Culture 14/05/2021 Megan Rae

Eva Fernandez

At Echo, we pride ourselves in having a culturally diverse team. Harnessing the benefits that an eclectic team can bring allows us to produce top quality design work, driving enhanced creativity and innovation. Such a team provides varying demographic insights that are invaluable to us as an agency.

Enter Eva Fernandez, our resident Portuguese Designer. With a taste for adventure and an eye for beauty, Eva is always travelling the globe, camera in hand and an aesthetic Instagram feed to show for it. As well as spending three years studying in Lisbon, she has been to the likes of Belgium, Cyprus, France Italy, Germany, Spain, Vienna, Slovakia, Portuguese islands and India (to name but a few!). Over the years, Eva honed her skills in Identity Design by interning at many prestigious London agencies, before settling into her current role at Echo. A passionate Eco-Warrior, she was attracted to working for Echo because of the company’s strong ethical principles, particularly in the realms of wellness and sustainability. 

I decided to interview Eva on how culture and surroundings have influenced her creative work, plus her experiences of living and working in London.

How would you describe your design work? 

My design work is versatile, happy, fun, but in particular, colourful. Colour is subjective to everyone; we can never be sure that we perceive it in the same way. It plays a huge part in my work, reflecting how I see colour in the world around me. 

My design occasionally breaks the rules. Often, design rules must be set and based upon grids, however, when I challenge myself to steer clear of conventions, I am able to happen upon innovative ideas that are unique and individual to that brand. 

I believe that design should also be exciting and something worth having in your home, not just something else to throw in the bin. For example, I like my designs to be something to live on passed shelf life, like a box of tea that you might like to use as an ornament or trinket-holder, giving it an extended lifespan. A key element to my work is creating hidden details to make someone smile and bold elements to make you look twice.

How do you think your experiences in Southern Europe have influenced your creativity? 

My influences from Southern Europe, starts with the warm weather and the people. Especially in summer when we have our beach festivals or our religious ones like “Santo Antonio”, where the streets are decorated and everywhere you look there is colour, music, food and life. There is even a contest where you can create an illustration in a shape of a sardine! The best sardines are made and sold by one of the most well-known ceramic designer brands “Bordallo pinheiro”.

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I like to get my hands dirty, not just spend my days on the computer. I strive to give my designs a human touch. I believe that the freedom I had as a kid greatly influenced my creativity here. I grew up in a very small village where I could run around, easily visit neighbours, ride my bike through the fields, or make necklaces out of flowers. I also loved to explore the woods! To me, it would be a place to find magical things like very bright mushrooms (that I would take home and scare my mom to death because they were probably poisonous – oops).  Just being adventurous all my life has helped me to see things upside down and in a very raw way. 

How does London compare to the rest of your travels? 

In London I’ve found a uniqueness you probably can’t find anywhere else; the open-minded people here, all the different styles, different attitudes, the different people and nationalities – plenty to inspire my creative work. Even simple things like public transport that can take you everywhere or the ease of Deliveroo made me fall in love with London. 

What are your favourite parts of the city?

My first few months of living here, I probably did 20,000 steps every day. I was caught up in the excitement of having this whole new city to explore that was three times the size of anything I was used to in Portugal. I was sure to go to all the galleries and museums and quickly discovered London to be a real sensorial treat – everything felt so tangible, and I was delighted to find that most museums are free!

My favourite gallery was the Victoria and Albert museum. I went two days on the trot, because I couldn’t possibly fit it all into one. On the second day I found the glass room, filled with sculptures made of glass. The exciting thing about it was that I didn’t even know how I got there! I was lost inside most of the time, like I was navigating an intricate maze and time had just melted into oblivion. 

I also came to love the abundance of plays and musicals that London has to offer. Back in Portugal I never went to see anything and here… well here is the real deal! For my first one I went to see Bat out of Hell (voted best musical of 2019). It’s a rock musical with music, lyrics and book by Jim Steinman, based on the Bat Out of Hell album by Meat Loaf. Before Covid, I would watch a show at least once a month or every two months. Just as branding is about telling a story, musicals bring stories to life in a different way. 

My London walking adventures have taken me to Brick Lane many times. Although I found it a bit peculiar at first, I love going there to see if anything new has been painted on the walls. The street art and graffiti are always changing and one time it surprised me how there was an excursion with tour guides explaining and talking about it like it was an art gallery – not something I would see a lot in Portugal!

Do you have any recommendations for the best food spots in town? 

Spitalfields Market is great for a tasty pitstop. There is a place there that does the best noodles and dumplings. Also, while I’m on food – take it from me, the best place to get Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Tarts) is near convent garden a place called “Santa Nata”, where I can go if I want a little taste of home. 

As an avid foodie, I was excited to work on Echo’s latest speculative project for Leather Lane Market – creating a quirky, vibrant identity and sustainable recycling initiative for the popular street food market, affectionately known as ‘The Heart of Holborn’. Particularly, the project is a celebration of culture and diversity, spotlighting the people behind its exotic cuisines. When taking a walk down Leather Lane, I feel as though I have never truly left my travels.

I get the most out of London by having a plan in place. I like to meticulously plan my lunch spots either good food, cute place or both – interesting aesthetics in environment and food are important to me as a designer. Planning to a T where to walk, where to shop, where to sit… at first it was pretty much like I was on holiday and wanted to see everything at once, but after a while I relaxed a little and started to feel the need to experience things like a Londoner, not just a tourist.

To read more about Eva’s work on Leather Lane Market: Click Here.