Graphic designer from Perú, with a knack for documentary photography. Practices Taekwondo and, she is quite good at it.

LocationLima, Peru
DateSeptember 24, 2018
The meetup

The first thing I did in Peru was to go meet Paola in her studio in Lima. We walked around her neighborhood to take some pictures of her and then sat down to do the interview. Even the 2 hours ride to go back to my hostel afterwards was a breeze after such a pleasing meeting. 

Listen preview
I think it's important to have personal projects because that makes you different. What you do with your time besides your office work or freelance work is important.
Chapter 01
About the designer

Hey Paola! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Paola Bautista, I'm a 25 years old graphic designer and photographer from Peru. I like to do anything that involves art. When I was a child, I asked my mom to find me something to study that’s related to drawing, and she told me to go study architecture, which she was wrong about. Then, I discovered that I could study graphic design, so I studied in Lima at Toulouse Lautrec for 4 years. I didn’t have an eureka moment where I found out that this was my path, but graphic design was always something that I liked to do. 


Awvics branding

How would you describe your work? 

My paid job is graphic design, and if I get tired of doing that, I balance it with photography which is more of a personal job. On some projects, I have the opportunity to do both, which I really enjoy, but I work on branding, logo, and print design most of the time. 


501 Branding


501 Branding

What is your favorite part of your job? 

I would say it’s the moment when I finish a project and present it to the client. I really like this part because showing my work is the moment where the magic happens. Hopefully, they like the brand I create for them.

How would you overcome a situation where your client doesn't like the brand you created for them?

It’s difficult to say because I'm working so closely with them. They generally approve my work along the way, so the outcome is not really a big surprise to them. In the beginning of a project, I usually show two options, and if they don't like any of them, we chat about what went wrong to improve it.

Where do your clients come from? 

Mostly word of mouth. I didn't do the best job at promoting myself online yet, and I need to advertise myself more. My initial clients recommended me to other clients, and a lot of them also come from Behance. 

Hopefully Esperanto will get you some work as well! What does your typical day look like? 

Because I work from home alone, my days are very flexible. As long as I can meet my deadlines, everything is okay. Usually, I start my work around 9AM. I do Taekwondo three times a week, and this is important to me because I’m usually in my office all day, and it lets me stay active. After Taekwondo, I get back to work. I usually stop working around 10PM. 


Fauna Project

Can you tell me about the project you’re most proud of?

Probably the last one for a New York City based client. I didn't have any previous connections with her, so I appreciate that she reached out to me. I also love how it turned out. 


Patrias Branding


Patrias Branding

Where do you find your inspiration?

When I start a project, I always do a lot of research on artists and designers that have done similar things because it gives me a good overview of what’s out there. I spend quite a lot of time on social media platforms like Behance, Instagram, Pinterest and now Dribble. I also save everything that inspires me for future projects. Besides that, I enjoy reading and going to bookstores to check out some illustration books, and I try to travel every time I can.

What do you do when you feel stuck on your project?

I just go out, talk with a friend, or watch a movie. Any activity that makes me think about something else is good because it helps me come back with a fresh eye and a fresh mind. 


Paola working in her studio in Lima

Since you work alone, how do you keep learning and growing?

I always try to learn new things. For example, I'm planning to start a motion graphic course soon because I want to be able to animate my logos. I try to push myself to get better and get out of my comfort zone as mush as I can. 

If you don't believe in yourself, it will be really hard for you to succeed. 

What is the best advice you ever received from someone? 

I know it's going to sound cliche but my parents always tell me that I have to believe in myself. It's difficult to be a freelancer because you don't have a regular income, and that can stress you out. If you don't believe in yourself, it will be really hard for you to succeed. 

What is the main difference you noticed since you started freelancing? 

When I was working at an agency, we were always rushing, so the outcome sometimes came out to be a bit disappointing. Now as a freelancer, I take more time to do a project because I want to make it as perfect as it can be. It took me a while to understand that I need to do a lot of research first instead of rushing directly into the actual work.

What was better when you were working at an agency? 

I would say the schedule was better. I used to stop working at 6PM rather than 10PM or 11PM like now. When I was out of the office, I was done with work, but that’s different now. Also, when you work at an agency, you can just skip work if you get sick, but as a freelancer, I have to work anyway because I have deadlines to meet. The consistent paycheck at the end of the month was also a good thing. There are some pros and cons. 


Rainbow Mountain, Peru - © Robin Noguier

Chapter 02
The design industry in Peru

How would you describe the design education system in Peru? 

It has changed and improved over the years. I started to study design in 2009, and being a graphic designer sounded risky for a lot of people at the time. They saw it as a starving artist. Now, more universities are wiling to teach graphic design. We don't have the best programs, but we are evolving so I’m optimistic. The problem is that almost everything is located in Lima.

How would you describe the design industry in Peru? 

There is a sense of community. We have a lot of closed Facebook groups, where we arrange meetings and talk about projects. We also have Behance portfolio reviews twice a year in Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco. There is also the LadFest where we invite international guests to come and talk about their work. 

When you were growing up, did you think you’d become a designer? 

Not really. I didn't even know that such job existed. I played with design software programs, but I didn't think that I could make a living out of it. I almost studied architecture, but I didn’t have a lot of freedom in what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something a bit more artistic. 

I think it's important to have personal projects because it’s what makes them stand out.

What is your advice for someone that wants to be a designer in Peru? 

There are a lot of schools now, and a lot of new designers are coming in every year, so they really have to push themselves to get better. I think it's important to have personal projects because it’s what makes them stand out. It's important to make a good use of their time and do projects that they really care about. 

Would you recommend someone to study at a school or to learn on their own? 

I think school gives you the environment to learn a lot. You could also travel and study in another country, which could be really interesting professionally and personally. 


Quick Llama Logo / Triscon Logo


Misc Logo / Wallpari Wasi Logo

Do you know any good designers or agencies in Peru? 

There are several great agencies in Lima. In terms of concept and execution, I like Lyon, Infinito, and Brandlab. In terms of visuals, I really like Fibra.
For Peruvian designers, it’s kind of hard to not mention all the people I know and worked with. If I have to narrowed it down, I enjoy the works of Carla Erausquin, graphic designer and illustrator, Elliot Tupac, illustrator, and the guys at Carga Máxima.

Who are some other designers that you look up to? 

For graphic designers, I really like the work of Jessica Walsh, Sagmeister, Timothy Goodman, and Adam J., although the last ones are more into lettering and illustration. A few weeks ago, I started to learn animation, and I admire the works of Markus Magnusson and Scott Martin. They upload tutorials to help beginners like me. I also like Austin Kleon, who defines himself as a writer who draws. I appreciate his perspective on how we can be more creative that he shared in his book, “Steal like an Artist.” Ever since I read the book, I’ve been obsessed with writing everything down.


Reach out to Paola

Spread the word

Final boarding call

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