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Meet: Arnau Ros

Arnau smiling to the camera
  • Written byEleanor Harvey
  • Published date 15 August 2022
Arnau smiling to the camera
Arnau Ros

In the last 2 years, digital product designer Arnau Ros has built up a YouTube channel that currently has over 15k followers. He originally set it up during his BA course at Central Saint Martins, UAL as a way to show clients and potential companies who he is and what his work is like. His videos focus on creative and practical ways for designers to improve their service to clients.

Currently living in Barcelona, Spain Arnau graduated in 2021 with a BA in Product Design and Industrial Design course from CSM.  Alongside his YouTube channel, he's also a website designer and most recently he's added another string to his bow; Arnau was invited to host a workshop as part of the World Design Capital Valencia 2022.

You graduated from the BA Product Design and Industrial Design course at CSM. What was your experience of the course and the College like?

My experience at CSM was really positive. There was a lot of excitement when I got accepted; it was a dream of mine.

Throughout the course, I learned much about how to think as a designer. The course wasn’t focused so much on specific skill sets, such as developing excellent photoshop skills, but more on how to think like a designer and how designers look at things differently. It brought a whole new world to light and was incredibly valuable.

I can’t think of any negatives – although maybe I would have liked to know about the Spanish group sooner, as a group of people who speak the same language from across UAL.

It was amazing to have access to all the UAL campuses and libraries and to be surrounded by other designers. At CSM I was always surrounded by like-minded people and this amazing creative community. This was a valuable experience for me as where I came from, I was the only one who was interested in and spoke about art or design.

Arnau talking on stage
© Brava Estudio

What were the highlights of your time at CSM? 

Being surrounded by designers. I came from a school that didn’t place any importance on design, where it was seen as a hobby. So being thrown into the deep end and told to think about things like building an app, or a website, or 3D design; being encouraged to do those things was a highlight.

Another highlight was being able to take my learning from CSM and apply it to my freelance work as a digital product designer. Being able to immediately apply what I was being taught outside of the College, see how it fared, and, to be honest, see if it was easy to implement or not.

My philosophy has always been ‘whatever gets you where you want to be’.

I graduated with a 2:2, so this could also have been one of the downsides of being so inspired; I didn’t necessarily put as much time into my final project as I could have done. I was very focused on building my freelancing portfolio and network.

But when I graduated, I also had multiple clients, a successful YouTube channel and numerous opportunities lined up so, in the end, it all worked out.

As a 2021 graduate completing your final year during Covid, did you have to adapt your final project at all? If so, how? 

The BA in Product and Industrial Design includes a lot of physical projects. Because the College workshops were closed, I decided to get my final project 3D printed at an external firm. This cost me a lot more money, but the quality of the final piece was higher than what I’d have been able to achieve on the College 3D printer. I saw it as an investment.

The one thing that did change was the learning experience, as it was all online. I had also planned to do my Diploma in Professional Studies, which is where you work in the industry for the duration of an academic year between the Second and Third year.

My Diploma was meant to begin in May 2020, but it was canceled due to Covid. I went into my final year with a lot of people I didn’t know. That, plus everything being online meant I couldn’t develop as strong relationships with my coursemates in my final year. The first time I met a lot of them in person was at our Graduate Show in the summer of 2021.

I’ve stayed in touch with the people from the earlier parts of my course (pre-Covid); the in-person relationships that I made have been much more important and long-lasting.

Despite this, for me, not taking part in my Diploma was the best possible outcome. I wouldn’t have started my YouTube channel or landed multiple roles and opportunities as a freelancer; including getting to speak at the recent World Design Conference earlier this year.

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Arnau Ros

You set up your YouTube channel in 2020, and it now has over 15k subscribers. On there you share tips and breakdowns to help other creatives. What inspired you to set up the channel? 

I don’t really know!

