place where, specifically on tech is more, but you can see it on others too, where design and experience design influenced a lot of how organizations work.

People are looking for solutions to frictionless... To create frictionless environments, and getting better business, and not creating problems for the customers. And they're using frameworks that are very common to design to do that. So the conversation becomes easier.

Then it's a matter of language, and that's where people like Chris Do, or there was this podcast that I really love called High Resolution. The thoughts about that, like the role of creating a common language between business and design, and having people understand each other, and then eventually being able to use the tools and use design or communicate design between the two sides, right? Like High Resolution was more about how design teams could better collaborate with their business and engineering counterparts, but it's very practical, and very applicable to the whole conversation of if you want to talk about design with someone that doesn't understand what design is.

What's the language? What are the tools? What are the spaces that you can actually get there? And it's really interesting for you to have your very own version of this in your universe. And with the background that you have, because everything you said just makes sense. You just didn't have the same experience. I had a very specific experience in my company, you had the more global experience with your friends, or everything else.

And we already talked a little bit about this, but. To define, really, to what extent do you really believe that design can be used by non designers? Where do you see that being limited? Do you believe that... you already talked about, you don't think that everyone is going to become a designer, but where do you see if there's a definition where it stops. I don't know. Why do you see it?

Antimo: I had this... there's a friend of mine, who is called Damiano, and he works in... He's been working at startups for his life, I think. And he was kind of interested in what I was doing. So when I published my book and I told him: "Look, I'm going to do some courses to teach like basic design skills to teams." He was, he was intrigued. But then ultimately he didn't bite. Because he says something weird, but there he gave me a lot of food for thought.

He said: "Look. This is all nice and interesting, but if I am managing a font, like if I'm playing ligatures and stuff, It means I'm not delegating enough." Cause he saw himself as an executive. As a, I don't know exactly. As a COO, you know? So he's got this image of himself. And obviously, as we said, I don't want to make him into a designer.

But then I thought, like imagine you're illiterate, and you don't know how to read or write. And you told me the same, thing and you told me: "Look. I just want it to be able to communicate. I don't need to know about metaphors and creative writing, and then the hero's journey." And I'll be like: "Who cares about that? You don't have to become a writer, and then do a creative writing course, and write a famous book. But you need to learn the alphabet. Because otherwise you... look learn the alphabet and then do whatever you want. You know?"

This is something that, if you think about this, like this, it's even kind of scary. And before most people could read and write, which wasn't too far in the past. It was like in the end, the first half of the second century, right. When alphabetization became... in the first and second world war.

Bruno: Yeah. I was going to say when I was looking for information for my first talk around this topic, I believe that it was after the second world war that we got to the 50% of the world population being completely literate.. Yeah.

Antimo: Yes. And that was for an number of reasons. We're not going to... That's not the point here. But it wasn't so far in the past. That's super interesting. And what happened before that?

Think about this. Like you're a student, or a worker, whoever you are, and you want to send a letter to your mom and think about this is maybe before telephones. So you can't phone home. You got to go to somebody and ask him, or her, to write a letter. You know? It wasn't humiliating because that's just how things were in the past. But what that means is that you're dependent on a middleman to be able to communicate your thoughts, your ideas, your emotions. And, or, to sell your products or your ideas.

That's the opposite of empowerment. That's not how it should work. And I think the, the flip side, I think these ideal world that me and you are trying to... to manifest is one where, it's easier for everyone to communicate already. And that's it. That's what I'm trying to do. Right?

Bruno: Yeah.

Antimo: But like, if you're in a startup, if you're a bootstrapper, if you're a self-publishing author who you're trying to you're shopping for book covers or illustrations, right? At least you can get halfway to the point to communicate what kind of book cover you want to have. And then you get a designer to do it. But you're not completely illiterate. You're not completed dependent on somebody else.

Bruno: No, that's it. Yeah. That's that's perfect. Like. Hail to that. Hail to that.

Antimo: I see, we agree.

Bruno: Yes completely. I've always thought about that in that way. And, I went from being a different person in the way that I deal with that. Which is also, part of the your education, like. If you ever studied design, or if you ever studied anything that has to do with visuals and art even. The myth of the artist, the myth of you are the owner of the truth. Makes you very blind to the way that you need to communicate with people. Like if people don't understand you that most likely has to do with the fact that either they don't have information, or you're talking in a foreign language to them.

