By Carl Heaton

Today’s interview is with user experience designer Ugo [NooZ] Torresi, a close friend of mine and my band mates (L’ Orastrana). Ugo kindly dedicated me some of his precious free time to answer some of my questions bout’ his past-present-future “engagement” with the world of art & design.Ugo [NooZ] Torresi - User Experience Designer

Today’s interview is with user experience designer Ugo [NooZ] Torresi, a close friend of mine and my band mates (L’ Orastrana). Ugo kindly dedicated me some of his precious free time to answer some of my questions bout’ his past-present-future “engagement” with the world of art & design.

1. Hello Ugo and thank you for the interview! Would you like to introduce yourself?

I’m a strange guy called Ugo Torresi but better known as [Nooz] in the artistic ambient. I can define myself as a “multimedial-craftsman” that lives following his passions.

[Sono un tipo strano chiamato Ugo Torresi ma meglio conosciuto in campo artistico come [NooZ] mi definisco un artigiano multimediale che vive inseguendo le sue passioni.]

2. How did you become a graphic designer? Are you self-taught or did you go to college for design?

To be honest… it has been a natural “step-by-step” process (and the same it applies for everything else i’ve done in the past). I always known that i wanted to achieve this result, even when i wasn’t totally awake of its existance. For example, design and computer always fascinated me since childhood. Ugo [NooZ] TorresiI used to craft some of these computer “secret agent” alike using some papersheets and ducttape…maybe i’m the one that firstly invented the laptop!. I’ve earlier shown interest for Art and, due to my strong passion for design and creativity, i’ve dropped my scientific studies to devote myself to Visual Arts. And it’s during my studies at the Art Institute (Macerata) that i’ve understood that “outside” here there’s a world, my type of world, where all you can learn and share goes beyond the way they teach you at school, where all is driven by greed more than the pleasure of sharing your knowledge with the others in the name of Art. And, well…instantly wanted to be part of it. No matter what.

[E’ stato un percorso assolutamente naturale e che col senno di poi posso andare a ritrovare in tutte le mie azioni passate.

ho sempre saputo che volevo fare questo anche quando non ne consideravo l’esistenza.

ad esempio, sono sempre stato affascinato dal disegno e dai computer …da bambino me ne costruivo alcuni da agente segreto utilizzando dei fogli di carta e dello scotch erano pieghevoli a valigetta… forse ho inventato io il laptop!

mi sono avvicinato presto all’arte e data la mia passione per il disegno e la creatività ho abbandonato gli studi scentifici per dedicarmi alle arti visive.

ho frequentato l’istituto statale d’arte di macerata e durante quei purtroppo tormentati anni capii che c’era un mondo che volevo abbracciare e che questo andava oltre l’insegnamento scolastico fatto da gente predisposta a rubare lo stipendio invece di tramandare una passione per l’arte… che forse non hanno nemmeno mai avuto.]

3. Are you actually involved in some project?

At the moment i’m in Rome, moved there a while ago from Macerata, to take care of an important website in the insurance market and i’m oriented toward research and sperimentation user-experience related.

Meanwhile, i’m always busy working on new personal projects, creating new mad digital creatures and i’m “deep till the neck” with many other projects.

On the back of my iPad there’s written “everyone’s good at doin’ nothing” which has become my motto.

[Attualmente lavoro a roma, seguo un sito piuttosto importante nel ramo assicurativo dove mi occupo di Web & Graphic design, sono molto orientato verso la ricerca e sperimentazione in campo di user experience.

Nel frattempo vedo di creare nuove folli creature digitali e sono immerso in mille progetti. Dietro al mio iPad ho fatto incidere “a non far nulla son buoni tutti” credo sia ormai il mio motto.]

4. What were some of your most successful,creative, unique projects?

Well…the most famous project of mine is without any doubt “100 son troppe” (100 are enough!), an art-exhibition of 100 operas Cento Son Troppe - 100 Illustrazioni a tecnica mista di [NooZ]that were realized in only 10 days (and trust me, has been an hard one!), using different techniques & real materials, classic painting techniques and digital processing. At the end of the art-exhibit all the works were donated to the public, to enhance even more the “distance” that the author (me) wanted to take from the art market.

I was really surprised to see how many reviews, interviews and positive feedback from visitors this project brought me.

[La mia impresa più nota ,per ora, è senza dubbio “100 sono troppe” una mostra di 100 opere create in soli 10 giorni (e vi assicuro ch’è stata dura) utilizzando tecniche miste che fondevano materiale reale, pittura canonica ed elaborazione digitale, alla fine dell’esposizione i lavori venivano donati al pubblico per dimostrare una totale opposizione verso il mercato dell’arte.

