“Design doesn’t have to be just one thing”: Teddy Guerrero on seeking surprises throughout his process
Giving his work a raw edge, the New York-based designer thinks “it’s important to have some time in the front of a project to really get dirty and mess around”.
- Ruby Boddington
- 30 April 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
It was during college that Teddy Guerrero first properly got into graphic design. While the seeds had been sowed in high school via a love of graffiti, it was during his undergraduate that “design just seemed to just click”. Drawn to the fact that he could experiment with multiple mediums all under this umbrella discipline, he ran with it and has since forged a career that’s seen him work with clients including Nike, Red Bull Music, Alex Da Corte and Urban Outfitters. Speaking to us from his base in New York City, he adds, “I still really like this aspect that design doesn’t have to be just one thing.”
Motion, 3D, typography, editorial, logo design and more all feature in Teddy’s portfolio. Crucially, what the outcome of a brief will be is always a surprise when it comes to Teddy’s work, even to himself. “I really like this idea of discovery through process and being surprised,” he tells It’s Nice That. In order to achieve this, though, he needs to build in significant time to research or sketch out concepts during a project. “I think it’s important to have some time in the front of a project to really get dirty and mess around,” he adds. “I believe then you can achieve some really interesting work or finished products.” It’s a practice that centres experimentation and play at the core, inviting a sense of discovery and learning – which has clearly worked in Teddy’s favour.
An inherently curious designer, Teddy tells us that of late he’s been “really into how much 3D and motion have become more the norm. I think it’s a hugely powerful medium and it’s been insane to see how much talent people have with these programmes”. That being said, he still has a “massive love for all the traditional aspects” of design, and the way he treats layout and type is a testament to that.
Teddy’s creative inquisitiveness imbues itself into his style too. Clearly influenced by DIY aesthetics, skate and pop culture, there’s a rawness to his works that often appear distressed or manipulated. Posters, although digital, seem to have been ripped straight off the wall and photography is often over-treated. This, combined with some more modern elements like neon colours and illustration, gives his portfolio a contemporary and playful look that equally retains a sense of anarchy.
Recently, Teddy was involved in the creation of the Nike Air Max Day site, a project that was a “a tonne of fun with a massive amount of work and content creation”. When Teddy came on board, there was already a very established visual language but they were given “a lot of freedom to riff and develop a really strong look based around this concept of travel” for the website, something Teddy has “dearly missed over the course of this past shitty year”.
Recently, alongside Some Days studio, he worked on the development of a new sports drink called Barcode. But a particular favourite of his is a project he did for a friend. “He is releasing a hat and asked me to use these weird figures I had developed in Cinema 4D,” he explains. “We thought they could look cool as the stand-in models for the drop. It was a quick, low stakes project, which are probably the most fun and usually turn out the best.”
This project also provided Teddy with the chance to continue working on his 3D skills, something that he hopes to continue doing in the future. “I have been really interested in pushing that further and, selfishly, I want to just work more with that medium,” he says. Clearly, Teddy is a designer with forward-thinking ambitions, which is exactly what makes portfolio an exciting one to keep up to date with. In terms of what’s just around the corner for him, Teddy admits: “Well, in the very near future, I need to hit some deadlines.”
Teddy Guerrero: Mother Sticker (Copyright © Teddy Guerrero, 2020)
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.