Nelson Ponce Sánchez (1975), Cuban designer of Visual Communication, whether has requested or not a gift on the Three Magi’s days, received at the beginning this year the 2013 National Book Design Award. This recognition places him among the youngest winners in the matter by the Cuban Book Institute. The teacher at the Institute of Design in Havana, designer at Casa de las Américas and independent creator, agreed to have a dialogue with OnCuba on how he processed the news and this could determine his career.
“I have not reached my adulthood as designer. Nor do I consider myself still a young professional. I see that I have left much to be done in the publishing world to deserve this award. I appreciate the deference the jury in finding that my work, so far, is a creditor of such distinction. A decision that, of course, represents a stimulus to continue designing and illustrating for books, although I insist will keep the frequency and passion forever. “
The public tends to identify with the poster art and visual, but the prize sheds light on your versatility as a designer of book covers and literary illustrations, in a context increasingly tending towards specialization. Why did you decide to develop this aspect in your work and how you’ve managed to deploy it in relation to the rest of the volume of your work?
“As a creator I respect everything related to the visual arts and attempt to venture into as much as possible. Alternate the type of work I do, because I challenges motivate me and I enjoy change. Perhaps there are demonstrations and specialties better weighted than others and that the public attach it when recognizing my work. In my view, the set of design disciplines have intrinsic value and complexities. So when I take a project I do it thoroughly. “
Of what have you nurtured? Do you consider necessary a special training to engage in editorial design?
“My references are many, so many that it would be impossible to list. It is a process that never stops and is very dynamic. All time I submit those influences to a filter that tries to discern what works and what does not when I take a project. In my case, it represents a constant state of improvement.
“With regard to specialization, I do defend the need to acquire knowledge of the editorial own universe: from technological to conceptual and technical aspects. It is not enough to be creative. Generally, when we graduated from ISDI, we possess the rudiments to address an editorial plan, but the rest is learned in daily practice. “
What kind of literature do you prefer to illustrate, and what genre demands you the most?
“I definitely prefer the illustration of children’s books, although I misestimate no other. I feel it is a public that demands a lot of effort and time allows me to recreate personal universes, deploy my imagination, generating a parallel story to the literary text. I try that the illustrations contribute to the story exploiting the expressive virtues of the image. I understand that good illustration dialogues with the text and is not one that reiterates “.
The rise of digital technologies in the view of some, has put in crisis genesis and marketing of a book. From your experience and ambitions, what opportunities and challenges pose new technologies and media for creators and readers?
“I bet by the coexistence of ways to approach the information. Each media has its own characteristics and dynamics of interaction, which requires the generation of interfaces suitable for use. This, approached from the perspective of design presupposes a complexity of work, and also a diversification of expressive and interpretative possibilities. But it doesn’t mean printed book will lose their space. “
Our most recent cover was designed by Nelson Ponce