Meet Alex Salas, the artist behind some of the best-selling designs at Personalization Mall. In this post, Alex shares his favorite designs and talks about his creative process, inspiration and artistic style.
Every week, dozens of new products and designs are added to the vast collection of gifts and home decor items on Personalization Mall. The What’s New section changes on a daily basis, offering new gifting ideas, decorating inspiration and creative ways to personalize just about anything.
There are countless amazing people making this happen. Graphic Designer, Alex Salas, is one of them.
Today, we chat with Alex about his design work at Personalization Mall to get a behind-the-scenes look at how new designs are created from initial concept to launch. Alex also shares some of his favorite projects, giving us a glimpse into the complexity and the sheer amount of work it takes to create a design that anyone can customize to make it their own.
Interview with Alex Salas
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your new designs?
Alex: I get inspired from many different places. In some cases, I find inspiration when I am not searching for it. My wife and I can be out shopping or even at a restaurant when I notice decor that I find interesting.
Most of my inspiration comes from research. I use Pinterest as a tool to research trends for home decor, bed & bath, kitchenware, etc. Also, I typically search for popular personalized gifts to see what people are drawn to.
Comparison shopping is another great way I get inspired. I take frequent trips to visit local home decor businesses and home retailers to get a glimpse of what trends are being incorporated in popular stores.
Q: Who do you have in mind when designing?
Alex: Typically, our customers and specific target audiences are my focus. It is important to understand who is buying the product before I start designing. For example, if my project is for a Mother’s Day blanket, I know that moms and grandmas would like something more sentimental. Right now floral designs are big sellers and I also know that an elegant and trendy font will fit well with floral artwork.
Q: How do you define your style? Where and how did you develop your unique style?
Alex: In the beginning of my career at Personalization Mall, my more interesting designs naturally surfaced on products that I would find myself purchasing, such as a fishing or sports product. These products brought out a vintage style of design that I felt I had a knack for.
After a few years and more projects relating to home decor and wedding gifts, I started to develop a more typographic style of design, which consists of both handwritten and classic type styles.
Though my style changes often with the wide range of projects and products we offer, this only makes my job more interesting and enjoyable.
Q: Tell us about your creative process. From initial concept to being ready to sell, what goes into creating one of your designs?
Alex: My design process starts off with a brainstorm of trends and ideas, looking at popular designs and what customers are looking for when shopping for a specific product or gift. I then mock up the design and make improvements from there. We meet with our Creative Director and design team for a critique and the design goes through any needed revisions before it is approved and finalized.
From there, the design goes through a set up process for production and samples are produced to ensure that it looks just right on the specific product it is being personalized on. Before the design is available on the website, it is photographed on the actual product and we ensure that the preview on the website shows a realistic representation of what the item will look like with each customer’s unique personalization in place.
A big part of my creative process is getting in the right state of mind. I like to listen to calm and mellow music, which helps me focus. Occasionally I will listen to instrumentals but most of the time it’s something from the reggae rock genre.
Q: What are some of your favorite designs you’ve created and why?
Alex: I really enjoyed working on the Typography Quotes Serving Tray. The project consisted of creating numerous typographic quotes that people would enjoy seeing on a serving tray. I was very happy with the way each of the nine designs turned out. It also felt like something I would purchase for people in my life.
The Woodland Adventure Baby Collection was also a lot of fun to work on. I was very pleased with the variation of layouts among different products and appreciated how each design works together without looking the same. Customers can easily create an entire set of personalized nursery decor items and baby gifts that coordinate well with the popular woodland and adventure themes.
Q: How did you get your start in art and design? Tell us about your artistic journey.
Alex: My interest in art started in high school. I took a lot of art classes including Drawing, Painting, Photography and Graphic Design. At that time my brother was a huge influence on my career choice. He was attending The Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg, Illinois for Graphic Design. This ultimately lead me in that direction after graduating high school.
Once I graduated, I immediately enrolled in the Visual Communications program at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. This was a challenging and a very developmental stage in my career that led to my bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications.
My first job out of college was with the Greater Joliet Area YMCA, which was an incredible learning experience. I was the in-house graphic designer for three YMCA locations in the area. Though the YMCA was a great start to my career, I felt that I was limited in how far my design capabilities could go.
In 2014, I began my work at Personalization Mall, which gave me an incredible opportunity to expand my design skills. My current role allows me to work on a wide range of products with hardly any design restrictions. Over the years I have noticed my design quality greatly improve and I look forward to what the future holds for me here at Personalization Mall.
Check out Alex’s most popular design collections: