We’ll admit it: we’re pin crazy like the rest of the world, and our TDK Vancouver gang are teaming up with the amazing Angie Coates to talk all about enamel pin creation for our next #TDKtuesdays. Here we chat to Angie about her inspiration behind opening her online store Five15 (Her rescue pitbull, Meatball!), selling ‘Dog Mum’ pins to support rescue dogs and starting the day with coffee and podcasts.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design? I’ve loved design from a very early age. That said, I think I started to take design & creativity more seriously when I was 11 years old. At the time, my dad worked at the Museum of Modern Art in Monterrey, Mexico. I was lucky enough to attend the opening of every single show and always looked forward to browse through the pages of the art books my dad brought home. The museum had workshops and classes for kids, and I attended all of them.
I recently visited my family home and found an old box with a bunch of my things, including a letter from the museum thanking me for my entry in their contest to re-design the museum’s logo. I don’t think that contest was for kids, but I do remember sending my design anyway. I had totally forgotten that, and will probably cringe if I saw what I submitted. I guess that was my first real attempt at graphic design. I’ve been hooked ever since. Thanks dad!
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I am a freelance graphic designer, specializing in social media content, web design and logo design.
I also founded and run an online store, Five15. I design accessories and apparel with a message, mostly focusing on feminism, equality and (inspired by my dog and full-time assistant, Meatball) rescue animals.
‘I am NOT a minimalist when it comes to design. It wasn’t until I fully accepted that and embraced my love for organized chaos that I really began to feel more free.’
What does a typical working day include for you right now? When I first started freelancing, I would work myself so hard. I am striving to take advantage of self-employment these days and be more flexible with my time.
I always start my day with coffee and plan my day. I put on a podcast (usually the news, followed by My Favourite Murder!) and start packing orders. I then tackle design work for my clients, write emails etc. Meatball is usually snoring through all of this. I have a working lunch at my desk and then I usually spend the afternoon going to the post office and running errands. But the most important errand -and Meatball’s favourite part of the day- is taking Meatball for a run in the trails. I try to take her a few times a week and it’s great for both of us to spend time in nature and get a little exercise. Most of the Five15 creative work happens at night, on our couch. My husband and I usually work on our projects, while Meatball snores (again!) between us and we ignore whatever we’re playing on Netflix. It sounds super boring but it’s definitely my happy place.
How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others? I don’t think I’ve developed a distinct style yet, but I can definitely see the progress in the work I’ve done in the past couple of years. I like being open to play with new styles and ideas. That said, I’ve noticed whatever ‘style’ I have is definitely influenced by my cultural background. I am definitely drawn to bright and contrasty colour palettes, and no matter how much I’ve tried, I am NOT a minimalist when it comes to design. It wasn’t until I fully accepted that and embraced my love for organized chaos that I really began to feel more free. My tip would be to not compare yourself to others too much. It’s SO hard not to do that, especially on social media, and with no shortage of talent and inspiration everywhere. When that happens -because we’re all humans- just get back to you, trust your process and focus on enjoying wherever you are at.
‘I remind myself I am in a constant state of learning and doing everything perfectly is not realistic.’
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self? I would tell myself to have more fun and not be in such a hurry to grow up. Today, I am making an effort to take my creative process less seriously and to always continue to explore and have fun. Within that mindset I almost always feel inspired and do my best work. I remind myself I am in a constant state of learning and doing everything perfectly is not realistic. I am a ‘recovering perfectionist’ after all! I wish I knew that when I was younger. Life’s too short to be taken too seriously, and fear of failure is one of the fastest ways to kill inspiration. Sometimes I work on things that I am so excited about and they totally suck… in the moment that doesn’t feel great but I know that’s part of the process, and at the end of the day, it’s never that big of a deal. Elizabeth Gilbert said it best: “creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all…Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything.”
What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in? I am SO lucky to live in Vancouver. We have so many talented designers and artists in our city. I am so grateful I’ve connected with so many amazing creatives through social media, some of them have also become close friends. My husband is also an artist, so I have no shortage of inspiration in my day to day life. Additionally, I find myself being constantly inspired by our city’s talent and creative events. Some of my favourites are (not in any specific order) Type Brigade, #TDKTuesdays, Vancouver Mural Festival, Pecha Kucha and the new talk series by my pals Lucy and Daphne at Salt Design Co. I am so excited to be speaking at the next TDK event in November. I will be talking about my pin design process and I can’t wait!