Make Time for Personal Projects

Senior Graphic Designer of KIND

by Elizabeth Lavis


07 Jul 2023

Gold in Branding for Graphic Design 2021
“I always try to find ways to include a bit of this wonderful culture I love into my work”

Tiare Hernandez Payano’s Dominican Republic roots and lifelong interest in art shape her design in compelling ways and make her one of the most interesting up-and-coming designers to watch. Hernandez Payano describes the Dominican Republic as ‘a small country in the Caribbean full of people with big hearts’ and notes that Dominican culture and color palettes factor heavily into her design. “I always try to find ways to include a bit of this wonderful culture I love into my work,” she says.

She’s especially interested in branding and has spent the past five years transforming ideas into effective, functional, and visually striking designs. Her design approach is stage-based and methodical, allowing her to keep one step ahead of the deadlines. “I have a structured way of working that helps me keep track of my current projects, their deadlines, and also plan time for possible mishaps,” she says. “This way, I can deliver work to my clients in a timely manner and within each project’s scope.”  

Nancy Brand Identity

Throughout four distinct stages, she vets the client’s needs, establishes rapport, and delivers a product well in line with their wants. “First, I meet up with clients in person or via virtual platform to talk to them about what they want and need,” she says. “Next, I create a personal brief based on what we discussed and go into full research mode. Then I begin conceptualizing based on previous conversations and the research results, and by the end of this stage, I start presenting proposals to my clients.”

Hernandez Payano finds natural motivation in pressure, too. “Just knowing that I have a deadline to reach becomes my work fuel,” she says. Her attention to detail, professionalism, and transparent communication means she rarely encounters unhappy clients. When a client does have strong opinions about her work, Hernandez Payano finds it valuable to listen and compare the client’s notes to the project brief. She can also convince clients to listen and trust her better judgment by providing data and research to support her opinion.

Although Hernandez Payano will go above and beyond for her clients, she always makes time for things she’s passionate about. “The first piece of advice I was ever given when I told someone I wanted to go into design was always to make sure to do at least one personal project per year,” she says. “This advice has truly helped me polish my style, and it’s one I will give to anyone starting out in this world as well.”

Whether she’s working on a passion project or putting together something truly transformative for a client, Hernandez Payano skews old-school regarding tools of the trade. “I consider my trusty notebook my number one tool for starting any project. I’m big into sketching and taking notes that I later translate to digital,” she says. “My phone is also one of the things I couldn’t live without as it helps me keep track of my appointments and is also where I usually curate my content.”

Hernandez Payano also draws influence from plenty of different sources and credits everyone she’s met with impacting her design. “I believe that you can learn from everyone and all kinds of positive and negative experiences,” she says.

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