Watching my mother paint and then eventually painting with her. I really think it is so important to do things with your hands. Sometimes we get caught up behind the computer and it gets us stuck. At the moment, I’m trying to find the time to paint again!
Thanks to my mother, I studied at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Milan, Italy. Ever since I was very young, my mom enrolled me into art classes – I think it was to boost my self-confidence since I was never really good at school. When I graduated, she pushed me to apply to IED thinking that it might be a better fit than a traditional college in the US. Italy opened my mind. All my friends were designers, artists and musicians – I began to learn so much and felt so inspired by all the people around me from the entire world learning and loving design. It was a great choice and really happened by accident.
My first job was as a designer in a big ad agency. I really didn’t like it and I didn’t have the “ad agency skill set” I needed to excel. I was ok at photoshop, but not excellent and at this type of job it was more about being a technician than a skilled thinker. This is when I first started thinking that if I was going to live in Colombia, I was going to have to create my own studio so I could do the work I wanted to do. Since then, Colombia has evolved and there are now many design studios that are truly design driven.
I do take internships. I think they are great! The most important thing is to find a studio that is interested in hearing your ideas and learning from you! I would suggest coming into the studio with some ideas and not just expecting to get a “to do” list. Studios are busy and have a lot going on, make sure you are asking for what you want to learn.
Trust and respect. Great clients know they are not designers. Great clients respect the work you do and trust you to do it well. It has to be a two-way street. You have to also respect what your client does (never work for people that you don’t like or respect; it will most likely not end well).
We are all designers here besides Leidi, our office manager (who we would be lost without). Our team: Diana Gaitan, Carlos Tamara, Daniel Gaona. It’s nice to work with a group of people that have the same interests and passions you do. We all want to create projects we love and are proud of. It’s a great team, they are all so talented and I learn from them every day. Not only do I admire and respect them as designers and professionals but also as individuals. We work and play which makes coming to the office every day a pleasure. Very lucky.
Working on websites and not really knowing what I was doing. This was when I first ventured out on my own (I thought it was a studio but really I was doing freelance work). That was a tough lesson, but I never made the same mistake again. Don’t offer to do something if you don’t know how to do it. I am a pleaser by nature and this specific lesson was hard for me. If a client asked me to do something I always wanted to say yes. Your clients will trust you more if you learn how to say NO.
Read more, be more curious. Ask more questions. I was a late bloomer in terms of curiosity. It was not until my mid or late 20s that I felt I wanted more! Don’t make that mistake. The earlier you know what you want and what your goals are the better.