Interviewing Idols: Nidia Dias

Portuguese Art Director and Designer, Nidia Dias, is an incredibly talented artist with some insanely good skills in Cinema 4D and Photoshop! Over the years, the HP ambassador has built an incredible portfolio and has worked with everyone under the sun! You know you’re something special when you’ve worked a client list as long as hers!

Just before I start, I just want to mention clearly how passionate Nidia is. Not only at design, but also at really helping people. She’s done loads of talks, has some amazing tutorials and her website is a dream for inspiration! Her Instagram is full of both final work and process, and it’s so invaluable for us students learning to be motion/3D designers.

I’m pretty sure found her work back around the end of 2017, but it might have been in 2018! I clearly remember seeing a series she did, called ‘Flow’ — a series of images all based on flowing lines and colour, and man did it look absolutely epic! I’ve been following her work ever since, and It’s been lovely to watch! Oh, and I should probably mention her client list? Nike, HP, Apple, Samsung, Intel, Adidas….. As well as this, she’s worked for Tendril, FutureDeluxe, Analog, ManVsMachine…

Can you lot see why I really wanted to do this interview now???

Why does she inspire me?

As a student, I’m often looking for new inspiration — whether that be from new designers or some of my favourites. It’s safe to say you won’t ever be bored when looking at Nidia’s work. It’s full of colour, energy and it’s just a wonderful thing to search through. I’ve often used her work as a point of reference in my university work and as a student, it’s awesome to see some R&D and process from industry professionals — for this I highly recommend looking at the ‘Lab/Playground’ section on her website, it’s brilliant!

I think I’ve come along way in my design journey. From making really basic posters with abstract art to now creating more photorealistic landscapes. But saying this, Nidia has had quite a big part in my journey. I’ve often watched her talks, and been amazed at the simple tips and tricks she uses (and also the complex stuff too!) to create her work. These talks, along with her tutorials on her Vimeo/YouTube have been great learning resources for my self and I’ve learnt loads from just a small 5-minute video! In my ambition to be an ever-evolving designer, these are great to watch!

There’s also an innate sense of joy in Nidia’s work, maybe that's just the abstract nature shining through, but it all just seems like it was an absolute joy to create. Always experimenting, always learning and just having fun! This is what we aim for as designers — a way of making our job seem less like a ‘job’, and more like a hobby. For me, you can see this ALL of her work.

Animism — FutureDeluxe

The Interview Part

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Nidia some questions about herself and her career. I hope this’ll give you a little bit of an insight into her life, both personal and commercial, as well as their design process. It’s not every day you get to interview an idol!

1. Would you be able to say just a little bit about yourself and how you started your journey into the world of design?

Hi everyone! My name is Nidia Dias! I’m a Designer and Art Director from Portugal, currently working remotely with different clients and studios. My path didn’t always focus on design. I had no idea what it actually was at the start, and that you could make a living out of it. I liked drawing but it was never really my focus.

When I was around 16 years old, I discovered web design and started creating some websites. As I was doing so, I became absolutely fascinated by making the websites look cool! That’s when I found the magical world of Photoshop. By this time, it was too late to change my course in High School, as I had already decided where to attend University. I actually spent an entire year at an engineering university!

Fortunately, I soon found where my passion really lay, and I managed to change my studies the year after and got myself on a Graphic Design course! That was my first step into the world of design as a career.

2. Could you give some insight into your creative process? (As much detail or as little as you’d like e.g. Do you sketch ideas or go straight to digital media?)

Well, I will start with a bold statement: I’m terrible at drawing!

With this in mind, I rarely sketch ideas first. Instead, I approach it almost like a mind map. I try to understand what is being asked, and who ‘IS’ the client. It’s also important to know who are the client's competitors and what’s already been done.

Once I’ve gone through this process, I start to think of a storyline that could highlight the product. Most of the time this involves figuring out metaphors to represent a concept. I then experiment and process my ideas. I normally use mood boards to showcase visually what I have in mind. It’s much easier to see everything all in one space!

If the client then likes or chooses a direction, I will start by developing style frames, and they usually nowadays start straight in Cinema4D. After that, it’s really just all about having fun and making sure that the initial idea and goals are reached!

