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Interview with Cesar Ochoa

Art Director at Être Magazine & Photographer

January 17, 2012

César Ochoa is the art-director for Être Magazine a monthly magazine from Montreal, QC that publishes articles of Social Interest from the gay community in Quebec and around the world. 

César is also a very creative photographer, who has participated in many articles for the magazine and various expositions. Being featured at the legendary ‘Cafe des arts’ at FIMA (Festival International des Arts)  Some of César’s Photography work can be seen on his website

I had a couple of questions regarding my domain, and decided to ask fellow graphic designers some questions to see their point of view, Since I found this very interesting I decided to share their answers with the people who read my blog. Cesar was kind enough to participate. Here are his answers.

1- Where do you work and what do you do?

I am artistic director for  Être Magazine here in Montreal. we also edit three other magazines, together with two other graphic designers. We are a team of three graphic designers an a webmaster. I love the team we make.

2- What are your main basic steps to manage a project?

When I started working on the magazine almost four years ago there was no a graphic image for the magazine, I think that we (the magazine and me) grew up together. LIttle by little the needs of the magazine increased, so the team needed more people, that is when Carolina Ramírez joined the group. Now we make four magazines and also a yearly tourist guide.

There is already a layout created for each magazine, this graphic grid took me around three years to create. In the beggining I was not sure of what I was doing until I started to read books about layout that helped me to create todays layout for the magazine.

3- Where do you find inspiration?

Since I love magazines I usually go to Archambault to see what’s hot. I really can spend hours in there looking at those magazines. I am 100% passionated for what I do. There is not a single day where I don´t see something that catches my attention. Since I was 20 years old I always knew that I wanted to work for magazines.

4- What do you think makes someone an Art Director, a Senior or Junior Graphic Designer?

The passion. Sometimes I spend a whole day just working on the layout for two pages, because I am not satisfied with what I have accomplished with them. I am never 100% happy and I always want more and to do a better job. My work is the only field in my life when I never feel satisfied, I always want more and better results. The rest of my life is 100% opposite, I have a very simple life.

I am a photographer too, and I have the same problem, I am never satisfied with my work, I spend 10% of my day just thinking about photography, about what I am going to do, where, what kind of lighting I am going to use.

5- What has been the best way to find good clients for you?

I do not work with clients, I work already in a company and I would not like to work with clients. That´s definitely something I don´t like to do. I have some clients as a photographer and I really don´t know how to sell my work directly to the client. My dream is to have an agent one day.

6- Which Social Media tools will you recommend for designer interaction?

Facebook. Most of the contacts I had had know my work on facebook. In the beginning (five years ago) when I arrived to Canada I tried to convince the people I knew that I was a photographer. Literally I had to beg some guys to be my models because I did not know anyone. Then I met André Gagnon, the editor of Être Magazine, I started working with him and now people know my work. I receive almost every week e-mails or friend request of people who would like to work with my as models.

I also know people on modelmayhem and I also have my own website

7- What do you think is the best way to deal with an unpleasant customer, or a late payment?

My personality does not allow me to handle with clients, I know I may be loosing money and opportunities but I really can´t help feeling frustrating about working with some clients. I already had quit projects because I felt the client did not appreciate all the work there is behind a project.

I work in a company right now, we are around 16 guys in the office and let me say that you can´t never satisfy the 100% of them, every person is different and every person will try to make changes on the design, so one day I stopped doing what everyone asked me to do, I took a book and I justified every single aspect on the magazine´s layout.

8- What do you think is the hardest thing in the industry right now?

Every day Adobe releases a newer version of their suit making it more and more easy and affordable for people to use their software so a lot of people think that they are graphic designers just because they know how to use some programs.
We usually receive some ad that we have to insert in our magazines “made at home” that are really hard to look.

People now don´t want to pay for anything. They don´t want to pay for music, they don´t want to pay for photos, they don´t want to pay for design. We are not making money right now.

As a photographer there is the same issue, digital cameras are more affordable now than ever and some of them are really good ones. People just don´t know how much work there is behind a photography and they think they don´t need to pay a photographer to do it.

I do believe that if you really love what you do you will have success on your work.


You can stay connected with César at the following link.




About Luis London

Marketing and Communications specialist with more than 10 years of professional experience, counting with a solid technical expertise (Digital Marketing, Web and Social Media) that also covers traditional marketing and is with associated to customer satisfaction and my passion for public relations.

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