Carolina Scarpetta

Recent LCC grad Carolina Scarpetta is a talented young designer who swapped engineering for graphic design. A very smart move, we're sure you'll agree…

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Found Alphabet – a collection of letterforms found through Brick Lane and Shoreditch and presented exploring different grids and layouts, 2015

Where did you grow up, what were your early influences, and can you remember what made you first realise you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I was born and raised in Naples from a family of actors and playwrights spanning four generations of traditional Italian theatre. I took my first steps backstage, traveling with my parents around Italy.

This unusual background inevitably influenced my choices. Although I’ve never considered being an actress, I probably felt the weight of expectation in a way. So I decided I’d have to do something completely different, not artistic at all. Because I loved (and still love) mathematics, I decided to pursue a career in engineering with a Masters in Supply Chain Management.

In spite of this, I’ve always drawn in my free time, and have always been interested in photography and cinema. In other words, I knew I had an eye for aesthetics but kept it quiet. Switching has been a difficult decision as it meant turning my back on a secure and well established career, to make what at the time looked like a leap in the dark.

I officially realised I wanted to be a graphic designer while working as a demand planner in L’Oréal, in 2014. I was working on an important presentation and I remember I was way more interested in the choice of the typeface used to present the results, rather than their meaning. So I said to myself ‘Wait, what am I doing here?’ Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy.

Has your time spent as an engineer had an influence on your work?
Absolutely yes. Engineering shaped my forma mentis and gave me a structured and scientific approach to a solving a problem, whether we’re talking about a design problem or not. That doesn’t necessarily mean that my mind is not flexible or less creative (as engineers are often perceived), but I’m very precise and methodical in everything I do and I think that transpires from my design.

Tell us a bit about your time at LCC what was the most surprising aspect of your course?
My time at LCC was fantastic. The year spent there flew in the blink of an eye, as the course was very intense and challenging. The most surprising thing about the course I did has been the progress it allowed me to make in a relatively short period of time.

You’ve explored different techniques in your work, which are the ones which you keep coming back to?
There’s still so much I want to explore and experiment with, but I feel like I have a particular affinity with digital, whether that means digital graphics, moving images or photography.

Which recent project have you found the most challenging and why?
My final major project, Abstract Mathematics. I really enjoyed it but the most difficult part has been trying to give it an intent, in order to make it something more than a mere visual exploration of mathematical concepts. So I decided to use the things I produced to conceive the identity for a talk about Mathematics. The challenge for me was to set boundaries and directions and to get different things to work together as one identity, which is what makes a good designer in my opinion, not just producing nice stuff.

What’s the last piece of design that you’ve looked at which has induced design envy?
Probably every piece of design by Peter Crnokrak, aka The Luxury of Protest. I find his design far removed from trends, it's timeless and pure – which is the kind of design I like the most.

What are you working on right now, and what’s next for you?
After graduating in December, one of my tutors asked me to work with him for a while. He runs his own, well established studio, Graphicacy, and I have the opportunity to work on many different projects, from editorial to information design. That’s a privilege for me, as working with your tutor is like an intensive individual apprenticeship. However, there’s at least a couple of top studios in London which I aspire to, so I guess I’ll start sending out my portfolio very soon. Fingers crossed for me…