Monumento is a creative office aiding and pushing brands through a visual evolution
Built from a combination of branding studios in Mexico, Monumento was formed to begin a “process and design philosophy that [it] actually believed in”.
- Lucy Bourton
- 22 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Raúl Salazar, the chief creative office at design studio Monumento, describes his studio’s process as a little like digging. Although each project centres around a different story, the work often follows the same process of shifting through references, ideas, and possibilities, all in an attempt to “decipher a cluster of multiple elements, values, emotions, informations, expectations, talent and challenges,” he tells It’s Nice That. And what’s the digging in aid of? “To manifest something powerful in the way of a brand,” answers Raúl.
A creative office based in San Pedro, Mexico, the idea to set up Monumento first became an idea in the winter of 2016. The result of conversations between various friends “who shared some ideas and ideals” while working at other design jobs, by the spring of 2017 it was a fully functioning studio. Each of its team joined from other well-known branding-focused studios in Mexico, and viewed “Monumento as this opportunity to join forces and do the things we always wanted to, with a work process and design philosophy that we actually believed in,” Raúl recalls. Most importantly, this work would be driven by “an incredible team of people in order to become greater than the sum of its parts.”
Today Monumento acts as a design studio, but has many arms exploring different areas of creative possibility. Aside of the studio’s work, it runs an art fair, F-A-M-A, and has its own concept store, Materia, which promotes objects that offer better everyday living. The work which introduced us to Monumento, however, and what it’s likely known best for, is its branding and visual system work. Largely working with clients on their branding, naming and visual strategies, Momumento aids and pushes brands when to go through a creative evolution.
Working in this area was always probable, considering the background of Monumento’s founding partners. But the success in its approach to branding is due to its emotional sentiment towards a task many treat as clinical. “We make project expressions,” elaborates Raúl. “Not every project we work on starts a brand. Normally, they are just ideas and dreams but, in the process of developing them, they become brands.”
To bring this to life, Monumento follows “a very structured game plan” with each of its clients. Always beginning by immersing itself in the work and ideals of a client, “this is later translated into a creative concept,” says Raúl, “which allows us to have a strong project foundation for optimal design and future development.” Operating as a small team benefits the studio in this area too – “the perfect size to express ideas and actually do some productive brainstorming.” Monumento additionally places emphasis on involving its clients throughout the process, “as they are the experts of their own project”.
One example of this methodology is Norte, a business run by the family of two close friends (“and basketball rivals”) of Monumento studio. Turning the salsa the family made for every Sunday gathering “since forever” into a product available for everyone, the studio became involved to visually translate its personality. Developing its branding into an “homage to the whole north of Mexico, sometimes lost between other more famous Mexican folklores,” Raúl explains that Norte’s identity is inspired by the fact that other Mexicans often think of the region as hard, “because of its challenging extreme weather and the loud way we northerns supposedly talk”.
At the other end of the spectrum is an identity the studio created for Pet-á-Porter, a cheekily named New York-based boutique promoting a high quality lifestyle for your pet. Building the brand’s visual presence around the “honest and charming vibe” but very stylish approach of its founder, Laura, the identity aims to “express a personal feeling and way of thinking about how we interact with our furry friends”.
Looking to the future, Raúl concludes that it’s difficult to answer what the studio would like to do next. Areas of its practice are currently in flux due to the current pandemic, leading the team to find that “ideas or goals that were relevant a couple of months ago are not necessarily as relevant right now,” adds the creative. In turn, for now, the studio will apply its emotional and considerate approach to itself: “I think that now we should focus on our wellbeing and self-development as humans and designers,” he concludes. “I think that we should embrace our values and beliefs and express them through our work as a way to be able to create the harmonious life that we all strive for.”
Monumento: Norte (Copyright © Monumento, 2020)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.