Designer Checkout: Estudio Zavala

Los Angeles based artist and activist Florencio Zavala addresses global needs through local action. Check out this in-depth interview to learn more about a compelling creative and changemaker.
Designer Checkout: Estudio Zavala - Autotype

Florencio Zavala is a Los Angeles based creative director, designer, artist and founder of Estudio Zavala. He has worked with prestigious brands and institutions including Facebook, Playboy, Apple, Whole Foods, Acura, Obey Clothing, Patron, Google, and SFMOMA. Previously he was Design Director at Apple, VP & Head of Design at MullenLowe LA, Design Director for BBH LA, Associate Creative Director and Studio Manager for Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One. During his time at Studio Number One, Zavala helped launch Swindle, a street culture publication that ran from 2004 – 2009, and featured in-depth interviews with creative visionaries such as Banksy, Debbie Harry, Vivienne Westwood, Faile and Grandmaster Flash.

Zavala is an ADC Young Gun, a Print New Visual Artist and in 2018 his work was added to the Decorative Arts and Design collection at LACMA. His work was recently featured in Inside Out & Upside Down: Posters from CalArts 1980–2019.

Where do you live and work?

Los Angeles

What is your 'why'?

Estudio Zavala is an LA based design and art practice founded by Florencio Zavala. The studio addresses global needs via local action, from editorial illustration to art objects, editions, workshops, murals, animation, and exhibitions.

The studio uses playful language, handmade typography, photography, and found objects as building blocks for a diverse set of messages and content–addressing social justice, climate change, race and identity, healthcare, and economic disparities. We are civic-minded people first and do our best work with like-minded partners.

Make good. Do good. Be good.

Why a career in art/design?

This is the language that speaks to me. Art has always been important to my family and was nurtured in childhood. I share my mother's passion for Latinx painting, Chicanx posters and outsider art.

In my own practice art is a vehicle for change, healing and resistance. Design plays a big part in this narrative–it defines the rules of engagement and taps into the human subconscious.

Typography, lettering and wordplay are often central to the work. The intent is what separates art from design. We communicate with words, symbols, and language systems everyday. It would make sense that our visual communication would tap into that shared understanding.

What makes good design?

Impact. Heart. Effectiveness.

Who or what influences you?

Collaborators, often people with passion and ideas. Or companies/brands who trust the process.

Culture, politics, current events. The here and now is the best time to act.

Youthfulness. In my children. In hungry creatives. In wise mentors. I admire free spirits.

Family. Legacy. Ancestry. We are part of history.

What impact do you want to make in the world of design?

I want to make an impact on culture. Design is my co-pilot. If anything I want to inspire young brown designers and other aspiring BIPOC creatives to keep dreaming and putting in the work. The community is waiting for their amazingness.

What advice do you have for future creatives?

Believe in yourself and tell your story. Don't set goals about what you want to make but rather why you want to make it.

What are your two favorite items in the Autotype Marketplace?

Found In Translation: Design In California and Mexico 1915-1985 and Salma Hayek at Smashbox Studios Kodak C-Print. Gotta represent the raza.




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