Meet the Graphic Designer of our Café Femenino Colombia Bag

Every step of the Women in Coffee Program is intentional, including the design. When we began to search for a female Colombian artist, we had no idea we'd get as lucky as we did with Andrea Sánchez. Today, we're thrilled to introduce you to the brilliant graphic designer shaping the visual identity of our Café Femenino Colombia bag. Dive into the journey of creativity and craftsmanship as we explore the unique vision and inspiration behind this captivating design.

To our serendipitous delight, we learned that Andrea's family actually had strong ties to the coffee industry in Colombia. From concept to creation, learn how she  infuses each design element with authenticity and meaning, seamlessly marrying artistry with the rich cultural tapestry of Colombia.

FERRIS (F): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

ANDREA (A): I'm Andrea, and I'm from Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. I studied Visual Arts here in my city and I've been working as a graphic designer for about 10 years now, with a brief but beautiful sprint as an educator in art museums which taught me a lot. Apart from my day to day work, I always like to have side projects, like interactive or comics books, illustrations, paintings, animations, etc. I love to do things that are born out of an idea with friends, musicians, illustrators or writers and feed my soul and heart.

F: What made you want to pursue a career in graphic design?

A: Ever since I was little I loved books and when I discovered digital design I turned into a nerd doing photoshop and creating images with the computer. I've always been interested in text and images and a career in Visual Arts came very naturally for me. Graphic design came along with it, allowing me to have a career and financial stability with a mix of the things I love.

F: What are your favorite design tools and why?

A: I like simple tools like the average brushes in illustrator or photoshop. Also, I work a lot in Figma with my current job, but nowadays when I get asked to do a commission I prefer to turn off the computer for a while and just use a red pencil, cheap paper and crayons or greasy pencil colors. I love watercolors but doing changes is so hard that usually I use photoshop for coloring.

F: How do you keep up with design trends and stay inspired?

A: I think sometimes design trends can be a trap, of course I love them, but I wouldn't necessarily think that I'm too trendy. I prefer atemporal design that stays beautiful for a long time. But I do use a lot of pinterest and observe a lot of the nature surrounding me. And I adore children's books and how sophisticated they can be whether they are actual or vintage ones.

F: How do you approach a new design project? Can you walk us through your process?

A: It starts with an idea and a few words. I like to mix up elements that I think can be symbolic or represent the message that needs to be translated. Usually it involves a lot of image research, texture research and moodboards. If it's an illustrated project like the one I did with Ferris, I love to use cheap paper to do sketches because that takes out the pressure of doing perfect things and just allows me to explore shapes and ideas. I like to use a red pencil to do sketches so when I find the one I like, I can retrace it with a stronger color, like black. 
Then, when the drawing is set and I'm happy with it, I scan it. Sometimes I work creating separate drawings and then I mix them on photoshop, like making a collage with my own drawings. And finally I choose a color palette that enhances the mood of the illustration and just color with photoshop brushes.


F: Can you tell us about how you like to incorporate themes of your heritage, femininity, and nature into your work?

A: That'a a difficult question because I don't know if I have an answer to it! I think my identity as a latin american woman is just embedded into everything I do and it's impossible for me not to incorporate that into my work. I would say that one of my first illustration jobs was to create drawings for a small booklet for newborns that was going to be distributed all over my country. It was very important to display different types of people, faces, bodies and expressions. And that stood with me: I love to create characters that are inspired by people in my streets so you can definitely recognize they do not have any stereotypical beauty.

F: What about this coffee bag project had you excited?

A: My mother's family is from a traditional coffee territory here in Colombia: Caldas. I grew up visiting my grandparents in a small town, surrounded by coffee mountains, streets filled with coffee beans in fiber sacks, farmers selling their produce on Sundays, and watching the coffee beans drying on the roofs of my family's farm. That really made a mark on my memory. So doing an illustration for a coffee packaging from Colombian women producers was like revisiting all of those beautiful memories that mean a lot to me. I wanted to honor my family's and Colombian tradition, it was such a dream project!

F: Can you tell us a little about life in Colombia? What you love, anything you want to educate our readers on Colombia or sharing stories about your family’s tie to coffee?

A: Life in Colombia is sweet, hard, beautiful and I really can't imagine myself being from somewhere else. Sometimes I feel foreigners only relate Colombia to certain topics, but the truth is that our reality is so much more complex, rich and has much more upsides than what's portrayed on the series and news. Although I must say that growing up in the 90's wasn't always easy. Visiting my grandparents' coffee farm each year was sometimes a risk because we had a huge conflict going on in the rural territories, so I do remember having a lot of fear while travelling through the roads. I'm glad things have changed a lot since then, but never take that for granted.
Colombia's history is very much tied to coffee but it is only until the last 10 years or so that Colombians have started to drink some of the premium coffee that was previously exported. Which I think is crazy! We also drink a lot of natural fruit juices and love soups.

F: Are you a coffee drinker?

A: Of course! First thing when I get up, after having lunch, and sometimes in the afternoon too. I drink it like many Colombians: a strong small cup of coffee with no sugar in it.

F: What’s on the horizon for Andrea? Any exciting news or projects you’re working on?

A: I'd love to have the time to focus more on personal projects, right now is a time to build up my confidence to start doing bigger projects for me and more illustrated books if I get the push I need. I'm getting to a point where I'm starting to choose the projects I like the most so I feel very privileged for that. On the horizon, just keep on pushing and doing creative things with talented people! :)


Learn more about our Women in Coffee Program HERE.

Shop Café Femenino Colombia HERE.