The Big Interview: Mariadiamantes

Mariadiamantes for LIV-BCN Fest 2015 (detail)

Ahead of the LIV-BCN exhibition, opening tonight, Barcelona-based exhibiting designer Mariadiamantes gives the lowdown on working in the two cities, starting her own brand, and how colour plays a big part in direct communication…

Freelance graphic designer and illustrator Mariadiamantes (Clara Mercader) works from her studio in Barcelona, specialising in colourful, smart and witty corporate identity.

After working for five years as an art director in Shackleton, Mariadiamantes graduated from the University of Barcelona in 2012, and her high profile clients since have included Amazon, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Estrella Damm, Banc Sabadel and Nescafé.

A highlight of her portfolio is Visual Cities (published as Barcelona Visual (2013, Lunwerg Editores): a superb collection of 50 iconic images of Barcelona that represent the city and define it’s more unusual characteristics. This project was the starting point of and inspiration for the LIV-BCN exhibition.

“I decided to create a very marked graphic code, very personal”

Hi Clara! You’re about to show brand new work in the LIV-BCN exhibition, which is very exciting for me as I’m curating it! Can you tell me more about why you got involved?

Malena and Oriol, the organisers of the festival, invited me to take part in it this year and I thought it was a great idea.

For me, it’s a great opportunity to introduce my work in other cities, that’s why I’ve tried to create new work for this exhibition, because I think an occasion like that deserves all my energy and effort.

Can you talk me through the new illustrations you’ve made: how did you approach my brief? What do these new illustrations depict and why?

The job was to give a personal vision of Barcelona, my city, while John Wai was to give his about Liverpool. For me it was a challenge because I didn’t know what artworks would John present, so I decided to create a very marked graphic code, very personal, so the visitor could easily distinguish the two graphic languages – mine and John’s.

I’ve created a series of 10 icons of Barcelona, ones more typical, others not that much but that, as a whole, it gives a general view of Barcelona. We can see a little bit of its iconic buildings, a little bit of its fauna, of its flora…

Mariadiamantes for LIV-BCN Fest 2015

How did you get started in the design business? Did you always want to be an illustrator and graphic designer?

When I was studying arts subjects at A levels I already knew that I really liked design and its world. I have always been attracted for a kind of direct communication, with simple shapes but strong at the same time. I guess if you can tell anything with little, you don’t need to adorn it.

I was working in a few studios but I like the advertising world too and I wanted to try it. I started to work in an advertising agency in Barcelona, where I stayed for five years as creative and art director. I learned a lot of things, but it came a time when I decided to quit and try a new adventure: creating my own brand, looking for my own style and clients.

“They are cities where design, music, art are valued, and where its people are enriched from it”

That was how Mariadiamantes was born, and it was then when I started to research the illustration world. My boyfriend is an illustrator and he encouraged me to do it. Anyway, I aim for my illustrations to never lose the strength of design.

It’s been three years since Mariadiamantes started and I’m really happy to see how it’s growing and developing. Each project, whether it’s design or illustration, is a challenge.

Mariadiamantes for LIV-BCN Fest 2015

The LIV-BCN festival is about two cities meeting in the middle. I am interested in what your first impressions of Liverpool were? And now that you have spent more time in both cities, what you think Liverpool and Barcelona have to offer that is truly unique or alternative?

I’ve only been once to Liverpool, for four days, coinciding with the first edition of LIV-BCN, but I have to say that I felt that the two cities do have something in common, they are both rather small, welcoming and their citizens are eager to do many things. They are cities where design, music, art are valued, and where its people are enriched from it.

“Colour is very important to me, as well as clean, well-defined shapes”

You use colour to great effect in your work; it is very vibrant and playful. Can you tell me more about how you use colour to communicate? Is there a science or rule system behind your use of colour?

Colour is very important to me, as well as clean, well-defined shapes. I don’t have any rule as for choosing colours, I just try to use pleasant colours that go well together. It’s very important to catch the attention of the spectator and the colour plays a big part in it.

Mariadiamantes for LIV-BCN Fest 2015

How would you describe your design style?

I try that my design is seen as clean, with attention to detail, nice and strong.

Are there any artists/designers that you look up to and learn from? If so, who?

Charley Harper, Malika Favré, Cruschiform, Tom Haugomat

What’s the best piece of design advice you’ve had so far?

Nobody is going to give you anything. Work hard and in what you like.

Please tell us about any more upcoming projects/collaborations…

I’ve been asked to illustrate a children’s book and I’m very excited about this project. It will be huge!

Laura Robertson (curator, LIV-BCN 2015)

See more of Mariadiamantes on her website and on Twitter: @mariadiamantes and Insta: mariadiamantes

Exhibition Launch Party Friday 10 July 2015 6-10pm. Open weekdays 6pm-10pm (weekends closed), 13-24 July.

Exhibition Research Centre, Liverpool School of Art and Design (LJMU), 2 Duckinfield Street, Liverpool, L3 5RD – FREE

Music: The Kazimier Gardens (daytime) and The Kazimier (8pm-3am), Liverpool, Saturday 11 July 2015 – ADV tickets £15, available to buy now from Skiddle

Read our Big Interview with John Wai and Marnie 

More on A Small Cinema Liverpool here

Posted on 10/07/2015 by thedoublenegative