For Belinda's guest post today, I wanted to interview her for my Talk/Shop series. Belinda is a huge inspiration and I fell in love with her work and designs when I first met her on Instagram, plus, we share the same love for paper products (see "What's your favorite project type" below!) I'm so glad to be able to call this talented lady a dear friend and I just couldn't wait to pick Belinda's creative brain, so continue below to check out our Talk/Shop (she's got great freelance tips and wedding on the brain!)
Tell me a little bit about yourself: Hi, my name’s Belinda and I’m freelance graphic designer and illustrator. What makes my heart most happy is when I inspire others.
I grew up in Hong Kong, did university in Toronto and now live in Wales. I would say I’m bit of all three places, it’s a bit of a crazy journey, but I intend to add even more countries to where I’m from!
Let’s start at the beginning: I started freelance because I couldn’t find another job! I had just finished a graphic design internship at a non for profit and like the usual I was looking for a ‘real’ job at some design studio or agency. But somehow no matter where I applied the doors just wouldn’t open up. I had a couple of freelance gigs going for me at the time, and then it just never stopped.
I had always thought to myself “oh I need to be more professional by gaining more experience at a real agency, blah blah blah” but it was just always discrediting myself. Lo and behold, after a year and a half, I’m self-employed, I guess you could say I now run my own studio!
Can you give us a little insight about what you do? I’m a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Work consists of either helping a start up build their branding or you’ll find me designing wedding invitations for the newly engaged. So usually I’ll do a little hand lettering then take what I’ve drawn, and make it digital and all prettied up.
What’s your favorite project type and/or project that you’ve worked on? My favorite types of projects to work on is anything to do with quality printer goods. I’m such a paper geek. Well designed, letterpress or embossed stationery just makes me so giddy! Sometimes I get so excited, I literally hold the paper up to my face and rub the beautiful, oh so soft paper against my skin. lol, don’t judge.
The best thing about being freelance? Being the dreamer that I am, I have never ending dreams that I want to achieve and I really respect people that make an effort to start up something new and to go after their very dreams. The best part about freelancing is that I get to help others achieve their dreams and see it come true. I actually care and love what I do. Every single project means something to me because it means something to the people I work with. I absolutely love it and feel so blessed to be leading the life I have.
I love your hand lettering and calligraphy – can you give any tips for those starting out? Honestly I feel like I’m still such a newb, that’s so sweet of you to say! There is hope for you out there that want to get started, as I only started getting down and dirty with inks and pens at the beginning of this year. Over the past 11 months I can already see my own style developing and my comfort with the pens grow. I’m like the least disciplined person, and I never do those calligraphy drawing sheets, which I really should. At the beginning I just mimicked things- fake it till you make it and soon you’ll find your own style!
What are your future goals? On a personal note, last month I just got engaged! Yippe! So right now most of my focus is all on the special day. My future goal is to have a successful marriage completely divorce free, and still totally in love in 50 years time.
Business wise, I’m still juggling with the dream of maybe one day owning my own stationery company.
How do you juggle work/life balance? I personally make a real effort to not work on the weekends or after 5pm. Simply because if I don’t have a clear distinction of what’s work and what’s life I could so easily just continue working because I love my job so much. I think it’s really important to have a break away from what you’re working on, because sometime being away from it is exactly what you need to keep you inspired. The one thing I do want to improve on is to not even check emails after hours!
What inspires you? Hm, that’s a really good question. See the thing is I guess the internet does inspire me to a certain degree but I always try to limit myself to looking at inspiration online. Simply because sometimes you just get all caught up with the current trends and your work becomes like the typical. What I’m trying to say is that the researching for inspiration online can be good, but at the same time it can be crippling too as you can lose your own voice and style by giving in to what sells or is popular. It’s all about a healthy balance. I usually look for inspiration around me in the physical. For example if I need to design a pattern, my eye will catch on to the bathroom tiles, or the tea set that I’ve used time and time again - seeing the object from a fresh perspective.
Current obsession? I’m all wedding inspired up, so it’s wedding related. If I had all the moneyz in the world, I would love to wear a dress from either designers Zahavit Tshuba or Inbal Dror. Seriously their dresses are gorgeous, but it’s like in the $10,000, way out my range!
Thank you, Belinda! Congratulations on your engagement and we're so excited to see what you have in store for the future!
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