WHAT DO YOU DO?
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I knew that I always wanted to be in a creative field, I just never really knew what that would be. My passion for art always guided me. Like in college, I’d have to go to the library for research (likely for a very dry and boring paper topic) and I would find myself in the art section grabbing a bunch of books/magazines and just pour over the photography and study the typography. I think being mindful enough to realize my diverse skill set led me to Graphic Design as a major because of how much it’s influenced by so many mediums. As I worked on projects I found that I could integrate my own photography into designs I created and having some background in photography has helped me land some of my future jobs.
My background is mainly made up of agency experience and it has definitely made me a well-rounded designer. I’ve taken on a variety of different design projects that have really strengthened my skills, which also allows me to be pretty flexible. I’ve always been a hands-on team player, which has given me the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects with some great people and clients. I think this experience has given me the knowledge and confidence to freelance full time, which is where I am now.
How do you stand out in your field?
Having a background in photography has given me a keen eye for curating and creating photos specific to a particular project. I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands on some styling projects, which helped me explore the bounds of my creativity. I usually use photography as a starting point for inspiration, even if it may not be a part of the project in the end, I feel like photography plays a big role in the design process - viewing the project through a lens.
I also think many of the compositional elements of photography have transcended into my design work, which allows for good, fundamental design to come naturally for me so I can be more fluid creatively.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Since I began freelancing full time, I’ve gotten the opportunity to put more time into launching my own t-shirt business called Viola Chip (co-owned with my brother). It’s a project I’ve always wanted to create and something that I have full control over, from logo design to t-shirt design to website design. It’s also given me a new business perspective and is a great creative outlet. I am also currently working on a logo design for a construction management company based in New York called S.Donadic Inc., which requires a minimalistic approach with a contemporary modern style.
I’ve also gotten my hands on a few photography projects that involve styling and content creation for Instagram, which is a great way for me to hone in on my skills.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I would say that my style for projects is pretty diverse, and in some cases I may have to adapt to a particular style depending on the identity of an existing project, but I tend to gravitate more towards minimalistic and contemporary styles. I would say Ouur Media is a pretty good example of what I admire. When working with typography, I like to incorporate it as an element of the design and work with type and photography in synchronization.
I really love contrasting elements as well, like a grungy background contrasted with a polished/minimal-styled model. Some of the images on Article&’s Instagram set a pretty good example of what I’m talking about. Oh, and I’m just gonna throw some music in there because it plays a big role in my design process/style, and I’m currently feeling the likes of Masego, Arrangement, LEISURE, Toro y Moi, and KAYTRANADA. You can get a good idea of the vibes from my Spotify and SoundCloud profiles.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
Hand-lettering. I’ve bought and have been gifted some books, but it definitely is something that has fallen through the cracks. I think it’s a skill that I can acquire, and would love to incorporate into some of my designs and even photography work.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
Finding more time to network, I like to meet new people and experience new things, so finding more time to add this into my schedule is definitely a must.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Help out with social media marketing for my t-shirt business, Viola Chip. It’s something that I need to put more time into and I think the most challenging thing for me right now is using spare time to develop new marketing tactics for each platform, so some beneficial research would be super helpful!
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
Don’t worry so much about where you are at the moment, but soak in all of what is happening around you and keep a positive outlook throughout your experience. No matter how good, or bad, it may be.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Front-end development. I know a bit of code, but there are effects and stylistic things I’d like to accomplish with some of my web designs that I wish I could do on my own. It’s definitely on my list of things to learn!
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I’ve been working more and more with Squarespace - it’s how I built my personal and business (Viola Chip) websites - so I’m definitely looking to expand more clientele on this platform. Overall a variety of different projects spanning from web design to branding to photography.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
One of the things I enjoy most about being a designer is asking a lot of questions and most importantly learning about a client/job’s overall goal or mission and their passion. I think a level of trust and good communication is what really amounts to great work in any situation. I like to work with out-of-the-box/innovative ideas and I’m always up for a challenge.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My rates vary depending on the project and the size of the project. I have different rates for my design projects and photography projects. For example, photography/styled images for instagram go for $35 a photo. My hourly design rate goes for $45.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
Pauline Hilborn: She’s awesome, one of my favorite colleagues to work with. She is a front-end developer and I’ve had the privilege to work side by side with her on various projects. She is such a positive spirit, she has always encouraged me and believed in me.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or DM (@laur.abba) the scope of work, your expectations, things and ideas that inspire you, your ultimate goal, oh and a cute/funny dog pic/gif, that would brighten anyone’s day.
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Take lots of pictures. Eat all the food.
This member profile was originally published in February 2019.