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Meet PRINT’s latest Designer of the Week, Isabel Castillo Guijarro, a Madrid-born, New York City–based creative who says she appreciates a good “wow effect”—a quality you’re likely to find in her own bold work for companies like Tictail and Refinery29. Below, she shares with us a bit about herself and her work, as well as her perspective on women in the design industry today.
Company: senior designer/ illustrator at Refinery29 and freelance
Location: New York
Design school attended: Parsons School of Design, Central Saint Martins
How would you describe your work?
This is the hardest question because I feel like I’m changing and growing with every new project. Hard to put a label to it but since I have to, I would say my work is bold, colorful when it needs to be, clean and elevated when appropriate, and diverse.
Where do you find inspiration?
New York is a great place to be; I feel constantly overwhelmed by the amount of events, exhibits and gallery openings to go to. There is always something new happening! But when I need inspiration for a specific project I always end up on my Pinterest, where I carefully curate and compile all the visuals I find in my life. From a street sign, to an article on T Magazine, typography, landscapes or color combinations to beautiful objects; Instagram is another place where I’m constantly finding new and amazing things!
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
I’m a big fan of artist Barbara Kruger Lichtenstein and De Kooning; there are also many designers that I admire and respect, like Michael Bierut or Roanne Adams. But the truth is that I go through periods of obsessing over someone new, constantly. When I find someone, I need to know their life story, career, work … everything! My current artist-crush is French photographer Guy Bourdin.
Mural for Tictail
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
Tictail mural is definitely one of my favorites, and for sure, one of the most exciting ones to see come to life.
Illustration for Refinery29’s Beach House
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The illustration made for Refinery29’s Beach House was definitely a challenge, but a good one. Not just creatively but also in terms of the style and execution. It was the first time I ever created something in this style, with [these] colors, with a narrative and this big.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I really love what I do and the field I’m in. It’s hard work, but it’s also really rewarding and I definitely want to continue doing what I do forever. But as time goes by, I’m also becoming increasingly interested in sharing my voice. I always felt growing up that this was a man’s world, but [it] is not until right now that I can understand to the extent that that is true. There have been great female designers before me, right now and will be in the future, but we are still not valued the same way. And we should all be standing up to change it; if we don’t do it, no one else is going to do it for us.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Hustle, but also take care of your talent; risk as much as possible because there is nothing to lose; always push an extra 10% at the end; enjoy the good times but also the bad ones; and above all, don’t take it personally.
Work for Refinery29