Pedro del Corro’s functional graphic design portfolio sits on the right side of tradition and trend
The Madrid-raised and New York-based designer sees his medium as a coherent medley of art, culture, technology, media theory and psychology.
- Ayla Angelos
- 21 September 2020
It’s been quite some time since we last meandered through the portfolio of Pedro del Corro, a graphic designer from Madrid, currently based in New York. The ex-Pratt Institute masters grad has been keeping busy working in-house for the likes of Apple, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Studio Lin, and currently he’s working at Dropbox all the while keeping the many plates spinning for his freelance projects. “It has become a way of working that I’m comfortable with,” he tells It’s Nice That of his ability to juggle many things at once. He’s also spent more time in Spain recently due to the pandemic: “After spending so much time abroad, it’s both strange and exciting to see work change so fast and the possibilities it opens for working remotely. On the bright side, I think our discipline lends itself quite well to it.”
Pedro’s journey into graphic design was a slow but succinct one. He recalls a time when he didn’t quite know the right term for it – “who creates these ‘things’? Is there a ‘creator’ at all?”. These questions posed were curious and intuitive; after acquiring the knowledge of what the role of a designer actually is, that’s when an influx of research began to take place. However, Pedro decided to study fine arts and realised hastily after a year that this wasn’t the right direction for him. “When graphic design appeared more clearly to me as a discipline in my early to mid-twenties, it felt just right,” he continues to explain. “Instinctively, I knew it had the right amount of left and right brain. We tend to dissociate creativity and logic, but to me they’re quite related.”
Graphic design has always sat on the comfortable side of Pedro’s brain, “right at the centre”. And with this credible placement has come a great deal of inspiration. He sees the discipline as one that’s heavily linked to others, such as art, culture, technology, media theory and psychology. These are equally as interesting to him, so he makes sure to incorporate other parts of cultural studies, readings and further influences into his practice as much as possible. “I think graphic design is a much more holistic job than it seems from the outside,” he says. “This way of looking at it has probably yielded an approach that’s more about bringing concepts and ideas to life, rather than novel graphic execution per se.”
In terms of his process, it’s very much forward-facing as it is looking back at traditional graphic design. A blend of the old with the new, Pedro cites the work of Emil Ruder, whose typographic principles – inspired by Japanese aesthetics – have been around for fifty years and “aren’t going away”. He adds: “Nowadays, some of the designers I admire seem to follow some kind of historical trajectory, selectively inheriting from the past and innovating in their own specific ways.” Pedro is very much interested in the historical context that comes with design, and aims to reflect this within his own, typographically led work, whether that’s through the creation of design systems, sub-brands, event spaces, websites, hooks, printed media and even furniture.
A recent example rests in Ladies Who Create, a series of events organised by Dropbox Design for female leaders in the design industry. Tasked to create an identity based on a calendar, Pedro and the team looked at the recurring events and stamped “every invitation” with an edition number, date and a personal note “to make things more personal and the history of the event more palpable – these cards even become mementos in their own right.” Elsewhere, for this year’s Sundance Film Festival with Dropbox (“yes, a physical event full of people in 2020 – I’ll remember that”), they designed a high-spec book about technology and how it’s changing the film industry. “The book takes many typographic voices as a way to tell different narratives in parallel; three different typefaces, which became a hard balance to nail and an interesting challenge.”
Working coherently with symmetry and an array of functional typefaces, Pedro clearly knows modern design – and not the type that follows fast trends and fashions. What’s next for him in the near future, despite calling it an “obvious one”, is that Pedro hopes to focus his interest in “what literacy means in graphic design”. He has a project underway on this topic, and we can’t wait to find out more. “Aside from that, 2020 has been a ride thus far,” he concludes. “I guess I’m not alone there. I’m looking to spend a lot more time with my dog outside.”
GalleryPedro del Corro
About the Author
Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.