Interview with Jose Berrio
Berrio is a freelance graphic designer focusing on the music industry as well as illustration. Hear him talk about his preferred tools and the perks of a freelance life and catch his latest works on his Behance!
Hello Jose! How is the transition to freelance? What's changed about your design work?
I think the transition to freelance can be very exciting because it gives you the opportunity to shape the kind of lifestyle you're willing to have at the moment. It also kind of gives you this idea or a feeling of being more in control or both your time and their projects you want to. Which is great of course it can be also frightening because I feel like especially the first couple of months or years you are like in this a state of uncertainty because you don't know how you're gonna pay the bills the next month or whatever. That's something that you have to get used to because that's one of the things I find interesting about the freelance life but also the more you do it the more you know that in the end- it's up to you, trying to connect with clients and you have to work a lot like way more probably than you do when you earn a company on a safe like place. But it is very exciting and I think that one of the main ways it changed my work was basically when I was back working at a company and I got to do some projects I felt proud of but most of their work was for clients and things I didn't like that much. Nowadays, of course, sometimes I have to do stuff I don't like that much but most of the projects I try to I try them to be related with stuff I like here because I feel like the more you do things you like the more projects like those are going to come and you're going to do it like in a better way of course because you enjoy it the outcome is going to be way better.
What are your favorite tools to design with?
Well for the most part of my career I've been using digital tools Photoshop and Illustrator and they are the two programs I basically use daily. Because I use those to do detailed illustration. I've been using the welcome tablet for a while but has been very interesting because when I started using their Wacom tablet I think that was probably seven years ago since that moment I feel that I have gotten better at doing manual stuff. I don't know if that makes sense at all but I feel like my skills, using markers, pens have improved a lot. I don't know if I've gotten better or I just feel more confident about it. And to me that's the key just like flowing with the process especially with a creative process. So nowadays even though the outcome or the final parts of the design, I do them digitally. I try to do letters by hand or I try to create textures or work with whatever I have using ink or whatever. I got a scanner and a printer a few years ago. So I do that pretty often- doing something manually and then I just utilize it and it's cool like combining those two words. And also I also love collage and I try to do both digital and analog or manual collections.
Describe a past project you are particularly proud of. How did you take your client's concept and create compelling design work?
I feel very proud about a project I did around four years ago for called Creative Mornings. Creative Mornings is an organization, they are based in New York but they host, it's similar to how TED works but only focus in the creative field. The host talks in around 120 cities or something like that and every month they ask someone usually illustrators to make an illustration about that topic or the theme that they have in mind. A four years ago they asked me to do the illustration and the theme was Action and it was really cool because usually what they ask the people is to do like a static illustration that will be showcased in every talk and on their own on their website. I remember sending a few sketches. One of them they loved it. It was inspired by using physics diagrams. So when they saw them they were like, "We love this idea but you will be even cooler if you can animated". And I remember that it was super challenging, challenging because I'm not an animator but I knew a little bit of Flash and After Effects but I ended up using Flash to do animate and I think I did a pretty decent job because the client loved it. It was really cool, I feel very proud because they love it even more because I went for it like I was able to do something that was in plant but I was able to deliver it.
Do you have any brands or clients you aspire to work with? Any mediums or formats you are interested in exploring?
I love music so I would love doing projects for bigger record labels especially alternative but big record labels like Domino or Exhale. There are a lot of record labels and especially artists like there are bunch of bands and musicians I would love to do stuff for like artwork or posters. Also for a while now being one in wanting to do more editorial illustration I love illustrations. So one of my plans that I keep postponing is, but I I want to do it soon, is start reaching out and to like major publications like The New Yorker and The Atlantic New York Times just to see if there's like a chance of doing illustrations for any of them eventually. That's something I would definitely love.
Any projects lined up you could tell us about?
Right now I'm working for the art work a couple of records and two of them are very special to me because I play musically with a on them and because I play drums too and these are projects that I always feel super exciting about those because I can combine two of the things I love doing the most which is playing music and designing. So yeah I'm excited about those. And there is also a book cover right now that so far has been great. I can't give that many details because I think it's gonna be published by the end of this year but apparently is a really cool book. It's kind of a big deal on the academic context especially if you're going to a school for political science or stuff like that. So yeah I think it's going to be a good one.