Illustration by Marina Esmeraldo
We ask the world’s top designers and illustrators to answer 13 questions and create a visual response to one of their choice.


Marina Esmeraldo is an illustrator and art director with Brazilian roots who’s based between Barcelona and London. She creates colorful work for a variety of fashion and culture clients like Refinery29Lenny Letter, and Wired, as well as companies like Google and Adidas. She draws a lot of inspiration from Brazilian mid-century graphic design, and we love her approach to tone and curves. Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram @marinaesmeraldo.

Describe what you do in four words or less: Eye candy with sustenance.

When did you know you wanted to be a designer? When I was 10 and designing the plans for my bedroom renovation.

If you weren’t a designer, you’d be: A photographer, probably. I was in love with photography for most of my teens.

The typeface you love/hate/love to hate: Myriad Pro. Why does it have to be the Adobe Creative Suite standard?

Your dream design (or redesign) project is: Brazilian currency. Right now it just emulates the Euro, and I think it could have a lot more character.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received (and who said it)? “There is no free lunch.” —my father, for the past 20 years.

The quality in others you most admire is: Humility. There are few bigger turn-offs than discovering your hero is an arrogant dick.

You’re secretly really good at: Languages. I speak five (Portuguese, English, Spanish, Catalan, Italian) and a half (French). Next up: bass guitar.

The biggest design cliché right now is: Repeating/stacking the same words, but I like it. Within the art/fashion crossover world of Instagram, it’s Matisse, nudes, and one-line drawings. But I like that, too.

What keeps you awake at night? Anxieties about my next project. Anxieties about the lack of a next project. Late payments. Also, the neighbors making noise.

What contribution will you make to the creative community in the next 10 years? Beauty, hopefully. By propagating beauty and the values and actions that accompany it, we can inspire tolerance, openness, love, and change.

What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked? “What achievement of yours did you think would never happen?”

What’s the answer? Exhibiting work in the Venice Biennale! The architecture and art biennales are bastions of the cutting edge, and I never expected to show work there.