Marta Caro: Lead Designer at The Line
Marta Caro is a Barcelona-born graphic designer and art director currently living and working in New York, USA. Coming from a classic graphic design background, her work spans from interactive, branding and editorial design to art direction. Nowadays she works at The Line as lead designer. You can find her here.
Hi Marta! tell us a bit about how your passion for graphic design and art direction was born.
Since I was a kid I have always been interested in arts and photography. I remember that I used to play doing crafts and would make such big messes at home!
So at the time I had to choose my profession I had clear it had to be something artistic. In Barcelona there is this design school where you study 3 disciplines (graphic, product and interiors) the first two years, so it seemed good to me to explore them and then you specialize. I ended up choosing graphic design which was the one I liked the most.
After a few years working in the industry and not being able to choose what branch of design I really wanted to do (editorial, typography, web, branding…) I realised that what I like the most from the design process is the idea of the general picture or the final visualization of it.
You studied Graphic Design in Barcelona. When and why did you decide to move to New York?
I studied graphic design in Barcelona. During the 3rd year of my career I did a student exchange at the Design Academy of Eindhoven, and later on an internship at Quechua, in the Rhône Alpes (France). I worked for a bit in a small studio in Barcelona, but I was feeling too much in my comfort zone, and I thought it was too early for that, so I decided to have a 360 degree change and move to New York!
Did you find the move to the big city affected your work or your creative process?
It definitely did. The energy of this city pushes you to do more, the people from all over the world, the countless events and creative influences all around that inspire you constantly. The places I have worked at also have defined better the path I want to follow on my creative career.
Talk us through your creative process: does it start with an idea, a colour or some other type of inspiration?
It can go all ways, I might get inspired by a color palette, a new typography, an image, a material, a website/digital interaction, or a magazine layout. I find movies to be very inspiring (especially old ones) as well.
That usually gives me the direction of it. Then usually I get a final image in my mind of the look and feel and try to bring it to real life, sometimes is more complicated than others!
You are currently the lead designer at The Line. How did you come across the company?
When I first arrived to New York, I made an internship at 2x4 Inc., one of its clients was The Line. A few weeks after I started the internship, The Apartment by The Line was launching, and 2x4 sent me there to help with a couple of brochures. When my internship was about to finish, somebody mentioned that The Line was looking for graphic designers so to me was such a smooth transition since I had already worked with their team.
Tell us a bit about your day to day life as a designer at The Line.
The Line’s creative team is pretty small, so we need to be hands on with a lot of different projects (which I find it to be the best part of it). Nowadays I design together with an other graphic designer, the weekly editorial and emails, collaborate with the ideas for new chapters, I also do video editing for some of the stories, and help with collaterals that The Apartment might need such packaging, signage, invites for events, or special projects.
You seem to be working on other projects as well: could you tell us a bit more about the Marble Journals and Isles?
At the end of last year I decided going freelance. While still working at The Line a few days a week, now I’m taking projects at small brands in the fashion and beauty industry.
Marble Journals was originated from a hobby. A couple years ago I started doing marbling with “ebru”, a very ancient Turkish technique that consisted in sprinkling color pigments on water, where they float and form swirling patterns. It was used for calligraphy and book covers. I ended up with plenty of printed papers in my room so I decided to do something with them, and made a website. It is more of an artistic website to me, a place to keep a record of the prints I like the most, and have them more present.
Isles is one of the resulting projects from the PAOM Endowment for Extraordinary Design Fellows, where I presented a project using the marbled prints to create a swimwear collection. It was a fun experience overall, to see these prints as a final product that people can buy and wear is very satisfying!
Finally, is there any particular advice you'd like to give to a graphic designer starting now?
Probably my biggest struggle has been not being able to know right away what branch of design I wanted to do, and made me feel I could never be as good as somebody who is specialized in one of them. I was a bit all over. On the other hand, I think that helped me to have more of a holistic way to understand how to put together a big project where all of these different branches come together. So my advice would be, don’t be afraid to learn new things/skills that are out of what you are supposed to be doing, be curious and never stop learning! Everything that inspire us can be applied to our own creative process.