Elevate Talks: Folch
We talked with Rafa Martínez, Brand Strategist and Chief Operating Officer at Folch, Strategic Narrative Design studio founded in 2004 based in Barcelona.
How would you define Folch Studio?
It’s pretty tough for us to define ourselves and we believe that is the interesting part of it all. We prefer the brands we produce, the projects we work in and the clients we work with to define us.
What’s the best and the worst parts of working in Barcelona?
The best part is working in a city that has a really high quality of life. It is an innovation hub and a city with great capacity to express globally. The worst part? Well, I really can’t figure it out.
What do you think has changed regarding the conception of design since 2004, when the study was founded, until now?
Everything. In such a complex and changing world there are many elements that intervene in communication, design isn’t always the main axis through which a project must be addressed or its communication structured. Today the tactical, strategic and narrative approaches can be more decisive for a project than design itself. Behavior in social networks has radically changed the way we relate, communicate and consume. Everything’s happening so fast.
How do you think technology affects design?
I believe that technology does not only affect design but all processes in global terms. We must rethink or rather we must redesign many of the processes that were established years ago. We must not think just in terms of efficiency or innovation but on long-term constant transformation. The design has often focused on solving a problem, today we must question this approach and adapt to the characteristics of each problem. We need to proclaim critical thinking and not just work automatically with magic formulas.
What do you think of working remotely?
We work with many professionals from around the world remotely. Although, sometimes the fact of sharing a determined space and time with coworkers helps the studio become more organic, creative and focused.
You have worked with many clients throughout your career, if they had to describe the best type of client, what would it be like?
The best (and worst) client is yourself and your own personal projects. We have always encouraged our students to work on huge invented projects in which they’d love to work just to evolve and improve and, maybe, open up new horizons.
The rest of the projects are framed in the context of the clients that must be faced being aware of the existence of certain limits: time, resources, means, etc. and where the result must be satisfactory for both parties: the client and the designer.
What place do the awards have in Folch? How often do you apply to them and how do they impact in the study?
We do not pay much attention to them. This does not mean they lack importance. We just think they are always part of the past. They give you awards for past projects and what really defines you is the projects you are working on right now. As my father always said: “if you want to live comfortably, be uncomfortable”.
Could you mention your 3 favorite Folch projects?
Odiseo, Eldorado and White Horse are some of them.
Could you explain how it came about and what is the Brands section that appears on your website?
This section corresponds to the own projects, initiatives and / or companies participated by Folch to generate new projects and initiatives that allow us to expand our radius of visibility and influence. We designed it out of the will to differentiate them from other projects or assignments. Some of them can result in a spin-off of the studio itself having media, equipment and their own projects.
What would you like to be doing in March of next year?
Maybe working on a city or country brand in Latin America or Africa. It’s time to discover and promote other countries, other cities, other cultures.
What would you like to be doing in 5 years?
Investing in talent, companies, studios and profiles that can help us face new challenges during the next 10 years.