Employee Spotlight: 2024 Design Champion, Filo Canseco

June 18, 2024
Putting a Piece of Himself in His Work

Recently honored as Ankrom Moisan’s first-ever Design Champion through the new AM Rewards & Recognition program, Filo Canseco goes above and beyond, pushing the boundaries of graphic design by putting part of himself into his work.

 

 

Filo’s Design Champion Banner.

 

Filo became interested in design at an early age. Coming from a creative family, he was naturally attracted to anything related to art and design, often taking up the modes of expression shared with him by his relatives. “My uncle Aaron, who is an illustrator, introduced me to graphite and chalk early on in my childhood. Similarly, my aunts embroidered, so I learned embroidery,” Filo shared. It wasn’t until later that he realized why his family were passing on their creative abilities. “They knew that because of our family’s immigrations status at the time, having recently become naturalized citizens, they had missed their opportunity to pursue the arts. I was the only one who had a chance of pursuing design in college and as a career.”

 

Interested in animation and the process of making illustrations come to life, Filo applied to The Art Institute of Portland after high school. He wasn’t accepted at the time, which was “devastating,” but something he’s glad about now. Despite not immediately applying to a college design program again, Filo pursued his passion for design wherever he could. “I created business cards and websites for friends’ small businesses, designed posters for friends in bands, and later picked up photography and videography,” he said. Though he was immersed in creating unique one-of-a-kind designs for friends, he felt that his lack of technical knowledge meant he didn’t qualify as a true graphic designer. “I designed my entire brand identity in Photoshop without knowing much about Adobe’s software. It wasn’t until a friend suggested I start charging for my design services that I considered this as a potential career.”

 

Filo saw his opportunity to follow his dream and practice design and took it. When he returned to higher education nine years later, it was confirmation that a career in graphic design was indeed meant for him. Even though he already had some experience under his belt, learning the ins and outs of design in an academic setting changed his perspective on his process. “I was captivated by the fundamentals of graphic design, graphic design history, hand-lettering, pottery, digital graphic design, and all its multifaceted realms,” Filo said. “We learned design, we learned what the great classical artists were thinking and feeling, then we broke down their designs to be put back together with a little piece of ourselves in there. That was huge for me. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I feel that change in approach is what keeps me producing innovative work.

 

 

 

Filo at his desk in the Portland office.

 

When Filo first started at Ankrom Moisan after graduating from Portland State University in 2022, it was during the pandemic, before AM’s offices instated a two day per week in-person requirement. Because of this, Filo only met a handful of people after starting. “I might have seen Juan Conci or Fernando Abba, our Visualization Managers, once or twice,” he recalled. “It was very lonely. There was nobody in the office. Everything was through Teams meetings.”

 

Looking back, Filo believes that this slow introduction to the world of Ankrom Moisan worked in his favor. “I was fresh and brand new not only to an architecture firm, but also to having a graphic design job. Pandemic distancing and remote work gradually got me into Ankrom Moisan’s firm culture and what my role was.” He feels lucky to have been able to meet people one at a time, as it gave him a better chance to form connections with new coworkers and assimilate to a new industry than if he had met everyone all at once.

 

Being able to integrate into AM’s work culture at his own pace deeply influenced how Filo takes a project’s design direction and turns it into an effective deliverable that resonates with the company’s culture and wins new projects.

 

 

Filo’s design work for the ‘Women Rising’ DEIB campaign

 

Over the past two years, Filo and his eye for design have grown considerably. He’s grown accustomed to taking the lead on design campaigns, and the responsibility that comes with it, thanks in part to Ankrom Moisan’s unique structure and system of support. “I don’t think I would have grown as fast as I did if Ankrom Moisan’s work culture wasn’t so well established. If I had my first job at a popular downtown design firm, I would have had to go through a lot more hierarchy to get where I am today,” he remarked. “I would have been forced into the box of ‘junior graphic designer,’ and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grow and realize that I have a lot more capabilities than that.”

 

Growing into his new capabilities, Filo realized that one of his favorite parts of doing graphic design at Ankrom Moisan is the glowing feedback he often receives after completing a deliverable. “It feels so rewarding to do so much with such a small team,” Filo expressed. “People will come to us and ask what external team we hired, and it’s just like ‘no, we’re just a group of three people taking Ankrom Moisan’s supportive culture and producing this collateral.'” For this reason, the DEIB people-centered campaigns have been a favorite of Filo’s. “These campaigns have really projected me into a space where I can be a graphic designer as well as a creative lead.”

 

 

 

Filo with Emily Lamunyan and Dani Murphy behind the scenes of the AMasterclass DEIB campaign.

 

When he found out about his recognition as Design Champion, Filo didn’t know how to react. “I didn’t know our president, Dave, would make a video response. I was completely blown away and had to take a moment to really let it sink in,” he said. It was a bit of a surprise. “I found out in a Teams meeting. It was a little awkward finding out and then making my own poster,” he joked. “I guess it had to happen though, since I’m the one doing graphics; there was no way of having somebody else make it.”

 

 

Filo’s Design Champion nomination video.

