designer-emily-markwood-on-the-rewards-that-come-from-following-your-path

Designer Emily Markwood on the rewards that come from following your path

Emily Markwood’s life, like many freelance creatives, is one thing of a balancing act. Professionally, she helps construct manufacturers from scratch every day. Hayes Barton Designs, her studio, simply celebrated its 7 12 months anniversary, and enterprise is booming. There are additionally youngsters to wrangle, an workplace house to renovate and cute animals to feed.

She’s additionally one among 99designs’ star model specialists. 106 contests have been received, 116 1-to-1 tasks accomplished and 31 repeat purchasers have left glowing 5 star opinions within the few years she’s spent on the platform. And that’s on high of the whole lot else happening in her life.

image of designer
Designer Emily Markwood

We reached out to Emily (AKA EWMDesigns) to know what lights her fireplace and empowers her to do all of it. We discovered that as heat as she is, she’s additionally extraordinarily intentional about what she pours herself into, taking over just a few tasks at a time to make sure that every of her purchasers receives the eye they deserve. They usually do, strolling away with a closing product they’re so happy with, and that additional *oomphwhen they launch their small enterprise.

We hope Emily’s story will encourage you to fall again in love with the method and encourage you to comply with your path.

Do you bear in mind if you realized design was the fitting path for you?

I bear in mind it actually clearly, truly. After graduating from North Carolina State College with a level in enterprise, I discovered myself working for a small pharmaceutical firm. There was typically a necessity for design tasks to be full. I at all times cherished creating, so I volunteered as they got here up.

At this level I didn’t know something about design and had by no means even heard of Adobe inventive software program. A colleague, who had beforehand labored with a e book publishing firm, launched me to Illustrator and I used to be hooked instantly. There’s a studying curve for certain—determining the right way to manipulate anchor factors to create one thing that doesn’t appear to be it was drawn by a six-year-old—however I caught on fairly rapidly and I couldn’t get sufficient.

After eight years with the corporate, we have been acquired and my place was eradicated. Whereas I used to be unhappy, it appeared like the fitting time to determine if I may make a residing as a contract designer.

A complete “now or by no means” second.

It was scary and liberating all on the similar time. I had no thought how I’d discover purchasers and even what I wished to design. All of it labored out, although, and I’m so grateful that that is how I get to spend my ‘work’ days.




It was frightening and freeing all at the same time. I had no idea how I’d find clients or even what I wanted to design.





tote bag with illustration of bird drinking out of glass
Logo of early bird social: bird drinking out of a glass

three bottles and a coaster branded for early bird social
Branding for Early Fowl Social come to life
You latterly celebrated 7 years of Hayes Barton Designs. So to begin with: congratulations! Inform us the story behind the identify?

Once I determined to present this all a go, I found that I wanted to register my enterprise with the state. I knew I didn’t wish to use my identify, however developing with one thing significant so rapidly appeared daunting. Hayes Barton Historic District is a neighborhood simply outdoors of downtown Raleigh, developed in 1920 via the mid-twentieth century, and it’s the place I dwell with my husband and two kids. I’m a Raleigh native and together with a little bit of town I like a lot in my enterprise identify ended up being the proper alternative, I feel.

A map of the historic district that inspired the name of Emily’s studio
A map of the historic district that impressed the identify of Emily’s studio
That’s pretty. What would you say you concentrate on?

I work alone and as of late focus totally on small enterprise branding. I nonetheless have purchasers from connections I made throughout my time in prescription drugs and spend a few of my time on company tasks. Branding is, unquestionably, my favourite.

What’s your favourite trade to design for?

My pure model is a bit quirky, natural and imperfect and appears to suit greatest with inventive industries. I like working with different artists—makers, musicians, and cooks—and have discovered that my design model is often a very good match for folk on this house. There’s a ton of room to be inventive.

It’s good to have a mixture of purchasers with a variety of design wants; it retains issues fascinating and day by day brings new challenges and alternatives. Some designers say that you must outline a distinct segment, and that type of occurs naturally, however I sincerely consider that I’m a extra precious useful resource to my purchasers as a result of I’m capable of adapt to quite a lot of design kinds. I delight myself on presenting distinctive and considerate design ideas.




I love working with other artists—makers, musicians, and chefs—and have found that my design style is usually a good match for folks in this space.





rocketship coffee packaging
logo for rocketship coffee
a person holding a cup of iced coffee infront of rocketship coffee

What do you assume has been essentially the most rewarding a part of being inventive?

The rewards are multitudinous. The most effective half, although, is watching manufacturers come to life. Making a considerate and intentional model identification is usually a prolonged and tedious course of and my hope is at all times that the ultimate designs will serve the shopper effectively as they start and develop their enterprise. Watching these manufacturers succeed is such a supply of pleasure and delight for me. I really feel so honored and humbled to have a small (albeit necessary) function of their journey and it’s extremely rewarding to look at them flourish.

One other huge benefit is working for myself. Once I began freelancing my son was one and my daughter hadn’t but joined us. Now they’re eight and 6. Having the pliability to be there for them—to drop them off and choose them up from college, to assist with homework, or give hugs after a tough day—is such a privilege, one which I wouldn’t have if I had chosen a special path. I didn’t notice, seven years in the past, how necessary these items can be. However it kind of makes the entire ‘issues occur for a motive’ saying ring true.




