Pushing Doors Open: Graphic design became ‘second nature’ for this blind student


Gustavo Romero ’16 doesn’t believe in obstacles. He believes in “pushing doors open.”

Romero is a blind graphic designer.

Originally, he was interested in a culinary career, but he was dissuaded from heading in that direction and chose to study photography at Holyoke Community College. “I just kept moving,” Romero says.

When Romero transferred to Westfield State University for a bachelor’s degree in 2014, he was skeptical but intrigued by the idea of pursuing graphic design. “I’m visually impaired,” he says. “Once you start a drawing, it’s hard to stop and go back to fix
mistakes.” Once he learned how to navigate the software he uses and move around in his design pieces, Romero says it felt like
“second nature” to him. He uses programs like the Adobe Creative Suite and Blender, and on his phone, which he uses to sketch while he’s on a bus, heading from one place to another, he uses Adobe Capture and SketchbookX.

“Computers are a really big help,” he says. “That’s why I just kind of stuck with it, and I pushed it. Technology-based art is increasing.”

Romero is inspired by the world around him, current events, politics, and his neighborhood. “Anything that I hold close to my heart really pushes me to be creative,” he explains. Right now, he’s working on a design piece that features what he remembers from Puerto Rico, where he grew up.

Romero recently finished an internship as a junior designer with LightHouse in Holyoke, where he learned that “edits, edits, and more edits” are key. Also, he learned “things are bound to change, so go with the flow.”

What’s next for Romero is finding a job in graphic design. He hopes to pursue a master’s degree one day and to keep pushing doors open for himself. “You always have to know your limitations—and then you have to think about, do I want to challenge my own and everyone else’s thinking of what I may be able to do? And then you have to come to a conclusion and make your own future. I had to see for myself what I was capable of doing. I’m going to keep learning until I can’t learn anymore.”


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