Oriol Armengou and Ferran Mitjans, partners at Toormix studio, caught up with us to share some tips for design graduates about the importance of staying honest, flexible and curious. We also chatted about how they got their studio started, and the increasing value of combining design and strategic thinking.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

We studied different things. Oriol first graduated from advertising and later, graphic design. Ferran is a graduate in graphic arts & printing, and later in graphic design as well. We met at the design university, where we started to work together and collaborate on various school projects. Oriol’s first job (before studying graphic design) was in a news classified ads agency, putting stars over pictures of genitals in the newspaper's “sexual” classified ads. Ferran’s first job was in the field of photo composition and manual typographic composition for an important Catalan newspaper advertisement section. So we worked in similar jobs before we met each other at the design school. After graduation, Oriol worked at a web design agency, and Ferran worked in a studio with two divisions, one focused on branding and packaging, and the other on fashion communication. After only a couple of years in both companies, Toormix was born.

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

After school, our main idea was to work for others to gain experience and to know and understand how things worked in the real world. Meanwhile, we were freelancing together as an embryonic studio, but our first idea was just to continue learning and getting the skills that school doesn’t give to you. We worked in different studios during the day and worked together as a team at night. After two years working this way (around mid-year 2000), we had a couple of regular clients that asked us to develop bigger projects, so at this point we decided that one of us (Oriol) could leave his job. This was the beginning of the studio. At last, during the summer of 2000, the moment arrived: one of these clients asked us to develop a corporate magazine. This was our opportunity to get completely involved in the professional formula, an opportunity to do the things as we wanted to do, trying to develop our method, with our rules, and taking full control of the process. This was the moment when Ferran left his job, as Oriol did before, and was the professional starting point for Toormix.

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

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

A professional team specialized in branding and communication projects, with a strong emphasis on the research phase and strategic thinking, who are open to create, in parallel, new adventures with the value of design at the core.

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

We’re especially interested in finding non-conformist and restless people. We are interested in people that show a positive and propositional attitude. For us, it's so important to find professionals without ego, because we work as a team, we make decisions as a group. We ask all our members to be honest and very demanding with themselves and the rest of the team. Obviously we also look at the design skills, especially to their sensibility and the technical skills: space, balance, typographic sense, etc. We’re not interested in people obsessed with being as modern as they can, people who have a huge ego, are inflexible, or think they’re the only ones that have the right opinion. These people don’t fit at Toormix. We work as a collective, and these profiles are dangerous for the studio. For us, it's important to find flexible, non-conformist professionals.

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

It’s important to be porous; to be predisposed to learning with every project.

What advice would you give students graduating in 2019?

Try to be self-critical, analytic, and restless. For a design professional, it's important to be as restless, curious and open-minded as possible. It’s important to be porous; to be predisposed to learning with every project, and accept or make your own opinion of others. This openess is very important to be a good professional. It’s really important to be a non-conformist person, always trying to improve your skills and capabilities, to pay attention to the worl — not only to the design scene and trends. We draw upon several sources, like trips, literature, performing arts, a conversation, a personal experience, a theatre play, a movie… And to finish off our advice, we also suggest to always be conscious that there are better professionals than you, to try to learn something from them, and to use this to stimulate you to work hard and improve yourself.

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

The future is for designers, therefore, we must take the time to give ourselves value as professionals. The role of the designer is increasingly important as a strategic thinker, as a driver of new methodological and leadership processes. The value of design will be synonymous with a holistic view of problems, and we must be able to provide global creative solutions through flexible and consistent teams.

Skills such as collaborative work, creative strategy and a vision of design as an innovation tool must be the pillars for a new way of understanding design, in order to help businesses be more competitive and honest, differentiate themelves, and have personality.

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

Where to find Toormix online.


Instagram: @toormix / @mitxans / @oriolarmengou

Twitter: @toormix

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