Graphic design – Låpsüs

We spoke with Annie Domínguez y Mary Urrutia, the creative minds behind Låpsüs, an agency that cannot definned by only using the term graphic design.

With a work process that combines the real image and design tools with multitasking, these visual creators have managed to differentiate themselves with a unique style in which vibrant colors and a mixture of reality and fantasy are the protagonists.

Although the term graphic design is not enough to define their work, Mary and Annie are not strangers to the problems suffered in this sector. That is why we talk with them about issues such as fear -or not- of intrusion, the challenges when facing a project, the endless changes -or those that are made by the client without warning-, the perception of the value of creative work or the coordination with other teams.

We also took the opportunity to ask them about the origin of Låpsüs, the keys of their style and their current projects.

How and when Låpsüs was born?

The two minds behind Låpsüs –Annie Domínguez and Mary Urrutia– met in 2014 studying a master’s degree in advertising strategy and creativity at IED Madrid. The best anecdote is that our first experience together behind the cameras was as extras in a television curtain because one of our teachers was the director.

We had always had an interest for the creative world; Mary studied Photography at the CIEF in Caracas and Annie has a degree in Fine Arts from the UCM, but it was not until after completing the postgraduate course that we joined to collaborate together. At first, we combined other jobs with the realization of personal projects, and we invented a name of “creative studio” – Moonbow Lab – that no one was able to pronounce.

During this time, we also worked as an Artistic Direction team in ad shootings and we supported other filmmakers in their proposals with the creative development. With so many open fronts, we cannot choose a specific path or know what we really wanted to do, but we discovered that we needed to be masters of our own successes and failures, and unleash our passion.

Finally in 2017 we dared to take the step of formalizing our project and Låpsüs was born. So, here we are! We are here today and we hope to be here for a long time. Everyone thinks that we call ourselves “somos lapsus” [“we are lapses”], and although we love that others call themselves lapses, it is Låpsüs, to dry. We are Låpsüs, and the rest has yet to prove that they are haha. And it is that thinking lapses is our way of creating and facing reality to a new vision free of prejudices … And for that reason, we are called Låpsüs!


How would you define your style?

At first we could say fun and colorful, but if we respond based on how others define us, we would say disruptive. It’s funny, because even when we always tried to think outside the box and challenge the status quo, we were not aware that our work was directly associated with this adjective.

A style can have many qualifiers and ours is defined by Låpsüs. Identity seal that mixes two opposite universes; the real and the imaginary. A kind of magical literary realism applied to photography.

But, in a world where tags and keywords are the order of the day, it never hurts to add other qualities: naive, vibrant, energizing, optimistic, artisan, lighthearted, humorous, ironic, incoherent, random and even eclectic.

Our style is mutating based on our constant evolution, interests and learning… For example, when creating our compositions we have had a special predilection for weird textures, extravagant things and the number three. But the OCD of today will not necessarily be the same of tomorrow!


Funtastic Spring Globo - Diseño gráfico Lapus

One of the elements that stands out in your creations is color. In your opinion, how important is to know how to choose the perfect colors for a brand?

Color is very important, and if used wisely, it will be a great ally for a brand. The choice of tonality, saturation or luminosity, of harmonies or contrasts, supports its personality and transmits feelings, it has meaning. It is part of your voice; It has to speak according to its storytelling and the audience it is addressing… It has such great power that it is scary!

Sometimes we joke among ourselves that there is a social chromophobia – fear of color – especially in Spain. People are afraid of going too far, of looking like clowns, of drawing too much attention, and brands have the fear of showing themselves as too much “whatever.” They seem to like half measures!

We believe that it has to do with culture, there are societies much more colorful than others. If we travel through Latin American countries like Mexico or Colombia, we can literally breathe color in its purest form walking through its streets; And the same is true in most African countries.

In our society we are neutral and color does not radiate everything in its path, it is more restrained. But color is design, it is art, it is sentiment and it is symbolism! And you don’t necessarily have to convey freshness and optimism; but not random feelings either. A brand should use the power of color and exploit it to achieve its communication goals and make its audience fall in love.


“Designers have nightmares with endless customer changes, but for us there is something worse, and that is that they apply them on their own so they don’t have to “bother” us!”

Annie Domínguez & Mary Urrutia


Catch the Charm anatomía del diseño gráfico de Lapsus

What is the biggest challenge you face when starting a project?

Each job has different challenges, but there are always some that are repeated. The biggest without a doubt is to become an octopus and perform multitasking tasks; take care of absolutely everything and change roles during the different stages of the project.

Of course, to maintain focus and have the best attitude towards these challenges, we have raised the 5 commandments of Låpsüs:

  1. You will not repeat the ideas; you will seek new approaches even if you work with the same clients.
  2. You will not take criticism personally.
  3. You will respect the identity of the project above your preferences.
  4. You will not talk too much, you will always listen.
  5. You will remain calm, even when approvals drag out.


