Rafael Esquer YG3

  • Current Location: New York City
  • Originally From: Mexico
  • Studio: Alfalfa Studio

What world event occurred the year of your birth? • Mao's Cultural Revolution in China What makes you tick? • A song by Chavela Vargas • A poem by Szymborska • A book by Yourcenar • A film by Almodovar • A smart client • A sunny day • Finding new shapes in the formation of clouds Who are your heroes? • My mother What's your favorite object? • Rocks What's your favorite curse word? Chingado! What are your influences?YourcenarPazDurasSonoraWalshSzymborskaAndersonBarbataVargasFelliniCalvinoTikaramKalmanMoralesO'ConnorLaraVanUsselTamayoKamenSosaMorrisonSaramagoAntonioniHornTshicoldBorguesRothkoBenedettiOaxacaRiveraShimizuDownsKleeEsquerSabinesBachPicassoKunderaMorrisOrozcoTurnerAngelouMariasSiqueiroCortazarKahloAlmodovarGomezPenaMannMendezEamesDostoyevski. What do you want to change? • The Verizon logo. Where do you want to go? Where I can improve my "quality" of life What's another name for Young Guns? • I don't know, Fresh Cream?

Portfolio Imagery:

  • Project 1 of 5

    Made in NY

    “Made in NY” is a campaign for the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to support their initiative to attract film and television studios to produce work in New York City. The mark and graphic identity system became the basis for all of the City’s production-related promotional materials. Nearly 200,000 shooting days have been logged in NYC since the campaign launched.

  • Project 2 of 5

    NBA’s Houston Rockets Branding & Uniforms

    The logo design for the Rockets marries the energy of basketball with the legacy of the team's name. The logo is a sleek icon, capturing the thrust and thrill of a rocket’s lift-off and bringing it into the context of the court. Because the futuristic uniforms and the logo were designed in tandem, the complete look is organic and fluid. Even the new typeface is custom-designed, in sync with the style of the logo. The letterforms and numbers on the player’s jerseys and shorts were precisely drawn so that every single digit can be read well from a distance, whether by a fan in the arena or by one watching the game on television. The design team ( Eiko Ishioka and Rafael Esquer) have met the expectations of the Rockets’ owners for a new standard in sports design. Their organic and collaborative design process has produced the most innovative and popular identity the NBA has seen in years.


    Client: NBA Houston Rockets; Creative director: Eiko Ishioka; Designer: Rafael Esquer.

  • Project 3 of 5

    Björk Cocoon

    This trio of CD and DVD designs for the single “Cocoon,” from Björk’s Vespertine album was inspired by the sensuality of the music video, directed by Eiko Ishioka. In the video Björk gradually becoming wrapped in a cocoon of red threads. We digitally manipulated video stills and enhanced them with custom typography. The collection works as a series and individually, and is an intriguing example of Björk’s image as a groundbreaking, avant-garde artist.


    Creative Director: Eiko Ishioka; Designer: Rafael Esquer; CG Artist: Tim Wilder

  • Project 4 of 5

    AIGA Join Us Poster

    To promote membership in AIGA, Esquer envisioned a campaign that would abandon a sterile corporate façade. In its place, he would build a vision of AIGA from the inside: organic, connected, pulsing communities of designers at local and national levels. The living tissue of community is the central idea: an organism, rather than an organization. Esquer took stylistic inspiration from the works of outsider artists. The “obsessive” hand-drawn detail of his poster pays homage to individual personality and craftsmanship, and celebrates the connective power of imagination. Working by hand helps deliver the idea of each AIGA member as an individual talent contributing to the vitality of the whole. The formal content in the poster (the central piece of the campaign) is the full information about AIGA: its mission, programs, events, resources, chapters, and medalists from 1920 through 2006. But there is a second, informal layer of content as well. Regional colloquialisms submitted by over 100 national and international members of AIGA give this designing organism its voice. Also, each chapter is paired with a song lyric celebrating its city or region, by musicians ranging from Johnny Cash to KISS to The Carpenters. All these details are pulled together through their contrast with the 3-D red metallic ribbon at the center of the poster. With its generous curves, it hangs like a doorknocker extending its welcome: Join Us.


    Client: AIGA; Design firm: alfalfa studio; Creative director/art director: Rafael Esquer; Designers: Rafael Esquer, Christina Clugston; Junior designer: Nikhil Mitter; Writer: Gregory Gross; CG artist: Tim Wilder

  • Project 5 of 5

    The L!brary Initiative Mural

    The mission of the L!brary Initiative is to enlist the talent of leading designers, architects, illustrators, and photographers in transforming every school library within New York City’s vast public school system into inspiring places for learning. It is part of a larger effort to improve student literacy rates, especially in some of the poorest neighborhoods. Esquer was invited by the L!brary Initiative to design a 7-foot-high, multi-panel mural running along 3 quarters of the library interior at Public School 195–197 in the Bronx. Esquer hoped to achieve twin goals with his mural: to represent the library as a sanctuary for language and the entire world of ideas; and to give the students a sense of ownership in their library.


    Commissioned by Pentagram; Architect: Richard H. Lewis; Design and art direction: Rafael Esquer; Design Assistant: Wes Kull and Nikhil Mitter; Children workshop assistants: Laura Anderson Barbata, Nikhil Mitter and Jenny Tran.

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