When you first meet Gabriella Martins, the first thing that stands out is her infectious smile. She’s warm, friendly and eager to share her story — a journey of self-discovery that led her to a career in graphic design. And it’s the kind of story that will inspire anyone who has ever doubted themselves or felt like achieving their dreams was out of reach. It’s also a reminder that when you find something you love, there really aren’t any barriers — only opportunities.
Gabriella’s journey began in Brazil, where she grew up with her parents, pets, a love for nature and a passion for creativity. She enjoyed art and drawing but had no idea how to make a career out of it.
“I was really artistic but I never thought that could be a career for me.” Gabriella says.
When she was 13, Gabriella started playing around with Photoshop and soon realized she had a talent for it. Still, what she didn’t know at the time was that she could use her skills to make a living.
“I didn’t know what graphic design was,” Gabriella explains. “I wanted to be a veterinarian.”
Everything changed when she walked around her college for the first time and saw the graphic design department: “I was like oh my god, that’s it, this is what I want to do!'”
And since her first day of class, she knew she had made the right decision.
After graduation, Gabriella stepped into coding, working as a web developer for around two years. Inventive and tech-savvy, Gabriella is a perfect example of how creativity can be a bridge between two worlds. And after getting her feet wet in coding, she eventually moved back to graphic design — in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Knowing No Barriers
A couple of years into her career, Gabriella landed a job at Brafton.
She admitted she was nervous in her interview, and I was intrigued as to why. After all, she had the portfolio, the creative flair, she knew HTML — and CSS as an added bonus — what could have worried her?
Gabriella explained that she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to communicate her skills effectively in English. But she wasn’t afraid to try. She knew she had something special to offer in her work, and that was enough. The team definitely saw it too.
As a full-time graphic designer, her favorite thing about her role is being able to create something from nothing. She enjoys taking an idea and making it into a reality, as well as the dynamic nature of the field.
“I like working with clients from all over the world and taking on their different visual identities.” Gabriella says.
She also notes how much she loves working with people from different countries. What originally made her nervous before has now become one of her favorite parts of working with Brafton.
“I love the people at Brafton. My team is amazing, it’s a great group of really talented designers,” she shares. “Working with people from all over the world has made me learn a lot and my English has improved.”
As for her most recent successes, Gabriella’s proudest moment was getting a client on board after designing just one slide deck for them — that’s a huge win!
Everything She Wanted To Do, She’s Doing.
It’s not just about the graphics. Her dream career is one that lets her use her skills to help people, innovate, and most importantly, one that lets her spend more time with herself. Away from the much-dreaded commutes and long hours at the office, she’s absolutely excelled at this pursuit.
A home-body at heart, she values being able to work remotely and using her creativity in the kitchen, where she cooks healthy, fresh meals. Her cozy apartment in Rio, where she lives with her fiancé and her cat, Leopoldo, is ideal for their lifestyle.
During the weekends, they explore Brazil and all the beauties the country has to offer.
“You don’t have to go too far to find a place that is breathtaking.” From mountains to waterfalls and, of course, turquoise beaches — Gabriella says Rio has it all! Personally, I’m taking that as an invitation. Who’s with me?
Gabriella has found a way to live a life that she loves. She’s intentional about her choices and has learned to focus on what matters most. She doesn’t let her fears hold her back from doing what she wants, nor does she allow herself to get caught up in the hype of materialistic things. Her lifestyle is simple yet fulfilling.
This is a great lesson for us all — how to find the courage to pursue our dreams and be true to ourselves. Parabéns Gabriella, you’re a superstar!