School of Art, Media, and Technology

BFACD Faculty Highlight: Marcos Chavez

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CD Faculty Marcos Chavez a graphic designer based in Brooklyn New York. He teaches Collab: Design For Literacy and Topics: Advertising at Parsons and is Principal Partner at TODA and co-founder of the social enterprise DERT.

Marcos graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. His multidisciplinary design practice has span over 15 years working with a wide range of clients in diverse sectors creating projects in various mediums. Marcos’ has collaborated a broad span of creative professionals to realize projects for global corporations (such as Revlon, Samsung and Johnson & Johnson) as well as working with small and start up companies, non-profit organizations and institutions (like The American Foundation for the Blind, the AIGA and the DUMBO Business Improvement District.

TODA’s design work includes projects for The New School, American Crew, Reader’s Digest, Daylong Skincare and the AIGA.

How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?

Getting into design was a (wonderfully) long and slow process for me. It started in my childhood with a series of small experiences that demonstrated to me the power of ideas and how a thoughtful process can bring joy. I remember being a young boy tagging along with my mother as she did groceries and just delighting in all the shapes, letters and images that shouted out to me as we walked the isles. But the moment that was the most influential to me was when I came upon a new site placed high on the grocery shelf. It was there that I encountered stripes of peanut butter descending along side stripes of jelly — all contained within a single jar (Goobers!). I was so impressed that someone had conceived of and created such a brilliant  solution for (what still remains) my favorite sandwich. Smartly putting these two allies of yumminess into the same package. What else was possible? How could I bring ideas to life in that way?

DERT is a social enterprise that collaborates with emerging designers to repackage classic books into fundraising tools that raise money for literacy programs.

Outside of other design and illustration, what sorts of things inspire and influence your work?  

Influence and inspiration is the fuel that powers the work of all creative makers. For me the expressions that come out of our varied human cultures is the source of what inspires the work that I do. The stories found in books, music and art as well as the wide range of tales recorded throughout history provide a rich pallet of inspiration that can provide a foundation for how my design solutions are approached. Everything starts with a story, and having a context in which to start from is essential in doing good design work. So for me it’s about being curious on an ongoing basis when it comes to history, politics, literature, art and even the latest goings-on in pop culture.

Follow Through is a new year promotional Poster by Marcos Chavez in collaboration with Diana Bahena.

What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?

I think that anyone who finds themselves considering a career in design has the incredible fortune of having discovered the key to potential great success. It’s like finding a magic lamp and having the power to take an intention and bring it to life. As designers we have a special ability to face many kinds of challenges and turn them around into opportunities that can make a better place of this world. Being a designer is not easy (if you’re doing it right) but if you set the goal of simply improving yourself just a little bit everyday, then what you can achieve in four years will be quite remarkable. And then where you can go by getting just a tiny bit better, everyday, over the next 10 years is even more incredible. Doing that for 20 years, and then through the course of your lifetime is something that will be transformative beyond what you can even imagine. So do it.

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