Design Around the World: Mexico

To coincide with this year’s April International Design Annual, we decided to pull back the grid of latitude and longitude even further and hear, firsthand, what designers in these different countries have to say about design—how their location impacts their work, how clients embrace their creativity, what’s inspiring them and what kinds of projects keep them busy.

Here, Vanessa Eckstein from BLOK DESIGN talks about design in the city where Aztecs once walked.

Mexico City, Mexico

Where are you located, and why do you enjoy being there?
We are located in Mexico City. This city is like no other; it is a mix of colors, textures and noises that are absolutely overwhelming. It is an overpopulated city, surreal and magical in many ways. Something always surprises you; the unexpected is part of our daily lives.

How would you describe your style?
I wouldn’t say we have a style, more like a sensibility and an approach to design founded in our passion for what we do and the love for new challenges and ideas.

What kinds of design does your firm specialize in?
We develop complete identity programs, environmental graphics, editorial packaging, motion graphics and recently launched our own dishware line called intento1. Clients include Nike, Pepsi and Marco Museum.

What’s a favorite project you’ve worked on?
We just developed the complete identity program for a new film production company called Emigre Film. Working with an artist based in China and the film makers in Mexico was extremely rewarding.

What things influence your work? Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from anywhere or anything. From the ordinary to the extraordinary.

How do you think your community and clients view design?
We originally opened the studio in Toronto and spent five years there before relocating to Mexico City. It is amazing how different working in one culture versus the other really is. Design in Mexico is overlooked and under valued, yet on the other hand we have found clients here that are more willing to take risks and challenge preconceptions.

Do you think there’s anything that sets your location’s design aesthetic apart from other places?
Although I do believe that the environment and context influence us in many ways, I would not simplify it to a certain predetermined aesthetic. We believe design has no borders or limitations.

If you were a color, what color would you be?
The word “blanco,” meaning “white” in Spanish, and the word “black” in English come from the same linguistic root. That is beautiful to me!

Other interviews in the series
AUTUMN:01: Sydney, Australia
BLOK DESIGN: Mexico City, Mexico
Laboratorium: Zagreb, Croatia
LeBoYe: Jakarta, Indonesia
Steinbranding: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Third World Media: Nairobi, Kenya Barcelona, Spain Hamburg, Germany
Yellow Octopus Pte Ltd: Singapore
Zetalab: Milan, Italy

HOW April 2007