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Why did you become a graphic designer: Lu

Why did you become a graphic designer: Lu

I think I always knew I was going to slot into the art and design industry somewhere and am so pleased that I have a job I love. I can’t imagine doing anything else. In this blog post I share the route that led me to become a graphic designer and how I always knew I’d end up there.

Like most children I’d sit quite happily at a table colouring or painting away. My brother and sister got bored after an hour or so and would charge into the garden, but I’d continue until I was told it was tea or bed time.

young graphic designer

Whenever we formed a ‘club’ or ‘group’ I would insist we decided upon a name and then go ahead creating a logo four us. One group we called was “The Really Wild Club” and not only did I design a logo, I then re-drew that logo on stickers so we had name badges (not sure why we needed name badges as there were only 6 of us and we were all close friends) and then created a tri-fold leaflet explaining to the neighbourhood what “The Really Wild Club” was all about, and in the age of no home computer or printer, reproducing these was painful.

My love for art really developed when I went to secondary school (about 11 years old) and each week our art teacher would give us subject matter to draw. I would spend a whole Sunday devoted to my homework and meticulously and steadily sketch and refine my masterpiece until it was ready to show my teacher and class. It was worth the effort as each week my teacher would hold up our attempts and I would be so proud as ohh’s and ahh’s from classmates would fill the room and I would receive an A+ and a shiny praise point from Mrs Taylor! 

early graphic design work

early graphic design work

I went onto study Art and Design as a GSCE and received an A (aged 16 at this point) and then went onto College to study A-levels where as well as Art and Design I also studied Media and English (and received straights A’s!). 

early graphic design work

early graphic design work

early graphic design work

I went onto University (aged 19) where I studied Media Studies. The course was quite broad and I learnt a little Dreamweaver, Photoshop and illustrator (now my best-friends – I speak to them regularly!) and the theory behind it all. After taking time out to travel around the world (what a lucky girl I am!) I got my first job working as a graphic designer / e-marketing co-ordinator for an international door manufacturer. I created e-mail newsletters and product microsites as well as working on literature and branding. 

That was to be my first and only employed job as I then went onto set up eightyone design and dived into the freelance world. I wanted to take control of what I was designing and who I was designing for. Before leaving my job I saved hard so I had something to survive on in the early stages of freelancing and also obtained as much freelance work as I could so I would have some income for the first few months. Luckily that soon snowballed through a mixture of word of mouth and good SEO and regular work came flooding in.  

Several years on I couldn’t be happier. I love my job and wake up every morning filled with anticipation and excitement as to what my day will hold. I realise that I am very lucky indeed.

So that is why I became a graphic designer. In an upcoming blog post Steve will take us through the route he took to become a graphic designer – to make sure you do not miss out you can sign up to receive free updates from the Eightyone Design Blog by email or via RSS.

So how about you, why did you become a graphic designer? Was it something that you were destined to do or did you fall into it unexpectedly? We would love to hear your stories!

Posted by Lu

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Posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 2:47 pm
Posted In Freelancing, Graphic Design | Tags: ,

16 Responses to “Why did you become a graphic designer: Lu”

  • Andy says:

    Ah, the life of a freelancer is indeed the life for me, although the cats are lousy workmates!

  • I fell into this world by accident, but I love it, I’m so glad I started on this path.

    Like yourself I was constantly doing art, but never really thought it was a feasible career and didn’t even think about the possibility of making a career of this sort. Hence I never embarked on any type of design qualifications.

    One day, aged 28yrs and 6mths into my new life as a stay at home mum, I decided to offer a free logo design to draw attention to my ‘virtual assistant’ secretarial service I was trying acquire clients for. So it was a PR stunt even though I’d never designed before.

    Suddenly I discovered that people liked my designs and there was a high demand for design work. It snowballed at speed from that point and I taught myself the necessary skills to make a career out of graphic design and illustration.

    My 7yr old daughter is constantly doing art of some sort day and night, in her sleep practically – I wonder if she will work in a creative industry one day.

    She’s an excellent writer, this is where she really shines.

  • When I was a child, I was just like that. Always drawing and getting more enjoyment out of sitting there with paints and pencils then i would playing outside or anything else. I think for some people, designing is just in their blood. Congrats on having a job that you love. They are hard to come by.

  • lu says:

    Hi Andy,

    At least you have cats, I’ve just got Steve!

    Hi Amanda,

    I know what you mean, everyone was telling me that I shouldn’t study art as it wasn’t a feasible career, but am so glad I persevered.

    I wonder if your daughter will follow in your footsteps? She must see you both design and write and is all inspired by you? It would be lovely if you eventually ended up working together on Truly Ace!

    Hi Logo Design Guru,

    I agree, I think design is in peoples blood – maybe there’s a specific design gene!?

    Thank you, I am so grateful to have a job I love.

    Thank you all for your thoughts!

  • Andy says:

    I may have cats, but they’re rubbish in meetings! And when I try and bounce ideas off them they just look at me like I’m a moron!

  • Thanks for the insight into your history. I too would stay at the table drawing and painting hours after my siblings and/or friends would lose interest. I guess some things are just embedded from birth. :)

  • […] Why did you become a graphic designer? – Lu from eighty one design graphic design studio shares her story […]

  • lu says:

    Hi Andy,

    I find it hard to believe your cats are rubbish in meetings?! haha!

    Hi James,

    I totally agree, I think some things you can’t avoid and it’s nature rather than nurture acting out.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Andy says:

    Well they always make the same suggestion,
    They’ll say, and I’ll look at them through squinted eyes and say,
    “yeah, you’ve been pushing that idea for years”
    Oh my god, I’ve just realised I’m writing dialogue for cats, the transformation is complete, I am now mad cat man!

  • lu says:

    Have you ever thought “Mew” may be a perfectly valid suggestion? ….. There must be a reason why they keep suggesting it?!

  • Andy says:

    Now I just asked one of them (Skibbs) for her reasoning, but to tell me she felt the need to jump on my desk with very wet and muddy feet, which resulted in expulsion from the meeting.

  • lu says:

    Ha Ha!! OK, I’m going to stop sticking up for the cats now! At least Steve doesn’t jump on the desk with wet feet!

  • Andy says:

    Shhh, you might be giving him ideas! On several occasions my wife has tried to curl up on my desk while I’m working!

  • lu says:

    Well be thankful for small mercies, she could start Mewing at you!

  • Andy says:

    I am not at liberty to discuss our love life

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