At Project Spaces, everyone has a unique story to tell. With our monthly member spotlights, we delve deep into the worlds of our members to learn more about what drives them...
Project Spaces: Thanks a ton for joining us today Lauren. To start, could you tell us about what you do and how you started off?
Lauren Kerbel: I’m a graphic designer. I specialize in hand-lettering, calligraphy and brand identity design
I didn’t know what graphic design was until I got to grad school. A friend of mine was getting married and her designer sort of left at the last minute and half her wedding stationary wasn’t done so she asked me if I’d do her wedding stationary for her.
So I did all of the “day-of” stationary for her wedding and really, really liked it. That’s when I started doing design full-time as a freelancer.
PS: That’s such a big leap from doing one persons project to being able to subsist full-time as a freelancer, how did you manage that?
LK: I was freelancing as a writer, so that’s where my income was coming from.
Then I took about a year to focus on education and figure out what skills I needed. I went and did a bunch of courses and workshops and spent the year honing my skills and creating things within those classes that could be some sort of portfolio to start with.
From there, I fully opened my business, Lauren Kerbel Design, and just started getting referrals and word of mouth business through that.
Then last year I started working with two former colleagues from my time as an editor at Rogers on a company we started called Editors Inc. We are a content creation agency for brands that specializes in offering the services of writers, editors and creatives from our extensive network of the best editorial talent in Canada.
And even further, I’ve actually just started working with a wedding planner in Toronto to be her in-house calligrapher and designer for her weddings, so I have a bunch of stuff on the go.
PS: So what got you to the place that you felt confident enough to bet on your graphic design dreams?
LK: It was really the rebellion thing. I just didn’t like working for other people. I don’t like having a boss. I usually want to just do their job and feel like I can do it better than they can.
When I’m working on a project, I want to be in charge and I want to be doing it my way. I’m pretty stubborn! So that was the motivation for it.
PS: There’s so much to be said for having that sort of belief in yourself, especially as an entrepreneur.
LK: I definitely struggled with imposter syndrome. I thought, I didn’t go to school for graphic design, why would anyone want to hire me?
It took me a really long time to realize that that wasn’t the only reason that people would want to hire me and that there’s a lot of value in other types of experience. I didn’t go to design school but I have a really interesting background in communications, writing, and editing. I can offer that perspective. It’s very interesting.
PS: So how do you feel that you got over that imposter syndrome?
LK: It took me awhile. But there were a few things.
Every time I get positive feedback from my clients, it builds me up a bit more. I can see my clients really like what they’re getting out of my work and I think they really like the relationship that we built together.
PS: So what does branding, typography, and lettering entail?
LK: I start off by working really closely with my clients to figure out what their brand’s style is going to be.
At its core, a brand’s visual identity is how it presents itself to the world. The logo is a huge part of it, but it’s also things like your colour palette, typography, patterns and textures, styles of photography—even the amount of white space around elements communicates a personality and style. It’s all about the details, and how they work together to communicate your brand’s style and message to current and potential customers.
We build things from there. We do stationary. We do digital strategy. We help clients figure out, once we’ve built the logo, how they’re going to represent their brand visually, and that is probably my favourite thing to do.
PS: How did you find yourself working at Project Spaces?
LK: I worked out of my apartment for about two years on my own which was very tiny. At first it was really nice and I got to work in my pajamas. But then I’d get to the point where I’d realize I hadn’t left the house in 48 hours.
So I just got to the point where I thought I needed to not be in my place anymore. And I can’t work in a coffee shop, I hate working on my laptop. I needed my setup with my monitor and computer and I like having all my stuff around me.
So I started looking into coworking spaces and Project Spaces King West happens to be a block from my apartment and is very well priced. So I came in and did a trial day and I loved the vibe and the fact that I could bring my dog. It was really fun! I’ve been here now since December and I’ve really been liking it. It’s been really nice! I like the people here a lot!
PS: That’s wonderful to hear Lauren! To wrap things up: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?
LK: Nothing, honestly.
PS: Design, or die?
LK: Design or die! I’ve always been fascinated with lettering since I was a little kid and I honestly, genuinely can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
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