Alex is passionate about design and visual communication, working as an in-house designer across layout design and animation, she also takes on freelance design work and creates personal projects.
Tell us about your journey into design and how you got to where you are just now ?
I spent a lot of my time in uni creating work I thought my tutors wanted to see, so I ended up with a portfolio full of projects that didn’t really reflect me.
Moving back home to a small town after uni, I couldn’t afford to do an internship. I took on some freelance work from friends and family, and two years after graduating I finally managed to land myself a graduate role. I’m still there three years later!
I started to take freelance work a bit more seriously last year, after I started experimenting with the type of work I wanted to create.
What are your main inspirations and motivations behind your work as a brand designer and animator?
It sounds a bit boring but I take a lot of inspiration from the normal everyday things! My most recent project, Friendly Faces, I wanted to recreate the crayon textures from my nephew’s drawings.
My main motivation is just curiosity - I want to try new things. I set myself a challenge at the beginning of the year to try a new technique with every project I work on. Sometimes I’ll see something online that I love the look of, and see if I can recreate the aesthetic.
My main motivation is just curiosity - I want to try new things.
What do you find most challenging about being a designer?
A difficult one to answer! Personally for me, it’s probably imposter syndrome. I think this is a fairly common feeling in creative fields. My imposter syndrome comes in waves, where every few months I’ll be filled with sudden dread that I’m not good enough and believe I’m going to fail. The way I combat it is by taking a step back to recognise that there’s no real reason to feel this way, no one has ever told me my work is shit! And secondly, I throw myself in the deep end of work, so I have no choice but to do it, regardless of how I feel.
The way I combat it is by taking a step back to recognise that there’s no real reason to feel this way, no one has ever told me my work is shit!
So you are a lover of type? I am a HUGE lover of your font ‘Arcadia” ! Can you tell us a little about how this font came about?
Thank you! I fell in love with type while I was studying at university and I always aspired to create my own typefaces, but back then type software was either super expensive or very limited!
Fast forward a few years, Fontself releases and I know this is it. I love playing video games, it’s my biggest hobby, and at the time I was feeling super inspired by the pixel-style games I was playing. I didn’t even sketch anything out, I just jumped straight into Illustrator and made it! I’ve made a few typefaces before, but this was the first one where I was so proud and happy enough to put it out there.
Big question, what is your favourite and/or go-to font?
Such a difficult question! No real go-to because I always try to choose a font that's appropriate for what I’m working on, but at the moment I’m loving Erotique which was developed by Zeta Fonts. Swear Cilanti is also another one I love the form of. I’m definitely loving display serifs at the moment, especially after such a long time of being obsessed with geometric sans-serifs.
Was ‘Arcadia’ inspired by your love of gaming? What is your favourite game to play?
As I mentioned before, games were super influential for me making this typeface. Specifically ‘A Short Hike’, developed by Adam Robinson-Yu, where there’s an option to change the games visuals between ‘big and crunchy’ pixels and ‘small and crisp’ pixels. I loved the look of the big and crunchy pixels, it was definitely a big influence on creating Arcadia.
My favourite franchise is Animal Crossing, I own almost every game in the series! At the moment, I’m a bit obsessed with Dead Cells again, and I’ve also been playing Halo and Earthbound recently.
What are your career plans or goals for the future?
My goal is for freelance to be my main source of income one day, maybe even start a studio! At the moment I’m looking to gain some studio or agency experience to round out my overall design and business experience a bit more.
What top tips would you give to current design students and emerging creatives just starting their careers?
If you’re not feeling confident in your work, I would recommend listening to Ira Glass talking about ‘The Gap’. I found it very encouraging as a student and graduate to know that I’d eventually bridge the gap between what I could create and what I wanted to create.
Plus, take actual breaks! And not just a few hours, take weeks if you need it and can take it off.
take actual breaks! And not just a few hours, take weeks if you need it and can take it off.
What can you typically be found doing when you aren’t designing? Is it important for you to have hobbies and other interests outside of work?
If I’m not designing, I think it’s pretty obvious I’m playing games! But aside from that, I also love cooking. I’m also really excited to start travelling again, definitely something I’ve missed over the past couple of years.
Yes, it is so important to me to have something to do outside of design! It helps refresh my brain, process what I’ve learnt and helps me be more creative. Personally, I’ve been a person who has tried to work in every waking second of my life. In that time, I barely improved my skills and understanding of design and I was just miserable all the time.
it is so important to me to have something to do outside of design! It helps refresh my brain, process what I’ve learnt and helps me be more creative.
Lastly, who are you current she/they design crushes at the moment?
Sha’an d’Athens (@furrylittlepeach) is always a huge inspiration for me, especially in creating the type of work you want to create commercially.
I love the designs and illustrations created by Joy Li (@_joyli), Nicole Tan (@niconico_everyday) and Kumi McKenna (@kumimckenna) and their different explorations into ethnic identity.