Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

MEET MONICA ESCOBAR BEASLEY: OUR HEAD GRAPHIC DESIGNER WITH A PASSION FOR BRANDING

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This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Monica Escobar loves to see the color of possibilities in everything she does and everyone she meets. As a graphic designer and brand designer, she is meticulous about how color conveys meaning in everything we encounter. Monica carefully crafted and implemented every piece of InnovatorsBox branding, from logo to product to worksheet design. 

I’m so grateful my previous job at nuclear weapon security and government work led us to being in the same office together. Through that job we became friends and were able to work together on branding for InnovatorsBox since Day 0. I can’t wait to meet Monica Escobar and show you why I wanted to continue expanding the brand with her throughout the InnovatorsBox journey.

In my Q&A with Monica Escobar, we cover an array of topics from where she finds the best ideas and how she gets better at it, what trends she sees in the space, what tips she has to share with others to strive to excel in the design space, to how she balances work, building business, and being a mother.
MONICA:  How would you describe yourself in three words? 

Monica Escobar:  Creative. Adaptable. Grateful.

MONICA:  Why is creativity important to you? 

Monica Escobar:  Creativity allows me to open a world of experiences and I love being able to explore ways in doing things differently and resourcefully. Being a creative person has not only given me an outlet to express myself but to also use my design skills to problem solve, inspire and impact others in different industries.

MONICA:  What was your favorite project, experience or memory working at InnovatorsBox?

Monica Escobar:  There are many amazing projects and experiences that came from working at InnovatorsBox, from the creation of the logo and visual identity, the creative products, marketing materials, to the podcast’s branding. One of my favorite projects includes designing the visual brand and packaging for the SPARK, Infinity and Infinity Squared creative deck cards. Working on the design, colors and patterns was a lot of work but also an enjoyable product to create. Watching the brand evolve from day one to what it is now has been amazing to see!

Trend about work:

MONICA:  Why did you want to become a graphic designer? 

Monica Escobar:  As a young person, I soon found out I was good at portraiture and illustration and spent a lot of time working on my skills for the joy of it. I would spend hours working on my own projects and get lost in them. Growing up, I got to deeply explore the fine arts. I tried all mediums like oil painting, ceramics and even sculpture. In college, I discovered I could merge technology and art by taking a computer graphics course and I was hooked! I always knew that I wanted to work in the creative arts but now I had found something that had no limits. 

After an internship working on an exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. there was no turning back—there, I learned I could use my talent and skills in so many ways. I now have a career in design where I have been able to apply my skill sets in so many different areas. I’m now wearing different hats in building a business, and have become the founder of Set Sail Studio, a design agency where I get to collaborate with other talented designers.

MONICA:  Where do you like to find your best ideas? How do you get better at it? 

Monica Escobar:  I like to ideate in a mental space where there is no such thing as perfection. It allows me to try new things and make mistakes and learn from them as I get closer to a solution. It’s something I’ve learned through experience, and it has allowed me to become a better designer. Doing background research on any given design project also helps to brainstorm and dig deep for unique conceptual ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come when you least expect it, when you step away for a break or when you find inspiration in something that has nothing to do with what you are working with, like music or movies.

MONICA:  What tip would you share with graphic designers who are starting to build their niche? 

Monica Escobar:  Having a niche means you are an expert within a particular field of design, and you should stand out to clients who search for your specialty. Narrow down your audience and get to know their needs and pain points. Work towards building a portfolio that showcases your experience in your niche. 

MONICA:  What trend are you seeing in graphic design that you are excited about and worried about? 

Monica Escobar:  Trends come and go but good design is timeless. The parts that intuitively make a great design are timeless when used with skill and experience, whether you are using a trend or not. Design applications are easier to come by but the trained eye for good design takes practice and knowledge, only then are we allowed to break the “rules” because we understand the purpose and functionality of a design. I have many years of experience working with and building brands, my niche is in branding, and I understand not only how to do the technical work of designing a logo but how to also strategize on the brand.

The parts that intuitively make a great design are timeless when used with skill and experience.

