Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 – October 15. Originally established as a week-long event and later expanded to a month-long celebration in 1988, the holiday highlights the contributions and vital presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans. To celebrate, we are highlighting Hispanic members of our local creative community to share their stories of connection, pride, and inspiration.

Efren Cavazos

Efren Cavazos is a Hispanic Art Director with over 20 years of design experience. Over the past two decades, he has honed his abilities to lead teams and keep customers at the center of everything he does. By creating an environment of collaboration and creativity, he strives to develop high-quality solutions for all stakeholders.

What does being part of the Hispanic or Latino community mean to you? 

For me, being Hispanic means the community, family, culture, hard work, and the drive to be better and achieve our dreams, as well as the dreams of our parents and grandparents, are all part of who we are.


What is an important cultural tradition in your family or community?

Family values are important in my family. As a group, we are very close to one another and are the most important social group. My family is more than just parents and children; it also reaches out to extended family members.

Since childhood, we have instilled the importance of honor, good manners, and respect for authority and elders. It is also a common practice to preserve the Spanish language within the family.


What are the proudest accomplishments of your career?
One of the highlights of my career was receiving my first award for a 10-month project. We received five awards in different categories for the same project. Getting recognized multiple times improved the experience since it was my first time winning a prize.


What Hispanic or Latino designers, artists, writers, or other creatives do you admire? And why?

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific designer and artist that I admire. However, I follow many talented creatives, to name them all.

I admire the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez because his books take you on a twisted journey of creative narration that creates elaborate, complicated plots with stories about everyday life full of humor, irony, and even comedy.

Daniel Cardoza

Daniel Cardoza is a native Texan that graduated from UH with a BFA in Graphic Design. After working in agency and studio environments in Houston he began operating an independent practice with a focus on collaborations and local projects related to brand identity, print, digital, environment, motion, and more. Continuing this work, he has taught at the University of Houston School of Art, and now holds a part-time position with rootlab (@rootlab) where he provides support on exhibition concept development, brand management, and anything else they can come up with.

What does being part of the Hispanic or Latino community mean to you?
Being part Latino brings more warmth and complexity to my multiracial identity. Knowing where I belong has been a push and pull of acceptance and rejection, whether from myself or others. Finding equilibrium for me is among all the polycentric things we embody. The Latino in me means family, so much food, resilience, music and art, a rich ancestry, and a colorful worldview that keeps my mind open to many things.

How does your Hispanic or Latino heritage impact your creative work?

In the predominantly White industry of Graphic Design, being able to show up in any way for an underrepresented group of people like Latinos brings me much pride. In my work, my diverse heritage has helped shape my voice and my ability to perceive and communicate ideas from multi-dimensional perspectives. It’s definitely brought a lot more color!


How has your creative practice evolved over the past 12 months?

I’m sure everyone can relate, but I’ve experienced quite a bit of burnout when I let fear or the unrealistic expectations of others get in the way of my self-compassion and protection. Over the past year, and more so the past few months, I have been cultivating a mindfulness in my process and showing myself kindness where I hadn’t before–to improve the quality of the work and my professional and personal relationships. Balance is key, and all of this comes with a healthy amount of urgency and stress so we continue evolving.

Photo credit: Menu signage, interiors, and flag by rootlab

Ray Hernandez

Ray Hernandez is a senior product designer based out of Houston, TX. At his current job Hello Alice, Ray designs experiences that help small business owners grow their business through educational content and provide access to funding opportunities. Besides being a product designer, Ray makes sneakers.

What does being part of the Hispanic or Latine community mean to you? 

It means a rich culture full of great people, music, art and, most importantly, FOOD.


What is an important cultural tradition in your family or community?

Spending quality time with family or friends.


How does your Hispanic or Latine heritage impact your creative work?

My parents taught me the importance of perseverance and hard work. As I become older, I frequently fall back to those qualities to keep pushing through difficulties in my career or personal life.

What are the proudest accomplishments of your career?
Working with great people through my career and leading the design of the Hello Alice Small Business Credit Card experience.

What unexpected joy or inspiration did you discover over the past 12 months?

I’m in a sneaker-making Discord group (shoutout to Hand Made Heat). Someone pointed out a story about a couple struggling to have a kid. The husband sold his coveted sneaker collection, surprising his wife with the funds for an expensive in-vitro fertilization treatment. In turn, our community reached out to the wife to surprise him with a couple of custom sneakers. It was great to be a part of this event and help a fellow sneaker head grow his collection. FYI, the IVF treatment was successful and they now have a baby boy!

What’s next on the horizon?

