More than talking about design in general, it’s important to talk with people who are as equally passionate about it as we are. That’s where Carolina comes in.
I discover Carolina Reis trough an interview she gave to Shillington. Since I really resonated with her story and was curious to find out more about her, I decided to send her an email to see if I could also interview her.
Long story short, Carolina was super friendly and very kind to reply to my request.
So here it is. A part of Carolina’ story and her passion for graphic design in this small interview.
When did you first become aware of design and why did you choose to pursue a career in design?
Although I’ve always had many interests strongly connected to graphic design, I had no idea what it was exactly until a few years ago.
The very first contact I had with it was probably through Instagram, where I found out about some designers that I really loved, and it just snowballed from there. I became really interested in it.
I have a background in Economics, and at the time, I had already been working in banking for about 8 years, so it really wasn’t an easy decision. Possibly, what ultimately made me pursue Graphic Design was this very strong urge to do something more creative with my life.
Why graphic design in particular from all the subjects?
I guess what attracts me to Graphic Design is the opportunity to develop strong concepts. Also, the fact that you can communicate something that others will hopefully feel connected to.
This idea of a collective conscience, making a joke or striking an emotion. And I love the challenge of solving a problem.
Did you feel that having an education in Graphic Design makes a difference? Or did you ever considered pursuing a career without studying it first?
Whether you do it more formally, or pursue knowledge more casually and naturally, I really do believe that you can’t be a good designer if you don’t have some curiosity and a continuous desire to learn and improve.
Also, in my particular case, I think the courses I took really helped me, I got to know trends, educate taste, develop skills, a work process. Also, interacting with the teachers and colleagues was always a lot of fun.
Why did you choose London? Do you think that by studying abroad you are better prepared for the market?
I really don’t think studying abroad is necessarily better. But Shillington and their philosophy happened to be a really good fit for me. It was an awesome jump start, so to speak.
I also did a Web Design course in Lisbon, at ETIC, last year, that really helped me perfect some skills, and branch out a little more into digital.
And I love doing workshops with great people and learning (new) skills, I do it all the time. I’ve done a few workshops at Volta – which is an amazing place – and I’ve done one also with the wonderful Margarida Girão.
I do it online too. For example, I love the videos on Skillshare, where, at a very low cost, you can get a glimpse into how these amazing and diverse designers work, like the legendary Louise Fili, Nicholas Felton, James Victoire, Jessica Hische, Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman, etc.
How easy was for you to land your first job after leaving Shillington?
I didn’t land a first job, I made my first job (as they say). And I continue to do so. But I have to say I was lucky that a few people I knew had projects starting and took a chance on me. And Shillington prepared me well to do it. It would be hard to even approach those projects if I hadn’t done it.
Design can be the best thing in the world but it can also be incredibly boring if you have no ownership of the projects you work on. And that has prevented me at times from opting for a more traditional design job.
I do sometimes miss working as part of a team though, because I absolutely love getting creative and working on projects with other people, and learning from others. But I try to make up for that in other ways.
Do you have a favorite project (personal or professional) that you would like to share and explain a little?
My favorite project is always my next project. I’m always very excited about what’s coming next.
But, having to choose, I would probably say “Bom dia” – my handmade notebooks with simple designs inspired by everyday life.
This was a self-initiated project I did a few months after leaving Shillington.
I really love self-initiated projects and I want to do more in the future. They give you a chance to do things you don’t get to do on Client projects, like to get really creative, take risks and to learn new skills. It can also be a way of showing a kind of work that you want to do more of in the future.
If you could work with any design company or any designer in the world, who would it be and why?
There are so many designers that I love and would be honored to work with.
If I could choose ANYBODY, I think it would be amazing to do something with Studio AH-HA in Lisbon, or Lo Siento in Barcelona. They both have this element of play and experimentation in their work, that I love and think that makes them special.
I love Studio AH—HA’s obsession with cool textures and the playfulness with words that I often see in their work.
And I love Lo Siento’s typographic work but most of all, their sense of humor. Their projects make me smile.
Do you have any advice for someone who might be looking to pursue a career in Design and doesn’t know what to do?
I don’t know if I’m the right person to offer advice, but here goes!
Honestly, I think it’s a difficult industry, and you have to love it. If you truly do, go for it.
I would definitely invest in educating yourself, whatever is the right way for you. I also think it’s very important to meet, connect and collaborate with inspiring people, and seeing inspiring work. Work hard, but keep it fun – it won’t be good otherwise.
I want to thank Carolina again for being super friendly and giving this interview. As she mentioned, it’s very important to connect with other people and be inspired by them. I’m surely inspired by her work and the path she chose for herself.