Having the flexibility to be there for [my kids]—to drop them off and pick them up from school, to help with homework, or give hugs after a rough day—is such a privilege, one that I wouldn’t have if I had chosen a different path.





Are there any challenges you face?

Some days it’s powerful to really feel impressed and all of the concepts really feel like dangerous ones. Fortunately these spells go fairly rapidly. I’ve discovered that it’s hardest to be inventive after I’m feeling confused or overwhelmed.

Taking a step again and gaining some perspective helps quite a bit. For me, that appears like making a listing and breaking issues down into manageable items. Most frequently, as soon as I’ve finished this, the creativity sneaks again in. Right here’s hoping that is at all times the case.

Paint us an image: what does a day in your life appear to be? Do you might have a set routine?

I’m undoubtedly a creature of behavior and having a routine is useful for me. I begin most days begging my youngsters to dress and brush their tooth. Then, espresso. As soon as my workday begins, I attempt to dive proper into essentially the most inventive duties. Mornings are sometimes my most efficient time of the day and I begin shedding pace within the early afternoon.

Hot chocolate flakes container with MrsPotts logo
logo rebrand for Mrs Potts

Cute abstract shape packaging with string

I attempt my greatest to keep away from e-mail for the primary few hours of the day, until there’s one thing pressing, and compensate for these over lunch. Administrative duties are saved for the late afternoon, because the inventive juice is often operating low by then. Often, I’ll get again to work after supper with my household, however I attempt my greatest to maintain pretty conventional workplace hours. Working from residence is hard and in case you’re not deliberate, you may find yourself at your pc for a lot longer than you must.

Positively. On the subject of inspiration, may you inform us 3 issues which are inspiring you in the meanwhile?

Inspiration is throughout proper now; spring is my favourite. It’s getting sizzling right here and the whole lot is blooming. The bushes are inexperienced once more and there’s simply a lot coloration in every single place—lovely and galvanizing, for certain. I don’t get the possibility to learn a lot for myself as of late, however my youngsters and I are devouring The Chronicles of Narnia at bedtime. We’re on e book three and I’d forgotten how fantastic the tales are. I can’t say there’s any particular design inspiration for me in there, however the magic typically is actually inspiring.

I like music and will by no means choose one favourite, however I like The English Beat, Elvis Costello, Brett Dennen, Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Avenue Dive, Amos Lee, Leon Bridges, Bob Marley… I may go on and on. Music is a large supply of inspiration for me, however I’ve to watch out listening whereas I’m working; solo dance events occur if it’s too good!

four images of illustrations of vegatables and fruit
Design for International Grocery Market




Some designers say you need to define a niche, and that kind of happens naturally, but I sincerely believe that I’m a more valuable resource to my clients because I’m able to adapt to a variety of design styles.





Quite a bit has modified in your profession because you joined 99designs 4 years in the past. What makes you proceed on the platform?

99designs has been such a beautiful platform for me. At first, it was an effective way for me to attempt new issues and develop my skillset as a designer. I’d flick through the competition prompts and I used to be amazed by how many individuals have been looking for designs. I simply kind of tried the whole lot to start with, however fairly rapidly discovered the place I could possibly be profitable. I’d give you an thought for a design after which begin researching the right way to carry the idea to fruition. Not being a formally skilled designer, my abilities have been restricted, however every contest allowed me to be taught one thing new. I didn’t use an iPad at first, so I’d sketch concepts on paper, take a photograph, after which hint the design with a mouse in Illustrator. It appears archaic now, however in case you want apply with the pen device, that’s the best way to get it.

I’ve collaborated with so many fantastic purchasers—everywhere in the world—that I by no means would have met had it not been for 99designs. I’m extremely grateful for the alternatives which have come from my participation on the platform and I intend to keep up a presence right here for so long as I can. Issues have modified as my enterprise has developed and I don’t have time to enter many contests anymore, however the one-to-one tasks have been an amazing supply of enterprise for me. It’s difficult and time-consuming to search out purchasers by yourself and the platform makes it such a easy and seamless course of.

Thanks for the type phrases. One final query earlier than we go: you confronted a “now or by no means” second when it got here to beginning your inventive apply. May you share a nugget of knowledge or recommendation to designers, perhaps those that are simply beginning their careers? Possibly one thing you discovered from taking that leap?

For those who’re passionate and work onerous, I actually assume you may accomplish absolutely anything you set your thoughts to. Keep in mind to present your self some grace and have a lot of endurance. It took me a few years to actually settle into doing this full time, and in hindsight, I’m so glad that I embraced the uncertainty and discomfort of all of it and simply went for it. Be taught as a lot as you may and attain out to different designers for steering in case you want it. The inventive neighborhood is fantastic and supportive; simply bear in mind to pay it ahead.

We love that. Thanks, Emily!
Love Emily’s work?
Rent her on your subsequent challenge.

The publish Designer Emily Markwood on the rewards that come from following your path appeared first on 99designs.

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