Graphic designer and photographer Erica Moreno submitted the winning poster design for Latinitas’ Design Chica Conference. Erica has over fifteen years of experience under her belt and still has a strong passion for her creative work, which she does professionally through her company, Night Owl Visions. As a wife and mother of a Latinito, she draws inspiration from family, traveling, nature, and history. We asked Erica some questions to learn more about her.
Where are you from and tell us something interesting about your childhood?
I am from the Texas coast, a small fishing town called Port Lavaca. My childhood was spent fishing, at church, and spending time with family. My parents are both Mexican-American but we do not have any relatives in Mexico. I have ancestors on my mom’s side that are buried at the mission in Goliad, TX. Also, I recently found out that my grandma on my dad’s side was related to the founder of Victoria, TX. I am very proud of my Texas roots and I hope to learn more about my ancestors and their story.
Where did you hear about Latinitas’ design competition and what made you want to take part?
I saw the ad for the poster contest on social media and it caught my eye right away. The event seemed to reflect me in many ways and I instantly wanted to be involved.
When did you realize graphic design was your passion?
Honestly, I think it was in high school. I randomly joined yearbook and learned a program to design pages. I began designing spreads for yearbook and my instructor took notice in my work. She suggested that I become a graphic designer. I had no idea what a graphic designer was but I knew I liked what I was doing for yearbook and newspaper. My teacher thought I was good at it and soon all the possibilities came pouring in. I could work for a magazine or design posters or be my own boss. I had many friends that knew, early on, exactly what they wanted to do after high school. It was nice to finally have an idea, a goal, and a new passion to create.
What steps did you take to become a graphic designer and photographer?
Austin was already on my mind so I looked up classes in the area for Graphic Design. Austin Community College had an interesting program and after talking with advisors, I enrolled in the Visual Communication Department. It was the best decision I could have made. They have a great program and the internship course landed me my first job after graduation. My professors were also professionals in the industry and each brought a great amount of experience and real world advice. I also enrolled in photography classes and reignited my love for the art. While going to school, I designed spreads for a local magazine called Whoopsy and worked part-time at ACC. I was hungry for experience so I took every opportunity I could to design.
Why did you decide to start your own company?
Starting my own company was a way to keep my portfolio diverse and also an outlet to purse my first love, photography. Fine art photography is my newest passion. It’s a great way for me to use both design and photography in one project.
Tell us about the inspiration for your poster submission.
My inspiration for the design was a traditional Mexican floral pattern. I wanted a mixture of femininity, culture, and technology. I personally love a colorful design and here it reflects the mixture of people and personalities involved in the program.
What’s your favorite thing about being a graphic designer?
My favorite part about being a graphic designer is seeing my vision come to life. It starts with a concept and usually I can see it before I create it.
What is the most challenging thing about your work?
Keeping up with technology and the constant updates in design trends are probably the most challenging part of my job. There are industry standards when it comes to creative programs and tools. I have taken classes after graduation to stay on top and also subscribe to design magazines in order to stay informed and inspired.
Do you have any advice for girls in high school curious about graphic design?
My advice to young girls would be to do your research on schools and visit the graphic design advisors at the campuses you are interested in. You don’t always have to pay an arm and a leg for school. Don’t forget to look at community colleges, apply for scholarships, and financial aid. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Graphic design is an art. How do you approach/perceive it?
Graphic design is the ultimate mixed media. The art can take many forms and include a variety of other art forms within it. For me, it’s a puzzle that I get to arrange in a creative way. I love conceptual music, art, and films. Graphic design is no different. Developing the concept is my favorite part of the design process.
What works of art (Film, Photography, Paintings) do you really admire?The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch was the first painting that really took me by surprise. Almost anything by Frida Kahlo but specifically, The Broken Column. “City of God” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” are two of my favorite films. They are both visually stunning and have you thinking about them long after the movie is over.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to travel, swim, and be outside with my family. I also love going to see live music.
Who is one of your role models?
One of my role models is definitely my mom. She was a strong woman before it was okay to be one. She taught me to work hard and to always stand up for yourself.
Latinitas’ Design Chica Conference is Saturday, April 15, 2017, at ACC Eastview Campus. Throughout the day, girls ages 9–18 of all backgrounds will learn design thinking and work with user experience designers to create their very own website. The day will also include some demonstrations of virtual reality technology. During lunch, girls will meet professionals in various roles in the tech sector.
For more information, or to sign up to volunteer, visit DesignChica.com.
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