General Porfirio Díaz served as president of Mexico for seven terms and was so influential that he lent his name to the period in Mexican history from 1876-1922 now called the Porfirato.
It is that legendary status that Roberto Puig was tapping into when he founded his studio Don Porfirio, located in the unlikely but lovely Yucatán capitol city of Mérida, Mexico.
Says Puig, founder and creative director, “I chose the name to represent three things: the boldness of our work; the fact that we are one as a team and all represented by this abstract character; and the fact that we are Mexico-based.”
Animation-focused production studios are not common in Mexico, and Don Porfirio is probably the only one of its kind in Mérida, where Puig grew up.
Puig did not start his career as a motion-graphics designer and animator in Mexico, though; he began his studies in animation and motion design at Seneca College in Toronto. After graduation, he started working at Toronto’s Big Studios, where he did a lot of sports-related work, including packages for sports and broadcast networks as well as for the Super Bowl and the NBA. When he returned home, he brought his connections and relationships with him.
“We are based in Mérida but we don’t do work in the local market and when we do work for Mexico, it’s more in the advertising market,” Puig says. “When I came back and started showing what I was doing in Toronto, I got a lot of attention from networks in the U.S. because the design I was doing was very American. It also looked a lot different from the work that was being done in Mexico. That opened doors in both countries for the studio.
“It gave us the opportunity to get into the American market because it showed that we understood that market. For Mexico, what we were doing was fresh, different and interesting. Mexico looks a lot at what the U.S. is doing in terms of design.”
Because there isn’t much of a media industry in Mérida, most of the 30 or so people that work with Puig come from elsewhere. Many of the studio’s employees are from other parts of Mexico, but people from the U.S. and Latin America also move to Mérida to join the team. And when they leave or move back home, they often continue to work with Don Porfirio.
After running the studio for nine years, Puig and his team have worked for the BBC and its kids’ network, CBeebies; Discovery en Espanol; and many different commercial brands, including Coca-Cola and Ford.
For this year’s Promax Latino celebration, Puig and Don Porfirio created a bright, colorful and fun look that the organization could deploy across digital, social and mobile channels. Over the past year, Promax worked with creative agency Loyalkaspar on a rebrand that is designed to work well against any other campaign and puts the ‘X’ at the center, so Don Porfirio took those assets and pushed them into a brighter, bolder place.
“The team told me that they really wanted a Latino package that would stand out. We were encouraged to add a lot of color and make it feel fun and dynamic, while keeping it in touch with the overall brand,” says Puig. “That’s how we developed it. We decided to throw a party around the ‘X.’ It’s a celebration of the X, Latino-style.”
This year’s Promax Latino celebration is taking place in three cities: Miami on Oct. 3, Buenos Aires on Oct. 15, and São Paulo on Oct. 29. Don Porfirio designed fun creatures to represent each city: flamingos for Florida, a psychedelic deejay frog for São Paulo, and a capybara for Buenos Aires.
“If you see all three animals together, they live together very well,” says Puig. “But if you go deeper, they represent each venue. They are tropical and have a warm feel to them.”
Don Porfirio also filled the background with graphic icons—such as chili-sauce bottles or shapes pulled from Loyalkaspar’s rebrand and lit up with neon colors—to keep the campaign lively.
“At the end, what we wanted was a very fresh piece,” says Puig. “It ended up being three pieces and each one is fresh, festive and fun. They tell viewers that this is a gathering of friends, that it’s more of a party and celebration of talent and creativity than a corporate event. That anticipation of of having a party is what we wanted to convey.”