Local businesses are truly the backbone of our communities and supporting them right now is more important than ever before. Lifting up and supporting businesses owned by marginalized groups, like BIPOC and women, is always something we strive to do at The Hoboken Girl. Hermanitas Design is a Latina, female-owned, digital design business based out of West New York that focuses on mental health, grief, Latin heritage, and much more. For Iris and Rosalinda Ponce, the owners of Hermanitas Design, their lives serve as the blueprint and inspiration for their work. Life-long Hudson County natives, this sister-duo creates beautiful designs at affordable prices — for just about everyone. Read on to learn more about the West New York-based graphic design brand, Hermanitas Design.
Iris and Rosalinda come from Cuban and Guatemalan parents and have lived in NoHu all their lives. Inspired by their mom as children, Iris and Rosalinda were creatively inclined from the start.
“We grew up in a very creative household where we were constantly watching our mom paint anything she could get her hands-on,” said Rosalinda. “She would paint cartoons on our bedroom walls, she would transform our apartment hallways into Disney scenes and of course, she was a huge Bob Ross fan.”
“She would always tell us that anything is possible and until this day, we believe that.”
How Hermanitas Design Got Started
When deciding on career paths, Rosa started off in photography, and Iris would manipulate images and create things in a pre-digital era. “We would photograph events and get our friends and family to participate in concept photoshoots.”
Iris made the decision to attend an art school first and Rosa followed shortly after. Iris and Rosa both graduated from New Jersey City University with a BFA in Digital Design and Illustration + a BFA in Graphic Design, respectively. “From there, we learned the endless possibilities to where our art could evolve. It was some time during art school that multiple professors told us we are a dynamic duo and the way we would create things apart and together was something they hadn’t seen before. These same professors would remind us how special this was.”
Hermanitas Design first got started in 2007 when Iris and Rosalinda realized that they could work together by combining their common interests and similarities, while also using their differences to their advantage.
“We have a balanced ying-yang partnership. We work very differently and our different styles allow us to have a broader perspective to bring to the creative table.
Although they are sisters and have common interests, the way they go about solving any design problem is completely the opposite. Iris has this ability to dream up designs in unconventional, over-the-top ways, while Rosa is more methodical in her process and reels in the elaborate ideas to infuse the two styles together into one unique, cohesive design.
“We bounce our ideas off of each other to create things that have an interesting perspective and are attracted to designing things that are often overlooked. We love connecting with people who share similar experiences and advocate for matters that are oftentimes misunderstood. Our work is a reflection of who we are as well as our experiences.”
The sisters focus their work on topics that are important to them and have shaped who they are, the struggles, and the joys they find in their day-to-day lives. This includes mental health, grief, and their Latina Heritage.
“The project closest to our heart is our Mental Health Series that can be found on our website where we express our experience with Mental Illness and ways to cope,” said Rosalinda. “For this series, we stepped out of our comfort zones with our vulnerability and our artistic abilities. We pushed ourselves to create things we had no idea how to create before such as booklets, zines, and a newsletter.”
The sister duo is always creating something so you’ll always find new and interesting things on their site!
“We dabble in so many things. We are at times very photography based, we enjoy creating logos and helping bring a new businesses vision to life with branding, times we are hosting and party planning, but we are always creating something whether it be new prints or trying a new form of making things on our own like buttons, t-shirts or new ways of printing. Our prints are currently very Poly Art related and we choose characters or people we relate to and spark joy for us to dedicate a few hours working on.”
Their most popular art piece is Hermanitas Design’s Iconic Latinas Series where they highlight Latinas that are collectively amazing.
“This series gives us a chance to keep our Hispanic identity growing with our audience and the little humans in our lives that are watching us create things and want to know who we are and where we come from.”
Effects of COVID-19
Like many businesses, the owners at Hermanitas Design have adapted and embraced the virtual aspect that has emerged with COVID-19. Most importantly, they’ve figured out new ways to keep people connected with interactive events, including hosting virtual bingos to benefit seniors staying in assisted living facilities, and much more.
“As two people who suffer from Mental Health Issues, we understand the importance of staying connected and not retreating to dark places in such an uncertain and potentially lonely time,” said Rosalinda. “We love connecting with people and sharing time where we can bring a good vibe and open environment to have some fun with others. Keeping this in mind, we have begun to host virtual parties that consist of bingo, trivia, painting, or dance parties for children and adults alike.”
Hermanitas Design plan and hosts the parties from start to finish. In regards to the children’s parties, they take care of sending virtual invitations to all the guests, including all of the links required to participate in the festivities and even shopping lists, if the parents are interested. The sister duo creates slideshows, themes, musical playlists, and all of the cues necessary to keep the children engaged for the duration of the event.
What They Do For Fun Outside of Work
Independently, Iris is a plant mom that enjoys reading and cleaning. Rosalinda enjoys getting lost in a good video game and has self-proclaimed impeccable trash-talking skills when it comes to online play. Most importantly, perhaps, is their love of coffee, as well as family, superheroes, and baseball!
“Together we like to drink more coffee than we should,” said Rosalinda.
“We enjoy a good trip to the museum, going to Yankee Stadium, nature walks, and picnics. We are huge Marvel fans, we are constantly rewatching the movies. We are movie buffs, we enjoy dissecting films and comparing directors’ styles, and discussing things like cinematography, a movie score – we love a good movie score. We like to binge-watch TV and spend most of our free time with our nieces and nephews. Above all, we enjoy each other’s company with our new rescue dog Lolita, and spoil her because she was the best thing to come out of this crazy COVID-19 time.”
What’s Next for Hermanitas Design?
Hermanitas Design hopes to widen their audience + collaborate with more people who are interested in advocating for causes through art.
Be on the lookout for Hermanitas Design’s virtual events that they will host soon, including an Art History Trivia and a Mother’s Day Bingo!