This week on Talking Shop, I’d like you to meet: Melissa Taylor! I met Melissa my freshman year at BYU, and we’ve been friends ever since. We bonded over Slenderman and Ellen scare videos, and got to work together on our senior capstone project together. She is incredibly talented, and inspires me in everything she does. She’ll inspire you, too! Here’s Melissa:
How did your career in design get started?
It has been a crazy ride! I originally started at BYU studying political science but after my first year, I met with one of my art teachers to talk about switching my major to animation. After a lengthy chat, he basically said I would never get into the animation program. But he recommended graphic design and said I would be great at it.
I was kind of bitter about it so I didn’t pursue graphic design and just did journalism major and a design minor.
Later on, I took a publications design class and I loved it. I then interned with LDS.net for my journalism internship, but after they learned I was minoring in design, they ended up having me do a graphic design internship! It was so much fun and I knew that this was the career path I wanted to pursue. Of course by then I only had one semester left of school so i couldn’t change my major again. I wish I had just sucked up my pride and majored in graphic design when my professor told me to. But I feel so lucky that I still get to be a graphic designer, even without the title on my degree.
What do you do when you need to feel inspired?
I find inspiration in others! I follow some accounts on Instagram and now you can follow hashtags too! I also love checking out portfolios on Behance, or even browsing Pinterest for ideas. Whenever I have a new project, I’ll create a folder of materials that inspire the direction I want to go with it, whether that be color schemes, typography, etc. or even just a general mood board to get in the vibe. A good playlist of “chill music” never hurts either.
How do you work through creative blocks?
Often times, if I have a creative block, I will take a step back and work on something else for an hour, or simply just take a break. Creative blocks are only temporary and I find the best way to overcome them is to just not dwell on it.
What is your creative process like? (Do you blast music, design in the early morning, etc.?)
I always start with brainstorming. If I’m designing a back to school campaign, I will look at other brands for inspiration.
I love making mood boards to just get a feel for how i want the design to look.
I will then turn on a good podcast (lately I’ve been loving “armchair expert with Dax Shepard”) and I’ll create tons of quick design ideas. That helps me narrow it down to two or three that I really like, at which point I’ll flush out more detailed designs and send them over to my client for feedback.
I always make sure to try and involve the client in all steps of the process so that the final product is exactly what they’re looking for.
What is your favorite thing you’ve designed?
I’ve been lucky enough to design wedding invitations and save the dates for a few friends and my sister. Those were by far my favorite because it was so special and it was an honor to be chosen to create the invitation- the first thing their guests will see for their wedding!
What is the best design advice you’ve heard or received?
Take your time! If someone tries to get you to provide a quicker turnaround time than you are comfortable with, say something. It is much more important to provide quality work than to rush something, and a lot of people don’t realize that this is a form of art, and it’s not meant to be done instantly.
If you could give any tips to wannabe designers, what would it be?
Never sell yourself short. In this field, and any creative field for that matter, people will often try to bargain your prices or make you feel bad for the prices you charge. It’s okay to offer discounts for friends and family, but remember your value. People wouldn’t ask an electrician to lower his prices, so they shouldn’t ask you to either.
Also, remember that practice makes perfect. You won’t start out being amazing, but you’ll get there with persistence and willingness to grow.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ve been so blessed to have this as my career. It’s really flexible and allows me to do a lot of work from home. I don’t think I’ll ever stop working because I am so passionate about it, and work never feels like work for me.
In five years, I think I’ll still be working (while also raising small humans) and I hope I can establish a stronger freelance presence for myself.
(The Fun Qs):
What is the best show you’ve watched recently?
I LOVE Queer Eye on Netflix. It’s a perfect mix of home renovation, cooking, and fashion. It makes me laugh and it makes me cry. I want to be best friends with the fab 5.
What is your favorite dessert?
This may seem weird, but I LOVE SHAVED ICE. it’s so simple. But I can go for a shaved ice in the middle of a freezing cold day in January.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I love Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits. Everyone raves about the minis but let me tell ya, those chicken biscuits with some honey are SO overrated. Pretty much all my guilty pleasures are foods I like to eat. 🙂