Expert’s Corner: Evelio Mattos

As excitement builds for this year’s Dieline Package Design Conference  (part of the HOW design conference), we had a brief chat with Evelio Mattos, creative director of Design Packaging Inc. Evelio’s session, How Much, How Many, and When?, will make it easier for you to create designs that get approved by helping you understand the pain points your clients have to deal with after your work is done.

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HOW: When did you first realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?

Evelio Mattos: The decision to shift from fine art to design was an evolution of my experiences. I began designing in Pagemaker in the early ’90s and never looked back.

HOW: What was your first job in the design field?

EM: Gopher! I got coffee and pastries and made copies for an advertising firm in Orange County. A few months into the job, the day came when they needed a fast turnaround on an illustration and the staff illustrator was unavailable.

HOW: What advice do you have for other designers aspiring to a similar career path?

EM: You don’t need to be everything to everyone. Having a laser-like focus in one area of design allows you to carve out your niche.

HOW: What’s been one of your most favorite projects?

EM: I will always have a place in my heart for our Juicy Couture Men’s Box. The production techniques we used to create the distressed look and feel of the box exterior came together so well that we’ve heard of clients purchasing them on eBay for their personal collections. So far, that box has been able to stand the test of time.

HOW: When you get stuck in a creative rut, how do you break free?

EM: I jump into a new project that one of our designers is working through and use their momentum to gain inspiration for my own projects. Nothing jumpstarts your creativity like seeing someone else making it look easy.

HOW: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

EM: Well rested!

HOW: Where did the idea for your session topic come from?

EM: The thing with design is that we separate ourselves from other parts of the business, such as finance, logistics and so on. Yet these departments’ decisions ultimately can impact your design. So why not include them up front?

This idea came to me after the last Dieline Conference I attended. During the conference we were all so inspired, but after the inspiration subsided and it was back to work as usual we realized that we left with less info than we actually thought. Also because design is so competitive, we left with many business cards, but no real connections—no one that we could call and ask questions, or look to for inspiration with confidence. I wrote to Andrew [Gibbs] and said, “If I were to speak, I would like to present something that designers both new and seasoned would be able to gain something from.” I wanted to present a tool that has worked for me, that may help someone approach a project differently and that maybe more successful. My hope is they’ll be able to look back on our discussion and use it to further their projects, and that it will give them a new way to approach their projects.

HOW: What are you most excited to share with session attendees in San Francisco?

EM: My goal is to be as transparent as I can. I feel that we as designers need to be more open with each other so that we may all learn. There’s a level of trust that can be attained from honest communication that even the lengthiest non-disclosure agreement can’t accomplish.

Meet Evelio in person at this year’s Dieline Package Design Conference!

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