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Net-Fishing with Karla Sofia Despradel (‘17)

Karla looking at a camera smiling. They are also in a yellow frame.

Though Karla Sofia Despradel (‘17) has always been in love with design, she once struggled to find purpose in the work. Now, as the Design Director at Constructive, she and her diverse team of design practitioners influence the brand strategy of social-impact oriented clients. This often means taking on multiple projects at once, stemming from issues like tackling climate change and social equity with  American Forests nonprofit, or working on growing design systems and creating compelling digital experiences for the Child Mind Institute–both of which are projects in progress for Karla and her team right now. Whatever the client, Constructive helps implement human-centered design methodologies and diverse design  strategies to best convey their client’s mission, dedication and work in the digital era. 

Before finding herself at Constructive, Karla shifted from her initial focus in graphic design to a more ethics-based systems-thinking lens, heavily impacted by her  education at DSI. With much of her design perspectives influenced by classes such as Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Design Research–which she strongly believes to be the absolute core of social impact design work–she took on freelance projects with various institutions such as Vitala Global, at which she helped a team of gynecologists create a self management aboration app  for Venezuelan Women  , aiding in them taking control over their own abortion journeys. Much like her current work, she prioritized a human-centered lens and first-hand user research in order to create impact.

While at DSI, she found herself struck by the many options and methods that designers could take to help make change, and suggests that new students take advantage of all of the diverse practices while they’re attending.

“Some people are ‘line-fishers’ and some are ‘net-fishers’–be a net fisher.  Make sure you learn as much information and as broad as you can while you’re here. You’re going to have the opportunity to  dive deeper  after graduating. DSI is your opportunity to find new things to be passionate about and an array of tools to purpose those.”

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