It all makes more sense now - but when I was four years old, my dad used to record me singing covers of 90s hits, and make cassettes for me, and I would the do little album covers for myself in colored pencil. Fast-forward almost 30 years ago and I’m still in love with music and album covers, the only thing that’s changed is the technique, and we’re back to vinyl instead of cassette.
Is there such a thing as seeing too many colours at once? Don’t really think so. My design is all about putting simple elements, colours and shapes together to ‘spark joy’, and create this sweet spot between balance, composition, harmony and just a bit of irregularity and excitement that will make you stop scrolling and feel like you’ve seen something new in the sea of Instagram ads and friends’ travel photos.
Many years ago I submitted some of my old works to then-famous blog Form Fifty Five (now Made by Folk) and unlike a lot of the curators that never responded to students - they sent me a negative response with some really valuable feedback - ‘your work is really good but it doesn’t seem like you have your own style, it all seems disconnected’. And although it would have been easier to just feel bad about it or dismiss it, it took me months to really dig into what it meant and act upon it, but — finally — I got it. I think generally a lot of times as young designers we try to be so ‘different’ and unique that we forgot the essential elements of what it means to be a designer - to tell stories with each creative and just be yourself. So this experience really made me focus on developing my own expression and style, and in a short time I started getting so much more great feedback and recognition just by being true to myself, that I ended up just adopting this formula, and now hopefully each piece of design I make is recognizable and real.
Find what’s unique about you and build your portfolio around that. (Not an original concept) but design your portfolio based on the projects you want to be contacted for. If you want to do editorial design, create a self-initiated magazine project, and if your style is colourful and artistic don’t try to fit into some kind of mold just for the sake of getting a job in product design. Find out what’s your strength and talent, and be confident and enthusiastic about your work and what you bring to the table. At the end of the day, being yourself is the only thing you will always do flawlessly.
I think design nowadays is in the hands of the everyday people and we as designers are just the facilitators of all creative experiences. You absorb everything you see daily, from the environment to what society shows you, and put it out there as a visual interpretation. Whether it’s a piece of music, a political situation or a brand message. I definitely feel that my role is shifting from a pure creator to a ‘curator’. At the end of the day we’re not reinventing anything and whoever is the most updated, curious and reactive to the world we live in, wins.