We are delighted to welcome our 2017 fellow from the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, Felix Castellanos. Felix is an El Salvador native and the founder and creative director at Fat Kid Studio, a graphic design and strategy agency. His work is accomplished. His work is thoughtful. And we are excited to work together and exchange ideas and techniques in the coming weeks.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I have always been an artist so it was a natural for me to get into design. I started out wanting to study film, but ended up studying architecture for a few months and eventually graphic design. I met my partner at university and learned a lot from class and working in the industry. ??
How did Fat Kid Studio get started?
I worked as a senior graphic designer for a interior design firm. It was a great experience but I wasn’t fulfilled. I eventually started to dislike the projects and wanted something that aligned better with my philosophy of design. One day I got a message from my friend (now business partner) to go out for lunch and the rest is history. What was funny is that for the first month, we didn’t have a name or logo. Its by the grace of god that no clients ever asked. ??We finally went to dinner to decide on a name and Fat Kid Studio was born.
Fat Kid Studio has been in business for almost three years now and we have grown to four full time staff. The two of us and two other AWESOME graphic designers.
What makes Fat Kid Studio so different?
We see our clients not only as people but as a whole integrated system. We take care of brand image, tone, design and everything that is needed for that system to function well. We coach our customers to continue our efforts even after the project has ended.
Our goal is to produce projects that are functional but also visually attractive. A lot of studios in El Salvador just design a logo and thats it. They don’t think that the brand could be more than a logo or just a single aspect. We put a lot of importance in to creative thinking and sometimes we take more time than the average designer, but in the end we produce a better result.
Your business cards are so unique. What was the inspiration behind them?
We put a lot of heart into our own designs, starting with our business cards.This was an extra job that other designers and agencies may have not put the time we have into them. Our name is Fat Kid Studio and our slogan is design that feeds you. We can feed brands through design and strategy. We want to give quality food to our clients.
What is your ideal client?
One that is open minded and trusts us. Our discipline is underrated. A lot of agencies believe the creative aspects can be done by anyone with a laptop and photoshop, when in reality there is so much more that goes into the process. 85% of our current clientele is in the restaurant industry.
What inspired you to come to America to learn?
It was a big step to make the decision to come to a new place. In Central America, we have a completely different market and mind set. Also, the customer base is so unique. When I started the company with my partner we believed that we can do things better with a different approach to produce an awesome final product. We seem to be accomplishing that because we have excellent graphic results and good strategy. What I really want to focus on while Im here is how agencies work internationally. El Salvador is a very small country, so its difficult to grow without any outside influence.
What do you want to learn while at LimeRed Studio?
I did prepare a list! Id really love to learn how to manage a business. As a graphic designer that isn’t necessarily my expertise. We are very creative, but running a business takes administrative work, human resources, project management and sales to be successful. You guys have 13 years of experience, while we are fairly new, so there is a lot to learn.
What are you most excited about living and working in Chicago?
First of all, I love Chicago. Its my first time here and the feeling of the city is completely magical. We are staying in downtown so the environment is awesome. The lake and architecture are inspiring and contributes to the magical feeling. The food is awesome. Ive already tried Chicago pizza, it was very tasty!
Follow @fatkidstudio on Facebook and Instagram