Sergio, graphic artist

Being a designer means taking risks in the process of trying to be one.

I met Sergio by chance in Mexico City. We quickly began talking with the simplicity and ease that characterize so many Mexicans. Sergio is a graphic artist. He created his own design studio in 2002. We chatted on the terrace of Milo’s Cafe in the Condesa. 

What do you think about Mexican design?

Nowadays, with the access we have to information, there aren’t barriers. The world is within reach to inspire us. We can fuse together different tendencies. You get inspired and you adapt yourself, always searching for an identity. Also, there’s a global focus in design that you have to take into account. Now you can’t think about only designing for your own community. Perhaps, what distinguishes us is that as Mexicans, we have a culture that is diverse in all aspects. Mexico City is very cosmopolitan, but it doesn’t stop having its folkloric parts as well.

How do you generate your own style?

That’s a question I often have when I’m invited to a class or conference. It’s like any work, you have to generate a purpose for creating. It’s similar to going to the gym: you train, become stronger and more educated, you develop your creative capacity. All the while, if you see, read, listen and are open to everything, it becomes easier. You arrive home with all of this external information from the streets, from your trips… and you have to have the capacity to know what will serve you and what won’t.

And all of that accumulates in your head?

Because of my origin, I began studying plastics. It was always easy to experiment and try materials, textures and ideas; I seek that each project gives me the opportunity to do so. Today, thanks to the internet, new generations have access to any virtual instrument, but everything stays in its digital form. The result is immediate. They don’t like to take risks.

Could you tell me a little more about your work?

Design has to work. The basic function of graphic design is to sell; even if people don’t like these words, nobody invests in graphic design to NOT sell. Our work is to develop an idea that fulfills all of the attributes to generate a proposal that has its own identity and provokes a unique experience. To achieve it in the process, you have to take risks. You always have to expose yourself to all audiences and environments.

In the studio, when we receive a brief, we always respond with three proposals.

A conventional proposal, classic, what the client expects. Also an alternative with maximum experimentation, for which you risk a lot. Finally, a third proposal, one in between the classic and risky one.

At times your work is to spend more time convincing the client that the idea you designed will work. Never lose site of the notion that your idea should be practical and feasible. It’s not helpful to propose something that can’t be developed for technical reasons or because of the budget. Each project should have clear objectives and if you have to make a custom-made suit, the first rule is to not copy yourself. Clients look for you based on the efficacy of your projects.

In the studio we believe in three basic principles before starting the design process: we have to be INNOVATIVE, ON TIME, and look for the best QUALITY possible. The order doesn’t matter, but nothing matters if we fail at these three concepts.

What can you advise me in order to accomplish my project?

Never give your work away. You have to experiment all of the time, reinvent yourself with every project. In this way your style develops.

Learn everything possible, all that you can, so that later you can unlearn it and propose something else.