Featured Designer, Illustrator & Photographer

Lauren Hakmiller

July 2019

We chat with Lauren Hakmiller—designer, illustrator, photographer, and Carpenter Collective Intern, from the little creative hub that is Kansas City. Lauren shares a hilarious story about trying to sell white computer paper 'lemonade-stand-style' as a kid; she gives us her fave international design crushes, and we discuss how she avoids getting bogged down into one style.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I studied at The University of Kansas in the School of Design. I began as a photography major because that’s where I was most experienced, but I quickly found that switching to Visual Communications gave me the creative challenge I craved. I’ve had a number of internships in Kansas City, they all taught me something different. My first internship was at Design Ranch, it was a great first step into the design world. I got to learn from some wildly creative brains, develop a caffeine addiction and wear cool outfits every day. Then I went to Whiskey Design, where I got to work on a huge range of projects, they really put a lot of trust into their interns, although sending my first client email was terrifying to say the least. Then I went to Carpenter Collective where I’ll intern until the end of this summer. At Carpenter Collective I get to design, illustrate and do some photography - it’s pretty dreamy day to day & I get to learn from the best of the best!

Any hilarious stories about you as a kid being creative?

When I was little I thought the best gift you could possibly receive was a stack of white computer paper and a freshly sharpened pencil. I assumed everyone liked to draw as much as I did and my parents had a hard time convincing me otherwise. When it came time for a neighborhood yard sale I threw a full-blown temper tantrum because my parents wouldn't let me sell stacks of white computer paper lemonade-stand-style to our neighbors. I didn’t understand that not everyone would pay top dollar for fresh drawing materials.

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

1. Fisk in Portland, OR

2. Futura in Mexico City

3. Caterina Bianchini Studio in UK

4. Yeye Weller in Germany

5. Anagrama Studio in Mexico City

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I would encourage aspiring illustrators to explore as much as they can in their making, some of my favorite textures have come from worn out sharpies or crinkled tracing paper.

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How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

It's taken me a long time to figure out a process that works for me, now I know good things come from layers and layers of tracing paper and hand drafting and a healthy amount of photoshop. I try my hardest to explore other illustration styles that push my technical skills, getting bogged down into one "look" has never interested me. I would encourage aspiring illustrators to explore as much as they can in their making, some of my favorite textures have come from worn out sharpies or crinkled tracing paper.

Is there an active design community in your city and who are your favourite top 5 designers/studios/organisations our readers can check out?

Kansas City is chocked full of talent and hustle! I’m so happy to have started my career in this little creative hub in the middle of the country.

1. Made in the Middle. My number one recommendation is checking out the Made in the Middle conference, it’s a celebration of midwest creatives with workshops, speakers and killer swag bags.

2. First Fridays. My favorite monthly art & design event is First Fridays in KC, where local artists & designers showcase and sell their work on the streets of KC.

3. Frank Norton. One of my favorite illustrators in Kansas City, such a sick whimsical style. His work inspires me to keep doodling!

4. AIGA KC. Kansas City’s chapter is very active! I’d really recommend joining if you’re in the area. The annual award show is a great way to showcase student work and get internships or even a job!

5. Tad & Jessica Carpenter. (This one might be a little biased) Tad & Jessica are an incredible team of designers and illustrators. They are a perfect example of just the right amount of talent, hard work and humble attitude that makes midwest designers so special. They run Carpenter Collective with such care.

2019 for you in a sentence.

Be kind & make good.

Website: laurenhakmiller.com

Instagram: @laurenhakmiller

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