2 Minutes With … Diana Sanchez, Brand and UI Designer at Hasan & Partners

On her recent museum work, love of animation, and learning to observe in a new culture

Diana Sanchez is a native New Yorker and designer based in Helsinki, Finland. She currently works as brand and UI designer at Hasan & Partners.

Diana believes every great brand begins with a story and crafting a visual narrative together with the client through a well-crafted holistic brand experience that branches from branding to digital services. She's a graphic designer who creates engaging work with an understanding of branding, art direction, typography and UI design. She has collaborated both with international and domestic brands.

We spent two minutes with Diana to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.


Diana, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a very typical close-knit Latino household. Now I currently live in Helsinki, Finland, quite a plot twist.

How you first realized you were creative.

I've always liked drawing ever since I was a kid. Cartoons were especially inspiring for me when I was little. I've always wondered how they were made, the work put into making cartoons and how your imagination is limitless with just a pen and a paper and how that branches out into books, movies and music to tell a story.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

When I was nearing the end of high school I used to buy a magazine called Tokion and always dreamed of interning there because the magazine was so different from the rest. I found out the art director was an illustrator named Deane Cheuk and I was instantly inspired by her work. She would totally break the rules when it came to editorial design and type design. She had an express/illustrative approach that I haven't seen anywhere else.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I studied at SVA, which taught design in an unorthodox way. We were taught the basics, then told to forget all that and be expressive with our use of typography, composition and approach to design. I remember a class where we were really pushed to be more expressive with our work. There is still some of that thinking that I apply today to my work. Although some may argue it's art, I see it as merging art and design, which is pretty cool.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Frank Ocean and Björk are two artists I admire a lot. On top of being extremely talented musicians, they have an eye to create visual work that is aligned with the music. Collaboration is key with both of these musicians, so it's always amazing to see what they create, both musically and visually. I am a huge music geek and go on and on about musicians I admire.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I just finished watching both seasons of Euphoria and it's a great series because everything is carefully considered, from the characters' styling to the choice of music editing and opening titles. It's a fresh approach to the teenage drama I watched back in the day.

Your favorite fictional character.

Marge Gunderson from Fargo always comes to mind whenever I think of my favorite fictional character. A friendly, small-town, pregnant Minnesota police chief investigating homicides and being the protagonist of a movie is just brilliant and unexpected.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

@c_l_o on instagram is a beautiful account to follow, lots of beautiful and inspiring photographs are posted, which is always nice to scroll through. I love photography and am always on the lookout for what's new and also what was done in the past.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

The Covid pandemic brings a lot of mixed emotions. I was always super worried about my family back in New York, since the Covid rates were so high and my parents are within the risk groups. But at the same time, I learned how to find ways to cope with the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety. Getting a dog and just learning how to cook a new meal every week helps.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

The pandemic was an inspiration for a project that we worked on called The Museum of Contemporary Emotions. A collaboration with the prime minister's office in Finland where we address all these emotions that came up during the pandemic along with experts and where we created an interactive tool where visitors can reflect and feel less alone with what they were feeling during the pandemic.

A recent project you're proud of.

The New Museum of Architecture and Design. This was a very fun project. It was made with the collaboration of DesignMuseo in Helsinki, the Museum of Architecture and Helsinki City. We were given the task to create a temporary identity for a destination for architecture and design lovers. The museum will also be a place for learning, sharing and coming together for all curious minds. Being a part of this project is quite near to me, a space where art and design are accessible and in a place like Finland where design is highly regarded. It feels like you are a part of an important project for people to learn.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

M/M Paris, a design studio in France, was a big inspiration. They've collaborated with a few fashion magazines and worked with musicians. They have a style that is a bit weird, illustrative and really focused on the craft and detail.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Movies by Hayao Miyazaki. To this day, I still love animation and Miyazaki is able to always deliver great storytelling with deep characters—always with strong female leads—attention to detail and, in a lot of his movies, a reminder how we need to take care of our environment.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I think my main strength as a creative person would be my ability to observe and just listen. I've always been an introverted person and never liked to be in the spotlight. Living in Finland and not fully knowing the language forces you to learn, observe and as an outsider sometimes see things in a new way.

Your biggest weakness.

As a creative person you have to be confident with selling your ideas and earn trust. Sometimes it can be quite challenging to tap into that confidence, not so much in my work but in myself, and that can be difficult sometimes. Having a team that supports you and also allowing time to fully understand the problem you are solving can go a long way.

One thing that always makes you happy.

My dog, trying out new food, a night out with friends, that feeling you get the day before you go on holiday! The list goes on and on.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Doom scrolling. I try to avoid being too long on social media and limiting the amount of news I read in a day. Although it's always good to stay informed with what is happening in the world, sometimes it can be overwhelming.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising and design.

I've liked biology and how things work on a molecular level. I would have definitely gone into the science field if I weren't a creative. 

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a senior broadcast journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder and a contributor to Muse by Clio.

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