In March of 2018, Andy Baraja joined the Netmind team as a Visual Thinker and Graphic Facilitator. Since then, she has become an essential player in our design and overall Netmind brand. Her passion for creativity started when she was young and eventually developed into a way of life. From the moment she started her great Netmind adventure, she has not stopped surprising us.
Get to know a little more about Andy Baraja!
Who is Andy?
I am a 34-year-old Asturian (a region of Spain on the northern coast). I’ve had a passion for drawing even before I knew how to write my name. My degree is in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (specialization in Graphic Documents). I am a trained Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and Visual Thinker.
I always combined my studies with real work. My experience includes collaborating on design in fashion school, participating in various interior design studio projects, creating designs and illustrations for various companies, and even working as a draftsman on a railway engineering project… until I decided to open my own Studio.
In recent years, I’ve participated in projects for Infojobs, the City Councils of Oviedo and Avilés, the Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Asturias, Oviedo Emprende, Vivarium of Health Sciences, and more. I’ve created the covers of several books and collaborated with charity projects by contributing the graphic elements: bone marrow donation campaign, Bikecanine, Dibujos Por Sonrisas, I-Sen app, etc.
I love drawing, photography, music, horses, and traveling (a lot). I am a curious person who is always looking to learn something new.
Why Andy Baraja, if your name is Andrea García?
“Andy” was the name my parents chose when I was born, but at the time in Spain they weren’t allowed to register it, so they officially chose Andrea since it was the most similar (but never used it). The part of “Baraja” is a long story and I don’t remember exactly the year, but in summary, when I was studying at the School of Art of Oviedo, there was a lack of teachers and to pass the time, we did two things: drew and played cards. I always carried a deck, and I even created my own. It was an art school and you had to pick a nickname – “Baraja” (deck of cards) stuck. I even have friends today who only know me as “Baraja”!
How did the idea of a creative studio come about?
It arose mainly because of the need to put a value on everything that I knew how to do, since I didn’t always have the opportunity to demonstrate. The creative sector is incredible, but it is also one of the most difficult. It is very hard to find a position at a company that gives you the freedom to be fully creative. At 27, I felt that it was time to do it on my own.
Would you say you were born with a pencil in your hand?
Actually, I was born with a #2 pencil in my left hand (I am left handed). I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t drawing.
What is your best asset and your greatest weakness?
I consider my best asset to be that I am always smiling. My biggest flaw is probably that I demand a lot from myself.
Tell us a little about your day-to-day life?
I am a super cheerful and very active person! My day starts with exercise and good music. At 8:30, I drink coffee and review my emails. I’m always working on several different projects at the same time, but never do the same thing two days in a row (except that everything I do involves drawing).
I take breaks from time-to-time by walking my 6-year-old hyperactive lab, Nano, to the ocean. Twice a week, I make it a priority to learning something new… right now, I am taking English classes!
When did you become part of the Netmind family?
In March of 2018, which makes me a three-year old Netminder!
What projects have you worked on? What did you do on those projects?
I came to Netmind to create and give visual support in the BBVA Beyond University project. However, throughout the year, I have helped create visual solutions and apply the Visual Thinking methodology for various other projects as well, including Bankinter, Allianz, Cuatrecasas, Generali, Red Eléctrica España, Mutua Madrileña, and Vida Caixa. I also support our marketing team, course designers, and lead experts in their work to create uniquely awesome graphics.
What do you like most about the Netmind team?
I love many things. From my very first day both the Madrid and Barcelona offices have made me feel like an important part of the team. Netmind has high professionalism and enthusiasm for work well done. For me, every project that I work on is an opportunity for growth and continuous learning. #AlwaysLearning
You’ve taken several trips with part of the Netmind team. How is the Netmind team out of the office?
It’s good vibes on all four sides! We get along very well, and our experiences together are always incredible. I think because we are made up of people at different ages and points in their lives, we have a lot to share and contribute to each other! Sharing time with the team inside or outside the office is always a treat.
What value do you think your illustrations and use of Visual Thinking contribute to the projects and initiatives that you are a part of?
I am sure this won’t come as a surprise but I firmly believe in the value and power of images against anything. Therefore, I believe that when we apply them to explain any type of information/content or to try to solve a complicated problem. My work provides an attractive visual that breaks any context in way that can be easily understood by everyone involved.
The use of illustrations applied in technical and linear environments allows the visualization of information in a global way that avoids blockages to complex processes and, at the same time, creates a positive impact on the performance of the participating teams. Visual Thinking works because 75% of our brain is designed to process information better through use of images. For this reason, I am in a unique position to help our customers better transmit knowledge in a much faster way.
How would you explain Visual Thinking to a person who doesn’t know anything about it?
Visual Thinking is a methodology based on the use of simple drawings to explain complex concepts. It utilizes basic visual resources, such as drawings of people, facial expressions, arrows, text boxes, icons, banners, different uses of typography, and the application of color and shadow. All of these elements form the basis of its application. The fundamental value of Visual Thinking is that we use the power of images over text to represent complicated ideas through very simple lines.
For more on Visual Thinking and how you can apply Andy’s craft in your work, see the articles she has written for our Knowledge Center:
- What is Visual Thinking? + Icon Pack to Get Started
- What is Sketchnoting? And How to Get Started
- Rory’s Story Cubes: Unleash Your Creativity
What is a dream you still wish to fulfill?
My dreams always go hand in hand with traveling and drawing. I want to see at least half the countries in the world and be able to draw their most beautiful corners.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to think that in 10 years I will be the same person, but with more knowledge and more experience. I’d also love to be recognized as a great professional within the creative world.
Can’t get enough? Explore our website – her work is everywhere and follow Andy’s Instagram page where she posts her work!