Interview with Roberto Camacho
Art Director for Whiskey Design
What’s your ethnicity?
I was actually born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. I lived there until I was fourteen years old and then I moved up here to Kansas City with my family. I went to a semi-private school so they provided enough english classes but it was still a pretty big shock once I moved here because of the speed of conversation and the slang. We were in KC for about 5 months and then we relocated to California where we had family and that made it easier to settle down in the U.S. We didn’t really like the style and cost of living so we eventually moved back.
When we moved back I decided to go to Avila University because I was playing soccer, I wasn’t ready to give it up. I checked out their Graphic Design program and liked it. Soon after that I started an internship with Muller Bressler Brown and upon graduation I got an internship opportunity with Willoughby Design which turned into a full-time job. After about three years, I joined Whiskey Design.
How did you guys get the opportunity to work on the Boulevardia project?
When I joined Whiskey Design they had already worked on the first year of Boulevardia. I joined Whiskey in August two years ago. We had set the bar pretty high for Boulevardia and we asked ourselves, what else could we do to keep it fresh? How could we build onto the brand?
This whole idea of it being a pop-up nation was the core of the whole approach. We added a national bird, a national flower, things that a nation would have. Then we decided to have each letter of the alphabet stand for something that you would find there, the Boulevardia alphabet. Everyone here at Whiskey jumps in for Boulevardia, everything from conceptual, brainstorming, to random sketches that you scratch onto a napkin when you're at home and an idea hits you. It’s very collaborative. Matt, who is the owner (we call him Wegs), he’s to able to pick what he likes and he’s very good with feedback.
Boulevardia, although the start is pretty slow and rough, it always goes pretty smooth for us. Most of the time we nail the idea quickly and then we spend a lot of time with executing and finalizing the details. It’s a super fun project, a month before Boulevardia is when everything kicked into that extra gear which requires long hours and just getting things done.
Everyone here at Whiskey jumps in for Boulevardia, everything from conceptual, brainstorming, to random sketches that you scratch onto a napkin when you're at home and an idea hits you.
So you're the Art Director, correct?
I am one of the Art Directors, yes. When I moved from Willoughby Designs my title was designer and even now when I say my title is Art Director it feels kinda weird because Whiskey, being such a small company, we really all wear a bunch of different hats. It’s just a title, in my opinion, I’m a designer. We all kind of do the same things. Wes, he’s the creative director but there’s plenty of times that he’s grinding a bunch of design work and he’s just like any of us. Ultimately, he’s the brains of the operation and he does have an awesome eye for design. Between the three other full-time designers, all of as designers, all of us are directors, all of us are dish washers, ya know? We kinda do it all, whatever needs to get done.
I feel like I fell into this industry with a little bit of luck.
What peaked your interest in Graphic Design?
Well, honestly, I feel like I fell into this industry with a little bit of luck. I had a couple paths in mind, business and architecture. Back when I was in college, I was still mostly focused on soccer and hoping that it would go into the next level, maybe a semi-pro or pro type of thing. I knew I need to get school together, I’ve always been artistic, creative, and problem solving has always been something that comes naturally to me. When I went to a job fair at Avila, the chairman of the Graphic Design program was super friendly, I got a good vibe and then I just went for it. Loved it from the beginning. I guess it was just fate, maybe, I don't know.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Often times, on Mondays we ease into the week with a status meeting, deadlines, what are the jobs we need to focus on, and what needs attention. Once we know what the plan is for the week, we all break and work on what we need to get done. Usually, I have about two to four projects that need to get done with a month or two month period and I work on those each day. I usually break my day in half between those projects that vary in web design, packaging, or brand design. There’s hardly a time where we are just not doing anything or that we’re waiting for the next client.
When you guys hold employee interviews, does a Bachelors versus an Associates make a difference?
I haven’t seen that. Usually the portfolio work needs to look up to par to what we are looking for. There’s been some really good portfolio work that we’ve seen out of two year colleges. Ultimately, it’s your thought process, that you concepting down, and that you get visual language.
It isn’t such an easy process, we are so small and adding one person can bring a lot of change. We aren’t picky but we are selective.