A chat with Santiago Roldan

Santiago is a digital designer and surfer. With a focus on nature, culture, surf and the environment, Santiago's work is powerful and creative. By integrating the viewpoint of graphic design with the surfing expression, Santiagos resulting aesthetic is full of fantasy and magic.

Noise Studio: Hey Santiago, what defines good design?

Santiago: Honestly, I don't really know what defines GOOD design - it can be everything, and I don't believe I can be the judge of good and bad, but I can judge whether it works or not. For me the design needs to be functional, have a specific purpose or value and follow a few basic design rules such as type-setting and layout. However, following rules too strictly could kill one's originality and creative expression. My vision when founding Noise was to show that imperfect and crazy design is exiting and inspirational, to show that one should stop following the same minimalistic rules and do as everybody else, and to try to take sports design to a whole new level.

What is your design philosophy? How do you ensure ideas/messages get through to users/viewers?

Design should not be defined as pretty or ugly, design works or it doesn't. For me, it is important that the design feels right and to achieve this, the design has to have a specific balance within the whole mess and imperfection I try to create. I always try to guide the viewer of the piece, using hierarchies and make them notice those hierarchies. If something should have an impact and be big and bold, the visuals will be big, never vaguely medium sized.

As for digital products and applications, I have a quite simple and rational way of working. I don't believe crazy interactions and animations will make an app better. The app needs to be legible and the user needs to understand what actions to perform and which flow to follow. Excessive UI will kill the legibility, therefor I prioritize meaningful UI over visually pretty UI. The apps need to work, be useful and provide value to the user, and the UI needs to emphasize that and make the experience excellent.

Be imperfect. Be bold. Don't give up. I want to send this message through my attitude, words and design.

What are your biggest influence (e.g. culture, history, study, sport, designer)? How does that work into your design?

My biggest influence in design has always been music. Especially the music I listened to when I was younger and wanted to be a punk-rockstar-skateboarder - haha. Later I've moved towards surf culture and this is where I met David Carlson, Joshua Davids and Aaron Draplin. Today I try to mix essences from what I liked when I was younger with surf culture and inspiration I find outside, walking down the streets and discovering small imperfections but balanced details in anything.

How can design improve sports?

I believe we have the task to show the excitement and thrill of sports through our graphics and experience. The whole Noise team practice extreme sports and we know the thrill, excitement and commitment that comes with those activities. They make you bold, risk seeking and extremely happy, and we want to create this for more people, make more people feel their blood pumping - both through sports and through our crazy design.

And finally, whats your thing?

I'm a lover of the ocean and the waves. I love a sweet surf sesh at any time, and for sure you can find me smiling and surfing like a crazy guy. I'll always give the best of me, cause for me life should be simple, fun and with love 🌊💙

Noise Studio is a creative agency that specializes in digital strategy, branding and design for sport brands & sports tech. You can follow us on Instagram, Dribbble, Behance, Linkedin, Medium and Twitter. Like us today and we will love you forever.

We're a creative agency for sports and outdoors. It's what we love doing and are passionate about.

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