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Meet R/GA's Guadalupe Gonzalez

The senior visual designer talks about her passion for visual design, what keeps her motivated, and her journey to becoming a visual designer

Meet R/GA's Guadalupe Gonzalez

Guadalupe is an experienced visual designer with five plus years of experience working with different teams around the world, and believes every brand has a story to tell. Here, she talks to R/GA about her career.


Q > Tell me about your career. What was your path to where you are today?


Guadalupe > I studied Graphic Design at the University of Buenos Aires, an incredible career in an unforgettable place, the one that taught me almost everything I know today, not only about design but about life too. While I was in my last year of college I started working in a boutique design studio specialising in brand design. It was two and a half years later when I first heard of R/GA: I really wanted to work there.

In 2017 I graduated and started working as junior visual designer in the agency with Nike as my main client. For the first time, I was working with a huge team of visual designers, copywriters, experience designers, engineers, strategists, producers, photographers… Every week I came back to work and said: “This is what I want to do for a living.” It was the many hours of designing, conceptualising, and sketching which made me realise that I didn’t want to just be part of the visual design team. I was interested in working with all teams at the same time, all as one.

While I was going to photoshoots, filming, and doing prototype tests, I started teaching graphic design at university. I’ve always admired my professors but never imagined I could be one of them. Those were three years of a lot of teaching and learning at a space that I'll always be grateful for. Today, I have to admit that I don’t know if I was a good professor, but definitely, I was an excellent student of my own students. And that’s the key that got me to where I am today.

Today, as a senior visual designer with five plus years of experience and having worked with offices and brands from different parts of the world, I can say I’m proud of my career and all my wins. I’m glad to have shared all this with amazing professionals and friends. That has been the most remarkable part of my career development.


Q > What work do you currently find interesting?


Guadalupe > Currently, I’ve been interested in any work that makes me think in a totally new way. From branding to interactive installations. I know how cliche this sounds, but I really enjoy the creative thinking process, whatever its goal is. Meeting the team, receiving the brief, and discussing how to solve a communication problem is the most interesting thing about my work. I think that every brand has a story to tell, the challenge is how to do it.


Q > Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you in your career development?


Guadalupe > I don’t have a single mentor. Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to meet many professionals who gave me important tools for my development. I had great managers too, who have given me a safe space to grow, to ask questions, and to raise my hand every time I needed to.


Q > What is your design philosophy?


Guadalupe > This question reminds me of the time I visited the Bauhaus School in Dessau, Germany. I bought a pin with the legend 'Form Follows Function' and I wore it in my jacket all the trip. I like to think of design as a communication tool, a solution for a need. That’s the only philosophy that helps me focus when I work... the fun thing is finding the best approach to make it form.


Q > Tell me about your process for creating.


Guadalupe > Most people panic when faced with a new project, I’m not the exception to the rule. The fear of a blank sheet, where do I start? I look around and I think ¨OK, I’m not alone,” I have one, three, five, or ten more minds thinking in a different way than me, they definitely have fresh ideas I need, and they need mine. But.. which are my ideas?

I receive the brief and immerse myself in it. I write questions and comments, make lists, look for reference images. I start sketching a concept, an idea. I turn my head and start again. I can spend a few days analysing the material and it is only then when I am ready to start discussing what we can do and how design can communicate it better.

The creating process can be tricky but I think the key is just to do. Sometimes you can find the solution in the first sketch and many other times it takes a long way of doing and redoing. Those are the interesting ones. The key is being part of the process and believing in it.


Q > How did your background inform your approach to the design work you do today?


Guadalupe > Having studied a multidisciplinary career has opened my mind. Working with people from different areas and some of the most important brands in the world gave me an interesting background to think in a new way. During the kick-off of a new project, I’m not showing what I already know or did, instead, I’m trying to find the best way to do it. I’m thinking of a team. What can I do that will help others to grow their ideas? What is the strategy and the words I need to communicate? What I want to say? How can I use technology to leverage my design and take it to the next level?

I strongly believe that growth comes from doing things, visiting new places, meeting new people, working with a different culture, jumping to workshops or masterclasses, and more. I’ve always said: ¨if you aren’t learning anything new, move on¨. Everything I have done has taught me something that I can incorporate into my everyday work. What we’re going to do next?

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