Original Interview: February 2014

Jessie Norman

Jessie Norman has been a part of The Design Kids team for over a year now, she gives her advice on starting out, the importance on finding muses, business and believing in yourself when things get tough (in the least corny way possible!)

What advice would you give students starting out?
Hustle. Go to every event, talk to people because everyone knows everyone and you’ll make a bunch of friends! Research goes along way – know who you’re emailing, write their name when addressing the email (spelt correctly!) and add a little compliment of their work or a particular job they’ve done that resonated with you (only if you mean it of course). I find it’s easy to get disheartened but my tip is – keep going. Spend five minutes on your favourite creative’s site and bask in their awesomeness. Allow that to push your goals higher and use it to make you want to better yourself. It goes without saying that you can get down in the dumps because you’ll ‘never be them’ – that’s true because you’ll be you. Which is a pretty fantastic thing to be. The world needs more bright, intelligent, individual minds and that is what everyone has – you just have to find your personal strength.

Have you done any collaborations recently and would you be keen for some more?
I’ve been lucky enough to work on some projects that will be around later this year. I have done some work with the lovely Dahlia from The Rabbit Hole in Brisbane, as well as Andrew Murray from Gatsby in Melbourne. Also, I have had a brilliant time volunteering for my favourite design conferences: Analogue/Digital and Semi-Permanent. I am always keen for more collaborations as well as volunteering – it’s exciting to be in the midst of talented minds – both pushing you and challenging you to be better and doing things you haven’t experienced before. Bring it on!


What are your personal and professional goals for 2014?
Ultimately get a full-time job within the design world. I’ve been thinking about my career goals and found that I am insanely passionate about meeting people and conversing about design. I’d love to be somewhere I can still design and create, whilst running meetings, talking to clients and selling the ideas of the studio. On a personal note my goal is to create (draw/paint/design/what have you) and read everyday.

What are some good habits to get into as a creative?
I believe in two important aspects that should be at the back of your mind: find inspiration outside of your field of design and design is business. What I mean by the first is: find your muse. It can be second hand shops, Murakami, poetry, and Japanese fashion (my muses) or anything at all that stirs your imagination! It’s important to keep these passions because if you’re only inspired by what is happening in design ‘now’ – you’ll end up designing something unoriginal and everything will look exactly the same, no one wants that! The second; don’t take ‘no’ personally. It’s purely business, the sooner you understand business the sooner things won’t seem as harsh. Also, with design, you’re helping someone’s dream come to life – whether it be their business, book, album or poster for a show – remember that they want you for a reason (and try to be patient if they change their minds!). However, on that note, remember selling your thoughts and ideas are a key factor too – if you don’t believe in your work why should anyone else?


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The dream is: living in Melbourne and working at a job in design that I love. That city never fails to inspire me. However, if it isn’t Melbourne by then I hope to travel someday and build up my clientele / work here in Brisbane – it has been voted the coolest city in Australia after all!

Who are your top 5 creative people in the Australian design scene who inspire you?
I can’t just choose 5! How about 5 sections of the Australian design scene and 5 people in each section…
Artists: Ghostpatrol, Mel Stringer, Sean Whelan, Cat Rabbit, Sarah McNeil
Designers: Thomas Williams, Chris Doyle, Kevin Finn, Timba Smits, Andrew Murray
Studios: March Studio, One Iota, Josephmark, SouthSouthWest, U-P
Up-and-coming: Carla McRae, Maddy Young, Deane Featonby, Leona Feitz, Nikki Parker
Written material: Open Manifesto, Process Journal, Frankie Magazine, Aus In Front, Made Quarterly

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