1 on 1 with projekt202 Digital Designer Zab Gonzalez
Congratulations to award-winning projekt202 Digital Designer Zabdiel Gonzalez, recognized as a Top Talent in the 2019 Adobe Design Achievement Awards for his print and graphic branding work for the annual Big Design Conference.
The Adobe Awards are the world's premier digital media competition for emerging creators. Out of more than 10,000 projects submitted to the 2019 Adobe Awards — the biggest Adobe Awards ever, representing design talent from 41 different countries — only 542 were awarded Top Talent status.
Zab’s work for the 2018 conference was widely displayed on marketing materials such as event signage, T-shirts, name badges, notebooks, photo backdrops, and the Big Design website.
Big Design is well-known as one of the largest and most influential tech conferences in the United States. Thousands attend each year for workshops and presentations on UX design, development, research, user experience, best practices and more.
In addition to his individual award, Zab and Digital Designer Erin Aley were recognized by the Adobe Awards for their teamwork on projekt202’s u202 program branding. Read about the winning collaboration in this article, “projekt202 Marketing Design Team Named Top Talent in 2019 Adobe Awards.”
For more insights, we asked Zab about the Adobe Awards competition and his background in design:
What was your inspiration for the Big Design branding?
During my research stage, I looked at the current trends and what other tech conferences around the world were doing visually. I wanted to bring a modern look to the Big Design Conference and combine it with some of that Texas flavor.
The typographic elements are inspired by the Wood Type style that matched this year’s venue, Gilley’s Dallas. The rest of the visual elements are a compliment to the technology and design focus of the conference.
What do you think makes a design truly successful?
I believe what makes this design successful is that the branding elements and graphics are extremely flexible. After talking to the event organizers, I uncovered that the biggest need was a design system that could be used in multiple mediums and sizes, all the way from welcome screens and wayfinding, to printed materials like sharpies, buttons, shirts, notebooks, stickers, lanyards and even fidget spinners.
How did you get started as a designer?
My journey as a designer began at a very young age when I started noticing soccer shirts and the intricate details they had. Something that is very utilitarian as a jersey had so many elements incorporated, and I couldn’t understand why — shirts that just needed to distinguish players and teams from each other, yet they had flags, elements and even history. That’s when I realized design was everywhere I looked.
I started drawing at a young age but never took drawing classes, so I never considered myself super talented. One day, my high school swimming coach saw a hand-lettered drawing I had on my binder; it read: Pace HS Swim Team 2008. “Can we use that for this year’s swimming team T-shirt?” coach said. I couldn’t believe it and just said “Yes, of course!” After figuring out how screen-printing worked and learning more about the printing processes, you can say that was my first dive into the design world.
What do you think it takes to be a successful designer?
To me, it comes down to customer service and consulting skills. As a designer, you have to have the ability to extract the information needed to bring to life what the client has in mind. You may be the expert in visuals, but the idea is in the client’s mind, and your job is to bring that idea to this world and execute it with the best of your abilities.
In my opinion, a successful designer becomes a partner to the client and they both walk toward the best outcome possible.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
To listen closely and to learn how to ask questions are some of the most valuable skills, not just for designers but for many. We are human and sometimes we are not able to articulate what it is that we want. Good designers are able to diagnose what is needed by asking good questions. The rest is cake decorating.
The 2019 Big Design Conference is Sept. 19 - 21. projekt202 is proud to sponsor a visiting Big Design presenter as a further investment in our vibrant Dallas-Fort Worth tech community.
projekt202 is the leader in experience-driven software strategy, design and development. We have a unique and established methodology for understanding people in context — we reveal unmet needs — which drives everything we do. This leads to a crisp, clear understanding of the customer, which shapes the design and development of new solutions and experiences. We have the expertise, teams, skills and scale to deliver sophisticated software solutions that improve any and all touchpoints across the user journey.
projekt202 has spent over 15 years bringing to life and to market compelling experiences through our Experience Strategy & Insight, User Experience, Software Development, Marketing & Analytics, and Program Management practices. Our talented team has delivered emotionally-rich and intuitive solutions for global brands and clients such as 7-Eleven, Capital One, Dell, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Neiman Marcus, Samsung Electronics, and The Container Store, among many others.