What are you working on right now? Can you tell us a bit?

We have several very interesting and personally enriching open fronts. For example, we are in the middle of a very nice project of photographic infographics to educate citizens about recycling and clean points. This type of work connects with our values ​​and makes us feel useful to the society, so it is one of the most rewarding.

On the other hand, we are also collaborating with brands from very different sectors such as cosmetics, fashion and food. This forces us to be chameleonic and learn from completely different areas: as soon as we are thinking about master formulation as about transmitting visual flavors through still life. Of course we never get bored, and that is a luxury!

When we can, we also like to put the business aside and carry out personal projects in which to unleash our creativity. This is the case of our series of sweet infographics “Sweetduction” that we have just launched and it is having a very good reception. We invite you to discover the project and pamper yourself with our sweetest snacks!


Do you think that in general people are aware of all the work that goes behind each design or creativity?

Thanks! We are crazy about being asked this question… No! Absolutely NO. It is a bit like the phrase of the Little Prince “the essential is invisible to the eyes”.

Today what is not shown does not exist. For this reason, we have made an effort to teach our artisan process with the “behind the scenes” of our projects. We love to share making of images, sketches, “anatomies” of our photographs, anecdotes and other resources.

Thus, our public can understand that, although we use photography as a means of expression, we do not do it from the more traditional side. We don’t capture moments, we design them!

Each project we carry out is divided into three phases: pre-production, production and post-production. Each stage is super important but we pay special attention to the first and most creative one. In it, we develop the strategy and visual thinking to articulate an attractive storytelling. From this reality, we add the magic touch.

Although many think that everything is done when you click, this is just when the party begins!


Antes y después - el proceso de diseño gráfico de Lapsus

What’s the worst thing we can do to a designer?

Designers have nightmares with endless customer changes, but for us there is something worse, and that is that they apply them on their own so they don’t have to “bother” us! We have run into those who use instagram filters on our final delivery or those who take the license to continue retouching the color. Both are our worst nightmare: please ask us for corrections!

It also takes away our sleep that they do not end up using the creative pieces that we make with such care for the purpose they were commissioned. The pandemic forced brands to rethink their communication and took more than one project to the memory drawer without leting them see the light.

Another tricky issue for us is when clients want to publish a work before finalizing the post-production phase to be able to launch something “in the meantime”, or to “advance the graphic design”. Even if we are promised otherwise, this material always ends up where it shouldn’t and we don’t want the unfinished work to be related to the quality of Låpsüs. So please, have a little patience!


Berryful Delight - Diseño gráfico Lapsus

How do you coordinate with other teams such as copywriters, editors, social networks …? Love or hate?

We miss having co-workers so when we join other teams we adopt them as temporary colleagues. It enriches us to meet new profiles with each project and we learn a lot from them; it’s nice to create synergies and co-creation always adds up.

On the negative side, it is difficult for us to deal with the “non-communication” between departments of a brand or agency when the project we done for one objective ends up being used for another without taking into account our guidelines. We also do not cope well with large project approval times when there are many intermediaries in the process.

But even with hints of hate… 90% is love to the spirit of collaboration with other teams <3!


Funtastic Spring Globo - Diseño gráfico Lapus

What do you think of the intrusion? Do you “suffer” it as designers?

This topic gives for an infinite debate. It has its lights and shadows, but like everything in life, it depends on the prism through which you look at it. For us it is not a question to demonize, it does not take away our sleep. The sun must shine for everyone!

The democratization of knowledge and new technologies is a reality and it is better to take it in favor than to fight against it. Today anyone can learn photography or other disciplines on their own, and even work with a telephone. It is fascinating to meet motivated people, who are not afraid of change and who are willing to evolve at all times.

We believe that the seriousness of the intrusion has to do with the profession that is practiced. An intruder in medicine is not the same as in the creative field. Everything to its right measure! We consider that above all else, talent must prevail, and that must be demonstrated. So, we come out against “nephewly managers”!

But no, intrusion does not scare us. Whoever wants to work with us will do so because of our way of thinking and seeing the world. The techniques and tools are replicable, but it is not the same with what we have inside our heads. For this reason, we strive to create unique imaginaries that bear our identity stamp.

We embrace the collaborative philosophy. The different designers, photographers and creatives in general are our colleagues and it seems nonsense to us to fall into absurd rivalries driven by the ego. Perhaps we ourselves are the intruders for the photographers of yesteryear!


Do you recommend any books to learn more about design?

The head chains logical ideas together but, in our field, we must push ourselves to find the “incoherent connections” that lead us to unexplored paths: train the brain not to think in a straight line when conceptualizing.

There is a book on this subject that especially marked us called Creative Thinker’s Exercise Book” by Dorte Nielsen & Katrine Granholm in which exercises are posed precisely to learn to disconnect our way of thinking from the obvious. We absolutelly recommend it!