Celebrating: Bárbara Fonseca, Designer in Berlin.

© Bárbara Fonseca

How would you introduce yourself in five words?
I like the weirdest plants.

What do you prefer to do when it comes to design?
My work’s main focus is illustration and I’d say that’s my preference. The fact that I studied Communication Design, plus working as a graphic designer, influences my illustration work with a need for clarity and strong graphics. I also have a huge appreciation for magazines and love doing editorial design. At the end of the day I really enjoy working, so anything that comes my way is usually fun.

What is the best compliment your work has ever received?
That one time my friend told me the noses of my characters look like flower petals.

“…these are not exclusively design related problems but worker’s rights issues, which are a very relevant topic nowadays with the emergence of the so-called ‘gig economy’.”

What designer do you most admire and why?
I really enjoy bold and colourful designs that feature a sense of fun and joy. I can’t just pick one person in particular, so I’ll say a lot of names: John Alcorn, the Memphis Group, Milton Glaser, Kiyoshi Awazu, Braulio Amado, the Folly Cove Guild, Karin Larsson and so many others!

What would your advice be to a young designer?
Fill yourself with knowledge. Not just knowledge about design, but about everything. Cultivate your interests. The more you know, the more meaningful your work will be.

Is there such a thing as Portuguese design?
I think that your creative expression will always come from who you are and what you learn in your life. Nowadays we can have access to knowledge about other parts of the world quite easily so I guess the boundaries in creative expression are a bit blurred and they are not so related to geographical borders anymore.

“At the end of the day I try to detach the value of my work from its visibility, see how it served its purpose and how much I learned while working on it.”

Is there such a thing as Feminine design?
This is a tricky question. I guess so, but I think that although women can have a different perspective on life that will inform their way of expressing themselves, every person has a different perspective that will inform their work and that doesn’t have to be attached specifically to gender.

What is it like being a woman in the design business?
I think it is quite an accepting field of work. A lot of times the only thing you know about a designer is their work and the gender question is not immediate. Although that doesn’t mean that there aren’t topics we should reflect upon, like the distribution of genders in higher roles, payment equality in companies and in freelancing, maternity leave and so much more. But I think these are not exclusively design related problems but worker’s rights issues, which are a very relevant topic nowadays with the emergence of the so-called ‘gig economy’.

Is the visibility of your work attached to a sense of achievement? Why?
In practical terms yes, but personally no. I think that it is important to put your work out there in the world, feel that it is recognised and seen and that it is serving a purpose. Having said that, for me the most important and exciting part of work is not always the visible part but the process of creating it and the thought behind it. At the end of the day I try to detach the value of my work from its visibility, see how it served its purpose and how much I learned while working on it.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A carpenter. I love building things.

If music was the food of love, what would you eat?
Donuts.

Where can we find you and your work?
You can find my work in my website — http://barbarafonseca.com, Tumblr — http://barbara-fonseca.tumblr.com, and Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/veilsandmirrors/ .