“I’m a bit afraid of colours”: Romina Malta on her illustrative approach to design
Romina’s multi-disciplinary approach lends itself nicely to the types of projects she likes to take on. Namely an art director, she focuses on editorial and sound design, as well as taking on commissions for various clients, studios, artists, galleries and record labels.
- Ayla Angelos
- 6 December 2019
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Featuring a harmonious blend of illustration and design, Romina Malta’s portfolio is one that leans both ways for its dynamic and smart aesthetic. Embracing a strictly black and white palette, Romina came to define her style on her own. Self-taught, she never pursued a formal education in her field, rather she steered towards the art and practice of sound design straight after school. “However, I love to draw, paint and design,” she tells It’s Nice That.
Romina’s multi-disciplinary approach lends itself nicely to the types of projects she likes to take on. Namely an art director, she focuses primarily on editorial and sound design, as well as taking on commissions for various clients, studios, artists, galleries and record labels. It all typically begins in her studio, as it does for many freelancers, which is where she spends her day working, resting and, of course, walking her chihuahua, Aldo. Then she’ll rest and get straight back to work again. “The beauty of freelancing,” she says, drawn in by its flexibility and quiet. “I like to maintain my privacy and stay at home.”
When putting ideas to paper, the Argentinian designer turns towards the usual tools – be it pencils, paints, notebooks, an iPad, Illustrator, as well as a printer and scanner. “I don’t have a specific technique,” she says, and instead adheres to a more spontaneous bout of creativity that arises as and when it chooses. “Sometimes, I can’t do anything at all, so I find myself feeling bad until I feel good.” A common trait found among the creative lifestyle for its fluctuating appearance of ideas, where some days work is generated rapidly and others it’s nowhere to be seen. “Productivity and creativity have no agenda,” she adds.
A good day for Romina revolves around short and unrestricted projects – a preference that means she can avoid the fuss caused by client back-and-forth communication and the all too restricted brief. “I mainly work on short-term projects,” she says, “such as art for musicians, posters or textiles. I don’t feel comfortable with endless feedback and confused clients sendings lots of emails and mood boards.” A recent short-term commission saw her create a vinyl artwork developed for house and techno DJ Hudi, a release titled Rain/Hollywood. Utilising a granulated grey background, the illustration work is punctuated in the bottom right corner and sees an artful take on the moody weather and Hollywood Hills-esque structured line work.
Additionally, Romina designed the handkerchiefs for a Japanese brand, plus a magazine for a music management company based in Los Angeles. “Both projects were very fun and I worked with total creative freedom,” she explains. “Without it, the whole thing would be very sad (Triste, muy triste).” It’s clear that her design process is an asset in which she cherishes and her portfolio mirrors just that, with a consistent aesthetic running throughout each of her commissions.
Romina also looks towards her immediate surroundings for inspiration. “Context is a factor,” she says, “where sometimes I will walk into the studio and think to myself, ‘This is chaos!’, then suddenly, in the midst of that chaos – of papers and notebooks – I find figures and outtakes that I can reuse. The result is genuine and unrepeatable.” And it’s this approach that makes her work so unprescribed and effortlessly stylised.
Next year, Romina has some major plans. Not only will she be releasing a sound project, but she will also be illustrating in colour. “Finally,” she says. “Well, at least I’m going to try it – I’m a bit afraid of colours.”