Continue to grow in my career and keep learning/refining my shoe making techniques. Eventually, I’m trying to create my own shoe brand.

Flor Barajas

Flor Barajas, MFA, is a visual communication designer. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design from Texas State University. At Page, Inc. Flor applies a human-centered approach when designing concept-driven editorials, branding, and UX/UI digital marketing projects across multidisciplinary market sectors. 

What does being part of the Hispanic or Latino community mean to you? 

Orgullosamente Mexicana! My design approach comes from practicing The American Institute of Graphic Arts – Women’s Leadership Initiative model which encourages strengthening design knowledge, and leadership skills, and facilitating relationships within and beyond the design industry. 

This research-based thesis project documents the exploratory social research study, the environmental graphic design of an interactive traveling exhibition called Designing Perspectives, and a collaborative manifesto, titled ¡Porque soy Mexicana!. I designed these two creative outcomes to celebrate the mutual influence and support of each Mexican woman designer who participated in the exploratory research study.

This project intends to highlight cultural identity awareness by encouraging knowledge of contemporary Mexican women in graphic design in Mexico City. The intention being that future generations of up-and-coming worldwide designers will be able to identify these Mexican women creative directors and view them as inspiration for their design practices.

Mujeres Mexicanas del Diseño Gráfico: Showcasing the Current Women Creative Directors of Graphic Design in Mexico City.


How does your Hispanic or Latino heritage impact your creative work?

My design work has led me to speak in several panels during Austin Design Week, the SXSW Innovation Lab, the AIGA Grow Conference in Austin, the Tipografía Mexico Conference at UDEM in Monterrey, Mexico, and Inedito Design Week 2020 in Mexico City. I was part of the panelists at the Typography Mexico Conference at UDEM and I talked about how my Hispanic heritage influences my design and typography.

See attached links to my bilingual Typography Heritage talk at UDEM, and a video about Designing Perspectives for Inedito Design Week Mexico 2020. 

Designing Perspectives–Visual Storytelling of the Women Creative Directors in Mexico City

The Letters on my Head – UDEM – Tipografía Mexico

What are the proudest accomplishments of your career?
The interactive traveling exhibition, Designing Perspectives, generates and continues the conversation about the interconnectedness of gender equality and diversity in the design industry in Mexico City. Therefore, Designing Perspectives has fulfilled the objective of being an interactive traveling exhibition because it is part of the Inédito exhibition at Design Week Mexico in Mexico City. The Inédito exhibition is an international exhibition part of Design Week Mexico hosted in Mexico City every year at the Espacio CDMX art and design gallery. The main goal of Designing Perspectives is to recognize contemporary Mexican designers and, in doing so, confront the male-dominated field of design by generating awareness and instigating productive conversations. At the same time, the audience is immersed in the interactive exhibition. Currently looking to collaborate with art galleries to display Designing Perspectives in Houston, Texas. Let’s collaborate! 

Ivan Cortez

Ivan Cortez is a video and motion designer focused on lifestyle and corporate work. 

What does being part of the Hispanic or Latine community mean to you? 

Being Hispanic is an honor. I love to be a presence in the creative community. 


How does your Hispanic or Latine heritage impact your creative work?

It impacts every project because as a Latino, I love when I can give inspiration to other Latinos and show them we all can achieve the same goals. 

What are the proudest accomplishments of your career?
At the moment, one of my greatest achievements is having my own clients, developing my career every day and having the opportunity to spend valuable time with my family. 


How has your creative practice evolved over the past 12 months?

I’ve been having more direct-to-client conversations, which enables me to take my business to the next level. I can still focus on my career and am able to have my own office at home. 

What unexpected joy or inspiration did you discover over the past 12 months?

Having a kid really changed my life. Before, I used to take every opportunity without thinking. Right now, I always think what’s gonna be the best for him and my family. 

What Hispanic or Latine designers, artists, writers, or other creatives do you admire? And why?

One of my favorite Latino artists is David Maldonado (@capdavjon). I’ve seen his career grow so fast in the past years that I really admire him and he truly deserves it.

Where do you find inspiration?
This is a hard answer because it happens every day from different places. It can be a book, a video, my family, nature, or outdoors. It mostly depends on what I’m doing and feeling at the moment. 

What’s next on the horizon?

Keep developing my career to provide a better future for my family and myself. Every year, I set up new goals. 

By aigahouston
Published September 19, 2022
Comments
AIGA encourages thoughtful, responsible discourse. Please add comments judiciously, and refrain from maligning any individual, institution or body of work. Read our policy on commenting.