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Personal library: I love to buy and flip through design books, and I’ll resume the practice for students once we’re together on campus again. Prepandemic sophomores received copies of Graphic Style—which is my favorite concise overview of design history—AIGA Eye on Design, Mid-Century Modern Graphic Design, Thinking with Type and The Graphic Design Idea Book, among others. I love sharing inspiration with my School of Visual Arts coworkers too—we are likeminded creatures, so our shelves are all lined with design and typography books.  

Kinetic creativity: Pencils, pens and sketchbooks (or notebooks) are underutilized. I know you can write things down on your phone, but the act of putting pen or pencil to paper is transformative and freeing. Always keep a little Field Notes or Moleskine book in your bag so you’re prepared when inspiration strikes.  

Galvanizing reads: I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks while driving, many on racism. You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar, This is the Fire by Don Lemon, and My Vanishing Country by Bakari Sellers—all great listens, and spending time in the car with them makes me feel a real (but fake!) closeness with the authors.

Comfortable stockpile: I have more pairs of Allbirds shoes than I’ll need in a lifetime, and a lot of Maharam pillows for a person with one couch and one chair.

Worthwhile investment: The biggest splurge I’ve made for my design practice is my Riso RZ 310U—which I named “ChoRiso.” She’s a bit old but has a lot of character and history. It was beneficial to show my students around the machine while teaching Risograph printing over Zoom last fall. 

Unturned stones: I don’t know if these are less well-known resources, but many universities have excellent digital archives of rare collections. Shout out to my alma mater, the University of Florida’s Digital Library of the Caribbean, and its extensive collection of iconic Cuban magazine La Bohemia.

Website framework: I love using Cargo to build out websites. The back end is very user friendly and enables for a lot of experimentation and flexibility. 

Inspiring read: I enjoyed reading Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism by Laura E. Gómez. It helped me to understand the history of Latinx people in the United States, and why this categorization exists in the first place.

Invaluable tool:  My own head. This is the main tool that makes me who I am and what differentiates me from the rest. We all have two eyes, two hands and a heart; what makes us unique is how we think. As a designer looking to prosper, it is essential to ignore design trends to create something original. If I want to be different, I need to grow my own design style or approach. 

Design resources: That I don’t follow trends doesn’t mean I don’t consume design. Design magazines are the best resource for this. In contrast to books, which have an editing period of at least a year, or with design blogs that don’t have such a thorough selection process, magazines showcase an elaborated selection of current graphic design while still being made in a short period. 

Must-read book: Graphic Design as a Second Language by Bob Gill. Gill has a design approach that sets him apart because he solves his ideas logically, not predictably. This book inspires me to be the designer that I want to be—that is, a professional who does work like no other. 

Rewarding research: Not having local design references drove me to create Uruguayan design archive La Patria. Re-evaluating my cultural heritage through a look at various proposals helped me understand the behavior of design as a communication channel and its connection with my environment.  

Creative fuel: Definitely music. I’m easily distracted, so if I’ve got crazy deadlines, I have to put noise-canceling headphones on with my music at top volume so that I can completely zone everything around me out. Or, for an extra boost, a big bowl of Coco Pops works a treat. 

Jaw-dropping art: Robert Beatty continuously blows my mind.

Valuable social problem: Instagram has been incredibly instrumental for me in terms of new business. It’s like having an online portfolio, and I’ve gained a huge amount of work from it. Creative Commission is also a brilliant platform that I use regularly; it allows creatives to network with various labels and artists within the music industry.

Guilty pleasures: Coco Pops, the TV show Selling Sunset, YouTubing Britney videos circa 2002.

Dream clients: Online music broadcasting platforms Boiler Room and NTS Radio. I think they both embody how design and music are inherently connected. Collaborating with Nike wouldn’t be too bad either.

Collective inspiration: The creativity and ingenuity of my team members at Wieden+Kennedy is always a source of positive energy and excitement. Their unique perspectives, curiosity and enthusiasm for design exploration are a constant inspiration as well as a reminder of why
I chose this profession. 

Overlooked resource: LinkedIn, without question. I encourage junior designers to take advantage of LinkedIn’s ability to connect with other designers, photographers and thought leaders around the globe. 

Changing perspectives: Historically, there has been a barrier for inclusion in the graphic design industry for African Americans. The push for inclusion in this industry—not only for myself but also for aspiring designers of my community—required a different perspective. Essentially, I had to see the industry for what it could be and not what it was

Instagrammers to follow: Myles Thompson. Mirna Pierre. Chase Body. Rinny Perkins.


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