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Digging into Business: Yarza Twins

This week we’re launching a new section to talk about business side by side with design and creativity. In the new Digging into business section you’ll find some successful stories of startups and studios run by women, digging into freelancing, challenges and motivation.

Yarza twins is the name of the studio we bring to you today, and it’s made of two twins—as the name suggests—the Spanish sisters Marta and Eva Yarza. They both traveled from their hometown Vigo, in Galicia, in the north of Spain, to London to attend the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to study MA Communication Design. Their backgrounds, however, are quite different: before landing at the Central Saint Martins, Eva studied Fine Arts while Marta studied Construction Engineering. London is also the city where their studio saw its first steps, even if other cities during these years fuelled their vision and their work, like New York and Madrid, and Paris now, where Marta has recently moved.

They always felt a kind of attraction for art and creativity—and we would say also for challenges—and they firmly believe that design is a great chance to provoke change and to inspire audiences. When they were just 18 years old “we were very passionate and we wanted to save the world”, Marta says, so they decided to fight to save an iconic building in their hometown, which was going to be demolished. The Yarza sisters wanted to convert that old building—called La Panificadora according to its function as a bread factory, which closed its doors in 1980—into a cultural space for their city. They launched a campaign through a blog and a petition collecting signatures and forcing the municipality to declare the building a site of cultural interest. After that they also created a branding project imagining La Panificadora as a museum, and they admit that the opportunity to design a museum is actually one of their dreams. “And all this is really linked to where we are today, I would say”, Eva adds. And where they are today is along a quite dynamic and solid trajectory that Marta and Eva decided to start building a while ago, in 2017:

The idea of starting your own studio from scratch carries along many questions and curiosities, and we try to discover as much as we can from Marta and Eva. A subject especially dear to Fido community is the kind of challenge or difficulty there may be for a woman designer, moreover if she’s quite young:

The sisters go on telling that another big challenge, when it came to kick off, was finding clients, even if Marta says that in this sense they have been quite lucky: they didn’t have to look for clients so much as clients themselves found their way to their work and their studio. But the pandemic changed everything, for the Yarza twins as for the rest of the world. They found themselves without an office for a rental issue, and they saw themselves forced to share the space of their own house to work, too. Contrary to what they expected, this meant working in a very relaxed environment, a solution that helped the twins to understand they didn’t want to get stuck to the idea of a fixed space or an office. In this sense, they also found their way to work with collaborators and extended teams: they normally create teams depending on each project and picking specialized people in different fields like web developers or animators, mostly freelancers. 

Speaking of, we ask Marta and Eva a question about freelancing and about the best and worst aspects of running their own studio and being independent. Their very positive attitude towards their current experience leaves no doubts that they made the right choice leaving their collaborations at important creative studios (such as Sagmeister & Walsh in New York) to found their own:

In a successful career, a key part is played by the ability to recognize and accept the false step in the going that can teach you how to do things better. And even though the Yarza Twins is a very young studio, we also have the chance to talk about lessons to learn. According to Marta, the most important one is really listening to clients and their feedback, and not only because if they’re saying something, there’s a strong reason behind it, but also because something unexpected can always happen thanks to that, and can make things go in a surprising way.   

In 2021 the Yarza Twins got the National Design Award from the hands of—nothing less than—the King and Queen of Spain, and since then Marta and Eva haven’t stop receiving a lot of recognition for their work, till their most recent design achievements, the C2A Creative Communication Award for the rebrand of the Spanish Neo2 magazine and the Galician Innovation and Design Award:

Before ending our conversation with Eva and Marta, we wanna ask them to give a piece of advice about business and running a studio to their younger selves, when they were just starting their creative career. Marta answers first, then Eva:

And that’s all for this chapter. We thank Marta and Eva for their time and wish them luck for all that is coming. See you in the next episode with another story, another designer and another case study.

*** All the images are property of ©YarzaTwins, you’ll need their explicit permission to reproduce them

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