Monday 10 September 2012

Mischief Meets: What Katie Does

I mentioned I had a whole series of new Mischief Meets interviews and I'm starting off with Katie from What Katie Does.  Katie is a digital designer and illustrator but she also takes on logos, print work and blog design. I first came across her work on one of my favourite blogs Jackie Magpie where she built the blog for typographer Kate Forrester. It is her illustrations and typography which I am a big fan of. Let's see what inspires her...
• What is the essence of your business? What do you do?
I'm a freelance web and graphic designer. I run the gamut of user interface design for major brands and agencies, to logos and blogs for freelance journalists, to illustrated wedding stationery. I also run an occasional Etsy shop to sell prints and posters of my own designs.

• How did you start doing what you do? Have you always been creative? What made you decide to start up on your own?
I've also been kind of artsy but also liked science and maths, so web design is the ideal middle ground. I started building (awful) web pages as soon as we got the internet at home circa 1997 and did a degree in Interactive Media, then started working in London agencies when I graduated. I decided to go alone after 5 years because I wanted to expand my skills in illustration and graphic design and have the power to organise my own time.

 • Where do you work? Home, studio, rent space etc. Describe your studio space.
I work in agencies about 30% of the time and at home the rest. I have a small home office which doubles as our guest room at the back of the house. It's comfy, practical and pretty, which makes it quite easy to stay focused when working at home.

• Do you do everything yourself or do you have a team?
Some of my projects are just me but I usually collaborate with other freelancers or agencies on bigger projects.

 • What is a typical day for you?
On a working at home day, I usually wake up at 9 and check my emails in bed. I try to be at my desk by 10am (not an early riser) then work pretty solidly until about 3 when I stop for lunch. 

• What do you love about what you do?
An interesting, challenging array of projects and the flexibility that working for myself affords me.

 • Which materials couldn’t you live without?
Photoshop, notebook, and tea!
  • What is your design process?
Depends on the project but I nearly always start with sketching ideas in a notebook, whether it's a website or an illustration. It's then usually an evolutionary process of drafts in Photoshop or Illustrator with client feedback in between.

 • Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any favourite books, magazines etc? 
Blogs mostly, I'm a bit obsessed with reading them and saving all the things I find inspiring to Tumblr. 

• Are there any designers/artists you particularly admire? 
Frank ChimeroJon Contino, Lotta Nieminen, Tim Smits, Marian Bantjes, the agencies Fuzzco and Ptarmak.. lots more too..!

• Which are your favourite blogs?

 • What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own creative business.
Get some solid years of experience first: it helps build up your portfolio and a network of contacts which are vital for getting new work. Be prepared to work more hours than you expected and have most of your time taken up by admin, emails and accounting. Keep good records of your time, earnings and expenses for the tax man. But remember to take some time off some time too!

Thank you so much Katie! You can follow Katie via her fabulous blog where she writes about food, travel, interiors, design and her own home plus she offers useful craft tutorials. You can view more of her lovely work here


  1. What talent!!! I wish I had an artistic bone in my body and could accomplish such wonderful pieces. I've nominated you for an award because I simply love your site!

    1. Wow! Thanks so much English. Comments like this give me the motivation to keep going. 2 awards in one month,VERY chuffed! :-)

  2. Really good interview, Anna. Enjoyed this very much. Thank you!


Well if you are here then you must have read my post, so a big THANK YOU for visiting and for taking the time to comment. Your words bring a little bit of sunshine to my day (if they are nice) and I look forward to reading them. Thanks for supporting me. Anna :-)

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