In the Pinterest, Tumblr and Ello-saturated World Wide Web, it’s difficult to break through the clutter when it comes to great design and beautiful typography. Daniella Valerio and Sandrine Molnar of Austin-based Monorail, however, have managed to do just that – their line of inspirational and playful prints, shirts and tote bags are works of art that have a universal appeal, making them great gifts (both for yourself and others!). As part of our Behind the Goods series, we asked Daniella and Sandrine to share their tricks of the trade.
Where do you find the inspiration for your design?
We’re constantly looking everywhere and absorbing new experiences we have from our travels, our interests and through the people we meet. We do have a particular interest in Maritime culture, food + imbibe culture and typography, which you can see in our designs. We both grew up by the ocean and are big foodies, so we tend to gravitate to those themes in our work.
Walk us through the production process.
We first start brainstorming what we’d like to illustrate, and then start drawing positives for our screens that we print with. Once we have our design on a screen, we set it up on our press and register our artwork. Once that is done, we start cutting paper and mixing ink to see what colors we feel work best for our design. This is when the fun part begins for us—we start printing away! It’s hard to explain, but even though we have our artwork drawn out and color proofs tested, the final print run is so exciting because you get to finally see everything coming together. After we let them air dry, we go through each and every one of them for any defects in workmanship then we spot and stamp them before packaging.
What’s the best part of your job?
It’s very cliché to say, but like many Makers, it’s doing what we love. We rarely get bored. Our day-to-day tasks change so often. Some days we’re drawing, other days we’re printing in the studio, or depending on the season, we’re flying to different cities attending craft shows and meeting amazing people. So with all this spontaneity, we’re always excited and on our toes. Making people smile is the best part. It’s always great to see people’s reactions to our work.
How do you stay creative?
Aside from staying healthy and keeping a balanced work/home life that everyone strives for, first thing that comes to mind is music. It’s always allowed us to break away from our analytical brain. Since we wear all the hats in our business, we are constantly dealing with numbers, emails, and paperwork, which can tend to stifle the creative flow. Playing and listening to music is a great escape and allows us to daydream, which can spark so many ideas. With that being said, sometimes creative blocks do happen and it’s something that we power through. We give ourselves at least an hour a day to draw, even if we have an empty noggin. We tend to get a random idea that’ll spill out on paper out of nowhere, and we’ll have a eureka moment.
Where’s your favorite spot in Austin to get inspired?
Our beautiful parks! Austin has some amazing trails, like our Barton Creek Greenbelt, which allows us to escape from our office and get some fresh air. It’s a wonderful place to swim, hike, and bike, which is perfect for outdoorsy people like us.