Australian consumers are exposed to thousands of ads every day, but our senior designer, Camilo Suarez, can always find a way to establish a genuine bond between audiences and brands.
Today we took Camilo away from the drawing board to chat about how graphic design has evolved over the past 10-years and the best way to engage a digital audience in 2019.
I’m originally from Colombia. My father is an architect, and my mother is an interior designer, so I’ve always been surrounded by art and it was easy for me to follow my passion.
I studied graphic design in Bogotá, Colombia and am also an illustrator, specialising in drawing and animation.
After university, I started working at an American company which was a great opportunity to learn about the industry outside my country, especially at a time when the digital industry was just beginning.
About two years ago I was featured in an Australian article about the best illustrators from around the world. That put Australia on my radar, and a friend said that if I went anywhere in Australia, it had to be Melbourne.
Despite working in the industry for more than ten years, I had no local contacts in Australia and had to build my network from scratch. I was very lucky to find Keep Left and am so happy to be part of the team.
Creative industries are always evolving so every day is different. The biggest change I experienced was the transition from old school technology to the digital world we live in today, where anything is possible. Another change is that anyone can claim to be a graphic designer. It’s part of life now. You are fed images all the time so, as a designer, you really have to innovate to stand out.
I kind of worked backwards. I started my career in a digital environment, then moved into a Creative Director role at an advertising company that mass-produced billboards and TV commercials. So for me, the new is like the old, and vice versa. Transitioning back to digital design at Keep Left has felt like going back to my roots.
I would say the best way to engage audiences online is to create emotional bonds between people. You should aim to make your audience laugh or cry, because that’s the best way to form a connection and seed an idea. But it must be real. People can tell when you are trying to sell them something so as a marketer, you should try to entertain, rather than persuade.
Every day is different. You never know what the next challenge is going to be, so you keep thinking and learning and that’s what makes you feel young.
I think the next trend will be bringing design back-to-basics. We have been living in a special-effects driven world for the past 10-years, and I think people are getting tired of it.
Bringing design back-to-basics requires focussing on the details. For example, typography is so important now. You can’t just leave the text as an afterthought in your design, and you need to put your soul into your work.
In 2019, we will shift the message from just product characteristics to experiences, dreams and inspiration. We will bring humanity back to design.