Guillermo is a regular speaker at—and newly-minted member of the board of directors of—Miami Ad School. He also invites our students to intern at his agency, FURIA, one of the hottest agencies in Argentina and part of a network of agencies with additional offices in the US and Mexico. Guillermo oversees all the creative work including designs for Coke, Nike and Chrysler.
Pippa: You’re always happy and full of energy. What excites you most about being a designer?
Guillermo: I’m excited about the possibilities. There aren’t boundaries. Everything is possible with technology and new media. We can do amazing things. Two parts of the design process really excite me: coming up with a great idea with my team and selling a great idea to a client.
P: How do you come up with ideas? Your ideas come from another place and are always unexpected. Sometimes your creations are kooky, other times your work is elegant and then you change it up and do grunge. What is your creative process?}
G: First figure out exactly what you need to say. When that’s clear then research the product and the past communication around the product including tone of voice, look and feel and the proposition. Is all of that correct? What’s the space this product should occupy? What the competition is doing? Where is the opportunity?
P: That sounds like what they teach in business school but I don’t know a single MBA grad who can create what you do or build brands the way you do. When does the magic happen?
G: Being creative is a full-time job. You never disconnect. To some degree you’re always thinking. I think on the go. I’m really good at thinking when I’m moving. When I’m at the gym training I’m also thinking about a new idea. I travel a lot and and I plan during the quiet time on planes. Riding in a taxi or driving is a another great time to think. You have to bring a solution to the problem in an unexpected way. There are different stages to design and each one is equally important. Producing a lot of ideas is part of of what leads to success. I’m all about great ideas and it doesn’t matter where they come from.
Editing is a super important part of the process too. Sometimes you have to kill an idea to get a better one. If you come up with eight ideas three might be good and hopefully one is amazing. You have to work with people to shape ideas and collaborate with them to make the good ideas better.
Once the client selects their favorite idea and it goes to production you have another chance to make the idea better than the one you originally came up with. Production is all about attention to detail. You have to keep the idea alive and sexy all the way through the process.
P: Your work feels fresh. What gets your creative juices flowing?
G: Right now I’m really into Instagram. I recommend these accounts: @drawbertson, @rawveganblonde, @thefatjewish, @fuckjerry, @nicopanda
P: You said you liked selling. How do you sell ideas to a client?
G: Selling is just storytelling. There is something exciting about building the story to sell an idea. It’s an entertainment moment for the the client. Seeing design ideas is the most fun part of a client’s job. What we do is not art. Design is creativity in love with business. A company wants to sell a product or service and we (designers) enable that process. We come up with logos, posters, photographs, campaigns, interactive experiences or digital work that allow people to buy or enjoy a service or product.
P: What project has been the most exhilarating for you?
G: The poster we just made for Coke. The invitation to participate in the poster design competition for Coca-Cola’s 100th anniversary arrived after the entry deadline had passed. The website said the deadline had been extended but I had missed it by a day! I contacted Coke and asked if I could have more time. They gave me two days. I had a gut feeling that the poster should be simple. I started painting an idea that night after putting my kids to bed. The next day I retouched and played with the design and sent it in. Two months later Coke notified me that out of 320 entries, I had won! They said the poster (just two lines and a bottle) was “Simple, bold and brilliant. It’s Coca-Cola.”
Tomorrow I’m going to the opening party at the High Museum in Atlanta. My poster will hang next to Andy Warhol’s Coke posters. My poster is now part of the history of the Coke brand. A 100 years from now, at the next anniversary, people will say, “This is what designers of that time created.”
Design is about making opportunities for yourself, taking risks and following your instinct. You’re taking a ride and you don’t know where it will end. I love what Miami Ad School is doing for the industry. It’s inspiring to be part of it and help students along their ride.
You can see more of Guillermo Tragant’s work at FURIA World.