 

Recognized in his nomination video by President Dave Heater, Vice President Alissa Brandt, Director of Marketing Emily Lamunyan, and Visualization Manager Juan Conci for his willingness to step outside of his comfort zone as well as for his game-changing design work that gives Ankrom Moisan a competitive advantage, Filo shared just how and why his graphic design efforts have had such a big impact on the firm. “Feeling like I can reach out to anyone on the marketing team at any point to get feedback is just golden. I haven’t experienced that with any other job.” Aside from his team’s support, Filo can produce such stellar graphics, putting part of himself into his designs, because of his working process. “My process is about staying curious to ensure the final design is innovative and cutting-edge, not formulaic,” he explained. “I’ve been fortunate to have an innately curious personality. I didn’t realize it until recently, but it’s what helps me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to integrate my lived experience into my designs.”

 

 

Filo’s promotional work for the Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration DEIB campaign.

 

As one of the first Ankrom Moisan employees to be celebrated through the new Rewards & Recognition program, Filo has high hopes for the future of the program. “I hope and envision that the rewards and recognition program transcends Ankrom Moisan. It’s a great way to show how important and strong our culture is here,” Filo said. “I also hope future champions see the acknowledgement as a milestone and an opportunity to reflect on their career. Being recognized made me step away from work and life and realize how I’ve changed as a professional.

 

Reflecting on advice for emerging young professionals in the field of graphic design, Filo had this to offer. “You’ve done the hard work when it comes to learning and educating yourself. Now that you’ve graduated, take it slow. Have fun. I know it sounds cheesy since it’s one of our HOWs, but having fun with what we do is super important to creating balance.” He also emphasized that “making mistakes, as well as connections, is ultimately what helps you get to know your team and everyone else at the firm.”

 

Taking his Design Champion recognition as a chance to look back at his career, Filo reflected on how everything he learned from his family, high school, gap years, and time at PSU has led him to this moment. “Being a graphic designer has always been my goal, but I now see new opportunities to become much more,” he revealed. “I see myself in a role where I can share my experiences – perhaps as a mentor, a supervisor, or a director. Who knows!” Right now, Filo’s focus is on just enjoying his moment. It’s more than deserved.

 

