At Aquí, we take our cuppa Joe very seriously. Rest assured, because the same applies when it comes to design. As avid coffee drinkers, we often ask, “How do you like your coffee?” And as a creative boutique, we like to ask, “How do you like your design?” Joe is a blog segment where we - #TeamAquí - share our design inspirations.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” was a question that we were often asked as a kid. Some kids knew, while most thought they knew. No matter what you end up doing, it is always worth questioning why you are doing what you are doing today. This week, we found out from each other about how we got here - the design industry. Why design?
As far as María could recall, it was around the age of 16 when she first thought about doing design. She was sitting in Eno, a beautiful restaurant in Mexico, enjoying the Tamales (that she raved about) and thinking to herself, “Wow, this place is so cool. Who did this? Looking around her, she noticed the little things - the menu, interior, signages - and realised that they formed the perfect combination. “I was so taken by the experience I wanted to work for them,” María exclaimed with a gleam in her eye.
A great epiphany doesn’t leave you, it stays with you and continues to shape your identity. That vivid experience in the restaurant was etched in María’s mind and to be able to create that was something that continued to fascinate and motivate her. Of course, the momentous event may or may not have led her up the path to pursue Graphic Design and specialise in Branding, but it was definitely a catalyst. Today, María feels like things have come full circle. Having set up Aquí Design, she now uses design to help businesses build their brands.
“The best part about specialising in branding design is exposure to a range of businesses in different industries. Having to submerge yourself in new grounds to understand a brand is something that I look forward to in the whole process,” she said.
Design & Technology was a class that we took in secondary school that taught us about product design, it was also a class that brought out a different side of Nella, leaving her curious to explore the design world. When it was time for her to pick a specialisation in polytechnic, she knew it was going to be design-related.
“I was close to picking fashion design because it was one of the disciplines that stood out to me. Around the same time, my sister introduced me to visual communications, which I was very drawn to after doing some research. It ended up being the course that I went for,” said Nella.
Graphic design was not something that everyone was familiar with as creative disciplines were often misidentified as art. “It didn’t occur to me that there was someone such as the graphic designer creating the logos and posters that I see every day,” Nella admitted. This discovery took her on a path that she eventually stuck to till today. The more she learnt about graphic design, the more fun it started to get.
Being the curious person that she is, Nella tells us that design plays an important role in widening her perspective of the world as she is often introduced to new things through the process. Sharing the same sentiment with María, she adds, “You get to learn a lot about other industries as part of your practice and that is huge for me.”
We all know a person who loves art and craft, the one who makes very original birthday cards and spends time on DIY projects. Evelyn was that person. “My parents enrolled me in art class at a young age. That was when I started to develop an interest in art and wanted to pursue it as a career,” Evelyn recalled. At the time, being an artist wasn’t an ambition that would sit well with parents. Evelyn’s mother would suggest alternative occupations to persuade her daughter out of making what she thought was a risky decision.
“I used to make posters for school events in primary school and I was quite good at it. When asked what I wanted to do, my answer would always be designing book covers and posters. Despite the saying, I thought book covers were really important” said Evelyn, trying to piece together her story. Similar to Nella, she eventually selected visual communications as her specialisation as it was the closest tradeoff. The introduction to graphic design showed her opportunities that include and extend beyond book covers.
“As a graphic designer, I think being able to work on vastly different subjects makes the biggest difference in my job because it makes it far more exciting and less repetitive,” said Evelyn.
Some of us grew up knowing that we wanted to do something creative, but there are also a good amount of people in the creative industry who pivoted at a later stage. Growing up, Yu Ting recalls not being much of a creative person as she brought up the example of being hand-held during her art classes. It wasn’t until the day she was handed a camera that she realised how fun it was to capture things from her own perspective.
“I was interested in photography for a while and during that time I was exposed to Photoshop, the powerful software that could transform a photo,” said Yu Ting. The fact that appearances could change perceptions was something that fascinates her till this day. She started experimenting with design and layout on PowerPoint for her school presentations and always took on the most creative roles in group projects.
The early stages of Yu Ting’s career were when she was introduced to UX design and learnt more about Design Thinking. Her inclination to being in the creative realm brought her to where she is today. What she would describe as sheer fate actually looks more like affinity to us.
“There are a lot of aspects to designing that people don’t know about as the industry tends to be output-driven. Designers put in a lot of thought and reasoning to make sure they communicate the right message. It requires a lot of questioning and understanding what I love,” Yu Ting said, reflecting.
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