3. I know you’ve worked with some amazing studios! Have any favourite projects you’ve worked on?

I have been so lucky to have worked with amazing studios, clients and artists!

It’s hard for me to choose a specific project, as all of them have been super important to me! But, if I really have to choose, I would probably say the Microsoft projects created at Tendril were the ones that really skyrocketed me to where I am today. It still amazes me that the look that we ended up creating for that project, is still a base for what is been done at the moment.

(Charlie here! I’ve put a few images below, go check out the final project. It’s really amazing!)

4. Where do you get your inspiration for projects? Who inspires you!

Can I say that everything somehow inspires me?! I think most of all, I have a strong connection with using natural elements as inspiration for a lot of my work. I think that's just because I always seem to get a sense of calmness when I’m surrounded by nature.

As for who? I always loved the work from Hey Studio, Serial Cut, Malika Favre, Nando Costa — just to name a few. But obviously, studios like Future Deluxe, Buck and Tendril, for example, keep on releasing so much amazing visual content! It’s like a feast of knowledge! I do also quite like finding inspiration outside motion graphics, photography is always a great visual resource!

5. What are some of the largest challenges you had to overcome during your artmaking process?

If we are talking about personal projects, definitely finishing them up. I find that I have to tackle my personal projects almost as a commercial one and set up a deadline for myself, otherwise, I never get them done!

Nowadays, since becoming a mother, I find it hard to get time to do personal work, as any time outside the computer is spent with my son!

6. Do you have any big designs/projects in the works or anything that excites you about the future of your career?

Definitely some exciting stuff in the works at the moment! But sadly a lot of stuff is under NDA’s so I can’t show them, but I’m definitely growing as an artist and excited to get these projects out there! So as long as I keep on being challenged and feel like there’s more ‘to do’, I will be happy pushing through!

Experiments with Tendril

7. I’ve watched many of your talks! Do you have a favourite? Or maybe a favourite event you’ve attended?

Humbled to hear you have watched and hopefully you liked them! (C: I loved them!)

A little side note: I’m always super nervous when giving talks. I am a somewhat shy person, so it takes a lot for me to get up on a stage and having all eyes on me!

I’ve enjoyed all of them to be honest! Each one of them allowed me to meet so many cool people that each brings warmth to my heart ❤ The talk at ‘Mouvo’ was my first one, so it will always have a special space in my heart. And I’ve always enjoyed OFFF, so it was a great pleasure to be part of their list of talks!

8. I’m a massive fan of the work you did for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, it looks like it was so much fun to work on!

Thank you! It was super fun! I love working with my husband and bouncing off ideas with him and see what we can make together.

The ACO was particularly interesting because we had to create an interpretation of the song to kind of guide our thoughts. The project started with us designing something for a piece of music, but it turned into more of a storytelling project, which was a shift in our typical workflow! The big thing for this project was that the music was so inspiring that we just wanted to create some art that was just as good as the music!

We HAD to do the piece justice!

9. You’ve got so much amazing work that must have taken so long to create! What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Nowadays I spend my free time with my son! But besides that I do love travelling so whenever I can do a little getaway — I do it! I’m also currently trying to go back to playing some videogames! But again, you barely have any time left when you have a baby haha!

10. Any advice for students trying to get into the world of 3D and Digital Design?

Be true to yourself, and be humbled. Hard work does pay off, so keep doing it and never stop doing what you love.

I think personal projects are really important for everyone. They are a great way to showcase your style and what you love doing, and I personally love seeing people’s personal work!

11. Thank you for taking part in this for me, Nidia! It’s been great having the chance to talk to you and learn more about you and your process! For the people who will read this interview, what are your social media links for people to follow your future work?

Thanks for having me!

If you would like to follow my work you can do so through my Website, Instagram or my Behance page!

If you haven’t seen her work before, I urge you to go check it out! Nidia is an amazing designer and an absolutely lovely person to chat to! She was one of the people who inspired me to pursue 3D design, have they inspired you to check it out?

Want to see more from me? Follow me on Medium, or my Instagram :)

Trying to make my way in the world of design. Nottingham Trent Graphic Design Student.