Alicia Souza — “The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt: Work hard, but work smarter”

ADI Bengaluru
Sep 2, 2018 · 3 min read
Alicia Souza

Alicia Souza. She needs no introduction — her illustrations have made her a household name, and not just in the design community. We asked her some questions about design, the creative process and Bangalore.

Fill in the blank: Being a creative professional is NOT for the feeble hearted.

Fill in the blank: Being a creative professional IS for the passionate minded.

What kinds of different hats have you had to put on while working in a designer’s shoes? Which such role/project was most challenging?
EVERY sort of hat imaginable. I thought being an illustrator would require me to draw and that’s it. But it grew into illustrating, accounting, managing, social media, pitching, client servicing, entrepreneurial, and chips-to-stay-sane-eating.

What is the most valuable (design) lesson you’ve learnt from someone who is not a design practitioner?
Work hard, but work smarter.

What would you say is the defining characteristic of “Indian” design? Do you think there is a modern visual language that is specific to India?
I think that Indian design tends to be a lot more dramatic, colourful and intricate. We’re a culture of such and that seeps into our design sensibilities.

Copyright: AirAsia

Being creative is largely about having the courage to fail repeatedly. Could you give an example from your own experiences of a project that failed? What went wrong, and what did you learn/take away from that experience?
I think chunks of my career tend to be a part of that ‘try-fail-learn’ experience. I can’t think of a specific project that failed but I can totally tell you that the number of presentations and pitches that didn’t make it to the real world is quite significant. The funny thing is that I forget about it and hold the same passion for the next ‘possible’ collaboration that comes my way. I think the fun bit is the creation and what I learnt is enjoying the process is a big part of staying happy in my job and not only looking forward to positive outcomes.

What can a student/fresh graduate and an experienced professional learn from each other in the design industry?
Student>professional: Experiment more. Play more.
Professional>student: Don’t take things to heart. Keep learning.

Do creative professionals have pet peeves? What is yours?
I’ve learnt to let go of a million pet peeves because of my industry with manufacturing. I think my BIGGEST pet peeve being timelines of manufacturers. I used to think that they work on a different time zone but because I’m SO outnumbered with punctuality, I feel like I’m the one on a different time zone.

How has being in Bangalore enriched your creative process? What have you learnt from the city?
I’ve learnt the differences in aesthetic preference. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve noticed. Also, over here, every colour in the palette goes well together. Haha.

And finally, to wrap up — How do you spend a perfect Sunday in Bangalore? Any specific recommendations or must-trys?
As a human with taste buds, you have to try Corner House for the sweet (apple pie and ice cream), Hae Kum Gang for the savoury (sushi), Third Wave Roasters for the bitter (coffee) and Blossom for your eyesight (second hand bookstore).

Follow Alicia on Instagram at @aliciasouza

This interview is a part of a series of conversations with designers from Bangalore called ADI Diaries. You can find more interviews here.

ADI Diaries

Thoughts, tips and takeaways from the Bengaluru design…

ADI Diaries

Thoughts, tips and takeaways from the Bengaluru design community

ADI Bengaluru

Written by

ADI Diaries

Thoughts, tips and takeaways from the Bengaluru design community