Designer from Brazil, obsessed with the ever-changing digital landscape and where it can take us. She's an old soul with a weakness for beautiful books and a strong passion for her dogs.

LocationRio de Janeiro, Brazil
DateNOVEMBER 01, 2018
The meetup

It was my second day in Brazil and Julia welcomed me with a smile that makes all of the Esperanto project worth it. Thanks to the perfect Rio De Janeiro’s weather, we sat down outside for a few hours in a nice patio next to her office to do the interview.

Listen preview
I think one of the secrets for you to have talent is to work a lot.. to try and make mistakes and try again until you find your way somehow.
Chapter 01
About the designer

Hello Julia, nice office! Thanks for welcoming me. Can you please tell me a bit about yourself? 

Hello, I'm Julia, a designer from Rio de Janeiro – Brazil, currently working at Work & Co. I've been designing in digital for 2 years now, and every day I fall more in love with it and all the possibilities we have in this field. I have 2 dogs which I'm really obsessed about. I like to travel, but I'm also a stay at home person. I love to collect books, I find that to be an affordable kind of art.

What led you into design? 

My relationship with design doesn't have the most romantic beginning. When I had to choose which major I was going to apply for, I only knew what I didn't want to do. During that period, my mom worked on one of the biggest newspaper here. I remember asking her to go there and explore that world, to see if maybe I wanted to be a journalist. What I found out was something completely different from what I was expecting. I got really curious about all the process of putting newspaper and magazines together. I learned a little bit about what it meant to design a layout in general. After this experience, I was pretty sure I wanted to design books, make editorials and explore what was graphic design. 

When I started University I became a little obsessed over books, I wanted to collect them and have as much reference as I could. I think that maybe that was the way that I found to compensate my frustration of not having any drawing skills or something. At that time, I had no clue that this passion would switch focus and that I wouldn't need to draw amazingly to become a good designer. At some point during my time at University, I worked on a project that resulted in a native digital experience. I really loved designing for this space and realized that there was so much I didn’t know about the digital world. That’s pretty much how I got started in digital product design.

I try to prioritize the problems I have to solve and to deal with them one at a time.

How would describe your work? 

I don't know if I can answer that yet. I feel like it's always changing. I learn from the people that I’m working with every day, and it makes me evolve and change all the time. At Work & Co, everyone is considered a designer. We don't have the distinction between UX Designer, Visual Designer and Product Designer for example. When I started working in digital, I wanted to do a little bit of everything, and when I found out that you have the space to learn all different facets of designing for digital at Work & Co, I was really amazed by that. Throughout a project, we go from concept to visual design to high-fidelity prototype, and we are all part of the whole process.

What is your favorite part of your work?

One of my favorite parts of a project is the concept phase. It's when the magic happens, and we let ourselves shoot for the moon trying to find the solutions to the challenges we were presented in the project. Exploring how we can build a better future for both our users and the brands we work with is the thing that I love the most.


One thing about Julia: she is always smiling

What is something you want to get better at and how do you plan to do so? 

I really want to get better at the visual aspects of designing for digital. We have a mix of clients and project types, and I would love the opportunity to work with brands and on projects that allow for a lot of creative freedom. 

What does your typical day look like? 

When I'm in the beginning of a project, I like to get at the office early around 8 am. I get a coffee, then I write everything I'm thinking about the challenge I'm facing on the project. It's an essential part for me because I create my line of thoughts from words. When I'm working on concepts, I like to give them names because it helps me to explain what I was thinking when I was exploring that idea. For the rest of the day, I mostly work, try a bunch of things, and show my work to developers, strategists, and designers who are not on the same project as me so I can get another point of view of what I'm doing. I try to prioritize the problems I have to solve and to deal with them one at a time. We also have our internal meetings where we share our work with the team. I leave the office at around 7 pm.


Julia working in the Work & Co's cosy office

Can you talk about a project that has made you the most proud? 

I think I'm still really young in my career and it feels a bit pretentious to say that I'm really proud of something specific. I can name a few projects that contributed a lot to my training as a designer. Three projects come into my mind. 

The first one is called “O Circo Voa,” which is a book that explores the aesthetics adopted in the graphic production of 'Circo Voador' – a famous concert house in Rio de Janeiro in the 80s and 90s. What I most loved about it was that I got to dive in design history to actually write the content of this book. In 2017, this project was selected for the 12th Brazilian Graphic Design Biennial. Shout out to my amazing partners on the project, Priscila Bodin and Lucas Luz, and also our University mentors.


O Circo Voa

The second one is “Tipos de Grafia” which is an interactive publication that explores the main typographical styles through visual experiments.This project was nominated at the Latin American Design Awards 2018, on the digital category for students. Shout out to my project partner, Lucas Luz.

Tipos de Grafia


Tipos de Grafia

The third is the first one I participated and actually launched while working at Huge in 2017.


UI Design at Huge

You talked a little about your creative process, but what do you do when you feel stuck during a project? 

I would seek inspiration from books and personal collections I’ve made over time. I also think it's essential to look at things that are not directly connected to the subject because you can expand your thoughts in a way. For instance, if I'm working on an app, I don't want to look at other apps, I'm going to look at typography books. The moments when you feel stuck or challenged and are seeking for inspiration to continue, it will also contribute to developing the talent within you, and you will probably feel a little more confident for the next one.

You are talking about talent, and it's a topic I'm really interested in. What do you think about talent? 

