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How Nicte Cuevas Is Designing a Vibrant Legacy of Inclusion

Nicte Cuevas

Nicte Cuevas, a force in the design industry, serves as the Brand Strategist and Designer at Nicte Creative Design

Nicte’s company weaves together color, culture, and purpose-driven brand strategy, offering a unique and invigorating approach that champions diversity and inclusion. A proud multicultural immigrant Latina from Mexico City, her personal journey reflects her deep commitment to representing cultural heritage through design. While adapting to a new culture in the U.S. during college, Nicte boldly rebelled against societal pressures, using vibrant colors and cultural energy to express her roots—a passion that now defines her impactful branding work. Her unwavering resilience, shaped by overcoming personal and professional challenges, propels her forward as she envisions a future that continues to leave a lasting imprint on brands, communities, and individuals. 

We asked Nicte about the most meaningful impacts Nicte Creative Design has had so far, how she navigates self-doubt as an entrepreneur, and how she would summarize the journey she’s been on.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on Nicte Creative Design?

Before starting my own business, I wanted to be well-versed in design and business. I took every learning opportunity and asked many questions while working in corporate. But when I became a military spouse, my job scenario changed. Months passed, and I couldn't find a job. The interview energy shifted when I mentioned I was a military spouse. I never imagined I would start my business in the middle of chaos, but I was tired of waiting. I founded my company over 12 years ago, in the middle of being in a new city, new to military life, and while my husband deployed to a dangerous location for eight months. I was afraid to process how he might be out of reach with zero communication, but it was now or never. So I went all in on starting my business.


What are some of the most meaningful impacts Nicte Creative Design has had so far? 

Imagine jumping into a hole knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you need help figuring out how to get there. I don't remember seeing a Latina leader in the design industry in college. I knew I wanted to change that. I dreamt of the impact and celebration of cultures through design with my company. 

As my business grew, I realized how little access to viable resources small businesses have—especially communities of color. I kept seeing patterns harming these businesses. They didn’t see design as an investment or a strategy for managing their brand. Instead of complaining on the internet about how people don’t value design, I started making videos showing poor examples of designs and how they can be turned into powerful messages. I shared how design, color, and culture are interconnected in ways that started resonating with my audience. 

Eventually, that landed me work with Adobe and allowed me to create courses with LinkedIn Learning. Complaining doesn’t take us anywhere—empowering others with knowledge can transform not just one person but also communities. 

In what ways has your upbringing or past experiences contributed to how you operate as an entrepreneur?

I’m a proud multicultural immigrant Latinborn in Mexico City, with both Mexican and Colombian blood, and raised in Venezuela. When I moved to the U.S. for college, I experienced culture shock. At that time, speaking Spanish wasn’t embraced even though I was in Texas. I would often get looks, mean slurs, or racist comments. I remember asking my father why, and he told me, "To succeed here, you have to blend in." In tears, I never understood why I had to hide what made me whole. 

My family comes from humble beginnings. My father went to school with the same shoes for two years. If he let society direct his path, he might have settled with the limited resources he had. Yet he became a geophysicist engineer. So would I let society tell me who to be or what to do? I secretly rebelled. I started to use color to boldly express my culture and the energy that came from my diverse backgrounds. As someone often told to be quiet, I never felt I had a voice. I decided to radically change that and bring communities together. This translated into how I approached branding work through a color and cultural lens. Color became an integral part of how I created synergy between brands and their audience.

I don't remember seeing a Latina leader in the design industry in college. I knew I wanted to change that. I dreamt of the impact and celebration of cultures through design with my company.

What’s been the most unexpected part of your entrepreneurial journey?

As women, we often undervalue our worth and capabilities. I always knew I wanted to start my own business after having a well-versed working experience. I went into business because that was the only option to keep my career afloat.

 Throughout pivotal moments in business, I’ve had incredible support from my husband, mentors, and advisors. This community was something I lacked when I was working for someone else. However, I never thought it would turn into building a company that would give me the flexibility to navigate military life, speak across the country, create courses with LinkedIn Learning, or work with brands like Adobe. One of the best parts of this journey is bringing military spouses to work in my team. As an entrepreneur, in order to grow, you can’t stay stagnant in comfort. You must push, grow from the tough lessons, embrace self-awareness, and shine in your power.

Have you struggled with self-doubt as an entrepreneur? How do you navigate this?

As a Latina and mother, I have often felt the pressures of society. We are often cornered into this expectation of being incredible wives with immaculate houses, as well as mothers who do it all and look composed all the time. But when you mix in running a business and raising a family, society says we can’t have both. 

