How I Became a Graphic Designer Specialized in Brand Development

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Hello my name is José Pablo Salazar. I`m 28 years old, and I`m a graphic designer specialized in brand development. I founded a petit branding and naming studio called Estudio Cariño two years ago. The studio is formed by me (Pablo Salazar) and my girlfriend Arantxa Macias. I really enjoy creating brands. I think we are like Dr. Frankenstein, who is alive his monster when working on a branding project. We turn alive the business ideas to my clients into a real brand project that allow them to offer their products or services in a cool and authentic way. It is a great satisfaction for us. 

This project began when I was studying at university. Since the second half of my university time, I got some freelance projects that I worked on after school. This allows me to experience “real life” projects from the briefing stage to the file delivery stage. This was my own personal real-life school without knowing about it. I got my first official work when I was in the last semester of the design career when I accepted the invitation from a great teacher to be part of his studio. It was a great deal for me because I was in a complex financial situation, and I already had a job before graduation.   

This was a very enriching stage for me because I was learning a lot in the teacher`s studio, and I could apply all that knowledge in my freelance projects. Simultaneously, I had to sacrifice many things, like going out with my friends or visiting my family, because I always was working on something. That double work-life was crucial for me to found my own studio.

When I was still working there, my own projects were more my free time was less. I realized, too, that working as a freelance creates a weird perception of your work. The clients feel that you are just a normal guy that can use the design software, not a real professional. So, they can ask for any changes, or the payment days can extend too much. In few words, your work has no too much value for your client’s eyes, and the workflow is not the best. It is too hard to build a professional perception as a freelance (at least here in Mexico) and even less if you are a young person.

So I decided to change my professional name from my personal name into “Estudio Cariño.” The word studio gives a more professional statement and sounds cool, too, Jajaja. This strategic decision allowed me to get more clients and develop more formal quotations and workflow.

Design is a great career but it has two faces (I think that all careers).

The Bright Side of Design

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Jeff Bezos Career Advice video

The design provides you a new horizon to know in every single project. One day you have to know about beer, the next day, you have to understand the vegan food industry. And the next, day you have to develop some illustrations for a non-profit organization. The design has this fantastic quality of being in all the industries, so it is a super fun career. Not boring at all. Creativity is your primary tool to work. You have to develop your creative process every day. In my personal opinion, this is a great thing about design. If you are a creative lover, this is your thing.

The Dark Side of Design

Design is a super demanding career. It requires a lot of time and personal effort like your personal time, dedication, research, etcetera.  It could be hard at some point. It isn’t easy to build a professional perception. The design has this wrong fame of “not important career,” “not too formal career,” or “low-value career.” But it is our job to change that perception. At the end of the day, if you like to design and the whole world that comes with it, you will be super happy and find a way to grow in this industry.

OUR HUMBLE ADVICES

  • Be a Nerd: If you want to be a professional designer, you have to be kind of “nerd.” You have to invest a lot of time in many topics, like typography, illustration, color use, etc. And being “nerdy” will be an excellent tool for you.
  • Listen to tons of music, watch tons of movies and go traveling as much as the virus allow: As a designer, you have to be open to know new things (even you know you don’t like them). A mental opening is your best friend in design. For example, you can find inspiration in a music genre that you are not in to, but you will never find it if you don’t allow yourself to listen to that kind of music. It is the same with movies and traveling. You have to be Mental Open every day. You don’t know where you can find useful things for your designs.
  • Drink coffee.
  • Increase your Mental Library.
  • Knowing about art, music, literature, historical times, visual styles, and all kinds of human expression is super important as a designer. All those things will be helpful someday. Trust me. 
  • Don’t forget you are a human: Before a designer or anything, you are a human. You must remember that you are a human who works and collaborates with other human beings, so your quality as a good person has to be reflected in your work all the time. (You don`t have to be a jerk).

If you have some questions or doubts about this fantastic – not dull and remarkable career, please write to us at [email protected], and we will be happy to help you. J

Cariño means darling, sweetie or love.

Also read My Story From Studying Motion Graphics to Becoming an Illustrator and Graphic Designer

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