Based in Madrid, Spain, Igor Dinuzzi has mentored 20+ Designlab students. We spoke with Igor about his role at Toptal, who he looks up to in the design industry, and what he finds most rewarding about mentoring. Read on to learn more about this Designlab mentor.
Hey Igor! So, let’s start at the beginning. How did you get into the field of design?
I define myself as a career-changer, as many students here at Designlab. My first major was Politics. Then, I decided to explore the arts, since it was always one of my biggest interests. Ultimately, I graduated from the University of London with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts.
What did you first do after graduation?
I started my career working as an intern in advertising. At first, I loved advertising and marketing. I worked as a graphic designer, art director, and then creative director at Grey, a global agency that ranks among the world's top advertising and marketing organizations.
I pursued a master's degree in Design Thinking at Stanford University while I was working, and that changed my entire perspective towards my work and daily life. It was then that I decided to dive deeper into human-centered products and services.
Why did you decide to become a mentor with Designlab?
I've mentored in the past for another platform. I enjoyed mentoring so much that I decided to shift the majority of my time towards leadership and mentorship. I've learned how to help, guide, and motivate through mentoring with Designlab. Mentoring is a great way to broaden your worldview and gain insights. This equips me to make sounder, more holistic decisions. And…what better legacy than to be a part of shaping tomorrow’s design leaders?
What does an ordinary day look like for you?
I divide my day into 4 parts: 1) “Me-time” for being slow in the mornings 2) Design work in the mid-morning 3) Mentorship in the afternoon 4) Quality time with my partner at night.
I'm not a morning person. I prefer slow mornings over starting work first thing. During my slow morning, I read a bit, meditate, and practice yoga. Then before showering, I check my emails and Slack messages and create my to-do-list for the day.
When it's time to dive in to work, I work only on the things on my list — one thing at a time — I'm not a multitasker. While I’m working I put my phone on airplane mode, and I turn off all notifications on my computer. Checking things off my to-do list makes my day easier and I feel happier at the end of the day because of it.
What do you do for work outside of Designlab?
I'm currently working as a Senior Communication Designer at Toptal, which is a part-time mixed discipline position between design and information-development. I'm also in the process of founding a design leadership start-up in collaboration with two other designers. And before the pandemic, I was working as a Community Leader and Speaker at live events.
What parts of your job do you find most fulfilling?
I love communication and I love humans. I enjoy actively listening to people's stories, and though I know there are plenty of problems we can't solve yet, I like to think about how one day we might be able to.
What do you like to do in your free time?
First, I enjoy "me time" and quality time with the people I love. I also enjoy walking, reading, zombie movies, and self-care. I try to stay present in every moment.
What’s a favorite design or designed product of yours?
My iPhone XR is a great companion, I have everything I need to work, meditate, communicate, and organize my day.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?
I enjoyed helping L'Oréal. The goal was to convert the blog, Tu Piel y Tú, into an unbranded content site to create engagement and advocacy. I mainly worked as a user experience designer — conducting research, defining the UX requirements, building InVision prototypes, conducting usability tests, mapping out the user journey, and designing the visuals and branding.
Are you involved in any design or networking organizations?
What people in design do you look up to?
Are there any tragically designed products or services that you think could use a revamp?
I think we need to somehow make the COVID-19 exposure apps work better and be more engaging so more users download them.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
"If you find yourself getting too serious with your latest design project, take a step back, and remember to enjoy the process."
What is the best piece of advice you have to give someone entering the world of design?
Use real data, and please don't fall in love with your idea or design.
What predictions do you have for product design in 2021 and beyond?
It will all change based on the launch of 5G and new devices.
What do you find most exciting or rewarding in mentoring?
I gain significant benefits including re-learning or mastering my skills by sharing and explaining my craft to others. Plus, I can develop and expand my leadership skills, hone communication skills, and sharpen interpersonal skills.
What has surprised you most about the students you’ve worked with?
Working one-on-one with a mentee requires you to sharpen your emotional radar. I am called upon to gauge the emotional state of the other person and respond with empathy. Emotional intelligence is a key differentiator for career advancement.
What do you think makes a good mentor?
Communication and empathy.
What do you think makes a good student?
Critical thinking and self-awareness.
If you’re interested in learning UX/UI design with a mentor like Igor, we invite you to explore our UX Academy program. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor with Designlab, we encourage you to apply here.