Emely Perez on her Creative Journey
Emely Perez is a Brooklyn-born Graphic Designer and Illustrator and currently a Senior Designer on JWT New York’s Design Team.
Over the years, Emely has gained a wealth of experience in various realms of design including information architecture, branding, print, animation, digital, and illustration. Her work has been recognized at the London international Award Show, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and the Clio’s.
This week, Emely added to her list of recognitions when she was honored as one of Shots’ Rising Stars, a powerful endorsement from the best of the global advertising community.
We sat down with Emely, MAIPer to Watch and Shots Rising Star, to learn more about her professional career and creative interests.
You have continued to work with MAIP ever since your internship in 2011. What makes MAIP so special? What did it mean to you to be honored as an alumna to watch last summer?
MAIP is an organization that was founded in a time when a multicultural workplace was inconceivable. They wanted to change this, and over its 40+ years, they have made amazing contributions to the industry by not only opening the doors to multicultural talent, but also by introducing talent, like me, who never considered advertising as an option. There is still lots to be done as far as really integrating people of diverse backgrounds into the work place, but I know without a doubt that it will get done because of organizations like MAIP and the major push for diversity and gender equality that are taking place in major companies like JWT. It means a great deal for me to be honored as a “MAIPer to Watch” considering the wildly successful roster of MAIP alumni that the organization has collected over the years.
What is the best piece of professional or personal advice that you have received? What advice would you give to young, aspiring designers?
First of all, I am still young. Anyway, last year I listened to Matt Eastwood’s “Passion Trumps Talent” talk. It was very much in line with the ideals of the design team I have been a member of for the past five years. We appreciate new members that are passionate about the work. So the advice I would give younger aspiring designers: All you need is a little talent and a lot of perseverance and passion.
Your blog, Behance and Pinterest all reflect your keen eye for disruptive visuals. What is your biggest source of creative inspiration as a graphic designer?
Yes, I am attracted to disruptive visuals, but I also appreciate all visuals for different reasons. Whether it is because of their purity, sheer beauty, or clever technique I like to collect and categorize the visuals I stumble upon online. My biggest source of creative inspiration would have to be Pinterest because it is the tool that allows me to most effectively collect and categorize references that I like. See some of my current faves from Pinterest below.
You’ve talked about your interest in user experience and information architecture. How has the growing digital and social media landscape changed the way you design content?
Design is meant to be flexible. It has always depended on touch points specific to the task at hand. In the case of the growing digital and social media landscape, it has introduced new considerations related to new behaviors in how people interact with content. In web it can mean considering using a hamburger icon for your main menu as opposed to setting navigation in-line. When working on print, I now consider how a design would be translated to digital or social. So, like I said, design is flexible, but now it has to flex further to compensate for new behaviors.
What is the proudest moment of your career to date, and why?
The proudest moment of my career so far was seeing the success of a project I took on for the NAMI #IWILLLISITEN campaign. The project was for a YouTube channel and was briefed as a simple type treatment animation. With a little extra effort and a blown out proposal to go bigger, it became a full on music video. The music video was for one of the songs in the #IWILLLISTEN album that was meant to break the stigma of mental illness. The project was special to me because of two reasons: it proved what can be done with a little extra effort and it challenged me to apply experience and process in graphic design to a different medium. The Shadow River music video by Boola featuring Jeni Fujita won two Bronze Clios in 2015.
You’re an avid traveler, what’s been your favorite trip?
This is a hard one. My favorite trip so far was my vacation in Jamaica. I took a road trip across the island and back, stopping at beautiful beaches, small shops that sold crawfish and steaming shrimp soup, and people selling mangos and other fruits along the road. I really appreciate the warmth of the people, the delicious fresh food, and the small gestures to make visitors feel welcome.
Has anything you’ve seen in your travels inspired your design?
Design is about solving a problem or communicating something visually in a way that fits the brand. So although I've seen beautiful typography in the streets of Rome and rich textures across the island of Jamaica that I would love to apply to my work, I have to wait for the right opportunities to let those experiences inspire my work. For now, the things I've seen in my travels are in my back pocket.