Adriana Mora: Shaping 3D Art and Design in the Tech World from Mexico City to San Francisco

Conversation with Adriana Mora, an Art Director and 3D Designer for clients including Apple, Microsoft, and Nike. Adriana is based between San Francisco and Mexico City. With her, we speak about the fear of being replaceable and the courage it takes to grow beyond oneself.

3D Design|

Graphic Design

4 Mar 2024

In the bustling city of San Francisco, Adriana Mora, an art director and 3D artist, is making waves in the intersection of culture and technology. We sat down with Adriana to discuss her journey from the colorful influences of Mexico to the innovative forefront of the San Francisco tech scene.

From Mexico City's to San Francisco's Tech Scene

Adriana, can you share what triggered your move from Mexico City to San Francisco?

"Moving to San Francisco was about seizing career opportunities that seemed unreachable in Mexico at that point. Despite my deep connection to Mexican culture, I knew the States offered a different professional landscape and I was fascinated by their work culture. However, the transition was bittersweet; I missed Mexico's cultural richness."

The Leap into 3D Design and Freelancing

You taught yourself 3D Design and work now with giants like Apple and Microsoft. How did that come about?

"I started in graphic and brand design but pivoted to 3D during the pandemic. It was a very pragmatic approach. When I graduated with all these designers from university I just had to be honest to myself. I knew I wasn't that special with my work to stand out, the only thing that was important for me was to still have a job when I was 30. Back then 30 seemed so far away [laughs]. Now I’m turning 30 next week.

I was very pragmatic, I wanted to have a skill that would still be relevant in the future.

3D seemed to be a technology to bet on, although it wasn’t popular at all back then. It was an era where brands were desperately looking to stand out digitally and I wasn't scared to jump into new opportunities, even if it meant learning on the job - when a client asked me Can you do that for us? My answer was always yes, even if I had no clue what I was doing. Learning by doing is what worked best for me. This adaptability led me to freelancing and pushed me further into the 3D realm. Looks like my intuition turned out to be right.”

You've had quite the freelance journey, starting with a late-night project for Uber during your full-time job. Could you tell us more about that experience?

"That was a turning point for me. The project with Uber was my first significant freelance gig, and it was both exhilarating and exhausting. I'd work until 5 a.m., learning new skills on the fly. It was challenging, but the result was a campaign I'm still very proud of. Funny enough, the person who hired me for that project now works just a booth away from me at Apple."

Navigating the Tech Industry

How has working in the tech industry, especially at Apple, influenced your design approach?

"Tech was never my planned destination, yet it's reshaped my design philosophy. At Apple, there's an incredible focus on detail. However, my heart still lies in more tangible forms like architecture and furniture. My time in tech has taught me precision, but I yearn for the freedom to explore larger physical spaces and tangible designs."

Inspiration and Future Aspirations

Where do you find inspiration, and what's next for you after Apple?

"My Mexican heritage deeply inspires my work; the vibrant colors, intricate designs, and cultural depth. As for the future, I'm eager to return to freelance, bringing my experiences from Apple into new creative ventures. But, my ultimate goal is to empower more women in 3D design. I hope to mentor and inspire future female designers."

Among Adriana's favorites in Mexico City:

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