Original Interview: September 2014

Michelle Leslie

Michelle Leslie is a designer based in Perth. She has a web background but is now working on combining both print and web in creative projects. Michelle has worked for some great studios such as Sumo and Studio Bomba, as well as working on her own awesome side projects such as The Johnny Two Tone Club.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
After high school, I kicked off my studies with a year of fine art at Tafe before crossing the road to study graphic design (majoring in Multimedia). My first jobs were as a web designer at Webfirm and then Sumo. I love digital design but I started to get bored of working solely on websites and became more interested in branding and design for print. I quit my job and spent a little time roaming the world before returning to study design print and illustration at Curtin University.

I started freelancing for Studio Bomba while I was studying and was thrilled to be taken on as an employee just before I graduated. I’m still at Bomba but for the last three years I’ve been renting a desk in what is now a shared studio and working for my own clients.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?
It’s great sharing a workspace with other creative folk. We give each other feedback and advice and collaborate on projects like The Johnny Two Tone Club. A typical day always starts with a flat white from Dapper Jack (our resident barista) while I respond to emails and chat to my studio mates. I prefer to work on more creative projects in the first half of the day while my brain is fresher (and full of caffeine). I tend to leave my admin tasks (like invoicing or quoting) to the afternoon/evening. The best days are the ones where you can spend the whole day working on one project, but that’s pretty rare. Today I’m working on branding for a social housing project and a website redesign for a local jeweller.



Where do you go online to be inspired?
My favourite inspiration sites are Designspiration, Site Inspire, Grain Edit, Brand New and Present and Correct

What advice would you give students starting out?
Don’t be scared to just jump in and try something, it’s the best way to learn. Be brave with your ideas and design. Don’t limit yourself too soon. Go out and meet people from industry, we’re not as scary as you might think (well, most of us anyway). Don’t worry too much if you don’t have your career path completely mapped out when you graduate, try a few different things and see what sticks. Sometimes it takes a while to figure it out and that’s totally fine.

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Whats the big goal in the next five years?

I’m not sure if it will happen in five years but I would eventually love to expand my business with a focus on brand experiences that work seamlessly across print and web. I feel like this is an important consideration as the division between these two worlds becomes more blurred. I also have a couple of self initiated side projects I’m keen to get off the ground, including a couple of books and my own line of products (such as greeting cards and wallpaper).