Berenice has an infectious cruiosity about design. You can find her tucked into a nook at Dropbox HQ with her drawing supplies out and her thinking cap on. We sat down to ask her questions about life, work, and identity. Here is what she had to say:

How would you describe your creative practice?

I’m a communications designer, which means I have a broad spectrum of work and can immerse myself into. I work on content design for web as much as crafting illustrations for an ad campaign. I concern myself with the way an audience receives, interacts with, and thinks about the message we put out, and get to craft its visual form.

How does your identity inform your work?

I’m very alert to notions that specific color palettes and visual styles are “too feminine” to convey a “serious” tone. This happens in a lot of media that I work on. I push back on those stereotypes by experimenting with these colors or styles in ways that could redefine how they’re perceived.

What does feminism mean to you?

It means questioning, opposing, and revising ideas and practices that dampen the voices, abilities, and contributions of womxn, and teaching this practice to the next generation of womxn and men.

Rough sketch of building illustration.

Photograph by Berenice Méndez

How do you train your creative muscle?

I have a tote bag full of art supplies that I carry with me on the weekends to coffee shops. I spend a few hours developing a concept, illustration, or just plainly sketching what I have in front of me. In the fall, I really enjoy taking part in Inktober, which allows me to be very consistent in my drawing. Lastly, I really enjoy toys and interior designs, so I like visiting galleries, showrooms, and museum gift stores to look at beautiful objects and publications.

How have communities like Ladies Who Create impacted you?

When you’re growing your career and developing new skills, it really matters who you’re looking up to for new habits and perspectives in your practice. Circles like Ladies Who Create help share best practices and advice among creatives who I can relate to and who are invested in making the industry more inclusive.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

A few of them are womxn design leaders at Dropbox: Roxy Aliaga in UX Writing, Angel Steger, Michelle Morrison, Elizabeth Gilmore. I get to work with these womxn who have tremendous drive and experience in their field. Outside of work, I admire Erika Hall (Mule Design), Angelica McKinley (Google Doodles), Amy Hood (Hoodzpah).

Berenice's living room

Photograph by Berenice Méndez

Berenice and Grover the greyhound sitting on her bed.

Photograph by Berenice Méndez

How do you navigate anxiety about work?

I talk about it. In the past, I used to conceal it because I feared it would make me look incompetent or inexperienced. Now, I share it with my peers and ask for help when I need it.

What do you want to be doing in five years?

I’m eyeing art direction as my next step, so hopefully that.

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

You deserve to be here, so feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification, even when it seems you’re the only one in doubt. You could be saving the team from miscommunication.

What is one way that we can make work human?

Being inclusive in our practices. The more perspectives we have access to, the more empathetic we become.

Pride stickers by Berenice Mendez

Illustration by Berenice Méndez

Who is your dream collaborator?

Definitely a writer. Mainly because I’d love to witness and experience some of their creative processes and because a good piece of writing can really get me inspired.

Are there any political platforms or causes you’re fired up about?

Climate change and immigration reform.

What message do you have for womxn in the creative community?

Share your work, your struggle, and your learnings. Our power lies in our ability to be masters of our craft while elevating other womxn as well.

If you enjoyed Berenice's story, check out the Ladies Who Create column and request a free copy of Feminist Propaganda, our new magazine that explores identity, feminism, and work.

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