Student visual design startup attracts big-name clients

When the idea of blending their graphic and web design skills with photography triggered seniors Binsen Gonzalez and Fernando Febres to found Face2Phase, their visual design company, they said they hoped to work with students.

Then the big-name clients started rolling in.

Now, the visual design startup has worked on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Dan Inouye’s fundraisers, photoshoots for the Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort, and promotional pictures for luxury brands such as Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana.

“We felt there was a need for dedicated and passionate designers, and there was a lot of space to grow and through that, our standards have gone a bit higher,” said Febres of his inspiration to start the company.

But Face2Phase has also built a reputation among the students they first aimed to serve. Fliers for the EVVY Awards, the musical “Poison Apple,” and Em Events have plastered campus walls with their image design work.

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“I know their photography is amazing,” said Corey Starbuck, co-founder of Em Events. “We support them wholeheartedly.”

Earlier this year, Em Events promoted the startup’s day of snapping free head shots for students.

Febres said one of the highlights of their work was taking photos of women who had been abused for Emerson sorority Kappa Gamma Chi’s Take Back the Night event which brought awareness to domestic violence.

Pat Lambert, an executive producer of the EVVYs, said he hired them to design posters for the award show.

“He has a group of talented and skilled individuals that are innovative and give you what you want to see,” Lambert said. “It was a pleasure to work with them. I am a demanding client and we work on strict deadlines and things are especially abrupt.”

Lambert and Gonzalez are also members of Phi Alpha Tau, a communications fraternity.

This company is still relatively small. According to Febres, the company has not made much profit since they have been offering their services for free to student organizations. Yet, he hopes that the company will flourish in the future.

“[This is ] most definitely  a long term with project so many good connections. So many opportunities to grow and be creative on a professional scale,” said Gonzalez, who along with Febres, plans to continue running their company well after graduation.

For Gonzalez, a former Beacon editorial cartoonist, running the business has helped him learn to manage people and now, he said, the company is accepting interns.

“[It] opens your mind to interpersonal techniques that are fundamental,” he said, “for whatever you are trying to accomplish.”