Mayra Monobe

We caught up with graphic designer and art director Mayra Monobe, about engaging people with design, the importance of linking concept and craft, and going the extra mile in the first design proposal.

Did you have a plan for graduation and what actually happened?

I did! I used to draw a lot when I was a kid. One day, when I was 8, my uncle looked at one of my drawings and told me I was going to be a great architect. For the next 10 years my intention was to get into Architecture School — I thought I had my whole life figured out. I went on to study Architecture and Urbanism for 3 years in Sao Paulo (where I’m from); by this time I was pretty lost and frustrated as what I had planned for so many years was not what I had expected at all. So I enrolled in a Graphic Design course overseas (in Sydney, Australia) to get away and change my perspective. I ended up dropping Architecture School completely and getting a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design. What was supposed to be one year away ended up being 6 years in total in Sydney, then 8 more (and counting) in Barcelona.

Talk us through a typical working day for you right now.

I think that’s one of the interesting parts of being an independent designer — there’s no typical working day! One day I might be sprinting from one project to the other, the following day might be full-on bookkeeping, admin tasks and meetings. It really depends on the projects and clients, and sometimes on my creative flair (which is not present everyday, unfortunately). Having said that, the day usually includes lots of organising, e-mails, designing and meetings/phone calls.

Design work by Mayra Monobe The Design Kids interviews Mayra Monobe work-2

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

Attitude and ideas go together like peas and carrots to me. With the right attitude, the will to work hard and keep learning, and the ability to think, linking great concepts to great craft — anything is possible.

What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Not sure if it’s the best ever, but definitely the one that got stuck in my mind. A lecturer told me once, "You’ll be graduating soon, so while you’re here, go crazy and create something unexpected. You’ll have plenty of time to stick to the brief in the real world." That hit me like a stack of bricks and in a way, I keep applying it with real projects and clients; I usually go the extra mile in the first design proposal. In the worst case scenario, the client will tone it down, but if they don't, we both end up with something interesting and new.

Design work by Mayra Monobe The Design Kids interviews Mayra Monobe work-4
Design work by Mayra Monobe The Design Kids interviews Mayra Monobe work-4

With the right attitude, the will to work hard and keep learning, and the ability to think, linking great concepts to great craft — anything is possible.

Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

I’m lucky to say I like most of the projects I’m involved with but there are two recents ones I’m quite proud of. NY based furniture company Civil is one of the best client-designer relationships I’ve ever had. We trust a lot in each other’s opinions, and that has been helping us build the brand together, from the moment we started off with the brand strategy to the latest communication assets for new products being released. It’s very gratifying to work like this, and I’m totally aligned to the company’s values.

Jordson, a sustainable e-commerce for mothers and their children, is another project I’m proud to be part of. To collaborate in the creation of a brand that makes clothing with organic materials locally is very exciting and meaningful to me. It also empowers women (most of the people involved in the brand are female) motherhood, and nature.

Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?

We’re living in a world in which the user is the centre of everything. Understanding people’s behaviour and attitude is key, and is driving brands and designers towards creating experiences and products that engage people for its image and how it makes people feel. That means it’s super important to learn as much as possible about the project/client/product, and think a lot before starting the design process.

I also reckon it’s important to keep learning about a variety of topics, and to be open to different and new ideas.

Design work by Mayra Monobe The Design Kids interviews Mayra Monobe work-6
Design work by Mayra Monobe The Design Kids interviews Mayra Monobe work-6

Where to find Mayra Monobe online.

Website: mayramonobe.com

Instagram: @mayramonobe

Twitter: @maymonobe

Get involved