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Featured Studio

Gracias

January 2019

We get the Gracias goss from Art Director Daniela Castiblanco and Design Director Pablo Méndez. They tell us who’s on the team and what their roles are — my favourite insight into studio life — we hear about their latest project/series of workshops “Gracias School”, plus we get the low down on their must-read design books/blogs/podcasts.

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

Pablo: I fell in love with Graphic design back in school when I was looking for what to study, and I got fascinated by the creative and experimental possibilities of it.

Daniela: At first I wanted to go to med school, although I'm not even sure why, luckily for me, since I was little I had these artistic abilities so I decided to go into design -even without really understanding a lot about it-. Then I realize that i was passionate about several things that aren’t just related to design but have more in common to the process of communication itself, such us photography and art direction. I am a person who can’t stand being still and who gets boredeasily by doing just one activity.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

Pablo: "The World as Design" (Die Welt Als Entwurf) (1991) a book by Otl Aicher, LiquidTimes — Living in an age of Uncertainty by Zygmunt Bauman, historygraphicdesign.com(web page), Medium (Publishing Platform), WIRED (monthly magazine)

I firmly believe in the radical return to the subject and the need to live accordingly to our own ideas, accomplish our own projects and to act correspondingly with our own concepts. So I truly believe these sites and references can help to develop strong criteria thanks to the plurality of their contents.

Daniela: “The Lateral Thinking by Edward Debono. Although this book isn’t mainly about graphic design, the ideas it portrays can be applied to different subjects and they can really help to find real-life solutions from different perspectives.

Ladies Wine & Design: As an ambassador of a movement who seeks to exalt women’s work in the creative field, I truly recommend this website because it shows the work and names of many talented women around the globe and many different developing events in all the cities in which the movement exists. Medium (Publishing Platform), and last but not least, Creative Review (Blog news).

What do you look for in a great portfolio?

Gracias: In Gracias we look closely for portfolios who incorporate personal works, the ones who convey all those projects made with great passion and a clear intent to go beyond. We are also interested in well-written works, in all round-up designers that in an interview show their willingness to learn and the humility to unlearn all of that they already know as a norm in their work methodology, mainly because everything that we do, we build it as a team and we are constantly reinventing ourselves. We look for positive and good-attitude people who do not say NO to a challenging project.

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We believe that we can slow down the meaningless progress of society throughout cautious reflection

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Are you involved in any mentoring/teaching/workshops and if so how it shapes your practice?

Pablo: I am currently performing as a Portfolio professor at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogotá. I truly believe that it is really important that the purpose of education should focus on the creation of a new culture based on the teaching of Social responsibility. All of that with the eyes set upon the future and the constant teaching of practical ways to build clarity, critical thinking and honesty.

Gracias: Currently we are developing a project called “Gracias School”. It will consist about a series of workshops in which we will give creative tools to people so they can have their own criteria based upon strong and original professional principles. Our goal is to contribute to a fairer and more conscious society. You’ll be hearing about it more in the future…

Who’s on the team, what are their roles and why do you love them?

Pablo Méndez: Design Director & Co-founder — I am the one in charge to direct all the projects from a communicative approach, I'm also in charge of directing the human talent with whom we work depending on the projects and designs that we have. Lastly, I am also behind the work of several projects that come to Gracias.

Daniela Castiblanco: Art Director & Co-founder — I am in charge of developing the art direction projects that come to the studio. On the other hand, I am also the manager so I have to do all of the work proposals and the networking for the studio. Additionally, i have to design other projects that arrive at our hands.

Alejandra Garavito: Creative writer/ Editor — She's the one in charge of the written magic! All of our projects have really important concepts and bases from which we communicate. So Alejandra is the one who puts all of the team ideas in written language and, to be honest, she's quite good at creating texts that are able to find all of the different shades at which different brands communicate.

Angie Castillo: Project Manager — Without Angie, it wouldn’t be the same, she is a publicist and knows how to use all of the design software. We work really well together because she truly understands the time that it takes to develop a project and she’s also very clear and fair. So whenever we need an honest opinion we go directly to her. All of our clients love her and so do we.

In Gracias each one of us is an important part of the team and we are assembled by a generalized critical posture that helps us get better.

What do you think the design community could do more of to give back?

Gracias: We believe that from our field we can help people to see things from a perspective of the user rather than from abstract and subjective expectations, meaning changing the WHY we do something for the WHAT WE DO IT FOR.

We believe that we can slow down the meaningless progress of society throughout cautious reflection, as mankind has turned its environment into a production tool, it has ultimately lost the ability to control the development of its own creations, a visible consequence in its the production of ideas, belief systems, products, etc, that are based on abstract laws (subjective ones) who ultimately submit and determine life itself and all human relationships.

Website: somosgracias.com

Instagram: @gracias_company

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