I saw it as a way to show clients and potential companies who I am, and what my work is like. From what I could see, everyone was posting their work on Dribble, Instagram or Behance, but as a client, you never get to see the person you’ll actually be working with. Creating the channel was my way of showing partnerships who I was, what my language level was like, and what kind of work I did.

Any advice on how to start a successful channel? 

In theory, it’s straightforward right, you press record, you edit and you upload.

It took me almost 7 months from starting the channel to uploading my first video. For me the thing that held me back most was fear of other people’s opinions, of what my friends and family would think; ‘here’s this guy I’ve known for 20 years, why is he talking to a camera?!’.

But on the video content and production side, I was confident. I started with what I knew best and what I felt most comfortable doing; My first video was ‘How I Make Freelance Contracts for My Clients in 2020’.

I’ve purposely made it as low work as possible for myself. This helps me to be consistent. I publish weekly – and since I started, I haven’t missed a week.

Whilst I’d love to be able to record the videos in batches, the web-design world moves quickly and so I’d miss out on sharing cool products. By the time my video would be up, there’d be something new that everyone’s talking about.

I set aside a few hours on a Sunday to choose the topic and record. I have a look through Twitter to see what’s new and what people are talking about and then take it from there. I have a notes app list of topics I’d like to cover, but I rarely ever choose something from there!

I also no longer edit the videos myself. My first video took me a week to edit, and I’ve learned that unless you really enjoy editing it’s hard not to cut corners. It’s better left to the professionals.

It can also help to have an outside view of what I’ve created. I’ve sent videos over to my editor and he’s included reactionary gifs in the video which I’m not sure about and wouldn’t have put in myself. But people have really liked it and really responded to them. It taught me that being able to trust other people with their expertise can be beneficial when you’re a freelancer.

Some weeks I also have a sponsor, so that also shapes the content I post. I got my first sponsor pretty early on when my channel was small (around 400 subscribers). Two guys saw what I was doing and got in touch to say that they thought I’ll be a really good content creator and that they’d love me to create a video for them. It was a big boost to my confidence that what I was doing was working and reaching people in the way I wanted.

Arnau talking on stage
© Brava Estudio

And earlier this year you gave a workshop as part of the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 – how did that come about?

It was such a great experience – very different from what I usually do!

It came about from my YouTube channel. One of the types of content I create is a sort of visual podcast where I invite designers/well-known people to come on and talk.

The founder of Domestika followed me on Twitter, so I invited him onto the show, and in September/October 2021 he agreed! During the episode, he spoke about his role as a curator for the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and afterward I messaged him asking if there was any chance that I could speak.

Earlier this year I gave a 2-hour workshop called Growing Your Online Presence as a Designer. Attendees were members of different design agencies and the iF Award Committee.

I got really good feedback from the participants which was great, as it was my first ever workshop and I met some great people. I’m now in talks to be a speaker at Barcelona Design Week as well as a bunch of different events.

How does presenting a workshop differ from recording a video? 

The conference was super nerve-wracking – I had to travel a bit, and sleep overnight. One of the cool things about the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 is that it’s a year-long festival of events, so you see it all over the city. However, this also added to the nerves!

With a video, it’s quick – you press record; you’re not getting feedback as you’re recording. But with in-person events, you can see people’s reactions (or lack of!) – there are other things going on and you can question how people are reacting in real-time, like are people laughing at my jokes?

I can’t compare recording videos to public speaking as I’ve done 100s of videos and only one conference. I felt a slight wobble in my voice at the beginning of the workshop, but once I got started it felt very natural.

I want to do more workshops. It’s another way of helping people and being useful to other designers. I like to meet people, but people are also getting something out of the workshop. Thinking of it in this way helped to take some of the pressure off, as I could focus on the fact that people weren’t there for me, but for the material.

It was also great to meet new people and network. A lot of designers are kind of introverted, so if I can be a little less introverted and be the person to make the first move that’s a real bonus too.

Connect with Arnau