Questa ha riscosso molto successo sia da parte del pubblico che da parte degli esperti del settore.]

[100 Son Troppe – Interview by Cnat (L’ Orastrana) – Pt.1]

[100 Son Troppe – Interview by Cnat (L’ Orastrana) – Pt.2]

5. Could you tell us what’s in your personal “toolbox”? Software, apps, hardware, books, anything else that you use to get your work done. Mac or Pc user?

I’m both a Pc/Mac user, but if i’ve to be honest, i prefer the first one for the reason that there are so many amatorial/free/opensource software that can do the most unimaginable things and usually these turn really useful to me in the end. I spend the major part of my time using the Adobe Suite (in particular Photoshop & Illustrator). As part of my equipment, i always need to have at my disposal a camera, a scanner, pens and pencils, colors, glue and trash. This last one is essential to realize artistically interesting operas..and i’m serious bout’ it.

[Utilizzo indifferentemente mac o pc ma da buon spippolatore personalmente preferisco il pc per una maggiore quantità di software amatoriali che fanno cose strane e spesso utili.

Utilizz Adobe Suite in particolare Photoshop ed Illustrator. Nel mio studio non possono mai mancare una fotocamera, uno scanner, penne e matite, colori , colle e immondizia. Quest’ultima fondamentale per la realizzazione di materiale artisticamente interessante…  quando posso mi avventuro in nuove sperimentazioni perciò una componente che non può assolutamente mancare è “la novità”.]

6. What are some of your favorite design blogs that you check often? Who is your favorite agency/designer?

I’m always lookin’ for new sources of information that end up bein’ part of my massive amount of Rss feeds. Concerts Flyers - Design by [NooZ]I don’t follow a specific blog cause the quality most of the times isn’t balanced well. I mean, sometimes you can stumble on really good news, very detailed, well written and then bump on one that’s a garble, barely related with what’s mentioned in the title or in the introduction of the same article. In one word: confusing. Many tends to write for SEO but they do that in a way that isn’t user-friendly, but i’m sure that this tendecy will slowly disappear with the evolution of the social networks. My favourite designer is Bruno Munari, love his style and philosophy, read and re-read all his books. If all would do the same, the world would be a better place.

[Cerco online sempre nuove fonti d’informazione che immagazzino in enormi aggregazioni dei rss. Non seguo un determinato blog poiché spesso la qualità dei contenuti non è costante. Molti tendono a scrivere per il SEO in maniera poco utile per l’utente, vedrete che questa tendenza andrà scomparendo con le nuove evoluzioni dei social network. Il mio designer preferito è Bruno Munari che adoro sia come stile che come filosofia leggo e rileggo i suoi libri, se tutti lo facessero sarebbe un mondo migliore.]

7. How did you build up your reputation?  How did you win the trust of your customers?

Always bein’ loyal and honest with my customers and i’ve never stopped studying new things….i offer my experience and creativity, and i believe that my passion can be perceived from what i’m doing.

[Sono sempre stato sincero con i miei clienti e non ho mai smesso di studiare nuove cose… offro esperienza e creatività, credo che la passione traspiri facilmente da quello che faccio.]

8. At what point did you begin to receive a significant profit? Did you have to make any initial investments in training, software, advertising, etc?

I didn’t invest money but time, time spent on studies. It took at lot of efforts at the beginning and the pay wasn’t equal to the time spent planning and designing. But it’s only by accepting all the jobs and pushing myself forward that i’ve reached my objectives, other than realizing important projects and commercials ads at national level.

[Ho economicamente investito relativamente poco e studiato molto. all’inizio ho fatto una lunga gavetta in cui la quantità di lavoro non era certamente equiparata alla retribuzione. Insistendo ed accettando tutti i tipi di lavori ho raggiunto poi dei traguardi significativi realizzando anche lavori importanti e pubblicità nazionali.] 

9. What do you most enjoy about being a graphic designer?

I’m a dreamer and having the chance of creating “something” out of nothing, something that wasn’t there and never been there before, all this while listening some music… is just fantastic.

[Sono un sognatore e la possibilità di creare dal nulla qualcosa che prima non c’era e farlo magari ascoltando musica è meravigliosa.]

