María Dobarro: Society seems to care more about design  and visual communication

10.09.2019  |  Share  —  Twitter   Facebook   Copy link

María Dobarro is a graphic designer and art director based in Madrid. I mainly work on branding and I really enjoy making vectorial illustration and pictograms.

What led you into your current career path?

I’ve always liked illustration, comics and all kinds of arts. The creativity of some ads caught my attention, so I decided to study advertising and public relations.

After finishing my degree I wanted to earn some money before starting to work in my fields of interest. So, I worked on web design for a while. After that, I was ready to focus on my career a little more. I knew I wanted to be a designer and to specialize myself in art direction. Shortly after completing a Master Degree in Design I started to work at The Woork Co. The Studio, run by Debbie and David, helped me to reach the professional level and to grow and develop my style and work. They have been a guide and an inspiration.

How do you keep in touch with the creative world and community and how does the creative scene look like in your city?
As it is for every creator, the Internet is a big source of inspiration, connections and information for me.

I share the most remarkable works on Behance, which also allows me to keep an eye on what other creators are doing.

On Instagram, I also follow many design accounts but I haven't shared yet. I am working on my profile. I use Pinterest for saving inspirations, and I always try to be aware of what's going on at Domestika, one of Spain's largest creative communities.

Nowadays, the whole society seems to care more about design and visual communication, and it's an exciting moment in the design market with lots of new and good studios.

Living in Madrid is a great chance to be always be connected to new trends, since there are a lot of design events, like Los Libros Mutantes, Meet a designer (MAD), a new event for the design community or Ladies, Wine & Design, which is an international monthly meeting in Madrid. There are some other interesting spaces in Madrid for design as well, like Los Mercados de diseño or the long list of Matadero Cultural Center based events. I also try to attend as many design talks as I can.

Colorful illustrations for Taidi App

05 Taidi

Brand identity for Cytomic, the business unit of Panda Security.



Maria Dobarro

What creative(s) do you admire for their work? Have you collaborated or thought of collaborating with other like-minds? 
That's the toughest question to answer. I follow many creatives and studios, and it is really hard to choose a handful. I could write a huge list… For example, I like the style @Requena Office  gives to all brands, full of details that make all his projects special. Another studio I can highlight is @dia_studio. I'm very interested in their eclecticism and their typographical experiments in motion. Also I like the work by @azulclaritocasiblanco. This photographer makes the difference at the use of color and turns light into a powerful thrillmaker.

I love animations by @Maaambo. They share headquarters with The Woork Co. They are really close to me! I’ve enjoyed  collaborating with them.

I follow many illustrators, in particular I like very much the style of @Ryo Takemasa, with its minimalism and the use of textures in his illustrations. I love his vegetable series.

I can also point out @ameriepop She's an illustrator with a funny, colorist style of her own. She's quite Pop and tends to represent in her illustrations animals and travels.

And @susie_hammer I like her funny and simple illustrations.

What’s your favorite hack to get work done?
Usually before starting the work at the computer, I need to take a moment with pencil and paper.

Simplify briefing ideas, sketch about brands, logos and visual world and to create pictograms.

For me is a very necessary first contact with any project and, from there, develop the process at the computer.

What are your 5 favorite work tools/apps and how do use them?
Pc/ MacBook Pro. – In the office I use PC, but in my home I have a MacBook Pro. I’m comfortable with both.
Adobe Suite. Photoshop, Indesign and mostly Illustrator.
Google calendar. – We use Google calendar to manage the studio’s workflow.
Spotify. – We are always playing music while working at the studio. And we are really eclectic... anything is possible!

I also consider work tools spaces like Behance, Pinterest or Instagram and other design websites, where I can follow all the updates from design platforms or from the designer themselves. And, of course, books. 

Work in progress in illustrator!


Our weekly work plan. The more colors you see on it, the harder your week is going to be.

