I got started when I went to school for graphic design here in San Diego. When I graduated, I got a job at a t-shirt company. After that first job, I ended up at my current job at Mad Engine, an apparel company who does work for Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney. That’s how I work and design for all of those big names that sell to companies like Wal-mart, Target, Nordstrom, and Urban Outfitters just to name a few. It’s fun but it is very demanding and it inspired me to do other things – like make my own designs!
I just wanted to take a break from producing for those specific licenses. It’s cool and everything, but it’s the same Mickey and Vader, and there are specific rules and guidelines we do have follow. That made me want to make my own things and start doing whatever I wanted.
It started out with a zine I made with my boyfriend, Bradford, and after that we just kept going with it – creating for our side project called Magic Item. I’ve always been a fan of coffee and somehow my work ended up going in that direction. I started making coffee-themed things, which started to catch other people’s eyes. This was the same time I started to get more into the art community. It just worked out where I really love coffee and I really love designing things, and it’s been an awesome journey so far.
When asked how Itzel got inspired to start creating at a young age and knew she wanted to pursue something in the creative field, she responded:
It was interesting – I’ve always loved drawing and sketching since I was a kid. My parents would buy me sketchbooks and all of that stuff, but I never really thought of it as a career. When I graduated high school, I thought “ok, I need to go to college, but I can’t imagine myself being an engineer or doctor – there’s just no way, I’m not built like that.” And it wasn’t until I started to look into different schools I thought of graphic design and that’s when it made so much sense!
As far as my style goes, I’ve always been attracted to cute stuff and bright colors so I think that’s definitely helped in shaping my style. Those themes have always been my main interest, and I just kept practicing so I can get better.
Whenever I create for myself, I always draw inspiration from what I enjoy and what I want to put out there. It’s funny, because a lot of people aren’t really into coffee as much as I am and ask me “do you really like coffee that much?” and yes, I LOVE coffee! It’s such a funny thing.
My goals have been changing so much lately, and though I want to do my own thing now, I’m not sure what that means for the future, whether I’ll be a freelance designer or work at a design studio of some sort.
She’s gotten to work with a lot of coffee, especially locally!
I would normally doodle and paint in my sketchbooks, but I never took anything from that small of a scale and did anything bigger than that. For Cold Brew City, I went to Bradford and ask him to help me out create the photo wall with the cold brew cups. Since he’s done murals and understands that world completely, he gave me a list of tools and once he showed me – I got it! It’s been awesome having his support and it’s amazing to create these things that are on my sketchbook and see them on a bigger scale!
Because at my job, it’s fun, but the only way we find out if our design is used is if we see people wearing them or if I go to Target and I see my design on the rack. We don’t get notified, it’s such a fast-paced business being in apparel -the fashion industry is always changing and we never know until we see it. What’s great is to be in the process of creating something and knowing that it’s mine and I know who has something I made. It’s a different feeling! I’ve definitely always enjoyed my job, but it made me want to do more of my own thing because I was getting tired (like anyone would at their job).
It’s so different, being in this industry because we typically do 7-9 designs a day and we have to meet certain deadlines and we have to just crank everything out. And though we are a big team, and it’s so fun, it just gets crazy sometimes!
I do see myself leaving and growing from this job – I don’t have a timeline necessarily, but when I turned 20, I went to a coffee shop that was designed so well and that inspired me to have the idea to open my own coffee shop. It’s been interesting because that’s how my love for coffee and my love for design meet. I don’t exactly know where I’m going next, but i do like the path that I’m on right now. I’m excited to see where it takes me!
There’s something about being very tired and drained and finding motivation in creating something for myself so hopefully someone else likes it. A lot of people ask why I go home and do the same thing after 8 hours, and I don’t know I’m just excited about creating and not wanting to stay in the same place.
It took me a lot as a designer to grow — to keep making stuff and not stop even after work. Especially if I’m doing it for myself, there are no rules, which allows me to experiment with different things and to be a better designer overall.
Itzel designs and creates wallpapers available on her story every Wednesday when we asked what struck that inspiration, she said:
I remember seeing a free wallpaper online and thinking how cool it was, then I was going through my hashtags one day and it happened to be a Wednesday and I thought it would be a fun idea to do a “Wallpaper Wednesday”. I did it again the following Wednesday and it just stuck! I started to get responses of people sharing screenshots of them using it and now it’s something I look forward to sharing every Wednesday!
In honor of Wallpaper Wednesday and Women Crush Wednesday, we are shouting out this talented and coffee-fueled artist – @yayitzel! She is as vibrant as her work and loves to challenge herself in creating and designing outside of her graphic designer job. She shares just how important it is to continue to work on your craft to become the best version of yourself, which we absolutely agree with! We have some exciting stuff in the works with her, so stay tuned! In the meantime, download her Wallpaper she offers on her Instagram stories every Wednesday and check out her amazing work!