13: Mexican-American Graphic Designer & Illustrator Marisol Ortega


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This week’s guest describes herself as “100% Mexican and 100% American.” In this episode, I chat with Mexican-American Graphic Designer and Illustrator Marisol Ortega. Marisol and I discuss everything from the trauma of being first generation American, to getting a full scholarship to art school, to landing an in-house role at Amazon. Aside from her Mexican background and culture, we also get into how she found her way to design and illustration.

Marisol discovered her passion for art and design after living as a foreign exchange student in Italy for a year during high school. This experience shifted her entire perspective and opened her eyes to art as a career. Once arriving back in the States, she took this momentum and channeled it into finding scholarships to fund her dream of going to art school. With dedication, Marisol was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship and received a full ride for her art education.

In this inspiring episode, Marisol shares her perspective on freelancing and motherhood, how she’s putting a stop to generational trauma, and how she found her passion for design through a foreign exchange program.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Topics Covered:

  • Marisol’s experience being a first-generation Mexican-American
  • Motherhood and breaking generational trauma
  • The trade-offs between being an in-house designer and a freelance designer
  • How she found her passion for design through a foreign exchange program in Italy
  • Being the first in her family to attend college
  • Becoming a Gates Millennium Scholar and getting a full-ride scholarship to the Art Institute of Seattle
  • The struggles of being one of two minority students in art school
  • The intricacies of being a white Mexican and not feeling Mexican enough
  • Dealing with backlash in the workplace for speaking on politics as a Latina
  • Being the token Latina in the office
  • How she landed her graphic design role at Starbucks
  • Why Marisol has a passion for packaging design
  • Her process for collaborating with a brand designer
  • Her process for creating powerful color palettes
  • The difference between illustration and design
  • How to think more broadly about the application of illustrations
  • Why she was compelled to work with Linocuts and incorporate it into her design practice

Guest Info

Check out Marisols’s Instagram, Portfolio, and Shop!

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