Interview with Stefano Marrone - Gold in Computer Animation 2018 - Indigo Design Award
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Interview with Stefano Marrone

Indigo Award Interviews with winning designers

A Moment with Stefano Marrone—
The spark behind Nucco Brain

Gold in Professional Mix Media/Moving Image

by Christina Lauren | 16 January 2019

The craft of storytelling stems from an innate form of the subconscious in which people strive to connect with one another through narrative. We tell the story of our daily musings and situational sequencing; what’s more, we use the subsequent expression to connect with one another. Milano designer Stefano Marrone well understood that the key to successful dialogue in marketing was through the simple knack of telling a story. When the designer created Nucco Brain five years ago, his plan was straightforward: “We blend the old world and new— the ancient tradition of storytelling and a youthful curiosity for diving headfirst into the latest technologies in content production, animation, video recording, and audio recording. We design visual experiences that capture the attention of an increasingly distracted audience,” the founder says. “And that’s why our clients stick around,” he adds.

This early art of narration filled the void between communication and expression, it became an intriguing means to an end through imagination. The creative narrators behind Nucco Brain, a visual storytelling studio focused on business-to-business and branded content production, aim to implement this innate nature into contemporary web design and social communication. Marrone, the genius behind it all, recounts the days leading up to becoming a designer. “I always loved drawing since I can remember, and I have always been interested in storytelling. I had a chance to start working in an advertising agency when I was studying for my BA, thanks to a friend who was in an internship at Leo Burnett Milan. I kept working with them regularly as a freelancer for years,” says Marrone. His gratitude for the opportunity is evident, as it led the designer down the fast-track of success he is on today.

Stories are a powerful mode of persuasion, and collaboration is crucial to appease clientele while simultaneously merging their visions with the one set by the professional. Marrone’s approach to design is similar: “At Nucco Brain, collaboration with the client is also an important part of our process. At the beginning of every new project, we take time to research the brand that we are working with. This research involves workshops with our client which allows us to understand their mission and values,” he says. Due to this sense of unity, Marrone has developed a standard to which criticism is a positive force to be reckoned with. “You are not your target audience,” Marrone states when asked about the best piece of advice he can offer. The young entrepreneur further molds this mentality into his client feedback, adding— “I always try to understand where they come from if there is something that might have been lost in translation and why expectations were not met. I try not to take it personally. It’s a critique of the work, not of me as a person,” he says.

Perhaps the popularity behind Marrone’s methodology is that it links us back to the days of prehistoric communication. To the designer, the most important concept “is the idea that, at a very core level, humans resonate with concepts and stories that are universal. Our job as designers and storytellers is to find the right angle to tap into that core for different target audiences,” he says. Universal storytelling allows people to remember the narrative and tap into their emotions through the experience, and the creative minds behind Nucco Brain do just that. Further, merging concepts to appease an audience is key. “One of our earliest projects is a short film called At First Sight. I particularly liked it because it merges 2D and 3D animation in a smart way to create a very distinct look and feel. To me, a good example of knowing your craft well is when you can create stunning projects in a shoestring,” says Marrone. To well know one’s craft, the team must stay current on up and coming movements of the industry,

In the fast-paced realm of visual design and branding, it’s crucial to stay informed with the latest trends. Nucco Brain turns to social platforms such as Behance, Pinterest, and Instagram in order to track talent and stay on top of current projects. According to Marrone, a great way to stay involved is through major design events and festivals. When asked what currently fascinates, he states: “I love to understand the true structure of organizations and how they work in order the help them in a lasting way with storytelling and design. It might seem far from the world of design, but I’m interested in producing content with a real positive impact on people’s lives, at work or outside it.” Nucco Brain has participated in like endeavors as well, backing organizations such as both the D&AD and the D&AD New Blood Festival as one of their fringe hosts. “Taking part in such events not only allow us to discover new artists but also see the type of work being done out there,” he says.

Nucco Brain is killing it in their field, and to determine such success the team behind the Brain turns to client satisfaction and web analytics. A recent achievement? “The YouTube version of the [visual recording] animation we produced for EDF, Nuclear Symphony. To this day, it has gathered close to 7 million views on YouTube since its release in March 2018.

And just like a story, there’s always something new unfolding— that’s what Stefano Marrone enjoys most about his work, “The fact that it’s never repetitive. Working with different clients allows you to discover something new about new industries every day,”

Clients and viewers can look forward to future collaboration with the Unit 9 Group, an impressionable family of visual storytellers whose accolades span cities all over the globe. Marrone’s prediction—” I look forward to our studio becoming even more integrated with the group’s departments, in order to serve our clients at best.” To find out more about Stefano Marrone and the masterminds behind Nucco Brain, visit www.nuccobrain.com.

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