Ellen Porteus

Ellen Porteus is a Sydneysider who when she started out studying at UTS didn't know what typography was...but she has come along was since then, including be listed as one of TDK's 15 designers to watch in 2015!

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?

I’ve always had my fingers in many creative pies, so I tossed up studying lots of things- journalism, creative writing, music, fine art. Graphic design seemed like a good mix of my love of language and art, so I enrolled in Visual Communication at UTS. I didn’t know a single thing about design (I didn’t even know what typography was!) but I fell head over heels from my very first lecture- I enjoyed every minute of uni. I developed a love and confidence in illustration in about my third year, when my illustration tutor saw potential in me and encouraged me to keep going with it. I eventually hit my stride, finding my style and voice in the digital realm playing with lettering and making crazy patterns, which has landed me some awesome clients out in the real freelance world!

Whats the big goal in the next five years?

I’m working towards getting represented at the moment, that is a huge goal for me. I love editorial work, so I want to continue doing that, but I also have a whole bunch of imaginary projects rattling around in my brain. At the moment I’m fantasising about doing work with textiles and homewares. I’d also love to rekindle my love for music and collaborate with a musician to do their artwork, promo stuff, videos, etc. I’m really optimistic about where this career could take me, wherever it does!

Design work by Ellen Porteus The Design Kids interviews Ellen Porteus work-2

Whats your take on internships? Did you do any? and do you take interns now?

I’m pretty against unpaid internships where it benefits the company more than it benefits you- there’s a fine line between getting experience and being exploited, and I think it devalues the creative industry. When I had to do work experience for uni, I researched local Sydney companies and organisations that I really loved and I thought might need the extra pair of hands. I ended up volunteering for FBi Radio and the fantastic He Made She Made gallery. At the end of the day, I got to learn and contribute to Sydney’s arts scene while they got a little bit of help too.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Dream big, work hard, be proud! In this industry, opportunities don’t fall into your lap, you’ve really got to work hard to get good at what you do and be noticed for it. That means figuring out what you love, practicing it, developing confidence in it, and getting it out there for people to see!

Design work by Ellen Porteus The Design Kids interviews Ellen Porteus work-4
Design work by Ellen Porteus The Design Kids interviews Ellen Porteus work-4

I freelance from a desk in my teeny apartment, it’s ten paces from my bed and usually in arm’s reach of my partner, so I try to have some structure or I get distracted! My number one rule is never work in pyjamas.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

I freelance from a desk in my teeny apartment, it’s ten paces from my bed and usually in arm’s reach of my partner- so I try to have some structure or I get distracted! My number one rule is never work in pyjamas. My day usually involves coffee, administrative stuff, emails, client work, and if I’m not swamped I usually set aside a couple of hours at the end of the day for self initiated projects or finding potential work if my calendar’s looking a bit bare. Or I watch Family Feud.

Any personal projects you would like to share? past, present or future?

I’m launching a little self-initiated project on social media in the next couple of weeks called Songs About Girls. I’ve been creating patterns based on songs that tell an interesting, unique or unusual narrative. I’m a procrasti-worker- so my Instagram is full of stuff I’ve made when I should be doing something else!

Design work by Ellen Porteus The Design Kids interviews Ellen Porteus work-6

Instagram:

Design work by Ellen Porteus The Design Kids interviews Ellen Porteus work-9
Design work by Ellen Porteus The Design Kids interviews Ellen Porteus work-9

Where to find Ellen Porteus online.

 

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