After years of battling motherhood guilt from my son being born so young and needing extra help, I forgot how much I achieved. I managed various therapies, doctor visits, and developmental exercises, all while running my business. I gained my biggest clients during a time of adversity. I chose to be intentional about my time and where I focused my energy because my time was limited. I developed boundaries around the work and impact we delivered. 

Over the years, I have become more vocal about sharing how being a working mother is a superpower, not a hindrance. And this all came from the power of self-reflection and becoming an advocate for the work we do.

Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?

When you have spent years working to grow your business with global clients and build something that works with your lifestyle, you never want to give that up. That is, until life turns your world upside down. After many years of struggling to become a mother, we finally had a miracle. At 26 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital for severe preeclampsia. When I got water in my lungs, it became a life-or-death situation. Everyone quickly coordinated to deliver my son. He was so fragile that I couldn’t hold him for two months. He had five surgeries, a resuscitation, and a lot of life-saving help while he was in the NICU for 111 days. At that time, my husband was a military training instructor (MTI) with insane work hours. 

Therefore, I had to keep my business afloat while in the NICU from my cell phone—the only device that was allowed in the area. It was incredibly challenging, and nearly every day I wanted to quit. I felt like a failure as a woman because of my body, but I knew my son’s miraculous recovery meant I couldn't give up.

Has your definition of success evolved throughout your journey as a founder?

Growing up, I saw the incredible sacrifices my parents made—from my dad putting me through college with $20 in the bank to my mom raising us away from family while my dad traveled for work. Success for me isn’t defined by fame or follower count. It’s by impact. It’s about doing work that changes lives, celebrates cultures, and provides access to communities that deserve more opportunities. 

As our business offerings and rates have grown, I know we can’t help everyone, so we provide free resources, tutorials, low-cost courses, and downloads that bring our strategy and process into a format they can consume on their own time. Our alignment with impact has been a crucial component of the brands we work with. We have to believe in what they do and who they are doing it for over a monetary exchange. 

How have you grown as a leader since starting Nicte Creative Design? What experiences have contributed to this growth?

As a kid, I sadly got mocked by the matriarchs in my family for being sensitive and crying over emotive things. I battled a lot of self-worth because of that. When I worked in my last corporate job, my boss was taking credit for my work and working side jobs while on the job, even after I told her I was burnt out from all the work she gave me. Still, I never spoke up when she took credit. Being a business owner made me evolve from a naive young adult into a resilient woman determined to build impact over ego. 

Through strategies and self-reflection, I discovered how the empathy my family mocked me for actually allowed me to get deeply intune with a business's needs and translate that into visual communication with a strategy. I was able to pull out words and insight from clients when they weren’t able to express it themselves. Because of the darkness I have faced, I have found ways to become a connector, visionary, and impact driver. And, of course, being a military spouse has certainly raised my resiliency level by 1,000%!

What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again?

Oh dear Nicte, if only you knew the things you will do. You might feel like a tiny, insignificant ant that no one values, but you will turn that around. Life will be tough; you will question a lot. Know you hold an incredible ability to do more and be more. What you may not have today, you can create in the future and pave the way for others like you so they don’t have to endure similar doubts and struggles. I know you would want to change your circumstances. But trust me, some of these challenges are there to make you stronger and shield you from more darkness.

When things get hard, reflect on your early work from 2002-2003, when you were a Production Designer for The Daily Cougar.

Two black&white posters

Early work from 2002-2003 while Nicte was a Production Designer for The Daily Cougar at The University of Houston.

And trust that you’ll make your dreams come true, designing cultural brands and creating branding for a Harris County study. 

Recent work from Nicte for Offeraki, a mobile cultural mercado dedicated to Latino and Hispanic users in the U.S.

Recent work from Nicte for Offeraki, a mobile cultural mercado dedicated to Latino and Hispanic users in the U.S.

Recent work from Nicte for My Home is Here study for Harris County, Texas.

Recent work from Nicte for My Home is Here study for Harris County, Texas.

How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again?

The most epic roller coaster ride filled with smooth rides to gut-plunging falls and getting lost in scary tunnels that make you question everything. Even when I’ve closed my eyes in hopes for it to be over, I know that pushing through every hard lesson, tear, doubt, pain, and fear has been the reason I have grown so much. Even at 40, I know I’m still getting started. I’m on a mission. I’m ready, no matter how many loops and circles this rollercoaster makes. I know we’re going to make a profound impact on brands, communities, and people. 

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