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Designer Spotlight with Pauline Esguerra

Get to know designer Pauline Esguerra as she shares her inspiration, musings, and creative path

Tell us about yourself.

Hey! I’m Pauline Esguerra. I’m a 24-year old graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from Texas. I’m currently working as a full-time designer at the London-based agency Made Thought at their New York office.

Which design topics are you most passionate about?

In the past, I’ve always said I love to blend my design practice with my art practice, but I think generally I’m very focused on craft – which right now plays well with my interests in typography, risograph printing, bookmaking, and even creative coding.

Do you have any special hobbies / things you like to do in your free time?  

I don’t know if it’s cliche to say one is a serial hobbyist, but I truly am at heart. I get obsessed with something for a few months and it's onto the next thing. My newest obsession has been rock climbing and I’m trying to join a cycling club. I’m also a huge film buff which means I’m usually just ignoring what’s on my watchlist and rewatching all of my favorite films.

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

I recently did an experimental type workshop alongside one of my good friends Kyle under this creative collaborative we host every season called Function. This one was our second event we hosted and it was very heartwarming and uplifting. I’m always amazed at how many non-designers come out to events like these that are all pretty niche, but it’s inspiring to get fresh eyes on a topic you’re thinking about almost every single day. It was all hands-on, no laptops, so people were really getting imaginative drawing new letterforms and truly having fun with it.

What’s the best thing about being a designer?

Community & Discovery. I’ve never met more observant, curious, and versatile people in my entire life than the designers I’ve come across. I think universally everyone is very accessible in this industry, and you can pretty much reach anybody you want to talk to by sending an email, and most of the time if you have questions or need words of wisdom, they’re almost always willing to help out. The discovery aspect about being a designer has everything to do with 1) making realizations about the world that mostly go unnoticed or untapped into and 2) seeing different worlds you wouldn’t think you’d be a part of but building a place for them to live and thrive in and being apart of that growth.

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I’d love to collaborate with people who are asking all the right questions. J.R. Carpenter and Olia Lialina have been my inspirations for internet art and creative coding ever since I started research for my senior thesis, Soft.Space. I’d love to keep practicing digital poetry and raising questions about the landscape of the internet and its relation to using art as a form of resistance.

Describe your dream project.  

My dream project would definitely have to be starting my own practice, which is a project in itself. I’d love to have a studio that is both client-facing and craft-focused. By that I mean one that does client work day-to-day but one day out of the work week we set out to do experiments via different mediums such as risograph printing, or hand lettering, or learning a new 3D modeling program. Prioritizing that kind of experimentation into work culture seems like the right move I’d want to make for my own practice. Having a curious mind is one thing but actually tending to it and pursuing them is another.

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

I recently went on a solo trip to Amsterdam and took a visit to the Stedelijk Museum. I actually went twice during my trip because I enjoyed it so much. They had a Dutch book design exhibition going on and this was from one of the pages in a book by the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. I’m hoping to actually draw and produce some of my own display typefaces one day and this was good inspo.

What do you do when you feel stuck and uninspired?

I am a hopeless art book and magazine collector so I’ll usually have a look through my collection or if I’m not home, I love going to Usagi in DUMBO or Iconic magazines in Soho to look at all the various books and publications. I also rely on conversations with my work peers to get the gears turning too. There’s value in fully trusting the people you work with to safely say “I’m stuck” and knowing they’ll help you propel your ideas forward and into unexpected territories.

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

I’ve recently been reading Atomic Habits by James Clear which was gifted to me by one of my managers (shout out Nick). I’m usually not a “self-help” kind of reader but the book touches on the idea of developing systems to help actualize your goals so your mindset is no longer outcome-based but identity-based, which I find super insightful. He takes the whole “trust the process” saying to another level and into language that actually helps put the things you want for yourself into fruition.

Thank you Pauline!



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