Interview – Menta
Interview – Menta
Menta is a branding & illustration studio founded by Laura Méndez in 2008. The studio delivers effective brand identities that balance classic & contemporary aesthetics, focused mainly on carefully crafted print. Based in Guadalajara, Mexico, they work with small businesses and international companies. In this interview founder Laura talks about their vision and projects
1. First of all, can you tell us about the studio and the team behind Menta?
Menta is a graphic studio specialised in identity, packaging design and all things analogue. We are currently a team of 4, I lead the art direction for all projects, and have 3 girl designers: Ericka, Blanca and Margaux, who recently integrated our team as an intern from France. I believe in the power of small teams, as we are able to experiment with various materials and push a project to excellence.
Our work process is very transparent and step by step with our clients. After the first contact, I make a questionnaire, to know all possible details of the project, in order to write a brief. After this, we research and extract key words and concepts that could make conceptual associations. We sketch a lot, we keep an analogue mode at this stage: cut and paste, drawing, illustration, paper mock ups, etc. After refining the best sketches, we work digitally.
We believe in The Simplicity of Allure, which means that our work attempts to be so refined that is simple yet with that special something, that allure anchored to the concept of the brand that makes you feel deeply connected. We place great attention to typography and all details in each application, taking inspiration from the european typographic tradition, as well as latin american colourful heritage, with a contemporary approach. We are a very handmade studio, where ink is preferred over vector where possible. I believe in intuition, an underestimated intelligence that I trust, and has led me through most of my decisions in terms of studio organisation and creativity.
2. What was the motivation on starting your own studio 9 years ago after working at agencies?
After graduating, one of my professors invited me to work at his company, where I was a junior designer, working in identity and advertising projects. After three years of working full time and freelancing, I felt I had to learn more, so I quited as I already had some freelance clients, specially filmmakers that needed a sales press kit. After a couple of years, I studied Art Direction in Barcelona, in 2010. When I came back, I had clear vision that I wanted to open my own studio and pursue a career in identity and packaging. I remained a solo-studio for a long time, until I decided to grow last year and be able to attend bigger projects with the same creative direction.
3. You’re based in Guadalajara, Mexico. What influence do you think location has on a studio’s
I’ve always lived in Guadalajara, and I was lucky enough to live my childhood by the sea, in Puerto Vallarta, so I think a wonderful —and sometimes too hot— weather, shaped my vision of color, shape. Perhaps observation of a tropical atmosphere, and a natural inclination for organic forms influenced by my dad’s architectural style, caused a style towards nature.
4. You seem to have a preference for print and stationary, why is that?
We love supervising the production details and the emotion of real stuff at the end of the project.
5. You recently did a collaboration with Papier for wedding invitations, tell us more about it.
It was a great experience, as we love working for wedding stationery and social invitations. Although lately we are more branding focused, we enjoy being more free and expressive! Papier contacted me to design a couple of cards with a free theme. So we chose wedding stationery. Developed some sketches and proceeded to final artwork.
6. What is next for Menta?
Specialise in branding and packaging for foods and products that are manufactured with integrity. Launch a Menta shop offering simple products that we are preparing, such as prints and tea towels with a special joie de vivre.