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Featured Design Studio

Asis

September 2018

Francisco Andriani & Clara Fernández Co-founders and Studio Directors, as well as both Graphic Designers of Asís are a bit of a dream team bouncing ideas off each other, obsessing over details and working with each others differences to produce the best work possible! As well as being each others #1 fan — we're big fans of what these guys are doing with Asís. Check out what they have to share about how they got started and some SUPER tips on what they look for in a portfolio 😍

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? + Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

Clara: I always knew that I wanted to work in some creative activity, but when I was in high school it was not clear to me what exactly I wanted to do. I liked literature, cinema, painting, architecture and many other things. I started studying the Graphic Design career without being completely sure what it meant to be a Graphic Designer. It was at the university where I fell in love with design. It was possible thanks to the passion and dedication of some of my teachers, who woke up in me the love for typography, the obsession with morphological exploration and the deep interest in visual communication. I have to say that I owe this happy discovery to FADU (University of Buenos Aires).

Francisco: I consider myself as a very visual person. I’ve always liked drawing and ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with cartoons, animation, CGI, character design. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d say a comic book artist, a video game designer, a street artist, always something in that path. When I was older, unlike Clara, finishing school I knew the only thing I wanted to study was Graphic Design, but same as her, I had no real idea of what it was all about. It was at FADU where I really fell in love with design and typography, and on my first job as a designer at NNSS, I confirmed I really enjoyed the day to day of our profession.

We both studied Graphic Design and graduated at FADU (University of Buenos Aires). We met in 2010, and after a couple of years of friendship, being part of a large group of friends, we started dating at the end of 2012. As we lived 50km from each other and both had full time jobs (both as Senior Designers, Clara at Bridger Conway (now Conway & Partners) and Francisco at DHNN), we only saw each other on the weekends. A year and a half later, both of us decided to quit our jobs and move in together to a lovely apartment that now functions as home and design studio, in Coghlan, a quiet neighborhood in the city of Buenos Aires. We started working as Asís the 1st of January of 2015.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

We are Asís, a Buenos Aires based graphic design studio. We believe that the greatest potential of our studio is the ability to adapt and create personalized creative good looking solutions. We aim to give each project its own voice, so we work hard to challenge ourselves to find the right visual language for each project. That way we help brands tell their story.

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

— Starting with your About or CV: It has to be well written, and have clear information. Don’t leave out important data that could be of interest to your potential employer, and don’t cramp it up with irrelevant facts like past jobs that have nothing to do with your current search. Also, don’t over design it.

— Curate your portfolio: Show only your best work, start with the strongest! Don’t show too much work, you don’t want to bore your audience, but enough to see quality consistency. 4-6 projects would be ideal for us. So stay updated, add new projects when possible and remove some old stuff you don’t feel like showing anymore.

— Online presence: Having an online portfolio is a must —Behance is our go to— you have so much reach that way. You could be approached by a client you didn’t know, past clients could recommend you easier, you’ll pop up on agencies searches when they are looking for designers, and besides that, we hate downloading pdfs, but that might be personal!!

— Specify your role: Be honest about your responsibilities on team/large projects.

— Big images: No collages or mosaics and thumbnails. Give your images some breathing room. Pixelated images are a big no-no.

— Don’t show only “real life” projects: Most of the time when you are starting you aren’t getting the best clients, so show some personal / self initiated projects, or made up cases (always stating it’s not real/commissioned) where you could display your abilities and fields of work you are interested in. It’s also the best way to get better at it, just doing it!

— And last but not least at all, is the presentation. Attention to detail, show you care about your work, and how you show it is a reflection of that. Don’t use mockup templates, your portfolio has to look personal, not like everybody else’s. Get your projects to look as professional as possible. We think the most important thing as a designer, is having visual sensitivity. The ability to look at something and knowing or feeling if it’s just right, if it’s pleasing to the eye. This is something trainable, by having a vast visual culture, sucking like a sponge everything you see, analyzing it and finding why it’s working or not.

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Don’t show only “real life” projects: Most of the time when you are starting you aren’t getting the best clients, so show some personal / self initiated projects, or made up cases

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What do you look for in a great client?

We are interested in projects where the client really values graphic design and places all his trust in us, giving us the freedom to create, to propose, to generate innovative ideas. Regardless of whether it’s a small or huge project, the freedom you have to work or propose will define the degree of pleasure and interest you feel towards the project.

Working with someone who doesn’t trust your work as a designer is a problem we prefer to avoid. It doesn’t bother us to have a demanding client or having a certain degree of discussion during the process, but we think that if the client doesn’t trust our professionalism and criteria, it makes no sense to hire us. Work will never be extraordinary if we can’t work freely or we are dissatisfied with what we are doing.

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

Francisco: We are a small team, just the two of us, but we work perfectly since we share criteria, and taste in relation to design, although each one has its own style and well differentiated skills.

We usually identify which project or stage of a project is the right fit for each of us. We try to work on what we like best and do better, although we are both present throughout the whole process.

We are both terribly obsessive and we like to make sure we are doing our best for each project. We are the greatest admirers of the other’s work but at the same time the fiercest critics.

Clara: I like to think new ideas, create the concept behind a brand, imagine the graphic universe and spirit that will be present in each project. While Francisco is much more thorough, rigorous and fine in his work, he’s in charge of bringing my intentions to reality. He’s incredibly talented and makes beautiful pieces with an enviable naturalness.

I’m more organized and foresighted. I like to work with time to spare and I am more rigorous with the established times we set for a project because when I know I have little time for something, my creative abilities get stuck. On the other hand, Francisco gets along very well working against the clock and can solve great things at the last minute.

We have well differentiated skills and we work with that, but sometimes we try switching the roles to challenge ourselves and in that way to achieve different results. We try to avoid repeating processes because we always want to create different, unique and better things. It's important for us presenting works we are pleased with the results. If it doesn’t make us happy, we can’t expect it will make our clients happy.

Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

We are in the middle of an economic crisis in Argentina (it feels it’s always a crisis, but at this moment, things are going down hard and fast), so probably in the next few months we’ll try to find some time to update our portfolio with some nice unpublished projects we made the last year and have under our sleeves, trying to catch some attention and get new international clients, hopefully.

We also know that in a near future we’ll have to expand, but we still want to remain as a boutique studio. We are very obsessive with our work and we don’t want to loose the opportunity to be fully immersed in every project, every moment.

We are aware that if we want to take larger projects, we’ll need to grow as a team, and to do that, first we need to find a bigger place. We’re just waiting for the right moment and the right people to help us get even better results.

Website: https://weareasis.co

Instagram: @weareasis.co

Twitter: @franandriani

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