Jack Cochran
Marketing Coordinator
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Sustainability & Ankrom Moisan Interiors
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Q: What efforts are Ankrom Moisan making to provide better...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Designing for Inclusivity
Designing for inclusivity is something that is always on interior designers’ radar.  ADA regulations instituted in 1990 blossomed into the...
Designing for inclusivity is something that is always on interior...
ARCHITECTURE
INTERIOR DESIGN
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
WORKPLACE
Mass Timber: 38 Davis
At 38 Davis, work and home is integrated through mass...
At ...
ARCHITECTURE
CULTURE
Employee Spotlight: Keith Larson
Did you know Ankrom Moisan has an in-house model maker?   Meet Keith Larson. While he’s been working as a professional...
Did you know Ankrom Moisan has an in-house model...
INTERIOR DESIGN
URBAN LIVING
Convenience Factor
The new standard is that services, products, and conveniences are available to people in a matter of minutes. Residents demand their communities...
The new standard is that services, products, and conveniences are...
ARCHITECTURE
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Insights from the Advancing Mass Timber Construction Conference
Mass timber technology continues to develop rapidly as more and more projects seek to implement this beautiful, sustainable, and durable material....
Mass timber technology continues to develop rapidly as more and more...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Project Materials Spotlight
A trend our workplace team has been observing lately: landlords are considering their tenants more like customers and creating spaces as a...
A trend our workplace team has been observing lately: landlords are...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Office Design that Supports Employees Holistically
With more employers offering the ability to work from home—and ...
With more employers offering the ability to work from home—and ...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Lifestyle Experiences at Work
Natural light. Fresh air. Lush greenery. Hospitality-inspired amenities. Companies want to give employees a lifestyle package that makes people...
Natural light. Fresh air. Lush greenery. Hospitality-inspired...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Technology-Rich Workplaces
Before the pandemic, relaxing with coworkers in the office breakroom or preparing meals in the communal kitchen were typical, stress-free, even...
Before the pandemic, relaxing with coworkers in the office breakroom or...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Project Materials Spotlight
In...
...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Simplifying the Specification Process
Within my design passion comes a desire to learn about how spaces and their materiality affect people mentally, psychologically, physiologically,...
Within my design passion comes a desire to learn about how spaces and...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Designing for Comfort
Our homes should be comfortable, should rejuvenate us, and they can make or break our capacity for resiliency. Designing for comfort goes far...
Our homes should be comfortable, should rejuvenate us, and they can...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Discovering a Love for Design
This is a familiar story for many interior designers. I wanted to be an interior designer since I was in grade school; the signs were there from...
This is a familiar story for many interior designers. I wanted to be an...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Human Centered Design
...
...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Symbiotic Communities
Before the pandemic, it was common for businesses and office workers to have an insulated experience within the...
Before the pandemic, it was common for...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Civic Pride
...
...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
What’s Next for the Workplace?
What will it take to revive central business districts across the US? What role will your workplace play in this recovery?  What makes a...
What will it take to revive central business districts across the US?...
HOUSING
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Looking Ahead
Ankrom Moisan’s Jeremy Southerland, Alissa Brandt, and Chris Ebert led a presentation ...
Ankrom Moisan’s Jeremy Southerland, Alissa...
INTERIOR DESIGN
URBAN LIVING
Multi-Faceted Life
Apartment buildings are micro-neighborhoods, offering residents opportunities to connect to the community around them. And as individual unit...
Apartment buildings are micro-neighborhoods, offering residents...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Fitness is Integral to Wellness
The connections between exercise and overall wellness are well established—but how can we, as designers, create senior communities that...
The connections between exercise and overall wellness are well...
ARCHITECTURE
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Balancing Elements of Design with Light in Mind
With access to natural daylight, we’re sharper and happier during the day, we sleep better at night, and we recovery faster when we’re sick....
With access to natural daylight, we’re sharper and happier during the...
INTERIOR DESIGN
URBAN LIVING
Adaptive Living
There’s a new focus on the changing needs of residents in an evolving world. Future-ready units with practical and customizable features will...
There’s a new focus on the changing needs of residents in an evolving...
INTERIOR DESIGN
URBAN LIVING
Leading the Evolving Market
As people adapt to the shocks of the pandemic, multi-family communities are responding to the long-term shifts in residents’ daily...
As people adapt to the shocks of the pandemic, multi-family communities...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
INTERIOR DESIGN
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Vitality in the Village
Understanding the connection between a well-designed community and people’s overall resilience and health, our campus master plan for Mary’s...
Understanding the connection between a well-designed community and...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Approaching Air Quality Holistically
Fresh air and wellness are intrinsically connected. With ready access to fresh air, people are more alert, physically healthier, able to heal...
Fresh air and wellness are intrinsically connected. With ready access...
INTERIOR DESIGN
URBAN LIVING
[Home]Work
With the rapid acceptance of remote work, we are examining how residents’ needs are changing in multifamily communities. Building amenities...
With the rapid acceptance of remote work, we are examining how...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Re-Connect
What is the purpose of the office now? And in the future? To answer these questions, we surveyed nearly 400 people from various industries and...
What is the purpose of the office now? And in the future? To answer...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
The New Suburban Office
Natural ventilation and access to fresh air are priorities for post-pandemic office spaces. With people’s growing interest in shorter commutes,...
Natural ventilation and access to fresh air are priorities for...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Evolution of Office Amenities Q&A
COVID-19’s influence on the future of office space is one of the real estate industry’s million-dollar questions today. With many employees...
COVID-19’s influence on the future of office space is one of the real...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
Feasibility Studies
We conduct site feasibility studies for our clients, which are divided into three tiers. From Tier 1 to Tier 3, each tier deals with increasing...
We conduct site feasibility studies for our clients, which are divided...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
SENIOR COMMUNITIES
SUSTAINABILITY & WELLNESS
Accommodation Around Dining
Sharing meals is essential to people’s social and emotional wellness. Our insights support safer communal meals in senior living campuses that...
Sharing meals is essential to people’s social and emotional wellness....
CULTURE
AM Design Week 2020
For Seattle Design Festival’s 10th anniversary in August, 2020, our Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco offices celebrated Design Week...
For Seattle Design Festival’s 10th anniversary in August, 2020, our...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Re-New
Our wellness solutions are realistic and evidence-based. By investigating how the coronavirus affects workplace design, setting clear outcomes,...
Our wellness solutions are realistic and evidence-based. By...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
Apartment Innovation Insights
After interviewing hundreds of apartment residents, we distilled their responses and refined our observations into practical design...
After interviewing hundreds of apartment residents, we distilled their...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Re-Entry
Ankrom Moisan has spent decades designing healthy, empowering workplaces. Working quickly and cost-effectively, we design and implement strategies...
Ankrom Moisan has spent decades designing healthy, empowering...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Re-Imagine
Our own reentry strategy for 38 Davis, Ankrom Moisan’s Portland headquarters, puts our design insights into practice. Discover how we...
Our own reentry strategy for 38 Davis, Ankrom Moisan’s Portland...
INTERIOR DESIGN
WORKPLACE
Re-Set
We surveyed 300+ people about returning to the office, and their responses were loud and clear. A holistic, employee-centered approach is...
We surveyed 300+ people about returning to the office, and their...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
High-Rise Design
Download our latest (2020) lookbook on urban high-rise design. – – – – > UPDATE: Click to view the ...
Download our latest (2020) lookbook on urban high-rise design. ...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
Design for Living: Mid-Rise
Download our inspiring 2020 lookbook on mid-rise living.   ...
Download our inspiring 2020 lookbook on mid-rise...
ARCHITECTURE
HOUSING
Apartment Innovation Survey
Our survey, conducted from May 28 through June 17, 2020, yielded over 400 responses and 1,635 written comments about apartment living...
Our survey, conducted from May 28 through June 17, 2020, yielded over...