Dana is a graphic design genius who has been responsible for many branding identities. She keeps everything fun, fresh and on point with today’s design trends. Find out what makes her so methodical in her process and what keeps her inspired.
As a designer at NMCO, what are your favorite type of projects to work on?
Dana Apodaca (DA): I love to work on branding projects where I’m not only designing a logo, but I’m also designing the assets, language, and pretty much entire personality of a company. I love to see how I can carry the logo’s characteristics into other parts of the brand.
What made you decide to pursue Graphic Design?
DA: I have always been creative and very interested in art, but I’m also a very methodical person which can sometimes hinder the creation of art. I feel like graphic design is the process of creating “corporate art”, A.K.A. art with rules. Graphic design allows me to be creative for a living, but
List 3 things that are on your Creative Bucket list?
DA: In no particular order… 1. Create a package design featured in a store, 2. Design something for one of my favorite retail brands such as Target, Lush, Urban Outfitters, or any makeup brand (I’m so basic, I know!), 3. Design an album cover.
What do you love about working with clients at NMCO?
DA: My favorite part about working with clients is the relationship you build with them and the conversational co-building of a design. I love the process of listening to what a client wants, interpreting and refining that idea, and creating something that the client loves, that I love, & that their customers love.
What’s your approach to designing a solid brand identity with extensions?
DA: I think when you break it down, a brand’s value is fundamentally reliant on first understanding what the company’s personality is and then (accurately) visually translating that personality into a reality. So for me, the most important thing when designing a solid brand identity is talking to the client and really understanding not only what their vision is, but what their clients expect the brand to be.
After I feel I have a full understanding of the brand’s personality, I then go into designing the logo. This is not always a one-and-done deal. Like I mentioned, it’s a conversation. We are building something together. After I’ve designed a logo that the client loves, I can then extend the features of the logo into other assets. I study what the defining characteristics of the logo are and replicate those characteristics in shapes or style choices. It often takes a lot of finessing until I feel that the assets all feel like a family that share the same features and play well together.
How do you stay inspired for projects?
DA: Staying inspired can be hard for me sometimes, but one of the main things I use to stay inspired is Pinterest! I’m a Pinterest fiend! Whenever I’m feeling uninspired and I need a little pick-me-up I just go to my Pinterest homepage and click on something that looks cool to me, and from there Pinterest shows me other things that are similar. I always find myself going down rabbit holes every time I log on to Pinterest.
If I’m feeling extra uninspired and am needing something a little more substantial than Pinterest, then I definitely have to get up from out of my computer chair and go outside. Some things I like to do are going for a walk/taking a hike, going to a store that has products I enjoy, or going to a restaurant/bar with a cool atmosphere or interesting people. When I do these things I try not to think about design or “trying to be inspired” and I just let my mind naturally notice things.
If I’m feeling really, really uninspired then that’s when I know I need targeted motivation to dig me out of the hole. When I say targeted motivation, I mean things like design events, art shows, or design talks. Even going out for coffee with a creative friend always seems to make me want to go home and create something cool. If I can’t make it to an event or my friends are busy, then I find a Ted Talk about inspiration, motivation, creativity, art, or design. Ted Talks are awesome.
What’s one thing you can teach people about what you do?
DA: Hmm… One thing I think a lot of people don’t know is how extensive graphic design and the design process are. There is so much that goes into what I do every day, in every step of the process there are even more subsets of micro-processes, and none of my decision-making is arbitrary. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think that graphic designers just draw something up, slap a company name on it and bang, there’s a logo. But it’s rarely that simple. Sometimes the best design is the first one you thought of, but even then, it takes many tweaks and revisions to get to the final product.
How do you think the NMCO studio can help other businesses?
DA: NMCO can help in so many ways. We can brand or rebrand a business so that the company/product truly speaks and connects with its target audience, generating more customers, which means more sales. Our videography department can create commercial video and make a business look so legit. They are able to make videos that aesthetically match the brand and create the desired “feeling” that any given client requests for a video. Our web developers are awesome, clients can tell them their vision or requirements for a website and our developers work with them to create attractive and functional sites. And in 2019, we all know that a business might as well not exist if they don’t have a website. Yeah NMCO can pretty much elevate any business in some way.
What can we expect to see from you?
DA: You can always expect fresh, quality graphics from me. I take a lot of time to do research and figure out the best way to tackle every project I work on so that I can create the best final product possible. I also pay very close attention to detail and I try to consider what potential problems might be & solve them before they occur. While I’m very organized and strategic, I love to create fun, unique designs that are unlike anything else.
We featured Dana in our series “The Point.” Check out what she has to say about staying on brand and looking good on your social media.