We recently caught up with Juan Carlos Ytō, the Design Director at Brandlab. He gives us an intriguing insight into how he has evolved into a motivator, knowledge facilitator, and "psychologist" through his teaching, and we're introduced to the small yet hardworking team at Brandlab and how they 'firmly believe in the power of brands to change the world'.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

We firmly believe in the power of brands to change the world. Ok, maybe not the whole world but if we manage to make, for example, that students feel proud of belonging to their university, or that the annual cancer collection doubles their income, or that the shopping experience in a hallway supermarket is more pleasant, we know we have achieved our goal. We are convinced that design is capable of influencing the lives of people. We do not seek clients, we look for ambitious and audacious partners, passionate as we are, willing to play all their cards for a common vision and that allows us to explore their DNA, vision, and culture. We create significant brands, meaningful and alive.

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

I admire the conceptual beauty of Javier Jaén, I consider his work intellectual, elegant, visually very strong and, above all, I admire how he always avoids clichés. I also loved Sascha Lobe's work for Bauhaus, in general, I love each of his projects, his typographical choices, and visual compositions. The work of Verónica Fuerte at Hey Studio is incredible, she is not afraid of color, you can even say she is color. Veronica is one of the few designers who manage to keep a very coherent, consistent portfolio with high standards. Additionally, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop given by Felix Pfäffli, it was one of the most interesting experiences at a professional level, he stands out from other designers with his creative process and the way he approaches each project. I would definitely have any of his posters in my room or living room, actually anywhere. Finally, I admire Astrid Stavro, who recently became a partner in Pentagram, I usually go back to her work every time I get overwhelmed by the passing trends if I had to define her art in one word it would be: timeless.

Design work by Brandlab The Design Kids interviews Brandlab work-2

What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day

Best: The sound of the iMac getting started, have a good laugh at the funny comments they make in design blogs, definitely coffee at mid-morning. Look for some new typography for a project or just for fun, I enjoy seeing where my colleagues are going, giving feedback and receiving them. I like to cultivate my capacity for amazement, it can be a project in Behance, a tweet by Michael Beirut, a video by James Victore or a cover in Coverjunkie.

Worst: "InDesign has closed unexpectedly." I hate it when I do not have enough time to finish what I had proposed, when my mail got messed up and I received the whole day's emails all at once, I hate meetings without an agenda, interruptions in the creative process and searching for a Pantone code at night.

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

Our team is not large in quantity but great in talent and passion. There's Luciana, she's our Brand Manager Director. She is responsible for negotiating, planning and managing the studio, she keeps the big wheel rolling. Thus, we are a studio that integrates our creative area with the executive team to deliver our projects on the best possible way.

In the creative area, we are three design directors working with a team of six designers. First is Kuro, one of the three Design Directors. He is the wise of our team, to whom we constantly go to consult and receive his very rigorous feedbacks. I consider that my professional life, and also the personal one, has a before and after having worked with him. Naka is the other Design Director, a key member of the team and the architect of the studio's graphic style. We have a very similar perspective of graphic design, I could say that we think almost in the same way, sometimes we even say the same phrases. Then there are Jhesse and Andres, our Senior Designers. They joined almost at the same time and also, they are a couple and actually complete each other as a team: Andres is a thinker, strategist, and researcher, and Jhesse is committed, meticulous and empathetic. Tadashi, is a Designer and one of the youngest members of the team, talented and very quick in making decisions, I predict a great future ahead for him. Then we have Joe, also a designer, he is finding his own voice and leadership little by little. Andrea, our other Designer, is a special case, I had never met a designer with many talents and resources as her, I admire her determination and constant seek for knowledge. Also, we have Amanda, our Intern Designer, we see in her great potential and talent.

Then we have our executive team who work every day with Luciana. First, Adriana is our Project Supervisor, her role is to maintain the best conditions for the success of our brand projects, for both, customers and suppliers. Then there is Monica, is a new member of the team, she is a Project Manager and also dedicated to market research topics. And last but not least, is Ximena, our Project Assistant, she has the role of keeping the projects fluid and dynamic so that none of the processes stop.

Design work by Brandlab The Design Kids interviews Brandlab work-4
Design work by Brandlab The Design Kids interviews Brandlab work-4

We are convinced that design is capable of influencing the lives of people.

Are you involved in any teaching and if so how it shapes your practice?

The fascinating thing about design is that it offers multiple ways of practicing it. One of them is teaching others how to design. I believe that teaching is a challenge because it is not about my own work or perspective, but about how to get the student to find his/her own voice and method of design. So, I am no longer just a designer, I now have to become a motivator, knowledge facilitator, "psychologist" and accompany the youth at the beginning of their careers. The most difficult thing in teaching is to see students not as what they are today, but as what they may become in the future. When I see young people, I see people capable of being passionate and committed to the purpose of their lives, my job is not to tell them where to go, but to urge them to question themselves and transcend.

What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

At Brandlab we know that talent, technique, and knowledge can be worked with effort and dedication. But for us the passion and love that a designer should have with the profession are not negotiable. This translates directly into rigor, a constant search for excellence and hunger for knowledge. When we interview a possible intern, we opt for those in which we see a spark in his eyes when he talks about design. We are interested in the background, not the form. We are looking for good people, who join the team either with their talent or their personality. All talent is welcome at Brandlab, we believe in the richness of a multidisciplinary team and commitment to what it does.

Design work by Brandlab The Design Kids interviews Brandlab work-6
Design work by Brandlab The Design Kids interviews Brandlab work-6

Where to find Brandlab online.



Twitter: __yto

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