SUBJECT: RAMÓN CORONADO OF PUBLIC-LIBRARY
We’ve long been a huge fan of Ramón, a rare creative spirit and California native that grew up in Coachella Valley. Ramón has a formal Graphic design acumen, steeped in a refined yet raw presentation of culture. Having, apprenticed in Basel Switzerland under the internationally renowned Graphic Designer/ Typographer, Wolfgang Weingart, and as an Art Center Alumni, he’s worked with and is truly one of those rare talents.
His early days were Inspired by Architecture, thinking this was ultimately what he wanted to, after a few classes, he quickly discovered that he loved the art form, but hated the practice. A High School Photoshop class prompted a change, of course, the dots connected and the doors opened to endless experimentation at the intersection of Graphic Design x Mixed Media. Ramón has had an entrepreneurial (Hustling) drive that matches his creative zeal from day one, starting with a t-shirt brand and evolving to create a bustling creative Studio in LA, Public-Library (P-L). Ramón is 1/2 the creative duo, along with partner Marshall Rake, they offer a one-of-a-kind approach that blends the design of space, form and visual narrative to bring out nuance.
Public-Library is part of our early story, the Duo helped to develop our visual design approach. They continuously manage to package big brands and big names in a refreshingly authentic way with striking yet considered visuals. We are continuously amazed by the creative work coming out of P-L and on the edge of our seats for whatever they’ll think up next!
THE OBJECT: THE STUDIO SPACE
This was a challenging question, as I can’t say I have a specific object in mind. If possible I’d like to abstract the ask and use the Environment I create within, as my object. I think of my workspace as the most meaningful object I interact with. There’s something about my surroundings that I find extremely inspiring. It’s my tools, the music, the ambiance, my favorite books….it’s all of it! Being stuck behind a laptop in a make-shift studio was a super challenge for me throughout the Pandemic.
I love the studio. I love my tools. Together, they are the biggest inspiration to my creative process. I find it hard to create when I’m not immersed in my tools and the assortment of inspiring things I’ve collected over the years. I experience this Object, it’s something I exist within. Instead, of looking at an object as an outsider to be inspired.
I’m definitely a morning person. If we have a big project that needs a lot of design attention, I get in at 5-6 am. I make my coffee, get the music going…..It’s days like this when I like that early time to be in the studio by myself. It’s sanctuary-like, I’m not distracted, I get to really tap into my own headspace. And, there’s no texting, no emails, I’m just in the Zone. This is something I need to stay creative. It’s really easy to be distracted these days, with social media, and constant alerts one after another. These moments, in the early hours in the Studio, are mine, I remove all the noise and focus on existing in the creative.
Ramón’s Studio is the connective tissue between his headspace and the tools used to generate ideas. There isn’t one without the other. Quite the provocation, as Ramón’s earliest aspiration, was to be an Architect, and Space itself is the Object that he’s most inspired by.
As a Graphic Designer, it’s really easy to do everything digital and on Screen. There are a lot of creative tools I love that exist OFF-Screen. I’d like people to remember that your computer or Design Software is just another tool. And, there’s a myriad of tools out there. At the Studio, we use all sorts, old scanners, laser printers, light tables, markers, pens, paints &v spray paints, floppy discs, and many more…. it’s all fair game. The real objective is to communicate and solve a design problem.
Tell us about a time it was hard to be yourself, or when being yourself led to a breakthrough?
We just hit our 10 year anniversary at P-L. And, I might not answer this question properly……. I try really hard to be myself at all times. The only time I’ve ever felt like I wasn’t, or uncomfortable, may have been in the past when I was pigeonholed into the title of “Graphic Designer.” P-L officially started in 2011, when Marshall Rake & I were two years out of school and resolved to leave our big agency jobs to build a Studio that would represent & attract the type of work & type of clients we wanted.
Since then, it’s been a continuous stretching of ourselves, figuring shit out, and learning new tools. And, this process is 100% who we are. Even when we’re challenged and there are unknowns, we accept new things with no solution in mind. Being authentic has meant, being intentionally uncomfortable and getting energized while searching for solutions. I know we’re always going to get there, even If I’m not sure how. I guess it’s weird to strive for discomfort, but I embrace it diving into the unknown over and over again. Not knowing how we’re going to create “The Thing, ” keeps the Studio excited, going, and growing. It’s been true since day one. We created a Studio, but we were stretched learning the ins and outs of running a business. Currently, we’re endeavoring to go way beyond a traditional Graphic Design Studio. Being intentional, but staying open.
WHAT’S SOMETHING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT PUBLIC-LIBRARY, THAT YOU’D WANT EVERYONE TO HEAR?
As a studio, we’ve been persistent about unplugging. We take time off and it’s SUPER important. Likely, one of the most important parts of our creative process. Equally important is the time when spend working at the Studio. I give myself time to be inspired by life, and living. Young Designers tend to over-work or stay up all night to meet a deadline…… wearing the stress as a badge of honor. At this point in my career (& Life), stepping away is way more critical than pressing through to a point of burnout.
The act of letting your mind process what you are trying to answer or solve. Random and unexpected moments can inspire new approaches. My time with family and friends is priceless, and setting barriers is so necessary. We’ve been keen on this since we formed the Studio.
Also, we intentionally try to seek inspiration from creativity in various realms of culture: photography, music, objects, architecture, fashion…almost anything can create a provocation. We’ve found that staying only within the graphic design world produced approaches that started to look similar, so we’re constantly looking to the rest of the world for influence as well.
ABOUT PUBLIC-LIBRARY, FOUNDED IN 2011 IS THE CREATIVE PRACTICE OF RAMON CORONADO AND MARSHALL RAKE. THEY CONSTRUCT VISUALS AND IDEAS AS VIVID AND AS LAYERED AS THE BRANDS THEY BELIEVE IN. THEIR WORK IS THE WORK OF REDUCTION, TO DEDUCE MEANING WHILE EXPERIMENTING WITH SPACE, FORM, AND NARRATIVE TO BRING OUT NUANCE. THEY BELIEVE HONESTY IN COLLABORATION PAVES THE WAY FOR MEANINGFUL DESIGN SOLUTIONS AND PERSISTING PARTNERSHIPS.