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Paula de Álvaro

Updated: May 29, 2020

Let’s start with bit of small talk:

Where would you rather be in quarantine?

I think I’m very lucky to be where I am, I lived alone in a small flat in the center of Madrid without windows facing the street. I had just come back home to visit my parents a few weeks before all this started. Now I am near the sea and the countryside in a house with a garden and accompanied by my family, here I have a large studio where I work, lucky that I didn’t get caught in the city. Many days when I wake up I miss being able to travel anywhere.

What is the weirdest meal you’ve had during quarantine?

Almost every meal I’ve had during these two months. I didn’t have time to cook before Covid-19, I used to prepare my own food to take to work, quick snacks and meals or fast food. I currently spend much time cooking, so everything is really weird for me.

What were you curious about today?

Today I have been trying to make letters with modeling clay and with different things and materials. I have also been looking for fonts that I didn’t know, every day I spend some time looking for cool fonts.

What conversations did you have today?

Today I’ve been isolated in my studio finishing some projects, so I haven’t had an interesting conversation yet.

What did you learn today?

Today I learned that I can’t draw or make a self-portrait, but at least I tried. I’ve also learned some basic animation lessons by watching videos for hours on Youtube.

Now, let’s get a bit deeper:

Could you please describe yourself and your work as a creative.

On my Instagram description it says “graphic designer and visual explorer”, I never really know how to describe myself. Until now I have worked as a graphic designer in different studios, since a few months ago I have been running my own projects as a freelance, so I also work as a creative director of the projects I am designing. I have always liked to carry out my self-projects: books, posters... being able to question everything around me and the world we live in through graphic design.

I am very interested in critical design and speculative design. Design as a tool for expressing ideas and not simply at the service of a client’s commission. I’m also interested in photography, product design, art, fashion design... I like exploring all limits and not establishing borders between different disciplines to offer a broader view and new perspectives to the people.

Has the current situation had an impact on your work process?

Yes, of course, I think that everyone has changed their way of working. But that doesn’t have to be negative, it is also helping us to rethink our way of working, our methods and finding new tools, very cool projects are being carried out because people are adapting their work to the limitations that the Covid-19 has brought us and finding inspiration in what is closest to them.

I have been able to resume self-projects that I had paused because I did not have time to carry them out, propose new projects, collaborate with other designers that I admire and do things that I really wanted to do.

How has it affected your productivity?

I think my productivity is higher because I work without pressure and without as much hurry as we were used to have, I work more comfortably and I enjoy more what I do. That has made me have more ideas and do things that I didn’t have time before, explore new techniques, paint, make videos, print clothes.

I try to do some activity during the day that forces me to leave the screen for a while, that helps me to be more productive all the hours I spend working on the computer (my main work tool). I also think that since I have fewer distractions, I spend all my time doing projects that I like, and that makes me be more productive than before.

Long term, how do you think this will impact your work or the industry you work in?

I don’t really know. After all, companies will continue to advertise and they will still need graphic design, I think that small companies will find it more difficult to invest in it, but they are also inventing new ways to continue advertising without many resources.

Despite the difficulties, it depends on us to know how to adapt to the current situation, I think that we creatives have to work hard to create new ways and manage to continue doing our work. I think it will be much easier than we think, everyone is in the same situation.

How are you reframing your social interactions?

I try to do the same things I used to do but in a virtual way, have a snack or dinner with a friend on FaceTime, call us while we work so we don’t feel alone, and send us articles, movies or interesting things to do, read or watch that keep us distracted so we can share things and spend time “together”. I think I’ve become even more social than before.

What’s the most inspiring / creative response to COVID-19 you have come across so far?

There are many initiatives that I find very interesting, the people who share their playlists, those who share their designs or illustrations, the fonts that could be used for free for projects carried out during these months, the adaptation of the different works through video calls… solidarity and projects that aim to help others in some way.

Looking back, what will you miss about quarantine?

The pause, the time, the silence when opening the window, not being in a hurry, I think we should stop more often.

Please elaborate on your quarantine work…

I’ve been doing several projects that are related to quarantine, I started making a series of drawings and sharing them on Instagram for people to color them, “Paint and Color” project became bigger and I collaborated with an illustrator that I always liked (@cucaberenguer) or with the brand (@gafasmurcia), making new templates for people to keep coloring.

I also took part in a very cool project by the product designer (@laiaamigoayats), a series of 19 ceramic vases: Covid-01, Covid-02. Covid-03... until the 19th. Now I’m designing a book for a photographer who has been doing photo shoots through FaceTime, at the moment I can’t tell you more about the project, it hasn’t come out yet!



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