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Designer Spotlight with Maya Berenblum

A recent SVA graduate, Maya Berenblum is passionate about the technology and graphic design and views challenges as opportunities

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Maya Berenblum, a 22-year-old Miami native. I recently graduated from the School of Visual Arts, where I completed my BFA in graphic design. I’m passionate about exploring methods of presenting information through digital interfaces and tangible surfaces. Currently, I’m on the search for design opportunities.

Which design topics are you most passionate about?

I’m interested in the intersection of technology in graphic design. I recently learned javascript and hope I can implement creative coding techniques into my design process. I’m excited about the new advances in artificial intelligence, too. Generative arts offer new pieces never seen before. While AI provides many benefits, designers' creativity and intuition are essential in art and design to help to forge new artistic frontiers.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I don’t know about you, but I spend most of my day in front of my computer. I can feel exhausted and mentally drained. Cooking and baking help me zone out and take a break, especially when I get to share it with my friends and family. Being able to give my loved ones a home-cooked meal is a way I can share my appreciation for them. Another thing I do in my free time is take my point-and-shoot camera with me everywhere. I try to capture the small moments in life that typically would go unnoticed.

Share a project / exhibition / creative person / anything that you found recently and sparked your imagination.

On a recent trip to Mallorca, Spain, I encountered a bar and bookstore called Panorama. The store featured local artists' riso prints, screen-printed shirts, books, and miscellaneous art supplies. The beautiful artwork reminded me of my joyful memories of taking a risograph class during my last semester of college. I could apply what I learned in class by understanding the artist's techniques. Additionally, the store offered new ways to present books. As I love book design, I was excited to explore the various types of books they carried.

What’s the hardest thing about being a designer?

Designers strive to make every detail pixel-perfect. The meticulous nature of designers is what drives them to work on their projects endlessly. Perfectionism can be helpful for our determination to create beautiful work. However, it can take a lot of energy from us and ultimately lead to burnout. Especially if we are hard on ourselves after investing significant time and substantial effort into a design. I’m unsure how to solve perfectionism, but finding the right balance between trusting yourself and knowing when iteration is too much makes a design truly good.

What’s the best thing about being a designer?

Design is more than visuals or aesthetics; appearance is only a fraction of the whole. Our primary responsibility is transforming concepts into unified systems connecting to individuals. We can express their creative vision and bring form to ideas. Designers can develop different methods for one problem and discover unexpected outcomes.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with people who are passionate about their craft and are excited about the projects they are involved in. People who are deeply motivated about the work they create exude an every that inspires me. Moreover, I enjoy working with open-minded individuals as they are willing to explore and experiment with new mediums. They seek out innovative and unconventional approaches to bring forth different solutions. Through the joy of exploration and experimentation, exciting ideas can emerge.

Share the last photo you took for inspiration and explain why.

I’m obsessed with the textures of the poster. The poster's background is bright yellow and orange, using a halftone texture, while the foreground uses a black marker to outline the figure and stars. The illustration overlays many textures and uses individual lines instead of a single one. I had never thought of using these techniques before seeing the poster.

What's the best advice you've received (and from whom)?

“Every struggle is a window of opportunity.” I’m unsure where I heard this advice, but I remind myself of the quote when I have trouble with a project or learning new software. Seeing challenges as a moment to learn has positively impacted my design process. I like to think with every struggle and mistake I’ve endured; I have learned a new perspective and skill, big or small.

What do you do when you feel stuck and uninspired?

When I feel stuck, I can be hard on myself for not coming up with solutions and ideas fast enough. To help my inspiration rut, I draw from an image or an object beside me. I’ll draw until I feel confident to return to the existing project. This helps my mind flow easier and mentally removes me from the project I was working on. Also, it reminds me of my creativity and is a fun exercise.

Recommend a book / movie / TV series / podcast / playlist to our readers

As designers, we notice places others haven’t. We are inquisitive about the world around us. The podcasts “99% Invisible” and “RadioLab” reflect the pursuit of curiosity. They tell niche stories about science, design, architecture, and history I wasn’t aware of before. I’ve learned interesting things I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and I feel inspired after listening.

Thank you Maya!



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