Today I'm terribly excited to feature a graphic designer who is a HUGE inspiration to me.
Jenn Kirk is a mother of two boys who runs a graphic design studio out of her home in California. She is a fellow blogger, and I love to download her awesome free templates, catch up on her busy life, and see her awesome work at ambrosiagirl.com.
She sat down for a little Q & A.
How do you balance life as a mom and your graphic design business?
Since I work from home, the only way I'm able to truly find balance is to set aside time that is dedicated to work and time that is 100 percent mom. At one point, work and dealings with clients was spilling into my personal time. I found myself having to haul Kai back home from the park after only 15 minutes of play, all because I had to resend a file to meet a deadline. But now, I make it clear to clients the times I am available, because I work from home while raising children, and they respect that.
What are some of the rewards to starting your own business?
There are so many great perks to having your own business! The biggest, obviously, is that I can stay home with my kids. But also, having my own schedule is great, as is not having a boss. And nothing beats having complete creative control over projects and doing it in my PJs.
What are the challenges?
Autonomy is probably the biggest challenge. Yes, it's fun to jokingly refer to myself as Art Director (of myself and the cat), but I'd one day love to have a mentor that can help me hone my skills by pushing and challenging me until my mind feels like it will burst. I'm also impressed by design firms and the notion of having colleagues in a creative and energetic atmosphere where ideas are bounced around and critiqued. Luckily, my husband is very creative and has strong production and web development/design skills, so he's my go-to guy for opinions and technical advice.
How do you get inspired to create? What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me: color palettes, typography, patterns, the way sunlight hits
my backyard at a certain time of day … but none of it will compel me to create unless I have
a good idea or concept that sends me running to the computer. Those concepts come by way
of brainstorming, or if I see something that can be communicated in a better way, or even just
a thought that comes into my mind. Sometimes, those ideas don't even pan out, but they definitely get me started.
When did you know you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I knew I wanted to be a designer after enduring three years of Computer Science in college. I'm sad that I missed out on those years I could have spent developing myself creatively,
but at least I know for certain I am not meant to be dealing with programming
languages and algorithms!
Describe a typical day in the life for you.
Crazy! Well, that's partially true. From a macro point of view, my life appears quite orderly
and there is actually a routine to be found in the melee. But a typical morning for us involves seeing dad off to work, then breakfast, then some light tidying and getting ready for the day.
I try to get us out in the mornings, and “out” can be a number of things: the park, meeting friends, Target, farmer's market, groceries, that sort of exciting stuff. I aim to have us home
by noon, which is when we have lunch. Shortly after that, it's nap time for the boys and work time at the computer for me. If I'm lucky, they sleep for a couple hours. After they're up,
the latter part of the day is spent playing outside, throwing paper airplanes, watering the
plants, laundry, and preparing dinner. You know, more exciting stuff. I'm usually still cooking
by the time my husband gets home, so he'll run the boys around outside to expend their
energy and give me some peace in the kitchen.
What's your best design tip?
The only worthwhile advice I'm able to offer is to mix “high and low” in designs. This applies to many things, whether you're wrapping a gift, designing an invitation, or decorating your home. Contrasting colors, old and new, soft and hard, a fancy font paired with a really simple font on an invitation, are all examples of mixing high and low, and can help create visual interest and grab the attention of your audience.
If you are a designer and mother and would like to be featured or know someone who should, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org