Meet Our Team: Itzel, Bicultural Millennial Creative
Welcome to Captura Group’s “Meet Our Team” series, a chance for us to profile a member of our team and give you a glimpse into the minds and backgrounds of the people that make Captura Group thrive. See our other profiles here.
Graphic Design can be considered one of the most pervasive art forms we have today, and in today’s day and age, it is one of the most fundamental factors for the success of any marketing campaign. We know that our aggregate Hispanic market accounts for almost half of the U.S. population growth. Keeping that in mind, we know that it is vital for brands to begin to target this segment if they haven’t done so already.
Lucky for us, our designers know how to create captivating visuals that not only stand out from the noise, but also engage the consumer. What’s the secret? Ensuring that the creative is culturally relevant and resonates with the US Hispanic consumer. This month’s featured team member and design expert, Itzel Ortuño, shares a bit about her background and how she approaches culturally relevant design.
Give us a peek into your background. What was growing up like for you? Where were you born, where was your childhood spent, what did you enjoy as a kid?
I was born and raised in San Diego to Mexican and Bolivian parents. Growing up in a bicultural household in San Diego’s East County was different from a cultural perspective. The things that were normal for my family and me, were not the same for everyone else. One of the easiest examples were sleepovers; it was not something that I did as a child and it was always considered to be a “cultural” thing. There are many other aspects of my family and culture that shape how I view things now. However, when you’re younger you don’t realize how individual – and different – we all are. Now as an adult I can see and understand why someone is the way she is. It’s fun seeing the different dynamics across cultures, and how what is normal for one person may be different for another. I suppose that cultural differences, much like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder!
What interested you about Design?
When I was younger, I used to do a lot of art projects and even took art classes. I did everything from painting, sculpting, and drawing – I enjoyed working with my hands. Walking through the grocery aisles as a kid, with my parents, I’d look at products on the shelves and wonder why they were the way they were. Let’s use Froot Loops as an example: why is the box red? Why is the toucan there? Why does this sell better than the store brand?
In middle school, I worked on the yearbook, and in high school I took my first design class. This is what opened up my interest to the world of design. Prior to this design class, I never would have considered art as a career path. When I went to college I thought “I’m not going to major in art, that’s not something that I want to do because it’s not lucrative”. But I soon realized that if art and design were my passion, they could be lucrative and a career. And especially with design, because although design is still considered to be “art”, it’s something that is very marketable.
One of the things we focused on at San Diego State University (my alma mater!) was Typography. Yeah, it may seem weird, but the biggest difference between traditional art and design is typography. We spent a lot of time on typefaces, their history, and why certain typefaces convey different moods. Little trivia: Steve Jobs was BIG on typefaces and got his inspiration from calligraphy classes he took in college.
How did your background shape your career direction, if at all?
I think that anyone that comes from a multicultural background is always looking for ways to advance themselves in the U.S. Any career move you make has to benefit you in the long term, because you can’t stay stagnant, ever, especially if you have a “multicultural” background.
When it comes to my background influencing my design style, I think that’s something that’s very apparent. The way that I design varies depending on the medium and client, but when I am naturally flowing, I do things that are Hispanic-influenced. It wasn’t something that I realized until someone pointed it out to me: I tend to use very bright colors, bold designs, things that are very geometric – all design elements that are rooted from being constantly around these types of visuals. So, if you look at Mexican art pieces, a lot of them have illustration, there’s a lot of pattern and color, and I think that subconsciously influences your future design.
Do you think that your Hispanic and personal backgrounds are reflected in your designs today?
I think so. Obviously, like I mentioned and depending on the brand, you can put that aside. But if it is something that I am doing for myself, I like to take that cultural route. Bolivian art pieces are very colorful and vibrant, the blankets that people have in South America are also bold and colorful: these are the kinds of elements I like to see in art.
What is the best part of your position at Captura Group?
The ability to explore – I’m not confined to my role as a designer. I know how to do things a certain way, but there’s a million ways you can do things in design, so I’m able to explore those different ways here as well. In my role, more than other roles, I am able to touch all the brands that we work with, which keeps things exciting and moving, because I am always working on something different.
I am also closely connected to many brands because we have consistent clients. This gives me the opportunity to focus on the branding of that one client and get to know the in’s and out’s of that brand. On the other hand, we also have new clients requiring new concepts and visuals for their brands – something that is challenging and rewarding, especially when we hear the positive feedback from the client!
Do you have any advice for marketers or general market brands looking to approach a multicultural marketing strategy to reach U.S. Hispanics through great design?
Less is more. Design that is clear, clean, and concise is the most powerful method of communication and allows for cultural relevance to shine through.