When Carlos Loaiza applied to join the Bachelor in Design at IE University, he was volunteering in Uganda. Originally from Ecuador, “Charlie,” as everybody knows him, had wanted to step outside what he saw as his bubble of privilege and make a positive impact somewhere he knew nothing about.

It was while he was in Uganda that Carlos, who had always yearned to be an artist, began to broaden his understanding of the world of design, voraciously reading anything design-related. Concerned that making a career out of his love of art may be challenging, he set out to discover as much about design as he could.

That’s where IE University’s Bachelor in Design came in. Once Carlos immersed himself in the world of design, he wanted to discover the full scope of the craft, rather than limiting himself to graphic design specifically. “I wanted to learn about so many things,” he tells us. “IE University was the only one that was able to teach me everything about design.” So, Madrid became his next destination.

Inspiration in diversity and detail

Diversity is one of IE University’s core values, and Carlos’s experience in the Bachelor in Design perfectly encapsulates why it’s so important. “The first idea is never really the best idea,” he admits. So he draws inspiration from the ideas and input of his colleagues, placing layers of creativity and references on top of his own thoughts to build his own creative profile. By working with other people and taking on their ideas, he says he can come up with solutions that he would never have been able to conceive alone.

Carlos believes that a successful career in design will be forged by demonstrating genuine versatility—he would ideally like to be the “Swiss army knife” of the discipline. So he keeps his eyes open for inspiration wherever he goes, and whatever he’s doing, often finding it in the small details that may pass people by. “It’s all about paying attention to life,” he tells us. Even in small mistakes, there may be ideas for design solutions. He admits, though, that some of his ideas may be misunderstood because not everybody sees the same “magic” in tiny details!

Making his impact

Now, thanks to the program, he has the guidance, the time and the resources to explore fully the limits of what’s possible, “to create something that goes beyond our own lives,” as Carlos puts it. For him, design is for the people, not for designers—just as was the case in his time in Uganda, it’s about making a positive impact on the world.

Away from design, Carlos has not lost his passion for art. Describing art as his “safe space,” it’s an outlet that helps him define himself. That may explain why he’s so keen to reinvent himself every year, in a bid to keep his thinking fresh and his work original. “I like to keep changing, to keep doing different things, because that’s what designers do best,” he tells us.

“Fitting in a box is my biggest fear,” he concludes. “Once you put yourself in a box, it’s very hard to get out of there. My desire is to break the box, break the labels, and just be Charlie.” It’s clear that his passion for his subject is all-consuming, so we can’t wait to see where his ideas take him.