HLabs dives into the curious mind of Niccolò Miranda as he reveals the secrets of his creative journey

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How important is the power of curiosity for a creative director? Read on to discover how Niccolò Miranda’s thirst for knowledge has propelled him to impressive heights in the creative industry.
1st June 2023
5 min read
Written by Andiana Cáceres Martínez
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As a multidisciplinary freelancer with vast experience in creative direction, interactive design, and development, Niccolò’s ability to bring insights and expertise to his clients in fields such as art direction, UI/UX design, front-end development and motion design makes him stand out in the industry. A small peek into Niccolò’s portfolio showcases his many talents!

In this enlightening Q&A article, we delve deep into Niccolò's motivations, challenges, and triumphs and he reveals his most cherished stories, those that have left an indelible mark on his creative journey. 

We learn how exploring the world for unusual sources of inspiration is how unique designs are born and the transformative power of storytelling is unravelled.

Can you tell us about your journey as an independent creative director? What led you to pursue this path?

Born and bred in Italy, I was cradled by the world of art and creativity from an early age. This exposure to diverse forms of art, from photography to architecture, etched a deep appreciation for aesthetics in my heart. However, the traditional confines of my homeland and the classical teaching methods of university left me yearning for more.

This yearning led me on a global journey, exploring myriad cultures and perspectives from the concrete jungles of New York to the wild expanses of Patagonia. It was amidst the towering shelves of the Strand Bookstore in New York's East Village, where my true calling found me. Encountering a collection of design books, I was captivated by the profound insights of master creators. It felt like coming home.

The magic began when I realised my inability to bring my ideas to life through pencil sketches. Instead, I found my medium of expression in digital design. The mouse became my magic wand, the tool with which I could manifest my visions into tangible form. Since then, my journey as an independent creative director has been a perpetual adventure, each day an opportunity to create something captivating.

How would you describe your creative process 5 years ago when you started vs now?

Five years ago, as a budding creative director, my process was akin to a newborn's first forays into the world. I grasped the value of envisioning the end result, which guided me to master new tools, discover relevant resources, and immerse myself within influential web communities like Awwwards, FWA, and Webby.

Fast-forward to the present, my journey has ascended to innovative realms such as Web3, VR/AR, and the emerging field of spatial computing. My method of engaging with clients has matured significantly and the dynamism in my creative process keeps me in a state of continual evolution. Striving towards an elusive ideal of perfection is the impetus propelling me to learn and grow each day. Despite the progress I've made, I consider my journey to be far from complete, as the quest for perfection never truly ends.

“Motion design is my playground, where I challenge myself to create captivating experiences”. Niccolò Miranda.

What sets you apart as a creative director and designer? What unique skills or perspectives do you bring to your work?

As a hybrid designer and developer, I draw inspiration from unconventional sources in visual arts, including gaming, cinema, and fashion. This helps me inject fresh perspectives and unique elements into my designs, often leading to rule-breaking layouts and animations.

Motion design is my forte, presenting both my greatest challenge and greatest joy in each project. I constantly strive to create designs that not only captivate visually but also seamlessly translate into code. This ability to envision the end result in code from the design inception stages sets me apart in my field and ensures an optimal balance between aesthetic allure and functional feasibility.

How do you manage your time and prioritize your workload as an independent professional? What strategies do you use to ensure timely project delivery?

Effective time management and workload prioritization are critical. I utilize tools like Notion and Linear to streamline my workflow and keep tasks organized. Communication platforms such as Slack, along with design applications like Figma, further aid in seamless project execution.

Moreover, maintaining an organized file system, design, and development stack not only enhances efficiency but also fuels my creative process. By establishing clear structures and systems, I am able to manage multiple projects simultaneously without compromising on delivery timelines.

It is this blend of strategic organization and the judicious use of technology that helps me ensure timely and high-quality project completion, providing a seamless experience for all my clients.

“It's not only about verbal storytelling; "scrolly-telling" has emerged as a vital visual narrative form in digital design.” Niccolò Miranda

In your opinion, what role does storytelling play in design? How do you incorporate storytelling elements into your work?

In my view, storytelling is at the heart of effective design. It not only defines the user experience but can profoundly shape the way we approach our creations. By weaving a compelling narrative, we can engage the audience, evoke emotions, and create memorable experiences.

The advent of AI, like ChatGPT, has revolutionized the art of storytelling, enabling us to craft richer, more immersive narratives. Yet, it's not only about verbal storytelling; "scrolly-telling" has emerged as a vital visual narrative form in digital design.

My unique approach to storytelling involves translating words and key phrases into visual elements that can tell their own visual tale. This process creates a symbiosis between the text and the design, allowing each to reflect and enhance the other.

“These are the stories that matter to me: the seamless fusion of design and technology, the quest for knowledge, and the power of curiosity”. Niccolò Miranda

As an independent creative professional and visual storyteller, what stories matter to you? And why?

Moreover, I am a firm believer in the power of curiosity and experiential learning. The narrative of unending exploration and the pursuit of knowledge are themes that deeply impact my work. I constantly push the boundaries of my creativity, turning even the most formidable creative blocks into stepping stones for career growth.

As an independent creative professional, the story that resonates with me the most is that of the symbiosis between design and code. Understanding the intricacies of code, even as a non-developer, allows for a seamless weaving of narrative through design systems. This appreciation of code empowers me to create stories that are not just visually engaging but also technically sound.

These are the stories that matter to me: the seamless fusion of design and technology, the quest for knowledge, and the power of curiosity.

Draw inspiration from unconventional sources

The creative process can be transformed from a fledgling exploration to a dynamic, ever-evolving journey. Drawing inspiration from unconventional results in designs that not only dazzle the eyes but also function seamlessly. Effective time management and workload prioritization are vital for the creative process as it allows one to navigate multiple projects, delivering exceptional results on time.