Luis Utrillas’ label, “El Pasaje”, has been the winner of the 2021 EtiquetaNews Awards, after having achieved the highest score in the final round of the four editions held by the renowned International Jury that received the awards. However, today we want to explain to you what this talented young designer is like, who has many possibilities of becoming a leading expert in packaging and label design in the coming years.

When and why did you choose to study graphic design; and at what point are your studies?

I was lucky enough to be born in a context that gave me the opportunity to cultivate my artistic sensibility. My curious and restless personality involved me with the graphic expression of concepts and ideas from a very young age and my passion for typography was the result of an early relationship with graffiti. Studying graphic design was a natural choice in an unpremeditated process.

I graduated in July 2018 from ESDA and in January 2019 I moved to New York where I was working with Vault49 for a period of 16 months as a designer (Middleweight). When I decided to return to Europe, I wanted to strengthen and expand my knowledge with the intention of being able to offer my clients solutions with the greatest possible success. I am currently studying a master’s degree in strategic packaging design taught by LABASAD, which I combine with my work as a freelance for design agencies and international clients.

What do you think is the most important thing to be a good graphic designer?

For me, and I say it from humility because there is some learning that I will incorporate later, these are the ingredients:

Empathy – To create by putting ourselves in the shoes of customers and consumers.

Respect – To know when to be disruptive or conventional.

Creativity and Vision – To build good ideas that are supported by good executions.

And the most important, which catalyzes the previous three:

Passion – to love your job, enjoy it, and nurture the need to continually improve and be patient.

Why were you inspired by the old transport labeling to design the winning label “El Pasaje” with which you have won the Contest?

It was a very attractive concept for a winery that allowed to build the story I wanted to tell, to step away from the category with respect and to create a brand with a value proposition. A passage that offers consumers is a special moment.

Why did you determine the finishes and elements that your label carries?

The finishes of the label were determined by the concept itself.

Emboss, deboss, and die are the finishes that could be found on old shipping labeling.

The tear up system was a decision that had two objectives: to add more value to packaging by involving consumers and to expand its storytelling.

The gold foil + emboss that seals the capsule was determined by the intention of simulating a transport token.

Did you imagine you could win the EtiquetaNews Awards when you signed up?

I think that if you enter a contest there is always a part of you that aspires or wants to win it, it is inevitable to want to imagine it.

It was a goal, but it wasn’t the only motivation. I thought it was a very fun brief, which gave me an excuse to challenge myself, have fun building an idea and expand my portfolio.

How do you value the support of the center where you study, LABASAD, in the entire process of guardianship of the creation of the label?

In the best possible way. Having the feedback from expert professionals like Beatriz Suárez is a real luxury. She pushed me to complete the story properly and make the project more meaningful.

Who did you remember when they said you were the winner of the Contest?

On my good friend, designer, Abraham Lule. I contrast with him many of my projects and ideas, and he always helps me to find a clearer vision in the concepts and their execution.

How do you think this important award, endowed with a 2,500 € prize, can change your professional life?

For me the biggest award has been such a positive response from a jury that I totally admire. It is a great incentive to continue striving doing what I love the most: creativity and packaging design.

How would you define your way of understanding design?

On a personal level it is very emotional, in the best and worst of its senses, I am very involved in my work and I live by and for it. On a professional level, I understand design as a construction space in which creativity and reasoning coexist in a way that fascinates me. Creativity opens doors and reason indicates which to enter. (The mess that you find yourself once behind the door is a separate issue … hahaha).

Do you think you can become an expert in packaging and label design, or do you think more about being a generalist designer?

I definitely aspire to become an expert in those categories. I work hard at it every day.

How do you imagine the labels of the future?

I believe that the paper will remain and that it is the finishes and contents that will surprise us. Technology is advancing at an exorbitant rate. Now there are even labels with augmented reality, who knows what will happen in the future.

Digital printing will offer much more than we can imagine right now. And above all I think that there will be a greater presence and sustainable intention, totally necessary today.

How do you think the contest sponsor label makers are going to help you make better and more competitive designs when you are professionals?

It seems necessary and fundamental to me. Having expert allies when producing is as important as a good design. We design products that live and seduce physically.

What would you say to graphic design students to present themselves to the 5th Edition of the 2021 EtiquetaNews Awards?

Let them cheer up and prove themselves. A semi blank brief is a great opportunity to have fun and do something new in your portfolios that may attract a real project in the future.

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