The Designer

Rafael Esquer is Creative Director and CEO at Alfalfa New York.

A native of the Sonora desert of Mexico, Esquer chose Day of the Dead (November 1) to establish Alfalfa New York in order to emphasize its connection to the rich tradition of Mexican graphic arts.

Since 2004 Esquer has run Alfalfa Studio, his own interdisciplinary design studio in SoHo in New York City. His design philosophy is “make the idea clear and simple, but the design surprising and beautiful.” In 2007, Taschen included Esquer in its volume of the world’s 100 most progressive graphic designers working today (Contemporary Graphic Design. Charlotte and Peter Fiell, eds.).

Alfalfa Studio

Rafael Esquer


Esquer’s clients at Alfalfa Studio have included The Houston Rockets, The Philip Johnson Glass House, The Center for Architecture, The New York Times Magazine, Nike, Bjork, AIGA, Tommy Boy Records, Target, Scholastic, the City of New York, and MTV. Some of his work is contained in the Library of Congress poster collection, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Poster Museum in Poland, and the Olympic Museum in Switzerland.

Before opening Alfalfa Studio, Esquer was Creative Director at Radical Media in New York, where his group’s work in communication design received the National Design Award in 2004 from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.


2002, Bjork Cocoon. Client: Bjork

2003, Made in NY brand. Client: The City of New York

2003, Houston Rockets brand. Client: NBA’s Houston Rockets

2005, Hispanic Heritage Month TV Campaign. Client: MTV Networks

2006, Chavela Live at Carnegie Hall. Client: TommyBoy Records

2006, Forever Now Banner. Client: AIGA, WorldStudio Foundation, Square Alliance

Esquer frequently serves as judge and speaker at national and international design events. He currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Diversity Archives at AIGA and helped curate their first exhibition of contemporary and twentieth-century work by minority graphic designers.

Esquer received his BFA with distinction in graphic design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He has made New York City his home for more than 15 years.