From my point of view, talent is something that you build over time. When I started at University, I felt really out of place there because everyone seemed to have a gift in drawing. I thought that everyone was better than me, and that I might not have the talent to be on that course. People believe that talent is connected to something you were born with, but I think it's more of something you build throughout your life. I think one of the secrets to developing your talent is to work a lot and make mistakes until you find your way somehow. 

People believe that talent is connected to something you were born with, but I think it's more of something you build throughout your life.

You are a bit new to the industry, so where do you want to grow? 

I don't have a plan right now. I've been having a plan since I started University and it changed so much that now I'm just enjoying the work I'm doing. I don't see myself in Brazil for my entire career for sure. I really have a desire to experience life in another country and work with people from different cultures. At some point, I really want to move abroad. 

Oh cool! Do you have some countries or cities in mind? 

I really like London, I've done some exchanges programs there, and it was wonderful. I would love to live there one day. That would be a dream city for me. I would also like to go to New York City. I got the opportunity to work at the Work & Co Brooklyn office, and it was an amazing experience. I had a taste of what it feels like to live abroad. 

How do you keep learning? 

I learn a lot from the people I’m working with on a daily basis, so I feel very lucky to work here. 
I have a gigantic list of books that I want to read about design, management and company culture. I also want to learn more about the Vignellis.

I really have a desire to experience life in another country and work with people from different cultures.

I've become more familiar to their story after joining Work & Co, and it has been a great learning so far. I would say that Maximo and Lella were a power couple in the design industry, what a match! I also think the way their partnership worked was very fascinating; they seemed to be an essential asset to each others design process.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 

It's an advice that relates to your previous question and that I share with everyone I know, especially people younger than me – Work with people who are better than you in order to evolve and grow. 


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - © Robin Noguier

Chapter 02
The design industry in Brazil

How can you describe the design education system in Brazil? 

Overall, the design educational system in Brazil is kind of young, compared to other countries around the world. We are incredibly close to the main design masters from our country. For instance, I had a really great teacher who worked as an intern for the designer who helped found the first design school in Brazil. The name of this fantastic designer was Aloísio Magalhães. 
Here in my city, we have two different paths. Where I studied, they are really focused on teaching students to think about design and to find your creative process. I loved the flexibility of this education. For example, if you are studying graphic design, you can try industrial design for a while. I'm really grateful for that because this is how I realized that I wanted to do digital design. The other line of education has a more technical approach to design, and it's a bit harder to navigate between the different paths one can pursue within the Design field.

How would you describe the design industry in Brazil?

Talent wise we are all over the country. For instance, in Work & Co Brazil, we have people from more than 6 states. But the jobs are more concentrated in the Southwest and South of Brazil. If I needed to reduce this to a city, it would definitely be São Paulo. It's the financial heart of Brazil, and it is where most clients are located. I feel that the community of designers in São Paulo is busier too, they have some design festivals, companies promoting meet-ups and discussions about the industry, while it is a bit calmer in Rio, I would say. Actually, there was a big event in Rio in 2018. It's called ILA (Interaction Latin America), it's an important event for the digital industry here and it took place in our city, so that was very exciting.

You grew up in Brazil. Was design a path you thought you could take? 

Not really. The school I went to didn't really promote creative career paths, the only possibilities seemed to be engineering, law, med school and so on. I had to find it on my own since I was absolutely sure I didn't fit in any of those options. But after I did find out about design, I realized there was a gigantic world of career possibilities, and luckily, I found myself one faster than I expected. After understanding how broad the design discipline was and the many paths I could pursue, I would definitely say design is a path one can take in Brazil. Especially if it's digital design. I believe we are only starting, and we have so much room to grow.


Julia in a street near her office

What is your advice for someone that wants to become a designer in Brazil?

My advice would be to seek people in the industry and understand what the day to day job is. Don't be afraid to knock on some doors to find out what a designer does. People can be very kind and supportive if they see that you are truly interested in learning.

Could you name some designers or design agencies you look up to? 

I love the work of Paula Scher, I remember learning about her in the middle of the University, and she made me fall in love with typography. 
I really like the work of Sagmeister and Walsh, I've been to a talk of Stephan Sagmeister last year in São Paulo, and I was amazed to see how he thinks and his creative process. I also like agencies like Pentagram and Anagrama. In Brazil, I follow the work of Bloco Gráfico, Estúdio Margem and TUUT closely to name a few. 

Could you name some designers you like in Brazil? 

We have some beloved masters who will always be on this list, such as Aloísio Magalhães, Alexandre Wollner and Rubens Martins. They helped shape the discipline of design in Brazil and contributed to the development of a national design identity. People like them will always be a good source of reference.
For contemporary designers, I would mention Rejane Dal Bello. Her work and career path really inspired me through University and still does today. I also really like the work of Elaine Ramos, Nathalia Cury, and many others.
When I was just starting in digital, I also looked up to some great designers that are a reference for the discipline in Brazil, like Felipe Memoria, founding partner of Work & Co, and Fabricio Teixeira. When I first got involved with a digital project at University, I used to read Fabricio's amazing blog – uxdesign.cc – every day. Now I have a gigantic list of more designers I admire here at Work & Co. The amount of talented people we have here is insane.


Reach out to Julia

Spread the word

Final boarding call

Where do you
want to go next ?

1 /16
sri lankathailandcambodiavietnamchinajapanindonesiaaustralianew zealandcolombiamexicoperuboliviabrazilargentinachileback to top
introductionchapter 1chapter 2conclusion