Visually’s Marketplace connects thousands of designers with clients seeking to commission infographics and data visualizations. Every week, we feature a member of our designer community here, on the blog. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at blog[at]visual.ly.
Name: Michell Zappa
On Visual.ly: mz
In design: 10 years
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get into design, and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been interested in design since getting my hands on a pirated copy of 3dsmax fifteen years ago. I immediately engaged with the possibility of replicating & augmenting facets of real life in the computer and before I knew it I was spending hours every day modeling & shaping real objects and scenes virtually. At some point, 3D modeling became too complex to remain ahead in, and I started being drawn to 2D design. I’ve spent half my life crafting visual stories in different media regardless of tools, and recently started focusing my efforts on explaining my vision of where technology seems to be heading in the foreseeable future through visualizations.
2. In 7 words or less, describe your style.
Explaining technological futures through visual stories.
3. If you could take a seminar with one designer or artist, dead or living, who would that be? Why?
Edward Tufte. I’ve yet to get around to one of his famous seminars, but his style, unique focus, and craft has been hugely influential to my own work. It’s no coincidence the name of my company, Envisioning Technology borrows from one of his seminal books: Envisioning Information.
4. What’s your favorite color? Why?
I’m a disaster with colors. I wish I could blame it on color blindness, but it boils down to not having a sense of chromatic balance. I gravitate toward bright accent and spot colors coupled with shades of black & gray until somebody alerts me.
5. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work and what did you learn from it?
I’ve yet to make noteworthy mistakes in my work. Every day is a learning experience, and I’m never weary of failing of trying different paths & solutions — in fact, I embrace trial and error.
6. What about your biggest achievement? Tell us about the project you are most proud of in your career so far.
I view my work as an extension of my own interests. Design and explaining technology comes naturally to me — being able to do this for a living is a privilege rather than an achievement. My entire professional life has been an exercise in applying design thinking to varied problems: as a webdesigner, public speaker or photographer — the interplay of words & pictures has always permeated my language.