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Location: Bogotá, Colombia
Occupation: Lettering artist
Room size: 10,5 m² (113 ft²)
Cost of the setup: ~$3,5K
Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself
Well, the truth is, before becoming Nubikini, I’ve been Nubia Navarro, with a degree in Venezuelan graphic design. I graduated from Rafael Belloso Chacín University in Maracaibo, Zulia.
I got out of college at least nine years ago and had always been drawn to typography and lettering design.
Even in college, I researched designers who used typography as the main element of their pieces, such as David Carson.
He was one of my first references in this area — and stayed relevant when I was about to leave university and began to approach experimental typography.
I played a lot with wood, linoleum, printing techniques and embossing where I began to experiment with letters in my deliveries to the subjects.
When I started working life, my curiosity led me to play with letters in a much more digital way.
I’ve always tried to modify the forms and create personal projects that had to do with the creation of musical posters and thus be able to practice a little every day with the fonts that I downloaded on my computer.
Currently, I’m based in Bogotá, Colombia — with my heart in Cabimas, Venezuela — the city I was born in.
I enjoy the ability to adapt to any project and also to generate striking pieces that generate emotions through colours.
I founded Nubikini Studio some time ago as a multidisciplinary studio. I’ve developed different skills with the help of collaborators and friends.
The studio has worked on several projects that include a wide range of commissions — from visual identity, branding and concept development to typography.
I describe our process as a “Creation Playground”, and no project will see the world without some fun in it.
As Nubikini, my approach to design is very focused on solving problems through custom lettering, typography, colour and illustration.
I believe in experimentation and diversity as an awesome way of getting ahead of other people and brands.
The most powerful skill I have is not to settle for anything.
I have some important influences in the design and lettering, such as Elliot Tupac, Paula Scher, Jessica Walsh, Herb Lubalin, Paul Rand, and Luís Palencia, among others.
“Always bold, never regular” as a daily mantra helps me navigate between projects, references and new tasks during the day.
When I’m not designing, I’m in the occasional café doodling and enjoying the well-being of doing nothing, as well as playing around with my cat at home.
Take us through your setup
|Monitor||LG 27″ Class 4K UHD||Monitor stand||Samdi Bamboo Monitor Stand|
|Laptop||MacBook Pro 2021|
|Mouse||Apple Magic Mouse|
|Tablet||Wacom Intuos Pro, iPad Pro 12″ 3rd Gen|
My workspace is very simple, and I’ve always wanted to keep it like that.
I don’t start the day if my desk is not tidy and I don’t finish my work if I don’t leave everything in its place.
The equipment I use belongs to the company I work for, with the occasional personal items of mine.
My space has changed over time.
My workspace and my studio are sacred spaces to me — I always try to keep them in the best energy possible.
I like to have the windows open so that the light comes in and I can also see outside.
I would love my studio to be bigger.
When it comes to experimenting with paints and other elements, I feel that it limits me a bit.
However, its size seems ideal to me to work during my normal days as an employee and a freelance designer.
Sometimes, I wish I had more plants, but my cats aren’t that fond of them. I have to keep it simple until they grow up and realise that plants are friends, not food.
What’s your favourite item on your desk?
My favourite item is my yellow lamp.
I have many rituals before I start working, but the first one is to light my lamp. Day or night, I always do that.
It helps me feel that I clarify my ideas and that I can be efficient in my work if I concentrate very well.
I’ve always had desk lamps throughout my career, but this yellow one has been my favourite.
It doesn’t have a particular story but it is that element that accompanies me when the day extends and helps me feel company during the day.
I bought it at a department store here in Bogotá called Home Center and I don’t really remember how much it cost. I’m sure it wasn’t expensive at all.
What apps or tools do you use to get things done?
I use Procreate as it has an intuitive interface and I can do a lot with just brushes, erasers and simple stuff.
It is a very powerful tool that you can take with you wherever you go and draw lots of things and create different styles.
It helps me a lot as a designer/human because it makes it easy to draw an idea in just a few seconds and then retake it some other time you feel more inspired.
