Design referents: the ones that inspired me first

This post is part of a series of posts thanking everyone who helps (or helped) me improve my knowledge and skills on design and development.

Never underestimate luck

I’m a lucky individual. Of course, my personal luck started the day I was born in a “developed country” at the end of the 20th century. But my professional luck has only been possible thanks to my family.

Family rules

My brother and I were raised with care but also with reasonable rules. While lots of kids watched TV for hours (not judging anyone), we could only watch half an hour each day. That didn’t actually bother us much, since audiovisual entertainment was mostly limited to what was being broadcasted by TV; and, to be honest, there weren’t many interesting options available.

So we played with toys, read books or comics and, when we got bored of that, my parents gave us some paper and a pencil to make some doodles. Eventually, drawing became one of our favourite hobbies. We spent hours drawing about anything we imagined.


Back in the late 80s my father had a computer, with a monochrome (green-and-black) display. Now, every teenager holds in their hands a supercomputer integrated into a high resolution screen; but, at that time, it was very uncommon.

He taught arts and technical drawing at a high school, and finds the possibilities of design software fascinating. When he wasn’t using his computer, he let us play with that “special” software. With it, we made our first digital creations. Over the years we went from 2D pixelart painting to 3D modelling.


My mom taught English. You can now learn almost any language at no cost –specially English. But then –again– there was an entire business related to learning English, and resources were scarce and expensive. So we had access to some select materials, such as movies and books for children/teenagers.

Remember the “half an hour of TV per day” rule? Some rules can have exceptions; in this case, that time could be a bit longer if I watched something in English. I ended up memorizing the dialogs of a couple of Disney movies.


I have always admired how skilled and imaginative my brother is. He has always been some steps ahead of me in terms of originality, variety of themes/styles/topics drawn, and technical quality. There’s a reason for this, apart from his natural talent: he has never stopped imagining new stuff, exploring new techniques or possibilities (2D and 3D illustration, photography, small sculpture modelling…). As you can see, he is a personal inspiration and reference.


Besides the most common things that a family can provide –often taken for granted– they also sparked the interest of design and gave me the necessary tools to take it as a hobby and transform it into a career: resources (books, magazines, visits to museums), the lingua franca for design (and, well, everything), and the passion to always want to play, explore, improve, and learn.

I’m a lucky guy. I was born into family that has given me the everything; including the foundation which helped me kickstart my career.

Thanks to you all :-)