MONICA:  How do you balance building your business, being a mother, and having a day job? 

Monica Escobar:  I take care of my priorities first, my family and taking care of my son because that is what matters to me the most and what brings me the most joy in life. Everything else is categorized under that. We all know that balance is tricky when there is a lot going on, so I block time off on my calendar to make sure I touch on everything that needs to be worked on. I make a list in my calendar of items that need more time if not completed (life happens or the project needs more work), I move it to the next available block in my calendar. I have also learned to be resourceful and collaborate with other designers in my design business, Set Sail Studio. I like to brainstorm and leverage each other’s strengths.

When it is time to unplug, be fully present and live in the moment. There is so much to explore and experience!

MONICA:  Any work life balance advice? 

Monica Escobar:  Make sure to add in breaks and joyful time within your work life. Life is about living within it not after a workday, or a work week. And when it is time to unplug, be fully present and live in the moment! There is so much to explore and experience! I don’t allow building a successful career or getting to the next level of instant gratification stress me out–that would take away from my peace and joy. I like to slow down and enjoy the simple and beautiful things in life, like playing with my son and then also being able to focus on design projects with a good flow of energy and inspiration.

MONICA:  Any advice on how you set boundaries? 

Monica Escobar:  Know that time is precious, and we should choose wisely how we want to experience this life on earth. Now that I have a toddler, making sure I have all the time I need to parent and raise a child is very important. I’m very selective and careful with what I allow into my calendar or even my mind. I don’t allow negative thoughts to take over my mind, especially negative influence from others. If there is something present that is taking happiness away from my life, I try to change it around. I’ve learned to appreciate my worth, the hard work I’ve put in my career, building my skills and experience. 

The parts that intuitively make a great design are timeless when used with skill and experience.

Getting to know Monica

MONICA:  What advice would you give your younger self? 

Monica Escobar:  Trust yourself, keep working to build at your own pace (do not compare yourself with others), happiness and health matter most.

MONICA:  What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading? 

Monica Escobar:  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Dare to lead by Brene Brown.

MONICA:  What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why? 

Monica Escobar:  I recently watched The Crown, Selena: The series, and The Last Dance (Michael Jordan’s documentary). I like to watch biographies and documentaries or stories based on real life with the occasional sci-fi thriller movie.

MONICA:  What is your favorite way to decompress? Why? 

Monica Escobar:  Stretching with Yoga is a way to let tension go and have a peaceful moment. I also like to go out on walks at a lake behind my home with my son—it’s spending time together and getting some fresh air. Another activity of mine for decompressing is cooking a new tasty recipe and putting my own twist on it—I get really focused on all the steps and using the ingredients and thinking about the flavors and how tasty it will be.

MONICA:  If someone is visiting Guatemala for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do? 

Monica Escobar:  I was born and raised in Guatemala for the first nine years of my life. When I travel back to Guatemala, I make it a point to explore a new place but I always enjoy the city of Antigua. It’s surrounded by volcanoes with beautiful scenic views and notable architecture. You can experience the culture during Holy Week with amazing parades and deep-rooted rituals. If you are an explorer at heart, experience the spectacular Tikal ruins, they are the ancient Mayan temples that rise above the rainforest. You can climb these impressive temples and take in the amazing views from the top. I loved learning about the history and archeology of my home country. 

MONICA:  If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do? 

Monica Escobar:  I would take an island-hopping tour of the Mediterranean Islands of Sardinia and Corsica. I’ve toured the busy and touristy parts of Italy so visiting secluded seaside villages with rich culture and beautiful sandy beaches would be a dream to explore.

MONICA:  Anything else you want to share? 

Monica Escobar:  Please visit and like @set_sail_studio as we launch on this venture and share everything about branding!

Thank you, Monica Escobar for sharing your insights, wits and wisdom. It’s been a pleasure having you beside me as I built InnovatorsBox from day zero, and I look forward to many more days to come. Keep being you and keep shining.

To connect with Monica Escobar: 

Set Sail Studio Instagram:  @set_sail_studio

Personal Instagram:  @monicaebeasley

Portfolio website: mebcreative.design

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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