It’s like carrying on your WIP [work-in-progress] portfolio wherever you go.
Apart from Procreate, I use Adobe Illustrator as a daily driver for poster and logo creation.
It is a versatile tool that helps me achieve very complex designs and have fun in the process.
It helps me as a designer/human in the way I can play around with shapes and generate striking pieces and patterns that can be used in lots of formats.
What books, blogs or podcasts recently caught your attention?
I have a few cool resources I always like to look at when I need some inspiration.
It is very interesting how you can find awesome things on Tumblr.
Podcast en español :): https://www.youtube.com/c/DeliandGraphics
- Bauhaus Typography at 100
- Lettering Manual by House Industries
- Extra Bold
- Contemporary Graphic Design by Taschen
- Typography in Wood
- Keep Going by Austin Kleon
All of those books have a lot of things that I find extremely interesting, such as colour, shape, typography, and relevant topics like inclusion, with related topics such as feminism and anti-racism.
Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?
Trust YOUR process and don’t compare yourself to others.
Sounds a little cliché nowadays, but even though I love social media, it seems like it’s the most common point of comparison for everybody.
Use the work of others to get the best of yours and not bring out the stuff you have not learned yet.
What does your typical day look like?
I work all week from nine to six in a design studio as an employee.
The rest of the time, including weekends, I work on my freelance project and a bunch of personal projects.
I always try to dedicate my nights to what I like to do and to keep practising in terms of design, layout, illustration, etc.
Hay personas que me preguntan si duermo, y por supuesto que lo hago. (There are people who ask me if I sleep, and of course I do.)
An essential part of my routine is also taking breaks and going for a walk to clear my head, which allows me to return to work with a fresher mind.
The first app that I open in the morning is Instagram.
Although during the rest of the day I check it again three or four times, I almost always try to be focused on Adobe Illustrator or on the different tasks that I may have.
I like to prioritise tasks according to their level of difficulty.
I consider myself quick when it comes to working on tasks that do not require much creative level but are more operational.
However, when I find an ideal workflow for the day, I won’t stop until I’ve met my goal.
When I’m not working, I like to draw and do personal projects.
I also listen to music or watch the occasional series.
Trying restaurants or going out to eat with my partner is what I also enjoy as part of my routine.
I’ve been working from home since the end of 2019, something that has been difficult at times but has also brought me benefits such as being a little more independent.
The coronavirus had a big impact on my routine.
My mental health was greatly affected since socialisation is essential for me, and for a long time, it was limited.
However, I did not lose contact with the people I love, and from time to time, we meet up to talk and have tea or coffee.
I also wanted to mention that I had never contemplated getting a pet.
But during the pandemic and for some time after, my partner and I decided to adopt two cats who have been our companions and friends during difficult times.
Having a pet changed our routines but also the way we saw the world. So if you get the chance, adopt a pet :) You won’t regret it.
I will probably go back to work in the office soon.
Surely, it’ll be hybrid and will likely change the routine again. I hope for the better.
Your tips for working from home?
My morning ritual starts with playing some series on my side monitor while I make a checklist of the things I have to do.
I divide the tasks of the day between morning and afternoon.
I’m often more productive in the afternoon, so I try to save the most difficult tasks for last as I feel like my mind has warmed up by then with the first few tasks.
Wonder a little, experiment a lot.
Every time I see something I like, I ask myself, “What if this could be bolder?”, “What would it look like if it were more colourful?” or “How can this be different?”
And the most important thing — take advantage of those moments between your daily tasks to do something different from what you always do.
People keep saying they don’t have enough time to do what they like, but I think that can change if you change the way you look at time.
We have a lot of time.
A habit that has worked for me, although I think this depends on each person, is to dress as if I were going out somewhere.
I even wear shoes and apply perfume as if I were going to leave home, but instead of leaving, I stay to work.
This makes my body think that it’s no longer time to sleep and get used to working.
I once worked in pyjamas and I found that it was not the best practice. My mind would think that it is time to go to sleep.
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