Erica Lee

A big congrats to Erica Lee (@erica.design), one of our 30 TDK Awards winners' for 2020. A RMIT graduate from Melbourne, their work was chosen by Paul McKie from @autumn.studio in Brisbane: 'Love this! The beautifully jarring colour palette of ‘Psychedelic Lyric Bottles’ to the fresh colours of ‘Pinch Sea Sat. I can’t decide if my favourite project of Erica’s was ‘Goodnight’ or ‘Ctrl Z’ — the font choices, imagery, type treatments and layout in both were so damn nice! Every aspect of every project feels considered and thought out — extra points for putting in great intro’s and image credit!'⁠ We asked Erica to answer a few questions for next years TDK Awards hopefuls.

What do you wish you’d known now when you started your design course?

Personally, I wish I had known not to stress out too much about whether my final work would be ‘good’ or not. A lot of the time I would focus too hard on how my design would turn out in the end, forgetting that the process is just as important as the final outcome. There’s so much to gain from your mistakes and failed experiments, and at the end of the day, you’re at uni to learn and grow through the process (plus make better font choices). I also wish I had started searching for internships or side jobs earlier into Uni, since I realise what a valuable experience they can be and are a great way to get your foot in the door.

What originally lead you in to design, and how has that changed - what do you want to do/are doing now?

I had always been quite a creative person since young - I loved to draw, write and doodle in my sketchbook, however, I was really only introduced to design by my older sister, who is a graphic designer as well. Growing up I was always interested in the projects she would be working on, so I decided to give VISCOM a shot in high school and I ended up falling in love with design myself.

I went on to do a Bachelor of Communication Design at RMIT, where I discovered my own unique lens in telling stories through my work and immersed myself into creating projects on topics that excited me. All the while, my sister would also give me advice and tips about the industry and how I can be doing better, and for that, I am forever grateful!

Currently, I am working in-house as a publication designer, however, I would love to get my hands dirty in a creative studio setting and gain some experience in the design industry.

Design work by Erica Lee The Design Kids interviews Erica Lee work-2

Any hot tips for getting ahead at uni?

1. Be open to collaboration and feedback. Listen to what your lecturers and peers have to say about your work and instead of being prideful, take this advice as an opportunity to improve and become a better designer.

2. See each project as a possibility to experiment and try something new. While in uni you have the freedom of relatively open briefs with hypothetical clients that allow you to be creative - so why not make something as conceptually interesting as can be? Experiment, push the boundaries and make mistakes while you have the safety net to do so, and of course, have fun in the process!

3. Keep good relations with your lecturers. A lot of them are a part of/have had experience in the industry, and can help recommend you for jobs and opportunities if they see potential in you. So work hard, engage and show how passionate/determined you are!

What do you love about the design scene in your city and what companies are on your dream list to work or collaborate with?

I love how Melbourne has a very creative culture – there’s always different design events/talks going on, art markets to see, exhibitions at places like the NGV, Gertrude Contemporary, Buxton Contemporary etc. Not only this, heaps of amazing artists, musicians, writers as well as designers putting their work out there. I think it’s great to live in a place where you can become so inspired by your surroundings and people from all sorts of backgrounds/walks of life.

I’d love to work with one of our local studios here in Melbourne - my favourites would have to be Pop & Pac, Confetti, Studio Brave, Studio Hiho and Never Now.

Design work by Erica Lee The Design Kids interviews Erica Lee work-4
Design work by Erica Lee The Design Kids interviews Erica Lee work-4

There’s so much to gain from your mistakes and failed experiments, and at the end of the day, you’re at uni to learn and grow through the process

Where do you see your career in 5 years?

In five years, I want to be working in an agency/studio I admire among likeminded individuals, and hopefully have more control over the creative direction side of things. It would also be pretty cool to start my own studio eventually down the track, but I’m taking baby steps to develop the knowledge, skills and experience to get there!

2020 for you in a sentence

A year of putting myself out there, working on passion projects, hustling, making mistakes and learning from them.

Design work by Erica Lee The Design Kids interviews Erica Lee work-6
Design work by Erica Lee The Design Kids interviews Erica Lee work-6

Where to find Erica Lee online.

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