And visuals are a foreign language to a lot of people. Even the fact... and there's a really simple thing that... explains this really well, which is. Well, not that simple, but very interesting thing, which is around how people can visualize things in our mind. Nowadays you have a digital controller for your devices that can work with brain impulses. The type of stuff that Elon Musk wants to do with Brain Link (I meant Neuralink). But there are others that are more simple.

And there's a TED talk from 2010, from a lady that has one of these things. So, 11 years ago, they already had a product they want to sell it for under a few hundred bucks. Called also brain link or something. I don't remember that. But they could ask someone on stage and tell them: "Visualize something going up. Down. Left. Right." And you could see their brain, into the calibration software, making a 3d cube moving left. Right. Up. Down. Front. Back.

But for example, that person specifically, had very much difficulty visualizing transparency. An object disappearing.

Antimo: All right. That's interesting.

Bruno: It's interesting because our brains process images in a very different way. And a lot of people don't know how to process visual information in the same way that designers, and artists know.

So the communication needs to be much more understanding what other person can see, what the other person can imagine. Than just telling them: "This is going to look like this." if you say it, not everyone can imagine it. And...

Antimo: That's a surprisingly interesting point.

Bruno: And that type of thing started getting me into: "Okay. I probably am being a jackass, and saying: oh, you should have known this" when not everyone has that type of brain functioning, and not the information and the knowledge. And that where it started to get interesting enough to me, that I changed the way that I talk with people. Even with customers.

I want it to be more understanding of what they were seeing, what they were thinking. And I got to a point where first, I would basically do a lot of drafting, and sketching in front of everyone. And I still do that a lot because I think it makes the conversation easier.

But that's the thing like. There's a lack of information. There's a lack of capacity from other people. Because they were not taught in the same way, or they don't have the same type of brain as everyone else that works on this. For example has. And the...

Antimo: Sorry. I don't want to interrupt, but there's this fantastic.

Bruno: Go, go, go.

Antimo: Okay. It's exactly what you just talked about in the... in the Seven Habits of Effective People, there's this drawing. Oh, sorry. We can't show it in the podcast.

Bruno: It's a classic young lady, old lady image. If you know what we're talking about.

Antimo: Yeah, but like I was familiar with the idea and the concept of people seeing different things by looking at the same thing. But I didn't see it. When I read the book for the first time, which wasn't too... I think it was like a year ago. And when I turned the page and I was like: "Whoa! So different people really see different things, but you're looking at the same objective... drawing and illustration or a picture." That's something...

Bruno: And it's... and that changes a lot on how we work. Like... being effective communicators, carries a lot of weight. And that's where accessibility and everything comes to play in the world of experience, and UI, everything. That way that your brain interprets different things in different ways, even when it comes to not just your, brain but even your body. Colorblindness changes the way that you see things.

And even if it's not that, and this is another conversation that I have with people in the office over a coffee for about 30 minutes. That's how long it went. Not all of us see colors in the same way. Because our brains are trying to interpret color in the way that we talk about color. But imagine, imagine if in fact, your brains is tripping in a different way than my brain. Because we're all imagining colors. Colors don't really exist. Is a concept that we created when our brains process radiation and turn them into colors. And then my red, is not your red. Your blue, is not my blue.

And then there's a lot of discussions around that. The internet dress, the yellow, or golden gray and blue and whites thing. That was part of that conversation. Is the way that your brain processes color. And there's a lot of memes around those types of things, because that's the thing. Like, we don't communicate in a very straight spectrum. Everyone's brains, read information in a way.

And comprehend it in a way. So clarity, and knowledge takes you to the point where people can understand what design is and how they can be part of the design. And I always feel like there's a lot more there that people don't talk about.

Antimo: Oh, yeah.

Bruno: Okay then moving to the next point. And also about clarity and about communication, and the means of communication. For this, you've started with a course, but eventually you swerved into a book.

Antimo: Yes.

Bruno: Why a book to carry this message? When did you got there? Why did you got there?

Antimo: Well, I didn't consciously decide. Okay. Did the... it wasn't like I did a pro cons list, and I decided that the best medium for this message is a book. It just happened.