10. What’s the most challenging part of a graphic designer job?

Having to do with ignorant customers (ignorant as who doesn’t know nothing at all bout’ design & web) Concert Flyer - Design by [NooZ]that wanna put their hands on the project, tryin’ to ruin it in any possible way…and some manage to do that. But also dealing with unappropriated deadlines and this “Italian style” tendency, usually dictated by customers that we call “a cazzo di cane” ((f**ked up beyond all recognition”). It consists on presenting approximative projects, without a decent planning since early stages, with the main purpose to have all ready, perfectly designed and quickly. In the end, the main challenge is discovering new ways to work well without having the others ruining your workflow.

[L’avere a che fare con clienti ignoranti che vogliono mettere mano al lavoro cercando in tutti i modi di rovinarlo… alcuni ci riescono purtroppo, così come avere tempistiche inadeguate e quella tendenza tutta italiana dettata da committenti inesperti che noi chiamiamo “a cazzo di cane” questa consiste nel presentare lavori approssimativi senza una buona progettazione pur di avere tutto e subito. Infondo la vera sfida è cercare di non lavorare male nonostante gli altri.]

11. How do you keep your creative life when you’re working under pressure?

The key to work well even when under pressure is simply to ignore the pressure. Anxiety is a productive limit that isn’t helpful at all and, in the end, ours is a rational kind of job. Some project managers tend to put designers under pressure in an injustified manner, thinkin’ that this might help to make them to produce a lot more and quickly.

[La chiave per lavorare sottopressione è ignorare la pressione, l’ansia è un limite produttivo che non serve a nessuno… il nostro daltronde è un lavoro di razionalità. Alcuni projectmanager tendono a voler mettere sottopressione in maniera ingiustificata i designer per farli “rendere di più”. Se questo comportamento poi diventa la regola non si fa altro che bruciare le risorse. che peccato!]

12. What skills are most important for a graphic designer?

La capacità di mettere in ordine le emozioni.

[I think…the ability to cue your emotions..]

13. Was networking with other people at all helpful when seeking clients?

Posing in front of a wall

Paraphrasing a song, “it’s raining customers”. There’s no rule that can be applied on each single case. Networking is important BUT not like the word-of-mouth at some party or the right joke at the right time while having a chat with someone on the elevator. The best choice though is to get busy with your own life.

[I clienti cadono dal cielo non c’è una regola che valga in tutti i casi il networking è sicuramente importante ma mai quanto il passaparola ad un party o una battuta in ascensore al momento giusto. La scelta ,migliore è buttarsi a capofitto nella vita. ]


14. Have you ever had any negative experiences with clients/customers? If so, could you tell me a little about how you resolved them? How important would you say that customer satisfaction is in your industry?

I think that it’s always possible to learn new things from anyone. I’m very humble, i can admit my fault, my mistakes. When a work-relationship isn’t working as it should, it’s better to cut down short and stop it. Best thing to do for both…money can’t buy our Soul. Working in armony with a client it’s very hard but not impossible…as long as both sides are openminded and share the same target.

[Credo ci sia la possibilità di imparare da chiunque cose nuove e so riconoscere i miei errori. Quando un rapporto lavorativo non funziona è meglio interromperlo.. ed è meglio per entrambe le parti… i soldi non possono comprare la nostra anima. Lavorare in sintonia con un cliente a volte è difficile ma mai impossibile …sempre che entrambe le parti siano ricettive agli stimoli altrui.]

15. Do any prior customers come back to you for additional work? Some of they became good friends of yours or there’s still an “agency/client” type of relationship even after long terms collaborations?

I always do my best to keep a good relationship with who i’m working with and a lot of collaborations slowly turned from a strickly business related thing into a deep, beautiful friendship. Most of the times we even work with the same client. Working with agencies it’s rewarding and it’s always useful on a long term…cause these are collaborations that, if are handled in the right way and with sacrifices, they’ll never stop “feeding” you with new projects, other than satisfaction for the good results that the team managed to achieve.

[Instauro sempre un buon rapporto con chi lavoro e molte collaborazioni oltre a durare da anni con nuovi progetti diventano anche ottime amicizie. daltronde lavoriamo entrambi sullo stesso obiettivo. Lavorare con le agenzie è molto formativo e risulta sempre utile a lungo termine …sono collaborazioni che se si lavora bene non smettono mai.]

16. Has your business been growing, maintaining a steady pace, or declining? Do you have any plans to expand your work in the future? Any new projects coming up?

Well, as usual i have a lot of different projects on hold…the only problem i’m facing with them is called TIME. But i’m an optimist…you’ll hear from me very, very often…

[Bhè certo come mio solito ho già in cantiere numerosi progetti e molto disparati, l’unico problema è il tempo per realizzarli.. ma sono ottimista , sentirete a lungo parlare di me.]

