Art director, graphic designer, illustrator, sculptor, painter, collage maker, motion designer, visualizer, logo designer, web designer, digital designer, visual designer, packaging designer, creative thinker, problem solver, cartoonist, typographer and team player are just some of the many appellations that describe the graphic design talent José Bernabé. Born in Spain, he’s been living in Netherlands for the past couple of years now where starting with such big companies as Philips, JWT Amsterdam and Havas Worldwide Amsterdam José now continues to expand his professional knowledge by working at his own José Bernabé Studio he founded back in 2005. Being agraphic design and illustration Bachelor’s program graduate, over the years Bernabé has worked on various creative projects from advertising campaigns and brand identity projects to unique packaging designs, animations and even inspirational learning quotes’ designs he created for his son. Regardless of the concept, those are always bright colors, aptly slogans, attention to details and humorous cartoonlike characters José brings to life with his effortlessly playful yet professional touch.
Was the idea of becoming a graphic designer something you had always pictured yourself doing or was it more like an unconscious decision?
Since I was a child I like to draw like most the children do but I think I had a special approach to communication, there was always a message in my drawings. I had my first recognition in a drawing contest when I was a child, I think I got some motivation from there too. But graphic design was not my first profession, I was a salesman for many years and this is something that helped me to communicate and connect with people. But I realize the most important is to chose the job you really enjoy with. The more you enjoy, the better you became.
How would you describe your approach to design? Is there a specific theme/signature elements you try to stick to or do you just follow your idea as it develops?
I like to combine things, to mix tehnics, I love typography and illustration, I love the digital but also the classic arts and crafts…and I try to stick them every time I have the chance. I learn about composition, color etc. at the school of art but I try to “forget everything” I learned to make something unique and fresh.
What are the main tendencies of graphic design industry today? Is clean/minimalistic style still in or do people prefer something more sophisticated and complex?
In graphic design there is a need to the minimalism to make the information easy to digest for the people. But too much minimal is not enough in my opinion. Everyday public is demanding more and is more curious than ever. Actually, I would like to say that there is a ‘Minimal Complex’ approach to graphic design. Also there is an interesting approach to art from graphic design, something that enrich the discipline.
Do you prefer working for a specific company or for yourself as a freelancer? What are the main pros and cons?
I love freelancing. That gives me more freedom to experiment. Sometimes is tricky because you have to do everything not only the design stuff, but also all the paperwork and all the corresponding tasks of a company. To make projects together with other amazing professionals could be very inspiring as well as working for a specific company. I think the perfect would be to combine both in time.
What are your current sources of inspiration and how do you incorporate them into your work? Do you find it challenging to stay motivated and focused at all times?
Internet, TV, science publications, objects, a novel, a trip, movies… Inspiration can be found everywhere, we are all surrounded by useful visual information.
I don’t find challenging to stay motivated, the challenge is to separate the average things from the good ones. Our time is limited so we have to make decisions and choose the project or the product we want to make.
What other talents or passions do you have apart from graphic design? Are they also related to creative fields?
I like different artistic disciplines like painting or sculpting that mostly I do just for me and myself. Other interest of mine is films especially classic movies.
Nolan, Fincher, Buñuel, Kubrick, Lynch… are some of my favorites directors.