24 Nov Humans of Claro: Meet Myria Solorzano
At Claro Partners, we have purposefully built a diverse team of passionate people from different cultural and professional backgrounds to solve problems from multiple angles. In this new blog series, we proudly introduce you to all of the Claros and Claras in our office, and share the personal journeys that brought them to Barcelona.
In our previous HoC we talked with Josh Dresner and now it is time to meet Myria Solorzano: our all-round designer!
Could you tell me something about your personal background and your hometown?
I am from a small place in the southwest of Mexico called Oaxaca. It is a very inspiring city, a creative hub for graphic artists and quite a rebel society, where people like to speak out. On the one hand, it has this big international community that brought a lot of good ideas to the city. On the other hand, we also preserved a lot of traditions that are now lost in the rest of Mexico. Sadly, it is also one of the most corrupt states in Mexico and one of the poorest, but overall the quality of life is good. If you ask any person that likes art and food and history, it is the place to be.
I am curious about those Mexican traditions, can you tell me more?
One of the most traditional festivals is the day of the dead, the belief is that your dead relatives come back to your house for that night. It is not a sad moment, it is a very happy celebration. For this night, we prepare a big table with food, if your loved-one loved smoking you put out cigarettes, or if they loved reading then books. Families also go to cemeteries and it is like a party with traditional music and food and you gather around the tomb. They stay there all night and there are candles and flowers everywhere. It is very emotional, but in a very happy way!
It sounds very special! And in Mexico you studied visual information design, why did you want to pursue this?
Yes, it was one of the first design studies there with user experience and visual representations of information. I was always much more visual and more into art, but I also realised that for me maths was the easiest subject. I even considered coding for a while! When it was time to choose my major, I wanted something that was a combination of both. Just graphic design had never made me so excited, but visual information design was about much more, about how to use visuals and data for creating change in education, organisations and social causes.
How would you describe the difference between graphic design and UX?
It is an evolution. Graphic design is all about aesthetics and it has very set rules and basic norms for visuals, colours and typography. UX is about experiences. It has evolved from traditional design practices. It is linked to design research, that is when it becomes more grounded. UX is based on the experiences of people, rather than on terms of beauty.
How did your path continue after graduating?
I first worked as a graphic designer, because unfortunately there weren’t that many UX possibilities in Mexico. I was designing bottles of beers and a lot of snacks! After that I came to Barcelona to work on an animated movie. I learned how to use the software that put together layers of animation. It was a very old-style animated movie; each frame was drawn by a group of artists and another group scanned it and then we put it together, so that the things all matched. It was a really good experience and it’s how I discovered Barcelona.
I went back to Mexico though, and worked a few months as a visualiser in a consultancy that was also really focused on research. I saw it as a path that would take me closer to experience design. In that company, my visual skills were really appreciated, but I realized I lacked some business understanding and I wanted to expand my experience in design research. That is why I decided to do a strategic design Masters degree in Milan. Politecnico was really interesting, there were students from all over the world. When I needed to do an internship, I found out about Claro Partners.
Why Claro Partners?
I was interested because of the people and culture. I remember I first asked about the team, how diverse it was. The backgrounds, the nationalities, that for me was really interesting. I had experienced that in Milan and of course that was a more academic environment, but I wanted to keep it going. Being around people from other countries, just opens your eyes in a way that makes you see life differently. What I also like at Claro, is that the culture and roles are not that defined, we are more like a homogenous group. We have different skills, but we empower each other and leverage our strengths.
How would you describe your role at Claro?
I still like to describe myself as a designer, that is what I like most. The creative part that can solve visual and non-visual problems has been useful in projects. I also feel that we as designers have the responsibility to advocate for our users, so that has been another skill that I try to put strongly in the team. I am also part of our internal Design Practice ¨Snowball¨, which covers not only visual representations, but also service design methods.
What makes you happy during a project?
What I enjoy most is creating new things, like a new service or process. Something that requires you to understand what is happening now, but also to see the future and design for that. I remember my first project, it was specifically about service design and creating a new service. It was quite challenging. The design of a new experience is very creative and about solving very specific pain points, but when we got to implementation it became clear to me, that it is very hard to move a concept or a new product or service into a big company that already has their protocols and methods. That was a very big eye opener. Creativity also has constraints when it comes to designing products and services.
How could design help with challenges like that?
Designers can make abstract concepts more visual and tangible, that can help move people forward and take decisions. When you have a room with people with different backgrounds, even when you think they are talking about the same thing, they are probably not.
So, the challenge for design is to bring different people together and facilitate the decision-making process. Now we often feel like the service designer is the one who designs the experience. But he or she could play the role of bringing different people together at an earlier stage to facilitate the design and implementation of services.
I also feel that design does a good job when it is hidden in the back. With all our decks, we don’t want them to be recognised for being well-designed, but for having a good story and good findings, to do the job that they are meant to be doing. Of course, design is a big player there, but we put more emphasis on the objective of the work.
What is a memorable moment for you at Claro?
We are good at making connections and we do have strong thought leadership about areas, but when it comes to a specific subject, I really enjoy how the collective thinking makes you smarter. That is why the mobility project is a memorable one for me. I formed a team with a more business orientated consultant and an anthropologist and all of us had different views. Those different angles were exactly what helped us to become experts. Of course, also travelling has been a plus. I never expected to go to Australia and to see the Great Barrier Reef before it disappeared, I will never forget that.
You are also part of the internal Culture Snowball team, how would you describe the Claro culture?
I enjoy and appreciate how people at the office have a personal connection, we share professional experiences, but also social ones. We want to make sure, Claro is a place where you want to come to every day. We have an open culture, that also evolves based on the people that are here and all the different nationalities. But, we always keep an eye out for what is positive for the team or negative, we want to create an enjoyable work environment.
Claro is an interesting place regarding topics and profiles, but at the same we realise we are only a small part of the world. There is a lot out there, that could inspire us! So, we invite guests to join our Friday lunch and talk about their experiences, about ethics, technical stuff like chat bots or other interesting novelties. It is part of our culture, we try go out and explore, but also open our doors for the outside to come in!