Obviously I like to read and write a lot, so that made sense for me at the time. But I knew when I read your question, and I thought about an answer. That was, in hindsight I know why. And it's because a book is something like, if you know how to read, you can read a book about any subject and you know, maybe it's not going to be enough to read one book of a quantum physics to become an expert. But you can read it, you know? You can have a go and then it's up to you how much he wants to get into it.

So this accessibility about any topic of written language, which is the... it's how we built. Civilization. Is what made me think... what lead me to write a book. Because you can, you know, you can take your time. You can read it in your own time. Decide if there's something that makes sense. And then maybe get your hands dirty. But also, I didn't know about Figma, so I wanted to be a lot more practical.

I didn't know, practically, how to make the next step to jump into the practicality of it. And then there's this Japanese proverb that it's one of the things that I always come back to. I think it was in a Manga, I think it was in vagabond or something. It's: " As long as you're in the sea, in the ocean, and you're physically swimming in the ocean. There is no way to know how big the ocean is." And what it means is simply that if you want to understand something, objectively, you have to be outside of that something, that concept.

So I think if I went straight into tutorials or whatever other medium. It wouldn't be as effective a way to talk about my idea and my message. So that's it.

Bruno: And it's an incredible way to look at it. And I love that proverb. The swimming thing.

Antimo: I love it. Every time I had to write about this,, I say there's this Japanese proverb, but the truth is, I don't know if it's Japanese. I just write it in Japanese.

Bruno: You read it in a Japanese Manga.

Okay. No, but it makes sense to think about it in that way. And in, yeah. Like, even myself. A lot of my knowledge came from reading things. Not just books, but articles, little things that pick up my interest. Nowadays, you can see that a lot of people don't read as much. There's a whole conversation going around now, around post communication and post reading communication. How it involves memes and everything, which is amazing. And it's a whole other thread for a whole day.

But yeah. Like, the fact that anyone now has that as a starting point. It makes perfect sense. Okay, switching gears a little bit.

We've already talked a lot about the project that you created. About how other people can learn about design. But now, going back to you. And this is the question that I also make to everyone. Which is, do you feel that being a designer, does design affect the way that you see the world and you experienced the world? Doing more design or learning about design, do you think that it changes the way that you see the world, and you interact with things?

Antimo: Hundred percent. And then way I think about this is that... super important, I think, Steve Jobs video. It's an interview, where he says that: "Everything you have in your life. Everything around you was created by people who are no smarter than you." But then the point isn't that they're smarter. Is that it was made by somebody it's not like: "The world has always been like this."

You know? It changes your world view from a static acceptance of: "That's just the way, how things are" to a new world view, where you're like: "Well, if that's something that's unfair or not right. I can change it. And I can give my own version of it."

So whenever I see... to be a little more practical, right? Whenever I see an advertisement on Facebook or on Instagram, or I see a book cover. Or whatever. I don't think it's true just because I see it. That's a super important thing. It's even beyond design. The fact that you see something that you read something on the internet doesn't automatically make it true. Right?

The reason, the deeper level of question that we can go in to. But to really think that way you have to keep in mind that, what is there is written and designed by somebody. And the keyword is designed. Like somebody thought if I put pictures, and colors, and then copy this way, then I might convince this person either to buy something, or to buy into an idea.

And, you don't have to accept that. You can go like: "All right. I understand. Well that's not, for me. That idea is something that I don't agree with. And this product is something that I don't like. And you know what, actually, I'm going to make my own advertisement or product. Because it's not that hard. I can communicate my own ideas as well."

So it's a liquid world. It's something where everybody has more agency in communicating, and changing the conversation from the smallest to the biggest things. However big is the change that you want to affect the conversation, or the world, or your industry, or your city, you have to believe that you have agency to do it. And the proverb that "a picture is worth a thousand words", even if it's a cliche it's true to a great extent. And that means that if you are able to communicate visually, then you have a lot more agency than you used to have yesterday. So that's...

Bruno: It's a great way to see things and It's more structure than I would put mine because... I've seen people, and I think I've heard that quote from Steve Jobs, but I usually just think mine is more practical. Like, how can I improve this? It's always that. I'm always thinking like, what's the next step or something? What's the next step for even the microphone that I'm using? I don't know.

