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Featured Creative

Simon Londono

April 2019

The wonderful Simón Londoño talks us through how he combines typography and illustration, to create images through letterforms. While doing so he aims to break the boundaries between text, meaning and how they interpreted. He shares some humble advice and gives us an insight into how he has evolved to the designer he is today.

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

I studied Visual Communication at Javeriana University in Cali Colombia, the city I reside now. Since I was a student I tried to make every project I did a remarkable project so I could include some of them in my portfolio so I started working for clients before graduation. My first job was in an in-house design office for a postgrad courses college, and it was so hard for me to be locked in that space, and to have tasks that were so easy to do and required little creativity and instead I tried to enjoy it did not last a lot.

On the other hand, my first client as a freelance was a local clothing brand I liked a lot, I made a self-initiated illustration project so I could show them and maybe sell the idea to the brand. It was a bet, but it worked, they did not use the pieces I created then, but it was an opportunity for the brand managers to see my abilities and official commission me some pieces for the brand. They did not pay a lot but every piece I made for them I tried to make it the best I could, and that brought me a lot of clients till now.

Whats the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

I really enjoy to work on design, everyday, every project, but that inhouse design office I talk up here was really hard. I remember that I finished the jobs 3 or 4 hours before my working day was over but I had to stay there until the end of the working day. I was so hard for me to be in a desk while having nothing to do and waiting to my boss there to tell me what my next tasks where. I love to be independent and to organize my own tasks.

It's a way lot harder to sit in and office and have nothing to do than to have a lot of tasks or stressing work to do.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do?

I basically work on design by mixing typography and illustration, to create images through letterforms and break the boundaries between text to be read and their meanings to be interpreted. I use this idea for brands, logos, editorial design, publications, visual identities, editorial articles, book covers, clothing, textiles design, packaging and posters.

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Remember that before being a good designer you have to be a good human being. Said by my dad.

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What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day?

The best part is to know, every morning I wake up, that I am waking up to sit at my studio to do stuffs I like to do. Another great part of my job is to see the project made real and produced by the clients I work for.

The worst part is the executive part behind every project, not because I don’t like it but because it reduces the time in which I could be designing that is the thing I most enjoy.

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

  1. "More is more"- by Dani Navarro. Is a showcase of Alex Trochut's work and the way he breaks the boundaries on visual languages and stalbish the expressive side of designer as a tool to design. It's really awesome great.

  2. "Art is work"- by Milton Glaser. It defines the importance of art and business in design projects, and talks a lot about the way of life as a designer.

  3. "Herb Lubalin"– American Graphic Designer” by Adrian Shaughnessy. Honour the work, life and love of one of the greatest designers of last century. I must say that the best way to learn more about a designer's work is by learning about its personal life, better than learning about its work itself.

How does the local culture of where you live affect your design work and getting clients?

Our local culture may be everything on our way of work, reality is created by language, and language is made by the place we were born. The way we see and name things, the way we talk about things because we design through human we are, or memories, experiencies, what we like, our fears, all that stuff.

I think that we, Latin American designers, are in a pursue of our own language, our way of doing things, through all the diversity, colours, music, mix of cultures we have in here.

Its cool to work in here, and its not a problem to get clients, anyway we must understand that in some countries there is some social problems that doesn’t have to do with design, and in some cases design becomes dispensable, and we have to understand our role in those cases. Here we have educate our clients so they understand our role too.

What’s your take on internships? (Do you take interns now?)

I like interships, it is like working before working, so I suggest my students to do them if they can. It's like working and knowing the responsibilitites of real jobs but with somene teaching you about them, it’s a good transitions between being student and getting a real job.

Of course, I do internships, I'm always needing some designers to work with me in lettering, typography, illustration and branding projects!

Just write to my email!

Whats the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

  1. Only work with clients and projects in which you share a way of seeing life, It will make the workflow very harmonic, fluid and soft, that way you will gain confidence and understanding with your clients and you will be connected with your own true desires on work. Said by Milton Glaser on an interview.

  2. Remember that before being a good designer you have to be a good human being. Said by my dad.

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

Dystopic technology, new software, complex languages, mixture of human and machine. We will have to constantly think our own profession every time we can.

The best way to adapt to this I not get use to nothing, and to be open to learn every new thing we can.

If people wanted to know more about design in your city, what are the top blogs, organisations or events they can read up on?

Go to www.festivaldisenopacifico.com!

2019 for you in a sentence.

Reborn and rethink!

Website: simonlond

Instagram: @simonlond

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