We had a chance to speak to Ainara Sáinz Gutierrez about winning the Web & Mobile category of The Rookies, an international competition for young designers, creators, innovators, and artists.
Can you briefly summarize what your project is about?
FRAME is a space that showcases artisans in Vancouver, presents an intimate look into their creative process and strengthens the local art community. It keeps you updated about upcoming events, local businesses promotions, and encourages you to translate the digital experience into a tangible one by promoting art crawls around the city.
What was your 1st thought after finding out you won the Rookie of the Year in the Web & Mobile category?
I got super excited, and my first thought was that all the hard work paid off.
What do you think set your project apart from the rest of the nominees?
That’s a tough question… I want to believe that it was because the project was born from a real need inside a small community in Vancouver. Besides, I tried to stay focused on delivering a feasible solution that would really strengthen and spread the word about our local art scene.
What inspired you to create Frame?
FRAME is a project that was born from the difficulty of discovering Vancouver’s local art scene. I moved from Mexico, a country with strong folklore culture, and found that looking for artisans here wasn’t easy. After talking with them, I realized that they are more focused on creating their pieces than in advertising themselves and that opportunity is what made me create FRAME.
FRAME Case Study from Ainara on Vimeo.
What is your approach to solving a design problem?
I believe that it depends on the goals of every project but my general approach is to start with research, competitive analysis and interviews in order to understand the user needs. After that I will start exploring different solutions, I will test and refine until the design offers a clear solution.
How did you define success for the project and how did you measure it?
Success for me in this project meant to learn as much as I could while I was presenting high quality deliverables of every stage of the project. I went out and learned from my user research, implemented strategy and logical thinking in the user experience and had a lot of fun with the branding and the interface design.
Did you, at any point during the making of Frame, felt lost and unsure on how to proceed? If so, what helped you get back on track?
Yes, and it becomes very difficult to have an objective point of view about the project’s different stages when you’re working on it every day during 4 months. Every time I felt lost I tried to take a step back to ask for feedback, look for design inspiration and review the earlier stages on the project to understand how I needed to move forward.
Where do you find inspiration for your creative design process?
Everywhere. I’m an art addict so I constantly go to museums, art galleries, conferences and read a lot about artistic movements. I listen to design podcasts and get lost in Behance, Pinterest and Vimeo.
What are some of the tools you used? Are there any tools you would recommend?
I mainly used Adobe Creative Suite software: Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects. I highly recommend to use a prototype tool to test the project throughout the entire process such as Axure or Invision and, if I could go back, I would definitely use Sketch to create the entire interface design because of its precision and efficiency.
Looking back, what would be one part of your project you would have done differently?
I would have devoted more time interviewing potential users and testing low fidelity prototypes instead of adding precise and refined details on every wireframe I created.
Do you have any advice for current students when it comes to choosing a topic for their grad project?
Choose a project that comes out of a real need and that challenges you. A topic that you love and that reflects the passion that you have for what you do.
What is next for you?
Right now I’m working as an interactive designer at Unbounce and I love it! At the same time, I’m in search of joining a non-profit to help the community through my career. I would really like to stay in Vancouver for a couple of years and then move to another city to continue improving my professional skills.