I design to help the world make smarter decisions. Design may seem from the exterior like a path reigned by aesthetics, trends, and with the sole purpose of beautification. But to me, design means so much more: Design is about solving a problem, providing a solution that had not existed before. I have always had somewhat of an obsession with the act of meticulously fixing things and that may be due to me being a triple Virgo, but I think it’s because I genuinely love to organize, simplify, research, and learn. Design can not function and (in my own opinion) should not happen without diving in deep to research. It is essential to see what came before us not only to ground myself as a designer but to learn from those who had attempted the same and/or similar of a task prior to my own practice. When writer and philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” he may not have been necessarily referring the realm of design, but I would absolutely apply it to the same process. Designers of the past made positive and negative creative decisions, and it is up to me as a member of Generation Z to take my values and implement them into a new future (one I am proud of).
However, as much as I pour my heart and soul into design, I must remember to not lose sight of the user for it has to work for them. An audience must be able to understand and use whatever it is I am serving them. And that is why I will always remember the phrase my AP English Language teacher told me when writing argumentative essays, “Know your audience”. At the time, I don’t think I truly knew the gravity of that statement but ever since coming to RISD, I live by that phrase. This idea key when attempting to translate a message through a visual form but at times it is also okay to question your audience, shock your audience, or even drive them away. All is possible and that is due to the impact design has. Design has a power: A power to change one’s opinion. This effect is one aspect of design that I find most intriguing because it tells me that every design choice I make must be deliberate for it adds up to a much larger picture.
However, this superpower that we are deemed with as designers is not limited to the physical, it can be used to propel real social change. This idea is what became the foundation for my propositions as the as the ones I am most passionate about emphasize inclusion, diversity, and change. My main core motivation is that I want other Latina women like me to know that they can create, make a difference, and share their authentic self. I know (without a doubt) that if more narratives or even language similar to the way I was brought up existed in the design world (or even in mainstream media), my confidence growing up would have been a whole lot different. Even as simple as the icons who introduced me to graphic design could have been more diverse in ethnicity, culture, or even gender. But by me including certain Spanish colloquial phrases or constructing a project centered around my culture, I am making a difference. That is why multiple of my propositions emphasize the ideas I just mentioned (see propositions 1- 4). I am dying for a more Latin design cannon, for Spanish rhetoric to be more in the mainstream, and for women to climb the hierarchical ladder until it is actually at a true equal balance. While design has always been an outlet for me to express myself, I realize that the impact I have is more important than solely making something beautiful. And if all I have ever dreamed of is to see a girl like me on a huge billboard in Times Square, what is stopping me from being a designer who does just that? Because quite frankly, Dora the Explorer can not be my only icon.