Welcome to my website. It includes a selection of projects from my portfolio, from logos to corporate identity and brand architecture; product, website and interior design, and some illustration, advertising and signage systems.
A brief serves as the starting point of a project. It should be clear but it must be open. It should state the objectives that want to be achieved. It must be simple, concise and not too long. If there is an idea, a poetic inspiration, a vision, an emotion, an ambition, a desire, then the brief should show it. The lack of a proper brief is often at the root of all problems. A project will always benefit from a complicity between the client and the designer that usually begins with a good brief.
I am a Madrid-based designer. Born in London to Panamanian parents and I had lived in 7 countries and moved more than 20 times before finally settling down in Spain. I studied Architecture and ended up working as a graphic designer by chance. I have no formal training and I have never worked for an agency.
Apart from projects of interior and set design, I’ve written scripts and directed 4 documentaries for TV, three of them on architecture (Madrid, Barcelona, New York) and one on design (London). I enjoy composing music, writing and movies.
Most brands continue to be terrible at social networks. Whether it’s products or services, companies are usually lost when it comes to interacting with their clients, seeing social networks as simply channels for their advertising. They are not. Customers today have become suspicious of brands and less impressed by traditional advertising. They prefer recommendations from friends, they share, they question and they compare. Public services, medical institutions, utilities, retailers, museums, political parties and governments, for everyone going social is no longer a choice but a need.
Design is something that should be between the purely artistic and the purely functional. While I certainly believe in specialization and technical expertise, I also think projects must have a soul. If there is no soul, then there can be no magic, no connection. It is not easy to create a soul. And while there must be complicity between the client and the designer, there must also be a profound sense of respect for the final user. You can’t create something special without seeing your product the way a customer would or imagining completely new ways of doing things. You must believe in the project, product or service that you are offering. It must have personality.
And last, but not least, you must tell a beautiful story.
A logo must be simple and convey a single idea. It represents your brand but it is not your brand. A logo is just an identifier, an emblem. A logo should not try to say too much. Copyright or trademark symbols, descriptors, slogans, shadows, glow, different fonts, monograms, icons, these “accessories” are distracting.
A brand is not about using the corporate colour and your logo everywhere. It’s something very complex that you build over time around an idea or a series of values. Don’t confuse both. Problems are not solved changing your logo or brand identity. Creating a brand implies thinking strategically.
As a designer I've worked in everything from brand architecture and corporate identity to naming, from packaging to illustration, from signage systems to furniture design, and from website to editorial design.
I have worked in projects in Spain, Sweden, Kazakhstan, France, Panama and Brazil. A new globalized economy means you can now seamlessly work across borders.
As a trained architect I am especially interested in projects that involve the transformation of the physical space, either to communicate an idea or simply to make the space more interesting. In the end, architecture, lighting, signage, furniture and visual communication are all parts of the three-dimensional experience and should all collaborate to produce quality environments.
I've worked closely with clients to develop hotel, retail and restaurant concepts from inception to final execution. When a project requires specific expertise in a particular area, I also rely on a very dependable network of freelance consultants and experts in marketing, advertising, public relations, communication and sometimes even event planning.
If you are creating a company or developing an idea, a good question to ask yourself is “was this possible five years ago?”. If it was, then perhaps it’s not such a good idea after all. I can’t remember where I read or heard this, but I’ve found it very useful advice that I frequently give my clients. It makes you aware of the fact that there are probably many technological advances that you haven’t taken into consideration, business models you haven’t explored, platforms you hadn’t thought of using. Internet, apps, social networks, crowdfunding, videos, they must all find a place in your strategy. You must try to create something truly unique and differentiate yourself. Think that Zara is as much about logistics, customer service and technology as it is about fashion. Think that Uber has not a single taxi, AirBnb owns no real estate, Facebook creates absolutely no content.
I like taking time off to think. I read once, in an interview with George Soros, that he spends a considerable amount of time just thinking. Today, having even a little time to think is a luxury. I try to indulge in this luxury as frequently as I can. Ideally, one hour per day. There’s enormous pleasure in drawing or writing on little notebooks. I have many personal projects that I have started and that are slowly coming to life. One of the secrets to happiness is finding time to be creative –about anything really- and being able to express yourself artistically or developing your favorite skills, whichever they may be. At least that’s how I find my inspiration.
Inspiration -and creativity- is just asking the right questions, hard work, and knowing where to find things. Creative people are constantly processing information. The only secret is being hungry about everything and having the desire to create, build or produce things. Creativity is the product of curiosity and some of the best creativity is the result of team work. Most creative minds need interaction with other people and a constant input of information to thrive.
Many believe great artists like Picasso are usually lone geniuses. They are not. They are frequently very social. Picasso’s creativity was not only raw talent, but also exchange of ideas. There was not only competition, but also complicity, between Picasso and Lautrec, Matisse, Degas, Ingres and Derain. Cubism was born out of their interactions. They would frequently borrow each other’s paintings and try to come up with something new. It was a fluent conversation.