Connecticut Creatives | Franklin Canales
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Franklin Canales

What do you do and where do you do it?

I’m an Associate Graphic Designer at Primacy in Farmington. I work on a variety of projects where I try to incorporate Illustration, typography, motion, and web design to create meaningful solutions. On the side I try to freelance or consistently work on my portfolio site.

What inspired you to choose this profession, and what makes you stay in it?

Back in high school, I took a risk studying graphic design. I was given the opportunity to go to a technical high school where I got a general education while concurrently learning a trade in the process. Forced with the daunting task to choose electronics or graphic design as a freshman was very difficult. As a kid, I always thought I was going to grow up to run a business or possibly work on computers since I was highly interested in technology and video games. I never knew that art could be a career choice. I thought it could only be a hobby since I mostly created art during school clubs or while bored at home. But for some reason my gut told me to take a risk and pursue a trade in graphic design. If anything, I knew graphic design would be an awesome back up for the future.

Throughout high school, I began to see myself more as a designer than anything else. I continued taking risks by doing work for clients, pushing my skills to new limits and eventually competing in competitions. I was not only fortunate enough to go UConn and study graphic design but I was able to be the first in my family to graduate. I never thought that being a designer would open so many doors of opportunity for me. Not only that, but I was able to find my passion and loving every minute of it. I know it’s still early in my career, but I’ve already created priceless experiences and memories to cherish for a lifetime.

What is your career highlight so far —project, portfolio piece, other?

I’m lucky enough to have experienced two major highlights within my career.

Because of design I was able to study abroad in London at UAL: Central Saint Martins. The experience was something that I never thought could happen. Just the simple fact of traveling to Europe and seeing first hand what other people from around the world are doing in this profession really changed my life.

Another moment was at the 41st CADC Award show. I submitted a few pieces of my work, almost missing the deadline. I knew I was attending the show with Primacy so I thought if I submitted some of my own work, it would be fun to see if any made it into the show. To this day I am still shocked of the success of my work. I am eternally grateful for all the compliments I received that evening. The biggest thing the show gave me was the reassurance to know that my work alone, could stand up against some of the most creative studios and that I can really make an impact as a designer.

What do you want to accomplish before you retire?

When I finally get old and decrepit, I want to be able to look back and be proud of the life I lived as a designer. I want to feel as though my work really made a difference or contributed a cause at one point. I would like my work to show variety and really speak volume from large base projects to smaller personal ones. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to say that I gave it my all and be proud of what I’ve accomplished on my journey.

Who/What are your biggest influences?

Nowadays, a lot of my influences now comes from Instagram. I use the app to follow as many creatives as I can and save everything that inspires me. I thought I could use this time to name a few.


Last but not least, Aaron Draplin is my biggest influence. While attending his workshop/talk I was able to make a personal connection as well as relate to his practice of design. It gave me more faith in finding a balance between enjoying what I’m creating as opposed to just creating for a deadline.

Who are the best creatives you’ve worked with? 

Some of the best creatives I worked with were my college classmates. I think since we didn’t have client limitations and were full of ambition to create great work, the dynamic of the classes really pushed me harder with every brief. Everyone had their own perspective and style which made it fun to learn and grow with them. They were some of the most badass designers and I appreciate the time we had together. Now being adults, it’s cool see where everyone’s going and what projects they’re working on in their career.

What cause means the most to you?

In general, I just want to help people. I grew up being in the lower class and have seen a lot of good people struggle and make sacrifices just to survive. If I could, I want to help inner city neighborhoods and the lower class with the power of design. Maybe I can give them a voice or find ways to help them progress to make a change.

I never knew that art could be a career choice. I thought it could only be a hobby since I mostly created art during school clubs or while bored at home. But for some reason my gut told me to take a risk and pursue a trade in graphic design.

Why Connecticut?

My parents made the move to Connecticut from The Bronx, in hopes for a better life for their children. Connecticut has given me the tools and the opportunity to become anything I wanted. I feel good design has no bound to location but I’ve really seen a lot of great talent come from Connecticut.

What are your loves/passions outside of this field?

Spending time with Good Company / Roller Skating / Listening to Music / Video Games

What do you know now that you didn’t know then?

Trust yourself, your work, your peers and for a better future.