Francisco Salvado: Shaping the Future of Digital Communication

The Notebook | 22nd February 2018

The creative polymath behind some of the most pioneering intelligent online luxury content on the power of music and the importance of daily meditation

There are a number of unsung creatives who work at the cutting-edge of digital and visual culture whose work is so prevalent that you will likely have come across it without ever knowing the identity of the hand that crafted it. One such figure is Francisco Salvado, the founder of the creative studio SoonIsNow–a creative polymath who works across multiple disciplines in a dizzying spectrum of media. Cutting his teeth in the noughties under the tutelage of Nick Knight at ShowStudio, Salvado has carved an enviable niche that has witness him work with some of the most recognisable names in the style culture sphere, having a hand in creating digital identities for magazines such as AnOther, Flaunt and Dazed & Confused, and creating cross-channel collaborations with countless brands, such as Stella McCartney, Vetements and Maison Martin Margiela. It is testament to his penchant for staying one-step-ahead-of-the-game that he was one of the first creatives to recognise the way in which Instagram would transform the landscape of visual culture, launching TheInstaPaper some seven years ago–a conceptual book printed entirely out of Instagram images from the accounts of leading artists and image-makers. Here, the member of Mortimer House and founder of one of the first contemporary digital platforms to pioneer luxury online intelligent content across fashion, art and culture tells The Notebook how his passion for music shaped his trans-disciplinary nature, and why face-to-face creative communion is vital for authentic communication in the digital age.

Tell us about your journey to become the founder of Soon Is Now–how did it all begin?
It all began with a love for music and the culture around it–the photography, album design, style, music videos... I taught myself piano at nine years old, then guitar, bass and drums, and ended up moving from Buenos Aries to Berlin towards the end of the 90s to study music technology. Following that, I ended up in London. I was fascinated by the advent of the internet, and embarked on an art and design course, which then led to a degree in Internet Systems Engineering. At that time, digital publishing was set to explode, and I seemed to be at the right place at the right time. The journey to found SOON IS NOW was very organic from there. I was in need of a roof to host all the collaborations I was starting to develop both with brands as well as other creatives–a creative studio working across digital, brand development, user experience design and advertising. In this media landscape, the only constant is change, which relates to the name of the studio. It’s about the need to constantly re-invent yourself. Fast.

What would you say are the key principles you need to stick to in order to build a brand?
I believe the key principle to build a brand is to have a very clearly defined DNA to begin with–from there, the amplification methods and platform strategy can change and adapt. In 2018, the main challenge within the digital space could be said to be the saturation of content, and the difficulty to reach your very own audience, with the constant algorithm changes being pushed by Facebook and Instagram. In this scenario, being original and having an authentic, unique point-of-view is more important than ever.

Are there any disciplines you follow daily that keep you on top of things?
I start the day with five to ten minutes of Transcendental Meditation in the morning, and also sometimes before going to sleep, when time allows me to do so. I also try to exercise three to five times a week–running, boxing, yoga. This is something I started about a year ago out of necessity, after reaching near burnout in 2016. One of the biggest risks for our generation is mental health, so the sooner you learn to take this matter seriously, the better.

How do you feel the world of work is changing?
Many tasks that used to be hugely time consuming are now incredibly fast, and that can only be a positive thing–collaboration is also easier and industry is being digitised and improved, on the whole. On the other hand, all these incredible new tools and technology that we have at our disposal, are not necessarily being used to improve society. On the contrary. Google, Facebook and Amazon have a complete monopoly of the internet, and now also retail, and that makes them too powerful–regulation is imminent if we want to live in a better society. I also agree with Bill Gates when he says that the robot that takes your job should pay taxes.

Talk to us about your other life as a musician…
Music was always my more distinct talent. I have the ability to pretty much play any instrument. Music’s abstract nature and ability to move people, as well as carrying emotions through invisible frequencies amazes me every day. There is a quote from Einstein that has always stuck with me: ‘I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin’. In my case, it would be the piano. I am currently working on a few records, to be released whenever time allows to do so, and have been DJing on a regular basis… so, watch this space!

Interview: John-Paul Pryor