What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
After university, I’ll be honest, it was hard. It’s a very competitive world out there. I moved out of Plymouth (where I went to university) to Leeds so I was not only competing with the new wave of graduates who are based in that city, but I also had existing designers fighting for a space in the design scene. I was really interested in teaching so I actually took a year out to work in a boarding school after I graduated. After that contract, I planned on trying to get a job in design but the pandemic hit and it was a constant struggle for me.
I know so many people like me who struggled to find their feet, and some who got a job straight away. One thing I would say is don’t expect everything to be handed to you. My university sold us this dream that as soon as you graduate, you’ll land a job. I wasn’t prepared for the constant rejection and also speaking about myself and my work.
If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
I love designing for print but more specifically, editorial and magazine design. When I can, I order magazines like i-D or Dazed because their style and vibe is the kind of thing I’m interested in. I find that looking at those magazines also show me different creative and innovative ways to present information. This is where I take inspiration from when it comes to creating the spreads for Melanated or any publication I might work on.
I also turn to Fuse Leeds a lot – a platform that highlights creatives of colour in Leeds. At times when I feel alone or clueless, I love looking at that Instagram page. Seeing the variety of different creatives based in my area motivates me to keep going and also shows me that there are other people I can turn to.
I follow a couple of design accounts on TikTok called Freelance Studio and MKW Creative Co. and they are always uploading design challenges or even some tutorials which I find extremely useful. These accounts help me learn new skills and widen my expertise. Whilst I was unemployed during the pandemic, these profiles helped me keep up to date with the latest design trends whilst learning new days to design.