School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Alumni Feature: Isabel Castillo Guijarro

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CD Alumna, Isabel Castillo Guijarro is a New York based designer and illustrator from Madrid (Spain). She studied Advertising in Dubai, prior to spending a summer at Central Saint Martins in London and later graduating with a BFA in Communication Design from Parsons. Her work has been featured on Print Magazine and Art Directors Club among others. Recent American Illustrator Award winner; AIGA Cased Award Finalist for her work at Refinery29, where she is currently a Senior Designer for Branded Content; as well as AIGA Command X 6 contestant in 2016.

Recent collaboration with Bando using minimal and colorful lines to complement their editorial photography featuring newest products.

What were your favorite classes at Parsons?

I honestly liked most of my classes and enjoyed all the lectures and guest speakers that came to school but, the one class that really pushed my forward in thinking and designing was Thesis during Senior Year. My professor was Ken Meier and although I changed concepts multiple times it tested everything that I had learned at Parsons.

Posters for Refinery29’s New Fronts event. The full set has a total of 16 different posters dedicated entirely to empower women.

Detail shot of the mural I did for Tictail

What did you wish you knew as a student that you know now?

When I was a student I was really eager to start working as soon as possible. By the time I graduated, I had had four different internships in four different fields (music, film, publishing and an art gallery); I had worked in two design studios and started freelancing during senior year. But looking back now, I should have worked less for other people and pursued more of what I wanted to do for myself.

Because I was always really busy, I didn’t dedicate as much time as I should have to school projects. They could have gone much much further than what they did! If I could go back, I would make them better because they were 100% mine. A professor can recommend you things, can critique your work, but at the end of the day, is your call. You make the decisions. Once you enter the work environment, there is always going to be someone above you changing and pushing you to do it their way. Whether is an art director, a creative director, your boss or a client. It looses a bit of you in it. So if you are reading this, go and make the best of your school life before it’s over!

Illustration for Refinery29’s Beach House

A variation on an illustration I did for an AIGA holiday card

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There have been very specific moments in my career so far where I definitely felt like that was it, that was a good moment, a cool moment, a highlight moment. But the best experience so far has been AIGA Command X. I was one of the seven contestants last year and an incredible experience. From the pressure of designing and presenting in front of thousands of people; to meeting the most interesting creatives in our industry and having people come up to you, vote for you and give you unconditional support. It was intense but totally worth it.


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