NTID AlumniNews

Design and imaging technology alum shares her love for art and graphic design

Portrait of Isabel Lainez

Isabel Laínez ’17 (design and imaging technology) is a designer and illustrator who works with clients to develop a variety of projects, creating visual and brand identities such as logos and motion graphics. Laínez, a native of Canada, has had a love for art since she was a child.

Laínez grew up enjoying drawing with a sketchbook and pencils. She never imagined she would be interested in graphic design until she participated in a school competition. 

As she developed her interest in graphic design, Laínez enrolled in the design and imaging technology program at RIT/NTID, where she gained computer-based graphics skills for a career in the visual communications field. While a student, she worked as a graphic and visual design intern for two organizations, NTID’s Center on Access Technology and Communication Services for the Deaf.

When she graduated from RIT/NTID in 2017, Laínez established Izalaix Design, a graphic design service focused on providing branding design and digital illustration for clients. She is also a co-founder of Girl and Creativity, a deaf-owned fashion company that features creative apparel in ASL designs, including tees, shirts, and hoodies. 

Laínez is a proud Latina designer who uses her craft to inspire and empower the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities through creative design. 

How did you become interested in graphic design?

I’ve been an artist my entire life. Growing up, I loved drawing and always had a sketchbook when I had time to draw anywhere. I loved working on my artwork of sculptures, watercolor, and acrylic painting. I had never thought about graphic design until I took a class and was eager to learn new things. My teacher encouraged me to join competitions with students in a mainstream school. This had never been won by a deaf student before. So, I decided to participate, and I also participated in a competition at a deaf school and won second place. That’s how I became interested in graphic design.

How did your education at RIT/NTID help you prepare for a career in graphic design?

The design and imaging technology program at RIT/NTID helped me develop digital design skills to prepare for my graphic design career. Before entering RIT/NTID, I already had my talent for creating art by hand, such as drawing, painting, and sculpture, but because of the rise of digital technology in the arts, not many job opportunities were available that involved creating art by hand. So, I decided to major in graphic design, and I was able to learn how to convert hand-drawn art to digital art using many tools and programs, such as Adobe software, that would apply to my future career in graphic design. I worked for NTID’s Center on Access Technology and Communication Services for the Deaf as an intern, which contributed to my professional growth as a graphic designer and my ability to interact and network with clients. With those skills and experiences, I was able to start my own business providing clients with illustration services, such as branding, logos, web layouts, and more. 

Tell me about Izalaix Design. What led you to start your own business?

Stylized illustration of two women surrounded by flora and fauna with script text that reads 'Self Love'I started to set up my business after graduating RIT in 2017. When I was a student, I thought about establishing a business and which brand name would be good for my business. My favorite place is Izalco, the volcano, in Santa Ana, El Salvador, where I was born. That is how I set up the name for my business: Izalaix Design. I am thankful to have my grandpa who saved my artwork for years. He knew I would be an artist one day, and it came true. Since starting my business, several clients have contacted me about design and illustration, and I have worked with clients on logos and a variety of other projects. I create digital illustrations featuring people with ASL and stylistic artists. I also set up my own artwork shop, and I have another small business called “Girl and Creativity” with business partner Kasmira Patel. 

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?

I am proud of what I have accomplished with my artwork-related sales, and I feel so happy that people have purchased and use my artwork. I’m also proud of a big project with the company Buddies in Bad Times Theater. I worked with them on designing a sign-language-focused project based on a true story about deaf individuals called “The Two Natashas.” I am honored to be part of this book, and it was terrific working with Buddies in Bad Times Theater and two deaf artists, Natasha “Courage” Bacchus, and Gaitire Persaud-Dhunmoon. 

What was your favorite part of the RIT experience when you were a student?

My favorite part of the RIT experience was participating in the Latin American Deaf Club at RIT, where I made new friends and learned about tradition and culture. As a member of the club, I didn’t feel alone in the Latin community.

What advice do you have for RIT/NTID students who want to pursue a career in graphic design?

I would highly encourage students to find their true passion, keep exploring what they want, and not fear any mistakes or regrets. You just have to motivate yourself to make your dreams come true if you want to become a graphic designer. Don’t wait. 


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