Louise is a London-based graphic designer and illustrator who grew up in Cambridge and graduated from NUA in 2010 with a degree in design for publishing. Her passions for typography, print and cooking are often brought together in the design of recipes and other illustrated books. Have a look at her website and check out some of her wonderful and unique work.
You describe yourself as a graphic designer and illustrator. Is one more important to you than the other?
In terms of the quantity of work that I do, graphic design is certainly the more important. However, illustration and hand-lettering are very close to my heart and I’m always very pleased when the opportunity arises to work them into my graphic design practice, be it in a supporting role or as the star!
How much creative freedom are you usually given with the brief for a book publishing project?
It varies a great deal depending on what stage the project is at when I’m approached. The earlier I join a project the more involved I can be in the decision making that informs the creative output– things like format, finishes or photographic style for instance. Each project comes with its own particular needs, restrictions, or problems to be solved, and finding creative ways to meet all of these is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.
How, if at all, has the rise of e-publishing changed your work day-to-day?
For myself, not much at all. The vast majority of my publishing work is in illustrated books (such as recipe books) that, if and when they are turned into e-pubs, the changes are done elsewhere and don’t tend to affect my design decisions.
We often hear of creatives having to make sacrifices regarding their vision. How do you strike a balance between being an artist and a business?
At the moment, my creative self-indulgence needs are met by a part-time Masters course (in graphic design of course!) at UAL here in London. I think most designers often feel a wish to be able to create visuals that don’t need to satisfy any demands other than their own, and for me at least this has, in the past, led to having a side business creating limited edition prints and posters.
What are the key skills of a graphic designer? And what is one unlikely skill that has helped you succeed?
I think the absolutely key skill is an ability to work in an understanding manner with other people! We’re often doing our own thing towards the end of a big working process, involving lots of people’s hard work and many competing priorities, so being able to understand and juggle all of these (plus a squeezed deadline 95% of the time!) while maintaining integrity in the design is so important.
Share something about your work that you wish you’d known when you set out as a designer.
How to keep a nice, clean, neat file! I remember how messy mine were at the very start and pity the poor editors and production staff who had to look at them. I was very quickly put straight by the guys at my first job, though! It would be good to teach InDesign niceties at university, I think.