A Moment with Milano’s finest: Davide Colla

Digital Branding guru of 150UP

by Christina Lauren


14 Aug 2018

Website of the Year 2018
“My life was headed down the incoherence lane since my early years. Until I found design and fell in love with it...”

Daydreaming into an abyss set with pavement cafe furniture and clinging stemware, Davide Colla realized there was more out there beyond those restaurant doors. His creative mind was meant to innovate and entertain, yet hiding behind a silver serving tray wasn’t going to get him there. “My life was headed down the incoherence lane since my early years. Until I found design and fell in love with it,” says Colla. But how does one find design? According to the entrepreneur, it all began with a menu.


“I was currently working as a waiter in Spain, still wondering about what to do next in life. The moment my boss decided it was time to renew the restaurant menu, I got thrilled and tested several drafts – all of them, I have to admit, kind of poor…But, the important thing was the awareness learned from that experience: for the first time, I realized that designing things could be a job.” And a job well done at that. Growing up in the metropolis of Milano Italy, Colla depicts the streets as “a graying suburb of fashion, style and design that exudes a “stuck up is cool” state of mind. Within this mindset, the loud entrepreneur always considered himself caught between dreamer and nerd-- a fine collaboration in today’s world of digital darwinism; that is, a realm where society and technology evolve as one. Here one must look beyond the world as we think we know it, and observe things thoroughly. This is the precise foundation behind Colla’s motivation. “The world around me is the biggest inspiration. Anything – a poster, a building, a pair of shoes or a post on Instagram – can boost creativity. The hardest thing is to filter out the thousands of suggestions that everyday hit us and transport them to our projects. What I love is to find – or at least try to – the story behind each project.” This process has earned the designer much accreditation. After attending the European Institute of Design, Colla founded 150up in 2013, a studio specialized in Digital Branding. The goal was to integrate content creation and graphic design while moving between new technologies and art. After molding corporate identity with personal projects, Colla’s aim was to “interpret the desire of the clients and engage the audience-- while moving from ideas to facts.” According to the source, the creative steps are simple: a clear brief, a story to tell, and finally, lots and lots of work. It wasn’t always smooth sailing the founder of 150UP admits to having luck on his side. “We [have been] fortunate to shape things that, until one minute before, we were non-existent,” Colla says. “There is no beautiful or ugly, no right or wrong. The design is only the search of the story to tell and the responsibility to uphold it consistently,” he adds. Since then, the agency has collaborated with international brands including Todd’s, Ermenegildo Zegna and Discovery Channel, collecting six prestigious Awards along the way. In such a fast-paced realm, it is crucial to stay up on the latest trends and avoid breaking under pressure. So how does one do this? For starters: “Reading many websites and magazines about the industry and talking as much as possible with other designers, including a widely different variety of people. The design is everywhere and to understand what’s happening in it is essential to understand what’s happening in the world.” As for pressure, “it’s good for you,” says Colla. “Pressure is actually a positive factor since it prompts me to focus more and give everything I have into the creative process. It’s also key to avoid the drawbacks of criticism which according to the designer, is all part of the project. To stake his claim, Colla offers a quote by Fred Rogers: “There are three ways to ultimate success. The first is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” “One of the key elements between a successful project is communication,” he adds. “I need to understand the client’s needs and wishes, the client needs to understand the creative process and that the result is going to be delivered. When I deliver a project, it’s because I am 100% sure of it. This means hours spent on it designing and thinking, trying and trying to achieve the best possible result,” he says. What’s more, the designer foresees big things for the future of 150UP. To obtain these goals one mustn’t "rest on the laurels, avoid any kind of complacency, [and] always seek new things to learn and skills to be acquired," advises Colla. Most importantly, in order for success to be achieved in this line of work, a balance between work and play is crucial. When he isn’t out saving the digital world, the designer considers himself an avid football player, vintage collector, Mac connoisseur, junk food junkie, and fine balancer of “slouch-on-couch devotee and workaholic.” If there’s one thing to remember, cautions Colla, it’s that a vision of a clear start all the way to the finish line is key. “In each project, there are thousands of crossroads, which is why-- to avoid going out of bounds-- an overall overview, and an arrival point is vital,” he concludes. Salute to that!

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