UX Design Mentor Angelo Lo Presti: Man on the Move
Angelo Lo Presti is a risk-taker with a passion for learning and an unquenchable thirst for new experiences.
Born in Sicily, he moved to London at age 19 to study computer animation, then went on to Vancouver, where he worked as a character animator for films.
After teaching himself graphic design and web design, Angelo headed to Berlin to develop his freelance career.
For the past decade, he’s worked as a remote UX consultant and designer for international brands. And he helps others become successful UX designers through his company Superhive, which he started in 2017. All this, while globe-trotting.
“Combining the skills and interests that I’ve developed over the years to help people work on creative projects while traveling the world brings me joy every day,” Angelo said.
Already a pro at helping people transition toward more joyful professional paths, Angelo also mentors Springboard UX design students, who praise his depth of knowledge, tireless enthusiasm, and patience—one alum recently told us, “He is by far the best mentor that I have communicated with… mentors like him are the reason why I would recommend Springboard to others looking to break into UX.”
Part of why Angelo found success and fulfillment in user experience is because it’s such a wide-ranging discipline.
“UX design is fascinating because it is the ultimate combination of creative, technical, social, and psychological skills,” he said. “I believe that UX design is around us in the way we communicate and interact with the world and its inhabitants.”
Related Read: What is UX Design?
Angelo has interacted with more of the world’s inhabitants than most—nearly 60 countries so far. “Generally, I travel every few months to a new location,” he said. “I rent an Airbnb and I try to mix as much work as well as fun every day. This lifestyle helps me stay active and also curious about life.”
He’s currently based in Valencia, Spain. But his travels—which have earned him some serious attention back in Italy—have taken him across Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Australia.
Running a company while traveling is not an easy task, Angelo admits. “Being productive, self-motivated, organized, and effective with my work and time are a must,” he said.
But, he added, “I believe that to become a great designer you need to find inspiration around you. For me, the best kind of inspiration comes when I travel to new places and I learn new things.”
Helping prepare the next generation of great designers is “very cool,” Angelo said. “The satisfaction that comes from helping a person get her dream job or start a successful freelancing career is a very rewarding one.”
Among his most memorable mentoring experiences is his recent time working with a student who was transitioning to UX design from the finance industry. “The best thing was that only a few weeks later he sent me an email to tell me that he had also closed his very first freelance gig,” Angelo said.
His work with UX Career Track students and other aspiring UX designers is especially fulfilling because Angelo himself has benefitted from mentors personally and professionally.
“My mentors help me take my career and my life to the next level and I am grateful to them,” he said. “In my opinion, the fastest way to learn is from the people who already have achieved what you are after. You can learn from their mistakes and successes and find your path in life faster.”
Angelo’s Advice for Aspiring UX Designers
Be patient. Design is a difficult subject that takes years to master; you should never stop learning.
Focus and work hard. To develop your skills, you need to do a lot of work and focus on getting better every day.
Stop comparing yourself to other designers. Everybody starts from the bottom, and if you always compare your work with others you’ll always be disappointed. Focus on your work and as long as you make progress you’ll be fine.
Be specific. Don’t just become another UX designer. Carve a niche and become an expert in that. You’ll be able to develop your skills faster if you choose a particular industry/field.
It’s not about you. Design is not about what you like, or what you prefer. It’s about serving a purpose and solving a problem.
Don’t confuse design with art. You are a problem-solver first and foremost. If you understand the problem you are trying to fix and the people who experience this problem, you’ll be able to develop the right solution for them.
Meet another Springboard mentor here, senior UX Designer Meg Clayton.
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