Interview: Tais Horta Trovão
It is time for a new interview presenting you talented people I had the pleasure to meet in San Francisco Bay Area. Today I will introduce you to Tais Horta Trovão, a super talented graphic and surface designer. And I'm also super proud to say that I got the chance to know even more about Tais' work and style because she is a good friend of mine. So from knowing her I can tell that Tais loves her craft and shows this love in everything she does. From wedding invitations to kids birthdays invitations to beautiful decor for an afternoon tea with friends (or 4th of July lunch or whatever event you may think of), she will always make sure you are surrounded by beauty.
Tais is Brazilian, she was born in Rio de Janeiro, where she graduated in Design at PUC-Rio. Tais moved to the Silicon Valley in February/2010 and it is currently leaving in San Francisco. She has a really cool blog where she shows her work, inspiration and even some recipes, everything in both English and Portuguese, certainly worth a visit. Enjoy the interview and some of her inspiring pieces!
Where to find Tais:
Tell us more about you, your interests and about the things you like.
I'm a very curious person. I love to learn new things, explore new places, meet people, cultures and try different food. I think it is pretty interesting to see how other people think... this inspire me and makes me learn a lot! I always try stay in a constant cycle where I look "outside in" to improve what I can (and this is not easy, laughs). I'm also someone that adopts the "do it yourself" life style. Hands-on work and Google are my two best friends!
When did you start getting interested in design, surface pattern design, wedding invitations, etc? Did you like drawing since you were a child?
Since I was a kid, I've always liked creating things. My mom used to make the themes/decor of my birthday parties and I loved watching her create everything. Also, I've always preferred art, literature and history classes over chemistry or biology for instance. One day when I was finishing High School I attended some professional orientation lectures and then I discovered that graphic design was a real career. After that I had no doubts on what I wanted to do, I was thrilled! My interest in surface pattern design started after I graduated, when I was working for fashion companies like FARM and Maria Filó in Brazil. As for the wedding invitations, it is funny because I've never been that girl who used to dream about her wedding, but as a professional, this is the area that fulfills me the most.
Was there a specific moment when you knew what career to follow?
I was totally sure even before college, while I was studying for vestibular (in Brazil you have to study for a test to go into college, it is called vestibular). During college, in a few parts of the course, I thought I was in the wrong area, that I didn't have the profile. You know, we believe that to be a designer you only need to be creative or have talent, but this is not the truth. At least it is not only about that. You also have to learn to not be afraid of failing, to open up to critiques and understand how you can improve with them, instead of focusing only on the negative side. You have to know how to work in a team, have to know to share ideas without worrying that people will steal them, you need different inspiration channels. And mostly, you have to know how to solve problems in an straight forward way. All of this I notice during my years in college, and I have to admit it made me a bit unsure of my decision. But when I realized those were "internal" issues and not professional issues, I moved on and I don't regret it. And today I know for sure that I've chosen the right career, although I'm constantly learning.
What inspires you?
My husband, places, cultures, technology, artists, typography... it is a huge list.
How did you develop your style?
Those who know me well usually say my style has my very own personality, who I really am. And I like when I hear that because I agree that our style comes from the way we are. But it also includes our sources of inspiration and what we like in a specific moment. Putting in another words, I believe the development of our style is when you mix all of those things, as in a cake batter. Each ingredient has its right proportion and then you style is the result of putting all of them together.
Do you have any specific artists/styles you like to use as a reference?
I have a lot of them! I will summarize in a list of some designers, professionals from different areas and blogs that for some reason became a good source of inspiration lately.
- Chloé Fleury
- Seamless Creative
- Lisa Congdon
- Amy Moss | Eat Drink Chic
- Joy Cho | Oh Joy
- Jordan Ferney | Oh happy Day
- Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls
- Audrey Woollen
- Sara Tso
How is your creative process? Do you have a step-by-step routine you like to follow or you do things as inspiration strikes?
The creative process it is not only inspiration. I have to follow a certain methodology. I like to get know more about the interests and taste of the client, specially when I'm working in a wedding invitation project, which is something really personal. The ideal is to receive a good briefing, because from the briefing I understand where the client wants to go, what the product is, which concept they want to imply, where and which are the "problems" to be solved. Afterwards I do some research, both inspirational and visual, before I start ideating. This process is very important to me and I try to follow it in every project I take. The methodology is basically the same for every one of them.
How long does it take for your work to get ready? Is it a continuos process or you do it in parts?
The time to finish a project actually changes every time, it depends on the project itself, the deadline, the briefing I receive from my client, the time they take to give me a feedback, etc.
What are your work tools?
I work mainly with Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign (for editorial projects). But before I start in the computer I like to work with traditional stuff. Things like paper, textures, a little bit of caligraphy that I've learned and anything else I may find important.
Do you have any for those pursuing this type of career?
In this type of work or any other work actually, do something that you like and that will make you happy!
What are your favorite books and websites about your area of work?
Once again I have a huge list, but here are the ones that came to my mind first.
- Green Wedding Shoes
- Oh so beautiful paper
- Paper Lovely
- Beyond Beyond
- Poppy Talk
- 100 layer cake
- Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business
- Little Book of Letterpress
- Vintage Wedding Style: More than 25 Simple Projects and Endless Inspiration for Designing Your Big Day
Where the magic happens?
When I'm creating my home office is the best place. When working in research, organizing deadlines, developing proposals and writing my posts, I like to go to coffee shops because I can get way more focused than at home, it is impressive!
What is your opinion about the design field today? Do you believe that artists are more recognized nowadays?
I do. I believe that artists are being more and more recognized each day, but it is a field that has a lot of growth to do, specially in Brazil.
Do you think that living in SF helped your career?
Yes, it helped for sure, but not necessarily San Francisco. I believe it was the fact of allowing myself to live abroad, to get out of my comfort zone, to give myself time to think about what I wanted, to learn about new things and find myself again that helped my career. Of course the place makes a difference, but I think this is more of an internal issue than external. I've been learning a lot with this experience and this certainly reflects on how I position myself professionally.
Do you think there is a difference between the design community here and in Brazil?
In general, people here are not afraid of sharing their knowledge. People meet, discuss ideas and always want to get together to build something. I don't like to generalize, I'm comparing it by the majority. But the good thing is that I've been seeing people in Brazil changing their way of thinking, they are paying attention to what is happening here and how those things are happening (which is pretty important). People are starting to get things done there too, and I feel really happy about this!
Do you believe that here in the USA designers are more valued?
I think so, specially compared to Brazil.