We recently had a chat with Fagerström Creative Director Puli Arancibia. Puli gives us a lovely insight into her university years and her day-to-day at Fagerström, plus we discuss internships, hobbies and explore valuable ideas and advice for students starting out.

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?

I remember when I was studying at university, during the early years of my career, I had a wrong or very different idea of what it was like to be a ‘designer’ and I could not quite convince myself that I would dedicate my life to this. Until I met a professor who was a true passionate about design and he knew how to transmit his passion. This teacher knew how to encourage me and he explained to me what a designer really does, something that until then nobody had transmitted to me with clarity. Then I understood that behind a good design there should be a concept and that the graphic resolution of a project can have infinite interpretations. Also, that's when I understood that we design from what we are and we transmit, consciously or unconsciously, part of what we are to our work, and if this work is good enough we can leave a mark or seal that makes each project unique.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

Every day is different. There are no equal days in our study and it depends mostly on the projects we are working on and the tasks we have scheduled for the week. In the morning I run, enough to feel that my head has been ‘reseted’ from the previous day. Once we arrive at the studio we plan the work day, always accompanied by music. When we are working for a project this captures most of our attention and we have the feeling that it absorbs all our time and energy, although we always try to dedicate some time to spreading our work and developing self-managed projects for the simple pleasure of exploring and experimenting creative concepts, ideas and new graphic solutions. The day always starts and ends with music :)

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

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

It is difficult to choose between so many creative and talented studios/agencies and designers, but we’ll try. Here we go!

Two Time Elliott (London, UK):

Foreign Policy (Singapore):

Underline Studio (Toronto, Canada):

Design By Toko (Sydney, Australia):

By North (Bodø, Norway):

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

At first, you do not know very well how to do it, but with time and practice you will inevitably find your own style. Initially I imitated the style of the designers that I liked, but the result was never good enough, since it always seemed like a ‘copy of’. But in that path of trial and error, suddenly there comes a moment when you feel good with what what you do and little by little you start developing your own style, with your own voice. Then you realize that all your projects start to have a unique seal and that is why clients keep calling you to make new projects, and that's great.

Having a style of your own seems at first somewhat complicated, so my advise to those who begin to work in design and illustration would be to experiment as much as possible and not rest until they find a style that makes them feel comfortable and that serves to convey their vision to others.

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

Find your own style and unique voice, and learn how to translate this into your designs.

What’s your take on internships? Do you take interns now?

In our opinion, internships are a good opportunity for young designers to know how a studio works and see the real work of a designer. We deeply believe that this should be a brief stage in which the intern should have a significant participation in certain projects and be accompanied by a tutor who guides them so that he or she can have a real learning experience.

So far we haven’t had interns in our studio, because due to our small structure this has not been possible, but we would love to do it in the future.

However, we believe that the best way to learn is to practice again and again, and that is something that is achieved once you start to work permanently, when you are faced with new projects and clients constantly, and where you should learn to defend your work before your colleagues, your bosses and finally your clients.

What advice would you give students starting out?

First, I would advise them not to follow fashions and not get carried away by what other designers do. I would encourage them to find their own style and a unique voice, and to learn how to translate this into their designs. Thus, their work will be different from the rest and that is what will really make them valuable as designers.

Also, to try not to lose the passion of approaching each project as if it were the first and to not despise any work, however small it is, since it is always a good opportunity to make a good design.

Finally, I would also advise them to enjoy their hobbies very much, to attend many concerts, to travel, to visit art exhibitions and to be surrounded by a lot of visual and sound culture. All this will be part of who they are, and the richer this universe, they will have more resources to develop good designs.

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

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