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Girls in Tech likes to celebrate local talent, and this month we’d like to showcase four inspirational graphic designers working in Gibraltar. They encompass the unique spirit of the Rock – a strong individual identity with a mix of international flavour. We’d like to introduce you to Lina from Latvia, Eva from Bulgaria, Paul from the UK and representing Gibraltar, Lizanne!

Lina Sproge

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am Gibraltar/Spain based graphic designer from Riga, Latvia and I have lived here for 4 years now (Incredible how time flies!). I feel it’s very difficult to draw the line where occasional favour for friends or family turned into something that could be considered professional, but I like to consider I’ve worked as a graphic designer for about 8 years now. During this time I have enjoyed working in different kinds of environments and formats – as a freelancer, private contractor, in an agency and now, as a in-house graphic designer. Each of those different formats have enabled me to understand my strengths and areas I am most confident in. And I can honestly say, I am passionate about print design and absolutely in love with collage as a technique.

How did you get into design?

Hahaha! If I am honest I didn’t have a clue what I am getting into, really. At first I wanted to be an architect, then interior designer and, after seeing the study program’s description which included drawing, painting, photography and something to do with computers – kind of a bit of everything, I thought “Yes! Sounds Fun! I might give it a go!”

What inspires you and keeps you interested in design?

This is an industry which never sleeps – people create beautiful stuff all the time, there are new tools rolled out constantly. And it’s just amazing to witness how artists, using the same tools, achieve very different results! It’s just mind-blowing how creative people are!

Another thing which keeps me up on my toes are trends. True, good design is timeless, but it doesn’t mean we can ignore the trends, there is surely a time and place for those.

And last but not least – another important aspect which keeps me interested in the field is the social impact that good design can have. It has the power to drive social change. And Girls in Tech is a good example on how to do that.

What are your favourite designer resources or software to use?

We’re incredibly lucky to live in this day and age, with so many different tools and resources available, and it’s very difficult to list all of them.

Hands down to Adobe Creative Cloud! Everyone can find something for themselves. I risk to sound boring but my favourite one is InDesign – for more precise, polished & consistent layouts. Obviously it wouldn’t be nothing without Photoshop and Illustrator, but it helps to bring everything together.

Another great tool is mobile app Adobe Capture – for picking up inspiration on the go, from everything around you – colour palettes, patterns, and even vector shapes! Love it!

Who are some designers or artist you admire?

I admire anyone who’s brave enough to exercise their creativity, in any field, really.

Of course there always will be classical artists that I admire, but it’s easier to draw inspiration from those who are actively present.

Their relevance might change over the time too, but these are the artists that I admire the most at the moment – David Carson as a rule-breaker in graphic design, Camille Walala with her vibrant colours and bold patterns, and Shantell Martin with her spontaneous & monochrome drawing style. I think they all are such remarkable examples of owning their signature style and being authentic, which I especially look up to now when going through the active process of changing and evolving myself.

You can see Lina’s portfolio at https://linasproge.com/ and reach out to her at  lina.sproge on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lizanne Fernandez

Tell us about yourself? How did you get into graphic design?

My name is Lizanne Fernandez and I was born in Gibraltar. I don’t remember the exact moment when I started drawing, since I was a child I was attracted to brushes and colours. I could spend hours and hours painting and creating different figures or forms, the truth is that I could not find anything that made me happier; it can be said, therefore, that this has leaded me into the design field. This love of art from such an early age led me to decide to study in England, where I enrolled in Fine Arts at the University of The West of England in Bristol. During those years I deepened my knowledge of art and specialised in Painting. Without a doubt, learning more about art led me to grow professionally and personally. I still remember the final show, where I exhibited all my paintings and had the opportunity to explain their meaning and progression. Since those years, I still continue to create drawings in my spare time as it is a hobby that has always accompanied me. I hope to one day I have my own studio and make big paintings again.

Not long after graduation I had a good job opportunity and I started to work in a digital music company (OD2 Distribution) known after as Nokia Music, then Microsoft. Here I was able to work with another of my great passions: music. My job was to listen to a lot of music and communicate with record labels to coordinate their digital releases in Spain, Portugal and Italy. It was an amazing experience working with music and technology, but what made it even better was the people I worked with. During those years I worked alongside developers and became very curious. I could not figure out how the web worked and which technology was behind it. I wanted to be able to have my shapes and colours in a browser but I didn’t know how to do it. I realised I had found something that really intrigued me. I started asking questions, attended courses, reading books and worked on small personal projects that never got anywhere. With time I taught myself to code in front-end technologies which helped me get my first job working as a developer. I discovered an enriching union between technology and art and so started to be part of my work as an artist.

After 10 years, I decided to make a radical change in my life and move to Spain. Fortunately I found a job in Malaga and started working as a Front-End Developer and as a UI Designer later on. This transition going from web development to UI design allowed me to turn all my artistic knowledge to technology and to put my vision in place. A couple of years later I decided to move closer to Gibraltar to be with my family. Currently I work at Playtech as a UI Web Designer in the innovations team, Gibraltar. My goal as a UI Designer is to compose purposeful, functional, aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly digital interfaces. Design is for me a common language, a tool and a filter for self expression.

What are your favourite designer resources or software to use?