17. What do you think of your job so far and what are your expectation for the future? How’s the situation/request of the gfx design market in your opinion? Do you think that the amount of enquiries will increase of decrease due to the global crisis/European situation?

I don’t have regrets about my past, since all that happened helped to build the person that i’m today…and yeah, i love the way i am!. Mamamia Flyer - Design By [NooZ]I’m very ambitious, so my plans for the future are clear and the fact that i left my city for the Italian capital (Rome), literally “fills me” of artistic stimulations. On a worldwide scale there will be always a request for graphic designers. Isn’t just a matter of knowing how to use a graphic design software. There’s something else that’s more important: it’s the way of thinking as a graphic designer. That’s something that no school can teach you the “sparkle” that makes the difference, no matter how much you’re up to pay for it. The crisis involves everyone, every sector and obviously this ends up influencing our pay, but at the same time if we don’t do something to change things and we keep standing still and in silence, we basically approve all that’s happening, an global crisis where who’s guilty don’t pay for the mistakes that were made.>

[Non rimpiango mai nulla del mio passato tutto è servito a fare la persona che sono ora… tutto sommato mi voglio anche piuttosto bene. Sono molto ambizioso dunque i miei piani per il futuro sono rosei e già il fatto di essermi trasferito nella capitale d’italia mi riempie di stimolti artistici. A livello mondiale ci sarà sempre richiesta di graphic designers perché non è solo una questione di saper usare un software c’è anche un discorso di pensiero “da graphic designer” nessuna scuola può insegnarti quella scintilla in più che fa la differenza. La crisi in se si spalma sulla collettività è ovvio che questo influirà sulla nostra paghetta ma daltronde non ribellandoci a questo sistema in un certo modo diamo il nostro assenso a subire una crisi economica dove i colpevoli non pagano.]

18. If someone reading this has an interest in getting involved with graphical work, what sort of advice would you offer them? Do you have any tips you picked up over time that you could give to a newbie?

I would say to believe in themselves, follow their dreams even if this means ignoring all the trends, goin’ against the “rules of the market” with the risk of not being understood for the choice. Not that we’ll have a certainty that in the future we will be understood for some decisions we took in the past, but at least we will not have spent our short life copying others ideas. It’s part of the evolution.

[Potrei dire ad un newbie di credere in se stesso di seguire i suoi desideri ignorando le mode del momento andando magari controcorrente e senza essere capito… non che in futuro ci sia la sicurezza di essere capiti o riscoperti ma perlomeno non si sarà sprecato il poco tempo della nostra breve vita a copiare le idee altrui. Fa parte dell’evoluzione.]

19. When you are not blogging, designing or otherwise behind the computer, what do you enjoy doing to step away for a while? Maybe there’s something else you would like to share with us?

Deep in Red

I’m an art-addicted person (well i think you got that by now, right?) and music is my other passion… personally think that it’s VERY close to the design world. The equalizers that monitor the frequencies are the same, and what makes the difference in our work it’s the sensibility on how we manage shapes and colours in the same way musicians do with a music score. And if i’m able to bring with me these passions of mine while i’m pleansantly surrounded by nature, what else i could ask for? I leave the villas with swimming pool to those that have no emotions.

[Vivo d’arte e la musica è l’altra mia grande passione e secondo mie considerazioni è anche molto vicina al modo del design. Gli equalizzatori che analizzano le frequenze sono gli stessi e ciò che fa la differenza nel nostro lavoro  è la sensibilità  con cui gestiamo forme e colori così come la partitura di una canzone. Se poi riesco a portare queste mie passioni standomene immerso nella natura.. bhè credo di non poter desiderare nulla di più, le ville con piscina le lascio alle persone senza emozioni.]

I fully agree with your last sentence Ugo. Thanks so much for your time and patience as it has been a long but interesting interview.

Hehehe, the pleasure it’s all mine Tom…as always…and drop by over there whenever you plan to trip back from Thailand 🙂

[Hehehe….ma figurati Tom, il piacere e’ tutto mio…alla prossima e passami a trovare a Roma quando torni dalla Thailandia!]

Want to know more bout’ [NooZ]?

Would you like to know more about Ugo? Check out his website!

You can also find him on Facebook, AboutMe, Twitter, MySpace, LastFM, LinkedIn and Flicker

Do you want to learn how to make your own awesome websites? Have a look at our web design courses at Web Courses Bangkok!

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About The Author


He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.