January 15, 2018

As creative professionals, our team all think it’s incredibly important to be inspired by other’s work and aware of their working practices.

No matter what point you’re at in your career stopping to read about/ look at creative projects is always beneficial! 

Personally, I have found it’s a great way to feel refreshed if I feel stuck on a project, It’s also a great way to evaluate the way I work and processes I use. 

To produce our best work we all need to stay inspired!

Recently we came across artist Elia Colombo, his incredibly interesting approach to his work left us feeling refreshed and full of ideas so we decided to get in touch with a few questions about the Adobe software and his thoughts on its place in a creative professional’s life and (very much to my excitement) he replied! 

Work 1- Elia's Creative Approach

Read on if you want to find out more about amazing illustrator/designer Elia Colombo. Learn about his working practices and get his opinion on exactly how crucial software skills are for contemporary creatives keep reading!

A little background...

If you haven’t heard of  Elia Colombo yet here’s a little background information about him. Based in Italy, he works as a freelance Illustrator and Designer, with an enviable client list! Including companies like Nissan, Adobe, Yeti, Telepass and many more.

I have included some images of his illustrative work below taken from his Behance profile. Whilst developing his work he focuses on the concept behind an illustration and ‘constantly seeks for perfection in simplicity.’ 

Elia's Creative Approach- Work 2
Elia Colombo- Work 3

If you would like to see even more he has extensive Behance & Dribble profiles as well as his own website full of bright and brilliant vector-based Illustrations (we highly recommend a look, below is one of my favourites featured on his web page!)

His Creative Approach to Work & Life!

A lot of illustrators and designers aspire to have a client list this awesome! But what really caught our attention was his attitude towards his work. Preferring not to take life overly seriously. He believes life in general, should be treated more as an ‘experiment’ rather than a race to victory or hard slog! It seems like this outlook has meant he has never felt restricted whilst making big life decisions and so far it has definitely worked! 

For example, take his reasoning behind his decision to study design: ‘The main reason I decided to attend the Design School’ he explains, ‘was that the courses started later than other schools, so I could enjoy a couple extra weeks of vacation.’  

Claiming that ‘life is too short to get a real job’  themes relating to humanity and the nature of our contemporary society run throughout Elia’s work. He uses humour and often well thought through sarcasm to explore these topics. His aim is not to make people laugh but to make them think and alter their perception.

Work 4- Creative process- Elia Colombo

What's even cooler...

Is Elia’s decision to work as a freelance designer, preferring to control how much of his life and time is taken up with design work he has been quoted as saying...

“I prefer to dedicate design to my life, instead of
dedicating my life to design.'

This statement suggests he doesn’t have goals specifically related to his career but to his life as a whole and working independently allows him to achieve them in his own way.

This is a whole new creative approach which means he’s not tied down by classic career conventions. This could potentially offer a far more relaxed lifestyle?

work 5- Design thinking- Elia Colombo

How does he get such good ideas?

Idea block, we’ve all been there. Maybe you started out thinking something would work but it hasn’t or you just can’t get started on a project. Trying to force great ideas never works, again Elia has a very relaxed creative approach to idea generation and we think he’s kind of cracked it! 

He equates catching ideas to a fisherman waiting to catch a fish:

The fisherman doesn’t know where his fish exactly is, and he can’t decide which one to catch. He only knows that there’s plenty of fish in the sea. So he waits. When it comes to having ideas, it works the same – we float on the sea of thought, totally unaware of what swims beneath us. We don’t know where to find ideas – like the fisherman we have to wait, ready to catch what comes to us on its own.’

New ideas are essential to what we do and how we get them depends on an individual person and individual project. If you’re feeling stuck it’s always good to shake it up and try new creative approaches to finding innovative solutions.

Finally, the bit you have been waiting for!

Elia produces illustrations for Adobe Stock. After discovering his vast library our team wanted to know more about his creative approach and how he uses the Adobe software. We emailed him to ask several questions about this topic and below are his fab answers

Q&A

Q. How and when did you learn to use the Adobe software?

A. I discovered Adobe softwares back in 2007, during my college. I used to work with those softwares for study reasons, but in the meantime I developed my skills on my own, secretly working on personal projects.   

Q. How and when did you learn to use the Adobe software?

A. I discovered Adobe softwares back in 2007, during my college. I used to work with those softwares for study reasons, but in the meantime I developed my skills on my own, secretly working on personal projects.   

Q. As an illustrator at what point in your working process do you start to work in the Abobe software? Do you use a wide range of their products or just one or two programmes? 

A. My current job is strictly related to Adobe softwares. Immediately after the conceptual phase (in which consists approximately the 30% of my working flow) I move on to softwares. Usually, I can achieve my final results with Illustrator only; sometimes I also use Photoshop and InDesign for different commitments.  

Q. How important do you think software skills are for contemporary illustrators and designers? 

A. They are extremely important if not essential for designers’ life. If Leonardo da Vinci would be here today, he would surely design his stuff with Illustrator and Photoshop or whatever.   

Q. Is there a particular technique or tool you now use when developing your work which you wish you had found out about earlier? 

A. Working with the Creative Cloud suite allows me to constantly keep up with latest updates, so I always try to apply new functions to my projects.

My skills have grown together with softwares updates, even though I strongly believe that the main point here is to know the basic functions: it means that there are infinite possibilities to create what you have in mind, not only one way.


It would be great to hear about your own creative approaches and what role creativity plays in your life. 

Or if you know of an inspirational designer you would like to see featured please let us know in the comments!

Feeling inspired and want to learn some new software skills, we have just the thing take
a look at Elia Colombo’s Adobe Stock library here. Or find more of his work on Twitter & Instagram

About the author 

Emily Melling

Emily Melling studied a degree in Visual Communication, after graduating she became a freelance graphic designer, specialising in Branding & Identity. She enjoys developing working relationships with clients and other creatives who are open to exploring new and innovative ideas. Passionate about developing creative connections, learning and sharing new design skills/techniques and following new trends and technological updates within the industry she now works at Yes I'm A Designer as our Digital Marketing Manager.

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