Among the software I use are Sketch for designing interfaces, Adobe Illustrator for icons or illustrations and InVision for collaboration. Framer X has been one of my favourite design tools for the past few months. It’s an amazing tool for making advanced interactive prototypes that look a lot like the final product.

Who are some designers or artist you admire?

As artists who inspire me, I could point to Salvador Dali, Hans Ruedi Giger, Tim Burton, Banksy, and Jake and Dinos Chapman. I get inspired by things both digital and physical. I find inspiration in my day-to day surroundings, in conversations, in museums and in music. Inspiration really can be found anywhere as long as you know how to look. I like to learn from someone’s work and break down their solution to understand the thinking behind it. I use Dribble or Instagram for storing solutions and to capture the digital inspiration I stumble upon. This allows me to keep inspiration all around and come back to it whenever I may need to or simply keep as an ongoing reminder of the great solutions that exist. I also subscribe to a number of design blogs to keep in touch with the latest trends and check out what other designers are producing. Staying inspired is something you have to work at and trying to find what works for you. I stay inspired by trying to consistently learn and educate myself on a variety of topics. I make sure I put time aside to design for myself and do the things that I love.

I could end up saying, quoting Pablo Picasso, that “art is a way of learning the rules like a professional and then being able to break them as an artist” or the reflection by Stephanie Perkins, for whom “A blank canvas has unlimited possibilities”. Without a doubt, this defines the development of my designs and my constant search for inspiration and creation, both technologically and artistically.

You can reach out to Lizanne on her LinkedIn Profile or view her work on Dribbble.

Eva Saranova

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am Eva and I am coming from Sofia, Bulgaria. I am digital graphic designer for the past 5 years with Master of Visual communications.

How did you get into design?

I got into the design when I was finishing school, because it was the closest path for me to my passion of drawing and illustrations. So that’s why I chose to study it.

What inspires you and keeps you interested in design?

The freedom of the visual tools that you can use in order to present an idea, and also the influence that u can make with a certain design. The provocations and the inspiration that you can give to the public is amazing feeling.

What are your favourite design resources or software to use?

BēhanceSmashing Magazine, Muzli, and Instagram.

Who are some designers or artist you admire?

Jessica Walsh, Christoph Niemann, and Malika Favre.

You can view Eva’s art on her Bēhance page, or follow her at eva.sarra.art on Instagram.

Paul Foreman

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a graphic designer from Northampton in the UK, with a flare and passion for iGaming, sports & travel.

I am/was an amateur musician in the UK plying my trade with the Hammond organ, gigging around London on a monthly basis. I’ve had the privilege to play at some iconic venues including the 100 Club on Oxford St which has hosted the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones & David Bowie, but I’m yet to find my feet & start playing again here in Gibraltar.

I have also a ‘side hustle’ designing merch, it’s a nice escape from the corporate world & brings in a little extra pocket money every month, I do it for the fun of it over anything else.

How did you get into design?

I began my career in the creative world 13 years ago at a mobile solutions outfit, designing WAP sites for most of the major Premier League clubs, Tesco & Virgin Mobile. As technology evolved the business began moving towards app design/builds & I had the opportunity to design Chelsea FC’s first ever iPhone App. Following that I found a design role for the next 4 years within digital publishing, with contracts for Sky Sports & the RFU. Delivering weekly editions of Sky Sports magazine & quarterly RFU junior & senior magazines as well as a multitude of sportswear, travel & art magazines. After a few months of freelance work for the Football League, I needed a new challenge and decided the gaming industry could open up new horizons & found myself in Gibraltar, designing for Party Poker & Party Casino (part of the GVC group).

6 years on, I am loving life as ‘Head of Creative’ at Lottoland, looking after creative, copy & marketing coordination, working with an extremely talented group of people from across the globe. The people & the atmosphere make it a brilliant place to work, Lottoland doesn’t just feel like a job, it feels like a family.

What inspires you and keeps you interested in design?

I love pushing myself to learn new design approaches, software & different ways of thinking. Having a fantastic team of designers & copywriters  around me is great for inspiration, sharing knowledge & ideas to keep improving me as a designer and a person.

I think I’d be lost doing anything other than working in a creative environment. Being able to take a written brief & bring it to life in a visually stunning format, there’s no better satisfaction.

What are your favourite design resources or software to use?

I live in Photoshop, it’s where I feel most at home designing & creating compositions. We use Sketch for layouts which is a great tool & enables you to export for developers to lift your pixel perfect measurements instantly. Most of our social content is produced using After Effects & Premiere Pro with the social design trend becoming more & more reliant on video content to drive engagement. Illustrator & InDesign are also very important tools of which we use on a regular basis. Our acquisition assets are produced using software called Bannerflow, this is a powerful tool which enables the team to design, publish, analyse & personalise display campaigns.

Who are some designers or artist you admire?

Alex Trouchut is a very talented designer that I follow, he has produced a large variety of works for famous bands & well worth checking out.

John Hicks for logo design & iconography inspiration, he has designed logos for a multitude of top brands.

David Carson who uses typographic layouts in visually striking ways.

I like to check out Richard Perez’s work on a regular basis, his style lends itself well to my style when I’m designing merch in my spare time. On the same theme, Lauren Hom’s lettering & layouts are something to be admired, I use her work as a source of inspiration on how to integrate various font styles into an engaging format.

You can reach out to Paul through LinkedIn.