Meet our logo designer, Génesis Henriquez!

Ever wondered who created our beautiful Work It! logo? 🤔 Allow us to introduce you to the insanely talented Génesis Henriquez! 🎉⁠

This week we are so happy to feature Génesis as our #WorkitWomxnWednesday of the week! 🤗 We are also thrilled to feature her career journey as the first of five Latinas we will be showcasing for #LatinxHeritageMonth!⁠

Génesis always knew she would have a career in the 👩🏽‍🎨 arts; she just didn’t know what exactly. After doing some 🔬 research, she found a career that was not only creative, but that also paid! 💵 And thus, she began pursuing a career in graphic design. ⁠

What got you interested in pursuing a career in graphic design?

I've always been a creative individual. One of my favorite subjects in school was art because it's where I felt like my most authentic self; I genuinely enjoy creating. I started looking into how I could make a career in the arts and still get paid when I was in high school. I explored architecture, interior design, painting, and then finally, I landed on graphic design. I saw it as a suitable medium between what was needed in the market and still creating art.

Once I realized this, I was like, "OMG, there's a career for me!" So I made sure every university I applied to like have a design program. I ended up at the University of Maryland. During my time there I had several internships doing graphic design work for the university and the nonprofit space. After I graduated, I was fortunate to land a job working for Voto Latino. I was able to get a job right out of college because of the connections and relationships I had built around that time.

When it was time for me to transition and look for new opportunities, I wanted to make sure that I moved onto an organization that was also mission driven. That is how I ended up designing for the social impact space. I think it's cool that I get to work with nonprofits and other organizations who are doing advocacy work like dismantling oppressive systems or inspiring people to get engaged in their communities. It's cool to think that my creative ideas and visual designs help push those goals forward.

What a time to be designing for organizations that are creating change. Do you feel like the corporate sector is a bit more politically attuned to what is going on currently?

They're more politically attuned. After the unjust death of George Floyd we saw so many corporations and brands come out with statements proclaiming ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and how they would start centering the voices of Black and Brown employees. Honestly, every brand that offers a direct service to people should be thinking about how they will show up after this. There will be a more significant push for organizations to address these issues because consumers are demanding answers. Transparency will have a more substantial effect on the business if you're genuine and thoughtful about it.

What are the three skills someone should work on if they want to do what you're doing?

1. Curiosity. Always push yourself to learn new ways of creating things and notice visual trends. Be open to studying what is happening in the field. Honestly, you don't need formal design training because there are so many resources for anyone interested in learning. You're going to have moments where you're in a creative rut, and that happens. But curiosity will keep you going. Let it inspire you and let that fuel your creative ideas.

2. Time management is super helpful in this field, especially if you're freelancing. Learn how to manage your time like scheduling meetings with clients, implementing work blocks to create without distractions, and then understanding and paying close attention to the number of hours it takes to work on your design will allow you to do your best work.

3. You need to have technical design skills. Get comfortable with using Adobe Illustrator, UX design, and any other design platforms. Watch YouTube videos or use Skillshare. Take a formal class, or seek a degree. The primary key is to familiarize yourself with these programs because they will help you achieve your end goal. It will take years of practice to get familiar with these programs but it's necessary if you want to thrive in this industry.

What three habits do you practice every day to maintain creativity?

1. I'm all about time management. The first thing that I do to start my day is to write out which projects I need to complete. Just building that habit of seeing what is on my to-do list helps me stay on track and manage all the projects I have.

2. Looking for inspiration wherever I can. When I'm working on a project, I like to look through design websites, Pinterest or Dribble, really any website that allows me to see other designers' work. But it's essential to find a balance when you do this. You don’t want to let other people's work hinder your creativity, but you also do want to let it inspire you. Also, let other things encourage you like a book or nature.

3. Learning to let things go. I try to live by this rule. Sometimes it isn't easy to do because you're so excited about a project or you're spending X amount of hours on a project, but you're still not truly satisfied, so you keep going and going until you feel like you’ll get to a perfect place with the work, and sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Learning when to close your laptop and letting things go even if you want to keep going is crucial.

What are three self-care tips you use to avoid burnout at work?

1. Creating little moments of joy for myself. I love listening to music. I love skincare and haircare products. I enjoy watching a good reality TV show or a documentary. Carving moments where you're away from social media or work, and you can sit with yourself and truly relax is important for me. We’re not machines! We need to feel ourselves. So if that means taking PTO to center yourself take that PTO, okay!!

2. I've been practicing journaling since I am on a self-healing journey. I signed up for a creative journaling class, hosted by Alexandra Elle. She creates these really wonderful journal prompts, and I recently signed up to do this workshop she is curating.

3. I've been intentional about healing trauma and understanding more of myself. I’ve been seeking a spiritual practice that caters to my needs. I love doing an oracle reading or an intuitive yoga flex class. I’m also in the process of looking for a therapist as a way to continue this evolving journey. Doing inner-work has honestly improved my life so much.

As a Black Latina, what is a valuable lesson you can offer other BIPOC women interested in graphic design?

Take up space because you deserve to be in these spaces, and there's so much room for people like us to share our creativity and expertise with. Take up space proudly and boldly. And maybe, just by doing that, you'll be able to find your group of people who will support and uplift you in your work.

There are so many forces out there that don't want us to be part of this. Fight back with your creativity, your intelligence, your expertise – take everything because you deserve this.

What do you think is the most significant barrier women of color face in graphic design?

The design world is a very white male-dominated industry. You'll run into a situation where you enter a workplace and it lacks so much diversity. And sometimes, the people you work with don't have the language, knowledge, or the willingness to create a space where you feel safe and where you can thrive, which is hard on the individual. Your workplace may also not always encourage you to think creatively, especially if you’re a woman of color. Navigating that space can be challenging and discouraging. I try to create opportunities for other people as I work towards reaching my career goals. That is something that I learned. We don't have to make it alone. You have to bring people along that journey with you.

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