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Q&A Marta Cerdà Alimbau

On 1 June 2024, the Now24 conference will take place in Paris. On that day, more than a dozen graphic design lecturers, art directors and type designers are expected. Join to attend talks by international speakers around graphic design, web design, motion design, publishing, visual identity, communication and type design. If not already done, register now to take advantage of the best rates.

It seemed interesting to us to make you discover the profiles of our guests. Discover Marta cerdà Alimbau’s interview.

Biography Marta Cerdà Alimbau is a Graphic Designer whose main body of work is focussed on the boundaries between graphic design, typography and illustration. While Marta's style is strongly eclectic, she believes that the separation of this disciplines into specialized activities is a limitation for her work.

Interview

What is your favorite way to start a day?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I like to start working really early, it’s a moment when no one expects you to answer any email or phone call, so It’s the moment when I focus the most. The first thing is going through the emails. After that, I open the project that I am working on. I think that early morning is when I trust myself the most in terms of decision making.

Have your work habits changed after the pandemic?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau Yes! The years before covid I used to work always from home and was happy with it. But after the lock down I really needed to share a space with more people, and share ideas or just the day a day ups and downs. It made me see I could have a better day to day experience and I found it to be a way to live more healthy. Now I stay home or I go to the studio depending on the work load. If I have a lot of work I rather stay home because I don’t have to commute.

Favorite kind of music to listen to while working?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I usually listen to the radio while working, it’s like having a pet, it gives me company. I listen to local radios where they talk about politics, literature, cinema, a bit of everything. There are moments when I listen to music, mostly to cheer myself up. And other when I work in silence if I am super focused or need to write or conceptualize ideas.

What is the best way to work?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I think the best way to work is different for each person. Personally, I need to be involved in the crafting part of the project as an active element. That doesn’t mean I think working absolutely alone is the best way of working, not at all. When you have the chance to work with other people that can nurture your work, it’s usually a gift to the project and yourself. That’s why the past few years I’ve been collaborating with a lot of other professionals. It has had a very positive impact on my work and mind.

“The goal is always to touch something inside.”
Marta Cerdà Alimbau

Do you ever feel “too comfortable” in your work?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I have never felt too comfy. On one hand, I have never had one big client or account giving me the salary at the end of the month for a long term. I have had to work for each client as if it was the first and the last time we’ve worked together. So, it’s been partly a need. On the other, I am a graphic designer, if I repeat the same style for different purposes it would not work.

Does AI change the way you work?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau Not at the moment, but it provably will. I use it here and there, but not much yet. But we are in a moment in history where things are going to change dramatically in a few months/years. I am with my eyes wide open not to fell apart.

Why it’s important for you to use a lot of different tools and media?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I think all graphic designers are multidisciplinary designers. Graphic Designers have to adapt to every need of every project in a singular way, in the way that it is particularly needed. That’s why I don’t trust using always the same tools.

In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being independent?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I work independently but I have surrounded myself with a net of collaborators and in this sense, I don’t feel I am working alone. I think the biggest of disadvantages of working independently is that without you, the ship sinks. You are the core of it, and that is stressful, specially at moments like when you get sick or you have a baby, or your father is at the hospital. While when you have a studio, the idea is that everyone works under a kind of group thinking and the weight gets split. But then you have to take clients you don’t like to pay the bills. So, everything has its bright and dark side.

For me having an agent is important because I am really bad at negotiating, and it stresses me out a lot. They take care of this part and the paper work. If I was better at this I wouldn’t have an agent. They usually take 30% of what you do, which is a lot of money at the end of the year. But if they do their job correctly and you are bad negotiating like I am, this 30% is worth it.

Your first book “Type to Image”, what does it mean for you and your career? Before / After?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau There has been a before/after, yes. Firstly for me, that someone like Counter Print thought it was worth to publish all the work done throughout all these years it is something that has brought me great joy. I am still amazed. And also, the book has helped me to gain respect within the industry and also visibility.

When you started, who were the teachers, mentors or professionals who had the most impact on you?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau People like Oriol Miró, who was my teacher in calligraphy, or like Andreu Balius, were people that shared their love for letters with a lot of generosity. They’re both really good teachers. Then, working at Toormix was also a before/after, I learned a lot with them in terms of typography. They could focus all the attention of the team on choosing a font for a project, and I had never worked in a studio that did that before.

During your creative process, do you sketch–draw before moving on to the digital workflow?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau No, I learn by doing. I feel that a sketch it is mostly like a straitjacket. I can go way further when I work, I think that form and content are two sides of the same coin. I understand that not seeing a sketch is not the best scenario for the client, so what I do is a moodboard so we can all have a map where we’re comfortable moving around.

“Collaborating has had a very positive impact on my work and mind.”
Marta Cerdà Alimbau

What will be the message you would like to convey during your Now24 talk?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau I am still not sure! But, of course, the goal is always to touch something inside, to show the way I work, the process, the ups and downs.

What other speaker wouldn’t you want to miss at Now24?

Marta Cerdà Alimbau Honestly, I would like to see ALL the talks if I can, there’s always things to learn from everyone! But maybe Paul Shaw is a bit more on the spotlight for me, since I’ve been wanting to go to his lettering walks in the US for a long time. It would be great if he does one in Paris too :)

Thank you very much, Marta!

– Interview by Jean-Baptiste Pernette

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March 18, 2024
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