Argentinian Digital Designer based in Buenos Aires who loves comic books, metal music and video games. She would be covered with tattoos but the obsession with details gets in her way.

LocationBuenos Aires, Argentina
DateNovember 28, 2018
The meetup

Buenos Aires is a pretty huge city but I was lucky enough that my hostel was within walking distance from Maria’s office. I met her around 9am, I had a coffee and she had a mate cocido obviously. We spent the morning together chatting about design related stuff. 

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You have to fight for what you want, you have to practice a lot, no one knows, no one is a genius from the start.
Chapter 01
About the designer

Hello Maria! Thanks for welcoming me. Can you please tell me a bit about yourself? 

I'm Maria, I'm 28 years old and, I'm from Argentina. I've been working in digital Design for 6 years now. While studying at the University of Buenos Aires, I joined Intacto and worked there for 3 years as a digital designer. Then, 3 years ago it turned to MediaMonks and I’m still here. In 2014, I graduated as a Graphic Designer, and my desire was to work in the Editorial Industry but somehow I ended up in the Digital design world. On a more personal side, I really like comic books, music and video games like the Uncharted series or The Last of Us.

The Last of Us - Design Exploration

How would you describe your work? 

I really like minimalism and clean layouts. I would say that my style is minimal. I love Editorial Design so I try to translate it into Digital Design. The websites we make nowadays have a strong relationship with the editorial design because of how we use grids.

What is your favorite part of your job? 

It’s probably not surprising if I say that what I like the most is visual exploration. I really love when you have to make a few options for the same project. While I’m doing those explorations, I try to think about animations too because I think it’s a critical part of the process and it shouldn’t be left to the end. 

What does a typical day look life for you? 

I get up like a zombie and go to work. I live one hour away from the office, so usually I read the mails in the bus. Once in the office, I say hi with a cheek-kiss (Argentinian style) to the ones near me, get a “mate cocido” and start working. At midday we go out for lunch with the team or have it at the office; and then I continue working. We can leave a bit early as far as we respect our deadlines.

You can't really talk about what you are working on at the moment so can you talk a bit about a personal project you did? 

Sure. I’ll talk about the Samus Returns project. Nintendo was releasing a new Metroid video game. I’m not so into the saga, but Nicolás Fonseca, a friend of mine, is a big Nintendo fan and awesome developer. So he asked me for design help. For legal reasons, all the content I had to work with was a Samus 3D model. So it wasn’t easy but I’m happy with the results! 

You said you look  at editorial design a lot, where else do you find your inspiration? 

I like seeing things that have nothing to do with digital. For example, in Design inspiration there is a wide range of things related to design in general like books, interior design or architecture. Obviously I also go to Dribbble, Behance and the digital award sites.

What do you do when you get stuck creatively?

I get mad internally! When you work in an agency and have deadlines to meet, getting mad won’t help you. I think ideas comes as you are working, so if I’m stuck sometimes I start exploring the opposite direction that I would normally take. By doing so, I might discover something interesting that I didn’t think about. Asking for an opinion is always helpful in those situations too.


Maria in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina

You talked about deadlines, how do they impact your work? Does it push you or is it the opposite? 

Luckily, the deadlines usually pushes me to do the nicest work in a shorter amount of time. I would lie if I say the beginning of a project isn’t stressful, but I can handle that.

What is the project that made you the most proud? 

I love and feel proud about the site we made for Cartoon Network Studios. The process was really nice because the client was fun and encouraged whatever we were proposing - which is not so common. Also it’s full of nice transitions and character animations that we thought up with the team, so it’s really fun.

How do you keep learning and growing? 

I always look at the FWA and Awwwards sites to see what’s new in the market. But mostly I learn everyday from my colleagues by spending time with the different teams. 

What is the best advice you ever received? 

My mom taught me a lot of things, but particularly the one that comes to my mind is the importance of humbleness. “Work hard, stay humble”. I really appreciate when people are awesome at what they do, but still modest. And that thinking is what led them here.


Perito Moreno, Argentina - © Robin Noguier

Chapter 02
The design industry in Argentina

How will you describe the design education system in Argentina?

We lack digital classes for sure. The University has lots of editorial and graphic design, but the digital part gets less than the 10% of the entire career as it’s something “new”. So the teachers are amazing at doing their jobs, but in general they don’t have the necessary knowledge to educate about digital. 

How will you describe the industry in Argentina? 

I would describe the digital design industry in Argentina as a growing industry with the opening of some digital-only schools here in Buenos Aires. Particularly, the Digital Design needs more professionals. As a result of what I’ve just said about the Universities, we get graduated designers with almost no digital knowledge. Like it or not, nowadays digital is what gives you money in this industry, at least in Argentina.

I knew the journey will be hard but that I could succeed if I put the time and the effort into it. 

Was becoming designer a thing that you think was possible growing up in Argentina? 

Yes, but actually that wasn’t something that worried me at that time. I liked to draw when I was a child but that was pretty much it. I just wanted to study something that I’d like - I would’ve quit otherwise. I felt confident about my decision once I went deeper into the career, and it wasn’t easy… but I gave my best and I wouldn’t be the same without that learning. I knew the journey will be hard but that I could succeed if I put the time and the effort into it. 

What is your advice for someone who wants to become a designer in Argentina? 

You have to fight for what you want and practice a lot; no one is a genius from the start. You have to learn from people. You have to be humble and accept that you need people to grow from. I really like the medium article you wrote about that journey! 

Thank you! Who are some of the people you really look up to?

One of them is our Art Director Damián Lettiero, I've learned a lot from him. I also love everything that WatsonDG does and designers like Tobias Van Schneider, or how Ben Mingo creates great visuals with just a few elements. I know he works a lot with a developer that make awesome stuff: Aristide Benoist. In Argentina, I like Aerolab, they make some cool stuff.


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Final boarding call

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