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The Design Conference Brisbane – TDCBNE 2018

It’s a great honour and a huge pleasure to have been invited to speak at this year’s The Design Conference Brisbane 2018 alongside an amazing and diverse line-up of local and international creatives.

This is my second public speaking gig, and the first one with such a large audience. I’ll be sharing with you my journey, my personal and professional struggles, my new Green Fairy font release and my upcoming solo exhibition in Spain at Centre d’Art La Panera.

Brisbane, I’m coming up at you again!
May 9 – 11, 2018

In the lead up to my talk, I talked to The Design Conference Brisbane and answered a few questions.

 

What are you passionate about besides your work?

I love traveling, spending time in nature, swimming and watching movies.

How would you describe your work and your influences?

I would describe my work as intricate, nostalgic and colourful, with tints of humour if possible. Humour connects us to a deeper level and makes the viewer relate to my work.

What is your vision for the future of design?

If I could dream about the future of graphic design and visual communication, it would be an inclusive, supportive and caring community where transparency is key and where we have a union to join forces, stipulate minimum salaries for each level of expertise, legal departments that protect us and even medical health insurance for our community.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face during your career?

Isolation.

Coming to Australia by myself and living so far from my comfort zone was hard. Being away from friends and family, and learning a new language at the age of twenty-nine was a huge challenge, but loads of good things came along the way.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

The internal dialogue with myself. The pressure having to answer all my own questions.

The many difficult moments listening to my own inner voice telling me that I won’t be able to make it, or that it is too hard, or even that it is a waste of time. Most of the times, I push through and stop “feeding the beast”, but not always.

My limited experience in typeface design has taught me that there is no right or wrong, everything is measured optically. No one can tell you that there is a unique way of doing things; it is up to you to find it and take your own decisions along the way.

What is the best piece of advice you have heard, which you would like to pass on to others?

Good shit takes time.

Social media, smart phones and instant messages have created the illusion that things happen in a blink of an eye, getting an instant result or gratification.

In my calligraphy workshops I always tell students that mastering a technique takes a huge amount of time; otherwise every second person would be an accomplished professional calligrapher.

I learned Copperplate for the first time in 2011 and only in the last 12 months I have seen the results of my practise.

Stick to your daily practice (whatever it is) and record/file all your work in progress. Being able to see your own improvements is one of the biggest motivators to keep you moving forward.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from my day a day life. The people I am surrounded by, my neighbourhood, my partner, my family and the nature in Australia.

What originally influenced you to pursue design?

My grandmother has been a huge influence in my life. She was a fashion designer and a dress maker. With her assistance, at the age of sixteen I started to cut and sew my own garments, and I loved it.

So at the age of eighteen I applied for a fashion degree. I was not convinced that you can make a living as a fashion designer, so I decided to enrol for a graphic design degree simultaneously —as everyone knows that graphic designers make soooo much more money! (LOL).

That year, I spent my days drawing fashion silhouettes and my nights typesetting in Pagemaker and QuarkXpress.

In 1995 –while studying fashion and graphic design–, Paco Rabanne released XS. I remember discovering the perfume’s packaging. Something about these letters caught my attention and I could not stop thinking about them for months.

By the end of that academic course, I decided to only specialise in graphic design as I would have the opportunity to learn more about letterforms.

Do you have a life motto which you live by?

The best is yet to come.

Being a solo full-time freelance designer means you have to absolutely believe in what you do; have the passion and tenacity for it; don’t give up when things go wrong or very wrong; hope that all your hard work will someday pay off and have faith in yourself; and that’s a lot of things to carry on mentally on a daily basis.

Keeping myself positive is the key for not losing my shit.

What are some of the methods you employ to staying motivated and enthused on the daily?

I tell myself way too often “where am I going?” and “why am I still doing this when it feels so hard?” But then, I go for a walk in nature and take perspective looking at the big picture.

I look at myself ten years ago and I compare where I was and where I am today. I look at myself five years ago and I can see my trajectory and all the good things that have come my way.

The day a day is really hard because we don’t see the progression of our career, only taking care of the small battles that come to our inbox.

As humans, we adjust fast and then we forget how things were only a few months or few years ago. I take for granted things like I can live and work in this country; I can speak three languages and understand a fourth one; I hold a dual citizenship; I do what I love for a living… And the list goes on and on.

I forget that I am a privileged person, complaining about details that really don’t matter in the big scheme of things.

Then, I remember those times when I had to work sixty hours a week combining a full-time graphic design job with a bartender job at a night club in Barcelona… Then, I breath in deeply, and go back to work.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt getting to where you are today?

Never stop learning, work very hard, trust in your potential and find the people who believes in you and stick to them.

Last year I became a proud member of Alphabettes, an amazing group of women in the type design world. I have a huge admiration for all its members and I have learnt a lot since then.

Listening to female voices in the industry means a lot to me; they encourage my work and help me to build confidence.

What was your first job?

My first job was working at a factory packing potato chips in a chain at forty-two degrees. It was my first summer job at high school.

My first industry-related job was working at a digital printing house, taking care of production while I was studying Graphic Design in Barcelona.

What is something which most people do not know about you?

I own a Vespa which I rode around Brisbane and now Melbourne for the last ten years.

I have been riding motorbikes since I was ten years old. My father is a cyclist and a motorbike aficionado. I remember being at the front of his bright blue Lambretta standing up between my father and the handle bars of the bike and riding around with him.

At the age of fourteen, I bought my first scooter and I have been riding since then.

What’s your thoughts on creative block, and in your opinion do you think it exists?

In 2011, after delivering my first typeface design project, I was exhausted and I could not create for a couple of months.

In 2015 I experienced a massive creative block after my first solo exhibition. I learned that this is also called “post-exhibition blues”.

Last year I worked on my Green Fairy font family for nine months straight; in September I submitted the font files to a distributor followed by my first public speaking gig at Typism Conference. After that, I again faced a creative block.

I have now realised that I do suffer of creative block after delivering a major project as my brain is completely fried.

I don’t have any magic answers for solving creative block. In my opinion, these are your body signs saying “you need to rest/take some time off”.

Going for a walk in nature is one of my best recipes to give myself a break. Physical activities where my body moves more and my brain works less typically work for me.

Trying new tools to experiment with different outcomes and doing something completely new for the first time can fresh up the air inside your bubble.

What is your favourite creative medium and why?

I get bored easily so my favourite part of my work is being able to jump between analogue and digital mediums or combine them both if possible.