One of the unique features of the CareerFoundry experience is our mentor community - we work with a wide variety of mentors in iOS development, web development, UX design and UI design, from all over the globe.

In order to increase the visibility of our wonderful mentors and give you the chance to get to know them even better, we have created Mentor Spotlights. In today’s spotlight, UX and UI design mentor, Angelo Lo Presti, talks about his passion for travel, why he finds mentoring mutually beneficial, and his love of simple and minimalist design.

Originally from the small town of Messina in Sicily, Angelo would now consider himself a digital nomad. He has spent the last 2 years in Central and South America, and a stint in CareerFoundry’s hometown, Berlin. Let’s meet him!

From Film to Design

For as long as he can remember, Angelo has had a passion for art and design. In his teenage years, he developed a keen interest for tech, and eventually managed to combine his passions into a career as a graphic designer. He gained valuable experience in different areas, from web design to animation and film. It was from there that he moved towards UX and UI design:

“I enjoyed making animated movies, but at some point I felt the desire to begin a new journey, and design was something that I was naturally attracted to. Becoming a UX and UI designer has helped me see the world around me in a different way. Everywhere I go, I look at fonts, logos, shapes, colours and it is such a joyful learning experience to see the world from a perspective that constantly helps me improve as a designer.”

Why Mentoring?

For Angelo, becoming a mentor was a very natural progression - he helped to create the UX design course, and as such was very happy to see his course content in action: “__It makes me proud knowing that hundreds of mentors are teaching the course I wrote and that thousands of students are starting a new career path because of it.”

As someone with experience studying online (he did an online Master’s) he finds it exciting to play an important role in delivering online education:

“Studying online was a completely new experience for me and I really enjoyed engaging with topics I loved from the comfort of my home. I never imagined that a few years later I would be on the opposite side of the table!”

He admits that he quite likes being on the opposite side of the table too - as a digital nomad, he enjoys having the flexibility to mentor from anywhere in the world. Mentoring also gives him the chance to connect with like-minded people all over the world.

What Being A Mentor Has Taught Me

Is it always smooth sailing? Most of the time, he says.

One of the most challenging things is encouraging students to keep things simple. “I often find that my students have the tendency to overcomplicate their design, or they feel the need to add more to make their work look better. My experience has taught me that beautiful and effective design is very simple, so I always try to teach my students the valuable lesson that less is more.”

His motto is as simple and succinct as the designs he encourages: Never stop learning. For him, mentoring is a two way street: “I like sharing and discussing ideas with my students because learning is a mutual experience. I’ve learned a lot from my students and this is something that keeps me motivated to continue working as a mentor”.

He finds that traveling the world gives him inspiration as a UX/UI designer and mentor: “Traveling has been a great source of inspiration for my creative work and helped me to become a better mentor. The communication skills I have acquired while traveling have been a huge asset in broadening my understanding of my students and their needs.”

Tips and Resources

Angelo’s go-to resource for anything UX or UI related is usually a blog: “I especially love Behance, which has always been a great resource for beautiful design and art.” However, most of his learning takes place outside of the cyber sphere: “I honestly believe that it is more useful to find resources in the real world rather than the web.”

For anyone thinking about design, it’s important to understand thedifference between UX design and UI design, and choose the right one for you. While UX focuses on the actual user, their feelings, behaviours, and desires, UI design is more about visuals and interactive elements, and more closely related to graphic design.

So, what skills make a good UXer? Angelo says his students who really excel in UX show “a good sense of design and aesthetic, business understanding, communication and interpersonal skills; analytical and lateral thinking; empathy and an understanding of psychology; as well as the ability to observe and adapt to new technologies.”

Due to the widespread nature of UX, we can learn a lot just from our daily activities, interactions, and the objects we need: “the world is a beautiful playground to get new ideas and inspiration.”

Adapt, listen and communicate your ideas clearly. If you focus on those three main skills, even if each day presents different challenges, you’ll be able to tackle and overcome every obstacle.”

Aside from mentoring with CareerFoundry, Angelo works as a freelance designer and is the creative director of his own company. When he finds time, Angelo likes to create vlogs and edit short films, and he’s currently co-directing a feature-length documentary.“__Those passions go hand in hand with my desire to travel and explore new cultures.”

I__f you’re interested in a career change, check out our UX Design Course_ or UI Design Course - these courses are fully mentored to ensure you learn real life skills and build up an amazing portfolio that will get you hired._