Abraham Lule is a creator of fine and elegant branding designs. His work makes a bottle or a menu stick out proudly, his identities having an air of serenity and sophistication. Just from a quick look at his portfolio, it's clear that Abraham is a researched, detail oriented, lazer-focused designer. He leaves no stone unturned in the creation of his designs, keeping it sleek and stylish. Here at Grafik we were fortunate enough to catch him for a chat, and we picked his brains about his inspirations and aspirations.
You’ve done some amazing branding work. What is your favourite branding or packaging project you have worked on and why?
I think this is such a difficult question to answer. All of the projects I’ve worked on are in some way special and a favourite of mine. There are definitely some that have gained more public attention than others, and this kind of makes them more interesting, but to me, they all are very unique and special by themselves. As a matter of fact, there are projects that have not been launched yet and I could consider a favourite! But to design is my labor and I think that erases the idea of considering one of the projects as a ‘favourite’.
Can you talk us through the important parts of your creative process?
Step one is to understand the project and understand the client. To develop good communication with the client and exchange our goals as a team. After this, I start immersing myself in the topic, and identifying what makes them unique; I think, overall, that in packaging and branding authenticity and identification are paramount; one does not design a brand to fit in among a bunch of other similar brands, I’ve seen this as a marketing tool, but as a designer, I prefer to propose being identifiable and recognisable, even if this includes look different.
I do some visual research, most likely out of their category, and try to collect tools to tell a story with the project. Then I sketch out of the computer, let it marinate for a couple of days, revisit my sketches and start putting together a presentation deck along with my creative writing to present to the client.
Things said this is just the very 10% of the work. Once everything is approved, making sure that everything will be produced and used as planned is the other 90%.
What was your introduction to design, and what pushed you to go into the field?
Necessity pushed me! I really wasn’t aware of the existence of Graphic Design at all, not even when I was ready for University. Drawing, painting, and ‘creating something’ have always been part of me. In the beginning, I wanted to be an Architect, but just because I had people nearby who were architects and I was impressed by their blueprints, the dummies, and the precision of their work. Although, I have memories of drawing packaging since I was 7 or 8. When you are a kid you are often asked about ‘Who you want to be when you are an adult?!’, I used to say ‘an Architect’, but now I know this was just because I didn’t know of the existence of any other career that involved drawing.
Graphic Design came to me as my mother received a full scholarship for her kids as part of her work benefits working as a Physical Trainer at a University. At the time I was already studying Advertising, but it was so difficult to keep up with the tuition for a single mother; so I left advertising and started in Graphic Design to discover that I should have studied this from the first time.
How do you get out of a creative block?
I sleep. I go for a run. I exercise. This relaxed me and restarts my imagination. I’ve found that a relaxed mind can create more than a stressed one. Sometimes we are so focused on getting the problem solved that we forget what we are doing it int the first place. I need to reset my head to imagine again. Imagination is my ultimate creation tool, so, so important to me.
Tell me about a personal project you’re working on currently.
I’m developing a lettering project exclusively in Spanish. Spanish is such a rich language and the more we spin in this globalised world, the more one-sided language becomes. As a Mexican designer, I find it so important that new generations in design learn the use of the Spanish language as a tool and as a source of inspiration.
The project will also feature my favourite source of inspiration: women in my life.
What are your next goals as a designer?
To stimulate all the senses. We are living in such visual times that as designers we often forget the rest of the body. My proposition is to engage with the audience further than just the visual aspect. Most of my work demands to stop and look, it asks for time; which nowadays it’s so much to ask for, but I always reward the curious with a surprise element, something to be decoded or a small detail just for those ones willing to contemplate.
Going back to the idea of stimulating the senses, this is perhaps Why I love Packaging so much, it’s an object that ultimately ends up living with the user, it tells the story of a company, informs about what it contains, it’s an object you can feel, you can smell, you can see, sometimes you can even taste. It’s a wonderful piece that speaks volumes about life, culture, and people. I think it’s also the one discipline we as designers could leave a better impact on the world, especially with the vast of sustainable materials we have now.