But that's how my brain works. But it was part of design. But putting it like that. Yeah. It's the challenge of understanding that these things were made, that's also what gives you the opportunity to think that these things can be made differently. So, yeah.

Okay, and I think we are. You've been answering this all alongduring the podcast. But this is just the last question that I have asked to everyone. Which is do you believe that design is for everyone? And if so, in what way?

Antimo: A hundred percent. Definitely. I think... there is something that I... by the way. There's another Portuguese on Twitter. It's called Tiago. I just found a few days ago. And he's got this community of bootstrappers. And he helped me a lot to articulate my ideas.

And something that I realized, I think just yesterday, was that I have to change. So when I wrote this book, and everything that I'm doing, I'm thinking always as me talking to as many people as possible who are not designers. So like, Antimo too many. But I think that was kind of the wrong way to do it. And the real way to go about doing this was, would be me talking about designers, who then go on talking about their client list, and the people they have around them.

So in this second scenario, the audience is much bigger and there's a lot more touch points. So when I'm going to do new courses and new books, I'm going to try to create content that can be consumed and then acted upon, by designers and non-designers as well. Because this, it's valid for everyone. And I wanted to go back, cause I think you said something super interesting. A few minutes ago.

You said something about, people... not everybody having the same objective reality of the world.

Bruno: Yeah.

Antimo: And you touched upon colors, which something that I found out during the research for the book, which is that there are some like tribes. Like one of those uncontacted tribes in the Amazon or something. I'm sorry if I can be more precise, but I've included in the book. It's they don't have... not everybody in the world has had the same names for colors.

So what happens when you don't have a name for something? You think about a differently. This is this tribe who we, instead of saying like orange or like beige, they say something like tuna paste. So it looks like, you know, tuna paste, right? So. Yeah. It's like, it looks like orange, right? But in their mind, it's a different thing.

And this is a new concept. And this is something I didn't know existed until a while ago. Like we used to think that the world has always been static. But, you know, there recently there have been a lot of books up, that revisit Greek myths and like the Odyssey and, I think Stephen Fry made a few of these fantastic books. And mythology and stuff.

Somebody somewhere said that.... what's his name? Who wrote the Ulys... not the Ulysses, Homer. Homer, sorry. Somebody said, regardless of whether Homer existed, or it was a bunch of writers, it doesn't matter. That that point in time is when... I don't even know how to say this, when basically Homer invented the abstraction of consciousness.

Like before Homer's books and Homer's ethics, when people thought about your, yourself. Like your abstract self, they used to think about spirits and gods. So they didn't have the idea of you existing outside your body. Your intellectual self wouldn't exist, basically. This wasn't an idea that existed, right? You didn't knew you could do this. You could exist like this. And this was kind of a step forward for humanity.

Bruno: Yeah.

Antimo: And obviously I'm not trying to equate ourselves, in doing this. But I think this is something that, like you said, we shouldn't take for granted that we can just say: "Hey, just learn to use this and that. And you're done." No, this requires that we visualize and we communicate a new way of thinking, that is visual. And we need to get buy in from everybody else. And, it's not necessarily as easy as we think as designers. But once we do it, it's done. And we got to do it though.

We got to physically materialize this reality where it is physically, and practically, and accessible to do this stuff. I don't know if I digressed too much... from this specific point.

Bruno: No, this is the show where digression is welcomed. And really with open arms because these topics make sense. Like, thinking about the way that we need to challenge those pre-established concepts. Those pre-established ideas of that people think all the same way, and the normalcy and the medium exists. It doesn't.

And when we talk about these things, when they talk about projects. Like design being for everyone or for non-designers, and everyone understanding that language. It's important to discuss these things, that even go beyond the barriers of what design is, or it enters more the fields of psychology, sociology, history because, we're talking in a human context. We're talking to this at a global level. And there's a lot of things out there that eventually intertwin. And it makes sense to digress into those Hills. For sure.

Antimo. Thank you very much for being here with me today. This is the end of this conversation, but I'm pretty sure that we're going to keep talking and having a lot of more interesting chats like the ones that we're having here.

Antimo: Looking forward to that.

Bruno: And thank you everyone else that's listened to today's episodes. I'll see you all next week. In another episode of the Design is for Everyone podcast. See you all, bye.

Antimo: Thanks again for having me. All right. Bye.

Bruno: Bye.


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