In a new Timeout video, Pablo Stanley explains how aesthetics can help communicate the value of a tool or product. He also shares where he finds inspiration and how vacations and downtime helps him explore new ideas—making him more productive at home and at work.
What does design mean to you?
Let’s first talk about what design is not and it’s this idea that design is just about making things look “pretty.” Design is the use of different skills to solve a problem and one of those things is—is that, making things look pretty, using aesthetics to make things look better and rewarding to use, and look like they have a value. But another thing we do as designers is make things look obvious and almost like they can talk—like they’re telling you something, like communicating with you and telling you “This is what I can do. This is how I can help you. This is what we can do together.” And by making things look “pretty,” you actually make something feel more usable. It kind of makes the user find more value in the tool and the product that they’re using.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in places that I think are a little bit unorthodox. One of them is movies and another one is comics. And when I analyze how comics work, how to create a comic and understanding how other creators, writers, and illustrators use that medium to tell a story—you realize almost all of the same problems that they had to tell that story are very similar to what we designers find when we are designing something. So, for example, number one is that comics have are very limited media. It doesn’t have movement, it doesn’t have sound. In a comic, you will have one vignette, one frame, and in that frame, you have to explain what the character is feeling, what time of day it is, what is going to happen next. You want to describe those things in a visual way without using a lot of words.
When are you most productive?
I’m more productive in my vacation time actually. The time that I have free that I’m supposed to be relaxing, I use it for working on stuff that has been on my mind. So I usually use that time to write a new song or to create a new website or make a video. Or I don’t know, other things that I actually need to create to have that creative outlet in order to be even not just productive there, but also back at work.
How would you describe your work?
The type of design that I do is a little bit of everything. And when to say that I mean, I’m not only just putting boxes and text layers and connecting them, but also doing well, once you connect them what happens? Can you animate them? Can you can you make them bounce and make them do crazy things? I like doing that kind of stuff. I also like thinking about if the message can be told in a different way. And for that well I probably need to take a photo, probably I need to take a video, probably I need to make an illustration. So for me, those kinds of skills, if I can make them, if I can do it myself, I’ll try to do that. But it’s part of my job to be using those skills or have someone that knows how to use those skills that is better than me and then applying them to solve a problem or communicate something in a better way. I see design as this very integral thing that is not just one small thing. It’s applying all of those different skills to solve a problem.