October 20, 2017

Five Questions with Maria Giudice: VP of Experience Design at Autodesk

In 1997, Maria Giudice founded Hot Studio, an experience design firm that grew into a full-service creative agency with Fortune 500 clients and an abundance of awards—including 10 Webbys. When Facebook acquired the company in 2013, Maria stayed on as Director of Product Design until 2015, when she joined Autodesk.

Throughout her stellar career, Maria has pursued a vision of intelligent, elegant, and people-centered design. Today she shares a few of her thoughts about the creative process in the Q&A below. 

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an artist. I started painting at a very young age, inspired by my uncle, Frank Frazzetta. [See some of his iconic fantasy art at Frazetta Art Museum.] Also at a young age, I was able to make money doing what I loved to do. In public school, I would paint window displays during the holidays. When I was 15, I painted dog portraits for $25. Moving up in my high school years, I painted jean jackets (while babysitting) for $100.”

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“Oh, we are happily married (and the sex is still good!). Whether it’s designing a physical object or brainstorming in a high-level strategy meeting, I treat all problems like a design problem: solvable through imagination and metrics.”

How or where do you find inspiration?

“From people I work with. I’m very inspired by seeing former Hot Studio employees thriving in their design careers. And, naturally, I take credit for all their past, present, and future successes.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Working inside large corporations. They come with their own rhythms, their own organizational issues, and own brands of politics. Navigating and innovating through all that is an art unto itself.”

Who is one of your heroes and why?

“John Maeda is my spiritual design soul mate. He is the Yoda for design and a great human being to boot. Richard Saul Wurman taught me what it means to design things to help people make sense of the world. He was the OG [original gangster] of information design, and I learned so much from him. Then, of course, there’s Prince.”

BONUS ROUND: What’s your favorite digital or nondigital tool?

“A quill pen with a clean nib that can glide across a beautiful sheet of BFK Rives paper.”

In January, as part of the awesome speaker lineup at the In/Visible Talks conference, Maria will share more of her wisdom in her talk, “Remaking the Making Company.” You don’t want to miss this, get your ticket today!