Designer of the Week: Savvy Studio’s Rafael Prieto Carbajal

Posted inDesigner Interviews

Meet Designer of the Week Rafael Prieto Carbajal, co-founder and creative director of

Savvy Studio, a Mexico City and New York City–based branding and architecture studio. The PRINT team is thrilled that Carbajal, a big believer in the practice of creating and experimenting as well as making things easier and functional for people, will be speaking on branding and packaging at the 2016 HOW Design Live conference in Atlanta, alongside many other fantastic presenters.

The creatives at Savvy Studio consider Prieto to be a “living representation” of their values and perspective “when it comes to creating unique, powerful and relatable brands.” With a creative reach that’s expanded from Mexico to New York to Kuwait and beyond, this is clearly a great thing.

Read on to learn a bit more about Carbajal and Savvy Studio’s work, and register to see him at HOW Design Live by February 5th for the best price!

Name: Rafael Prieto Carbajal

Name of Firm/Studio: Savvy

Location: Mexico – New York


Design school attended: ITESM

How would you describe your work?Personal, forward, artsy, crafty. We don’t necessarily have a type of design; it’s a type of concept and creative process. After a great concept, we design upon what’s needed—just the right design for the kind of brand in order to make a faster and shorter way for it to communicate with its audience.


Where do you find inspiration?Anywhere—streets, museums, galleries, books, movies, stories and history,

Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?Lawrence Weiner, Robert Smithson, Damian Ortega, Sol Lewitt, Francis Allys, Milton Glaser and Sagmeister are great inspirations. Tadao Ando, Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, Gabriel Kuri, Doris Salcedo, Abraham Cruz Villegas, Alex Katz, De Wain Valentine, Robert Montgomery, among many others.

Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?Not really—every project has been unique in its own time, and it represents a phase or a moment at the studio.

Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?All of them has been challenging; currently we are working on a food market between Soho and Chinatown and a Hotel in Brooklyn. They are new, but it has been interesting because of their nature.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?We would like to keep doing good design for good projects; it really excites us to design a Museum ID and design a city communication and wayfinding—[we] try to makes things easier and functional for people.

What’s your best advice for designers today?To be empathic and sympathetic, with [both] the client and audience. Create and experiment.


HOW Design Live is more than a professional conference. It’s an inspiration-packed, global creative gathering guaranteed to open your mind, fuel your soul and power your career.

The dynamic city of Atlanta hosts HOW Design Live, May 19–23, 2016. That’s 5 days of learning new skills and energizing your creativity. 5 days of hearing from speakers like Rafael Prieto Carbajal, David Butler, Elle Luna, Jonathan Fields, Su Mathews and Lynda Weinman (, to name a few. 5 days of connecting with other designers. 5 days of awesome