#tbt Gentle Monster X Monocle Order Digital Campaign

This campaign was created during summer ’15 while I was working with a retail store. My inspiration for this project was attitude with a badass combination. The picture alone made the whole campaign; Just playing with small elements and neon colors made the message pop-up even more. The trend at that moment were geometric elements. I’m still all about that trend but more about emphasizing letters over elements.



gentle-monster-newlseter 2

gentle monster digital campaign - erika otavalo


The Muse: Herb Lubalin

Herb Lubalin is and always will be my #1 inspiration. I was first introduced to his work at a college course. We were assigned to do a presentation based on your favorite designer. After some research his work just stunned me, the use of typography and the bold style. Till this day his work remains timeless and hard to top.

Even thought I wasn’t able to appreciate his work while he was still alive, I was able to purchase his entire magazine collection, Avant Garde. It gave me a better understanding of his work direction which continues to be my everyday inspiration.


Who is your favorite designer?

Life of a Graphic Designer after graduation.

Finding the right opportunities after college can be challenging, companies usually look for experience and give you a salary based on that. But what if you have no experience? Here’s what I did right after graduation. Now, I’m not an expert nor is this the way to do things but It worked for me.

1. choose your design field

There are many fields of design where you might want to be a part of. Now, don’t base this decision just on income. Follow your instincts, follow your gut; What do you like to do? What are you truly good at? Yes, you are a designer but what do you enjoy creating.

You can be part of the fashion editorial world, this meaning you will mainly work in the fashion industry. You can land a job at a retail store for women/men, or eyewear brand. Anything related to fashion like magazines, E-commerce stores… you name it. If this sounds fun to you then I suggest this is the direction to follow.


That is just one example of many, you can be part of the corporate world, sports, pharmaceutical or any other of the many options out there. Just be sure to pick a field where you enjoy working on, because that is where you will spend most of your time.

2. build your portfolio

You can use some of the creative work you made during college, but make sure its portfolio worthy. Ask yourself; Does this represent my work?, my style?, does this give me credibility, and when they see it… What impact will this have on them? Keep in mind that the final outcome of your portfolio is gonna determine the worth of your work, this means them wanting to work with you and your salary rate. Want to make more money? Make sure that you’re selling is worth the rate.

Showgirl 2011
screenshot of my first banner ever on a E-commerce site, 2012

Don’t find any cool work from school? Freelance for sometime before looking for a full-time position, you might want to do it for FREE. Your goal here is to make sure you have  quality pieces to feature on your website. While you’re at it, you might find that the 9-5 life is not for you, and you can continue in the world of freelancers.

& one final tip; Pick the right domain for your portfolio, it should be short, easy to remember and type. The content of your site will keep your audience engaged therefore make sure it is easy to navigate and interesting to look at.

3. put your resume together

What to write on your resume if you don’t have any experience yet?.

Some options are:

  • Highlight some of the freelance projects you’ve been involved after graduation.
  • Write down your skills.
  • List the software you’re proficient at. (You can still list Microsoft WORD or Microsoft EXCEL; this can give you a higher chance of getting hired, because not only do you know about design apps but you have knowledge of outside software that might be a contribution to their company at some point.)
  • Include education and any important academic recognitions.
  • Other languages you speak.

Hope some of these tips can help you get started in the graphic design field. I wish you the best of luck and I’m going to leave you one of my favorite that inspire me everyday.

quote credit: pinterest

Let me know how that goes :)!

Looking for inspiration…

As a designer I always find myself looking for inspiration, as an artist you must stay on top of all trends and everything that is new and going on around you. I have always thought that, when you’re in the creative feel and don’t update your art with the latest styles, trends however you call it, eventually your time will pass.  The world is constantly evolving and so should your creativity.

Below are some pins that inspired me tonight. As i began to pull these for the post, i felt some sort of excitement; the thing is that I’m looking to turn my creativity into something innovative. We can get lots of inspiration but when all this inspiration comes together to create your own masterpiece, that is when you define yourself as an artist, and hopefully determine your style in someway, and today that is what I find myself doing…

What inspires you?







None of the images above are owned by me. Images Credit: Pinterest

How to keep things minimal?

In the process of minimal design, we might agree that the less copy the better; What do you do when that is not the case. I find what works for me is overlapping text or just turning some elements upside down to keep it fun. Mixing big and small elements is the key. Find what needs to be emphasized and what can be put on a box per say. The use of cool & interesting fonts can help small text stand out.

Color plays a major role in design; Know where to use dominant colors that caught your eye. It can be the mix of small elements with colors that draw attention, and big elements with soft colors that fall in the background.

I was able to put these designs together in less than a day. I’ve been working from a office with no windows which I call the “black whole”. I couldn’t find any inspiration in that space, so I had to step out near the windows to find inspiration. It’s been so long since I had the chance to work on new projects since I’ve been finalizing some past work, so this was definitely an exciting project to begin working on.

Tell me, how do you keep your style minimal?

Icon Credit: Flat Icon