Mia Almaguer is an innovative brand strategist & design consultant whose passion for communicating can be an asset to your brand.
CREATIVE + ANALYTICAL
I am a unique combination of design and strategy. I’ve worked on projects of all sizes and levels of involvement and am honored to be able to do what I love.
I grew up the child of two make-shift journalists who ran Louisiana’s first-ever bilingual newspaper. From the time I can remember, my day-to-day was hearing about deadlines and articles and layouts. As a well-behaved and curious child, I also had the distinct pleasure of being my mother’s plus one to every single opera, ballet, performance, gala, and fundraiser in town. Perhaps this combination of factors is what led to my appreciation for the arts, or maybe it just explains why I was a weird kid who communicated far better with adults than with other children my age.
I received a lot of attention at these gatherings, but I always found it more interesting to listen and observe than to speak. Though when I did, my expansive vocabulary and quick wit got people to notice me. These gatherings were filled with the most illustrious members of the Hispanic community in Louisiana, proud and hard-working individuals, most of which immigrated to the US to build a new and better life for their families. I had no shortage of great examples, across many industries, and each one with an amazing story. I loved helping my parents lay out their beautiful stories in the pages of their newspaper. I am pretty sure I sniffed way more rubber cement than was appropriate for a child (come to think of it, that explains a lot), but I loved printing out the columns of text and gluing them down beside images separated by decorative border tapes.
This work eventually became less tactile and more complex with the switch to digital publishing software and a whole new world opened up for me. After school, most kids watched cartoons and played outside, and I did plenty of both, but there were also days when I would be in the newspaper office, playing around in Corel Draw and Adobe PageMaker. I felt so at home behind the glow of the screen, fascinated by combining colors and typefaces. Little did I know that I would build a career from that same feeling.
After moving from my childhood home of Louisiana to the culture shock that was Miami, I channeled my devastation of starting over into all of the teenage angst in the world. The only thing that brought me comfort was a role on my high school’s newspaper staff. Given my years of experience playing around in design programs, I was made the design editor and there it was… the feeling of belonging. The computer screen was home and pixels were my people. I already knew at that moment that I wanted to study graphic design, and when I shared this with my very Cuban family, they said…NOPE. They had concerns that following an artistic passion would not allow me to provide for myself, something about a “starving artist” trope. So I did the only logical thing…I failed out of regular college and convinced them that art school was my only hope.
And that’s how I came to graduate with a BFA in Graphic Design from a school that made me feel right at home with all the other creative, misfit weirdos. During my time there not only did I meet eccentric students, but I also met eccentric adults, professors who changed my life with their infectious passion and offbeat personalities. I wanted to prove them wrong and please them at the same time. And in that moment, I realized that at some point, I wanted to be them.
But who would jump straight into teaching? I wanted to change the world for the better through design. Surely I could make a differencce (and hopefuly enough money to pay my rent and student loans) by being the best designer ever…right?
Well, that’s not quite what happened, but I did work…hard, long hours in boutique design agencies, advertising agencies, marketing agencies, in-house departments, hospitality groups, cruise lines, I even opened my own studio, Reac+ive Designs. I never said no to anything, mostly because I needed every dollar to prove my family wrong. You’d be surprised how much you can force yourself to learn when you put yourself in new situations, and that’s exactly what I did. I learned about printing techniques and website design, how to manage my clients and how to write invoices.
In addition to my formal 9-5 roles, I have led a growing freelance business, working for clients all over the globe and on projects of varying scopes. It was to better serve my clients and to be able to have the opportunity to teach that I decided to pursue my master’s degree. Marketing seemed like a logical fit because it fit so nicely with what I have spent my entire career doing. I wanted to fill in the skills gaps that I had viewing things from a more creative, design-centric view.
I have come to recognize in myself what other people have told me and I never believed: that I am so much more that just design ability. Being able to combine my passion for design with my creative, strategic-thinking and vast experience has led to me valuing myself more, but also to me visualizing opportunities to apply my knowledge to grow myself as a brand and an Subject Matter Expert.
I’m not sure what the future holds but I can, at the very least, say that I am fortunate to get to do what I love on a daily basis. I am always excited to learn new things, new technologies and new skills, and I hope that never stops being the case. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I have had so far to grow as a creative and look forward to many more ways that I can prove to my family that they don’t have to worry about me, at least financially. I’m sure I give them many other reasons that are valid.
Some of My Favorite Projects
I have been very fortunate to be able to do what I love while working with amazing clients all over the world. Here are some of my favorites.
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