11 Questions with Claudio Guglieri

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Claudio Guglieri is a design director at Microsoft Groove and Movies & TVdepartment and former Creative Director at Elephant, an agency serving exclusively Apple. In his Readymag-based portfolio Claudio goes far beyond design and not only shows off his best projects but acts both as a journalist and a visionary.

How has design changed over the last 5–10 years?

‘Familiarity’ eventually went too far and became aesthetically gimmicky. The initial reactions to it fully opposed the trend and looked elsewhere for inspiration. Metro Design from Microsoft is the best example of it, it looked at print design for inspiration.

What’s your vision of contemporary web design? Why is it like this?

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Which artists/schools/tendencies influence present-day design? What will be a source of inspiration tomorrow?

Well, I don’t work on marketing sites anymore. My job now is about figuring out customer problems and empowering users to do certain things. That’s a higher level of design, it’s systematically closer to engineering and demands deep knowledge of human psychology rather than sophisticated artistry. Because of the lack of ornamentation in UX design I would say a constant inspiration for this branch of design will always be the Bauhaus approach, or the Massimo Vignelli type of approach — it is visual and delightful but really well-structured and functional, just like a piece of architecture.

Which fonts do you use most frequently in your works? What were the most popular and in-demand fonts of 2016 in your view?

Proxima Nova was definitely the most used font in 2014 and in the past couple of years we’ve seen lots of similar fonts. Throughout the year I’ve been seeing lots of variations of Helvetica and bold grotesques yet I can’t say they capture the times we are living in. To be fair maybe that’s because my world has become much more product-driven, not necessarily reflected by the times we live in.

Name several of your favorite design instruments (programs, apps, whatever).

I’ve been trying Figma app recently, I like the premise of real time collaboration with other people, but I haven’t had an opportunity to use it yet.

How is Readymag helpful to you?

Do you lack anything as a designer — instruments, fonts, technologies?

Then regarding virtual reality, I myself have tested a bunch of headsets but there’s still a big entry barrier for getting into that world. I’d like to see more tools that bridge that gap.

What emerging digital trend are you most excited about right now?

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Google Home assistant, it’s pretty much like Amazon Echo. At home we just talk to it, even my 3-year-old son does so. You could argue — is that design? It’s not visual, but it’s clearly helping me. As we move away from fun and crazy to being more functional, becoming more platform agnostic than visually driven seems like a natural step. I’m really excited about that.

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What’s your outlook for the future of web and media? How will the human interaction with the web change? What role will design have in this process?

From a literacy perspective I believe the future of media/technology will continue to lower the entry barrier required to become a user. My son doesn’t know how to speak properly yet, but he already understands what Google Home can do for him. He is used to see me talking to it now and he tries as well. He was born in an environment where talking to machines is natural (crazy). He says “Hi boo-boo” instead of “Hey Google” because he can’t pronounce it yet and after repeated attempts our Google Home now wakes up to his words, almost like it’s learning. “I’m sorry I don’t know how to help you with that” it says to him. It’s mind-blowing to me.

Is there something you’ve long wanted to ask Readymag?

This is what Readymag CEO Diana Novichikhina says:

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