In the Spotlight: Randall Castro

In the Spotlight: Randall Castro

Name: Randall Castro
Title: Senior Visual Designer
Location: Ciruelas in the Alajuela region of Costa Rica
Favorite Philosophy: If you put the right things out in the Universe, the right things will find you. 

What does your usual workday tend to look like?
When I first started at Assemble, I was working primarily in animated banners. I just love animation and motion! But with a background in visual design, my responsibilities grew into all things design related. Mari and I are in charge of both our client design work (website landing pages, ads, branding/logos, etc.) and internal requests too — from our newsletters and site graphics to our marketing materials and more.

We also get to do a lot of cool tasks as part of furthering our unique community culture. Recently, I created a fun calendar, featuring illustrated landscapes from both Philadelphia and Costa Rica, for everyone on the team to use throughout the year. And for each new hire, I’ll create a portrait that captures their unique personality/interests in the form of a movie or character that we share at our team meetings to start the week with a good laugh. I love all the projects I get to work on are so different from day to day. 

How would you describe your job to a bunch of kindergarteners? 
I can make those cartoons you see on TV, but they’re usually only 15-30 seconds long.

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on? Why? 
Two come to mind right away. The first was working with a brand called Women of Wealth where I was able to create a brand new logo for them. They were so happy with it that it led to another similar project for a different client. The coolest part about it was that we were able to demonstrate to the client that even as a development studio, we’re able to provide the type of creative work that they’d expect from a niche design agency. 

The second was a project for a Pharma client. They wanted to create two videos featuring their new CTMS tool used to track medications, based on a previous banner campaign that Mari had designed.  I got to build out the entire storyboard and design for both videos. I was able to add animation to the small icons and logos from the campaigns to add energy and dynamic flow. They loved it, and I had such a fun time bringing it to life. 

What do you love most about working for a remote team with employees in different countries? 
I’m a little old school in that I love interacting with people face-to-face, so the switch to remote was a big change for me. But there are so many blessings that come along with it. I’m able to spend a lot more time with my kids and be more productive in my work breaks like getting things done around the house.

Assemble also just has such a one-of-a-kind culture that truly prioritizes community, inclusion, and collaboration, so you feel connected to everyone no matter where you are. Not many people will have the experience of working with and talking to clients and coworkers in other parts of the world in real-time. We get to be part of key meetings and have great conversations with people from the states every day, and it’s such a cool thing. 

What motivates you professionally? 
My love for animation! Every time I see a feature film or a documentary from an independent artist, I am always trying to understand what they did, how they did it, how the cool linings work, etc. One day, I would love to work on an actual film. I’m currently trying to learn a little bit more about 3D programming so I could take advantage of that opportunity in the future if it ever arises.

What are your favorite things to do in your free time? 
My kids are my reason for living — even though they aren’t really “kids” anymore! My oldest son, Elías, is 17, and my younger son, Josué, is 15. They’re at the ages where they want to experience everything, so I value any chance I have to spend time with them.  We’ll go to the mall and shop for new anime characters, or go on hikes together. Elías is big into Tae Kwon Do, so I take him to classes 3x a week, and he wants to study video game design/development. Josué loves to skateboard and wants to be a designer like his dad. 

We also love going to La Fortuna. My father has a small house there so we take a trip from time to time and enjoy the hot springs or go to the rivers and swim. We all like to be outside and stay active, so it’s really fun for us. 

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  
Fried chicken! In Costa Rica, we have a chicken place on every corner — it’s like our Starbucks. I’m pretty simple so I usually just eat my chicken plain, but if I get wings, I do like BBQ. I’ll usually balance it out with a really nice salad. 

Who is someone you really admire? Why? 
I’m a big fan of Sci Fi, and there’s always one show I always go back to: Star Trek. Its creator, Eugene Roddenberry, just had such an incredible vision for the future — one that’s still so far from where we are today. How cool would it be to hop in a spaceship to explore the galaxy and see what’s outside of our planet — and these shows allow me to do that. It all comes back to design. From the ships to the props and sets, I get so much enjoyment in analyzing it and learning from it.

What advice would you give your younger self? 
Be fearless — and do more! Sometimes fear prevents you from taking a leap and seeing what happens. Overall, I love what I’ve done so far in my life, but I know I stressed a lot in the past. I’m not in that place anymore, and I’m much happier and at peace. I’m willing to take more chances and know everything is going to be fine!  

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In the Spotlight: Jose Montealegre

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My day starts with a cup of coffee as I hop on my computer to check emails and get caught up on anything from the night before. Then we’ll have our daily status call to see what needs to be done, and spend most of my day checking automation and testing our client products. But as our QA leader, I’m also very committed to fine tuning our process as a whole. That means continuously researching best practices and industry updates to make sure we keep improving how we approach QA as a company.

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