What creative or non-creative challenges do you face at work?
Every time we start a new project we face the creative challenge of thinking and understanding the goals of the project. It adapting the style and tools to create a concept that really fits in.

On the other hand, sometimes I can be a little chaotic during my creative processes. It means a lot of unorganized files and versions. That kind of habit can be messy in teamwork, because the whole team is working on the same files, and I’ve done my best to become more disciplined and improve the team flow. This adjustment for my fit within the team has also improved my working routine when I work on my own projects under this pattern.

What projects are you most proud of and excited about? Are there any side-projects you work or worked on? 

Cytomic: For Cytomic, Panda Security's new business unit, we built a simple visual system based on connections and we created a brand recall on the letter “o” on the logotype giving result to a bold yet simple symbol. The palette is dark on main colors and powerful and different on accents to achieve brand awareness within its category.

Vistto: Is a Construction Study. For the visual identity, we mix materials and resources closer to an architectural studio, but signed by a strong logo linked to the construction world. In the logo, we switch the or for a form, representing the start of any project: a plan. At the visuals, we represent our exposed materials with patterns expressed in monochromatic planes.

Taidi: Taidi is an app created to help organize roommates. From that perspective, usability became an essential feature, and I faced the challenge of making it fun and simple. A full set of bright colors and dynamic illustrations arranges an easy environment for the user, making the tasks assignation and fulfill less tedious.

Fresha: Fresha is an app that makes easy the connection and booking process with local spa or salon services from your mobile. The challenge was to create a beauty-related brand neutral enough to work first, as a white label for merchants and second, connecting at user-level with a majority of a female audience without.

Brisa: Brisa is a center of natural aesthetics and ecology. As a reflection of this business philosophy of wellness and beauty, a soft and clear brand was created through natural patterns, soft colors and nature photographs.


Visual identity for Vistto,  Construction Study.



Brand system for Fresha.



Business cards for Natural aesthetics center, Brisa.


What’s your morning or evening routine and habit after work?
I wake up at 7:30, at least I try, with many alarms doing their work until I get up. I can’t go out without a good breakfast, so it takes a while to get it ready and to have it quietly sat at the table.

We start the day at 9 at the Studio, so I go by bike, the easiest and fastest way to get there. With a bit more time, I can also go on foot, which is also nice to refresh and awake my mind. Once in my workspace, and before starting my daily tasks, I take some time to take a look at what’s new on design websites and blogs.

At The Woork Co, we finish at 6 p.m, and I spend my evenings in the most common way. Sometimes I work a bit at home in personal projects or as a freelance, and lately I have been taking English classes, so I guess this makes a good exercise :)

I had to interrupt my drawing classes while improving my English, but I’m looking forward to doing them again. Some weekends, I take my time to visit exhibitions and museums.

I also love to go out with my friends, and having a good time to clear up. That’s the best way!

What does a typical day look like? 

See below…


08:45 am On the way to work I find some very colorful buildings.


09:00 am I leave the bike near the studio, which is in the center of the city.


We enjoy the food at this table as we comment on tv news.


I don’t have many items around on my workspace.


The item I love the most is this yellow cat. It was already here when I arrived.


Nature spreads so strong in our office that plants can be a real threat. We work in a very lightful office full of plants. Debbie takes so much care of all of them.


Debbie and David, The Woork Co founders, working on future projects.


On my way home, I always pass in front of this old cinema, and many times I just stay and watch a movie!

Any advice for ambitious creatives starting out?
The same advice I try to follow every day: Keep learning. Keep active looking for references, both in design and in other areas. It is important to be always in contact with other creatives, and not being scared to make mistakes and try as many times as it takes.

It's important to remind yourself you have to keep on looking for chances even though they don’t seem to be possible.

Anything you want to promote or plug?
Follow me on Behance at:


"It is important to be always in contact with other creatives, and not being scared to make mistakes and try as many times as it takes."

Quote by María Dobarro