Teri Sutherland

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Teri Sutherland

Creative Director / Graphic Designer / Founder of Away with the Moon

South-East Queensland, Australia

www.awaywiththemoon.com
instagram @awaywiththemoon
 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am currently living the dream (well, my dream, anyway!) of running my own design business.

My studio is called Away with the Moon, and I spend most of my days working on branding projects with some pretty great clients. The average day for me involves lots of old-fashioned sketching, drinking lots of strong coffee, digitizing logo concepts, emailing clients and putting together beautiful colour palettes.

Lately I have also been trying to work on a few more personal projects during my spare time. I find that doing things like hand-lettering, illustration and painting really clears my mind, and actually helps me be more creative with my client work.
 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

After graduating from the Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Design, I landed a great junior role in a small design agency, where I got a really good foundational understanding of design and the print industry. I am so grateful for the technical skills I acquired during my time in this role and it really set me up well for my career later on.

As with most twenty-somethings though, I soon got itchy feet and took off to travel the world. I ended up in Edinburgh, Scotland, for a couple of years where I worked whatever job I could find really, in typical backpacker style. But I always made sure to be doing some freelance work on the side. 

After a few years the pull to come home to Australia was strong, and I just kept up the freelance momentum really, to the point where I decided I no longer wanted to just ‘moonlight’ as a freelance designer (which is where my business name ‘Away with the Moon’ comes from), but I wanted to do this gig full-time. Which brings us to where I am now! I set up my business part-way through 2016, and I haven’t looked back since.

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

A solid understanding of design principles and the design process perhaps. Anyone can follow trends, and trends do have their place, but a good designer will reach far beyond the mere façade of delivering simply whatever’s on-trend and instead provide a solution that’s based on solid research and has meaning and depth.
 

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WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I’m working on a couple of different branding projects at the moment. I usually like to have a small number of projects on the go at once to make sure I’m really being pushed creatively. 

I’m also about to get started on a rebrand for a PR and marketing executive. I love the feeling I get at the very start of a brand new project, where the possibilities are endless and there’s a million ideas zooming around in my head.
 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

I actually try to keep my design style pretty flexible to make sure my work fits within a client’s brief, and not just within my personal taste. I try my hardest in fact to keep my portfolio pretty diverse. In saying this though, there probably actually is an underlying style that comes through — perhaps this is impossible to avoid!

Personally, I’d rather think of my style in terms of how I work with my cleints. I’m friendly and respectful, I listen, I solve problems and I deliver great results!
 

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

Illustration. I wish I had more opportunities to do more illustrative work within the branding projects I take on.
 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Our reliance on social media is really doing my head in a bit lately! I know it’s an intrinsically important part of business these days in terms of finding clients, widening our net, and making connections, but I feel like we rely  on it so much, and we maybe shouldn’t, because it leaves us at the mercy of those in charge of the social media companies. Plus it’s also really time consuming!

I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way though, and I can sort of feel the tide starting to turn a little bit, at least within my circles anyway. I think there’s some real opportunities at the moment for getting back to basics and focusing on making much more meaningful, ‘old-fashioned’ connections.
 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

If I could get someone around to my house to do my washing, cleaning and cooking, that’d really free up some time for me to get more important things done!
 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I’d love to be able to go back and tell a twenty-something year old me not to be intimidated by other people and their work. I'd say: “Just get on with it and do your own thing, Teri!” 
 

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IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

Running your own business means wearing a lot of different hats and often doing things that you don’t have much experience in—like accounting for instance!—so getting some insight into how others manage to deal with everything on their own would be very helpful.
 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

I'm always on the lookout for interesting branding projects and logo design work.
 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

I love working on branding projects for small business owners who are really passionate about what they do. I especially enjoy working with companies that have a social conscience, or who are wanting to make a positive impact on their communities.
 

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

My branding packages start at around $550 (Australian Dollars) and I’ll do smaller bits and pieces for $50/hour.

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Simply drop me an email to get the ball rolling.
 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

I. Take. Lots. Of. Coffee. Breaks.


This member profile was originally published in March 2018.