Introducing Design your Vision

Welcome. My story and what to expect from this podcast.

You can list to the episode here.

Let’s start with my philosophy…

I believe we all have the right to live well, in whatever way that looks for each of us.

I don’t buy into the culture of hustling or burning the candle at both ends but instead I feel steadfast in seeking out a more holistic, considered and thoughtful approach to life and business.

That isn’t to say there aren’t moments for sprinting, but those moments aren’t our whole lives. Our professional and financial goals are a part of our bigger lives.

And I know I’m not alone this.

I find self-employment, and the work I do as a designer to be exactly what’s right for me, right now.

Here’s how I got here…

In 2013, a fresh graduate, I began my postgraduate course in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of Edinburgh. I knew what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be. I wanted to be a curator. I’ve loved art and stories and history for as long as I can remember, and I was throwing my whole self into this pursuit. I wanted to work in this field, that has so few jobs, so badly. That year I was fortunate enough to intern at the National Galleries of Scotland, the role I applied for was a digital content curator, even though I didn’t fully know what that meant. But I knew it was the room I wanted to be in with the the people I wanted to work with, so it was the place for me. I was very excited when I was offered that internship.

A few months in, I loved going to the gallery, I loved the feeling and idea of it, but I didn’t love the work. I spent a good chunk of my time writing about art history for the website, and while I enjoyed the research component, it was really just okay. It didn’t give me the jolt of excitement I had expected. I didn’t look forward to it, I just sort of, did it. When people asked me how it was, I said I loved it. The truth is, I loved the feeling it gave me. Interning at such a big institution felt prestigious, it made me feel worth while, which with hindsight I believe I was confusing with the feeling of having purpose.

After writing the content, came something that did excite me. Organising and creating the content that would accompany the text on the website. I choose the right paintings and pictures to communicate the text. I spent far too long choosing the right colours for the background and text that went with the theme and imagery. I was very into this. My senses were peaked. I didn’t realise it then, but I was designing.  I was not just enjoying this, but I felt the importance of telling this artists story through these minimal visuals. With hindsight I can see patterns. In my previous internship at an art gallery when I was asked to create posters for opening events, I was engrossed in the task in a way that gallery installation never did. Visual design (albeit the very basic and beginning version of it) was something that had always been there, but was beginning to become more clear.

After I graduated I took the first job in the arts that I could find. I needed employment. I also learned to use design softwares and spent some time exploring design. A few months into the job, the role above me became vacant. I applied, I didn’t get it. I felt that sting of rejection we feel, even with things we don’t truly want. That night, after a bit of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I made a list. A list of what I wanted to do, the skills I wanted to work on and how I could do those things in my current role with positive outcomes for all. I went back into work the next day, and when called in to speak with the manager I set out my intentions. I could use my skillset in digital content, marketing and design with more purpose to move things forward. I had a plan, and because the arts are underfunded and possibly because of my sheer determination and possibly because the manager felt sorry for me, I was given the okay. This wasn’t an official job change, but I took it as confirmation that I could focus more on that side of things. So that’s what I did.

The next few years I spent time designing more purposefully. I sought out any opportunity I had to design from posters and flyers to websites and logos. My experience in writing and online content informed a lot of what I did, that was useful insight to have. I read books, took online classes. But it still wasn’t technically my full time job.

Through out this time I still felt a bit lost. What was I truly working towards? I wasn’t sure. To work full time in a design agency? That didn’t nessecarrily feel right. If that didn’t feel right, should I go back to art history? These questions rolled around my head.

I considered getting my PhD, I started a cultural history podcast, I explored print making, illustration and letterpress. I knew I was engaging with design in a way that felt right, but I didn’t know where that would take me. At around 26 I felt like I was having an identity crisis wrapped up in what work I was doing and I felt stuck, like I couldn’t find my way forward. I also strongly felt that full time employment wasn’t for me. I like to work, but I hated the feeling of someone else owning my time. I hated the feeling of watching the clock from 4–5pm, because I just don’t work well in those hours. So much felt right and yet so much felt wrong at this time.

I decided it was a good idea to change jobs, perhaps that would help with the feeling of being stuck. I was offered some very dull jobs in design where I’d be doings things like making newsletters every week, but instead moved into a marketing job at a big institution. Within a month I was not only doing the marketing but designing a pretty large campaign, even though the design side still wasn’t technically my job. But with a decent portfolio of experience and more gumption than I realised I had, I kept pushing to design.

Alongside this job, I was spending huge amounts of my time designing brand identities and websites. I was on my laptop working in bed late at night, and on the bus ride into work the next day. I took on far more than one person should, but I just couldn’t stop! I wanted any brand design work I could find, I was obsessed by it!! I learned so much with each project I took, and I didn’t want that to stop!

A few months into doing the job and working outside of work, I was hugely burnt out and I went through a period of immense anxiety. The kind that stops you in your track, and makes daily life difficult. Something had to change.

At this point, I knew what I wanted but I wasn’t sure if it was possible for me. To keep doing the work I was fitting into weekends, evenings and bus rides, all day long. To own my own time. To learn in the environment I liked learning in, which was not the 9–5 work place. I wanted to be self-employed, and I wanted to keep designing.

At the end of November 2019 I quit my job. I went to visit my family in Arizona for American Thanksgiving and then took December to recalibrate, to spend time with friends, and to chart a route forward.

I took the plunge into self-employment. I didn’t have enough design clients in the beginning to fully sustain myself so I took on a longer-term freelance marketing contract to fit in alongside it.  I don’t think this is spoken about enough, how to make self-employment work for you and your circumstances. It doesn’t always look like just one thing, it can often look like piecing together different contracts, different skillsets, different ways of working.

That’s how I came to design and self-employment.


I still take on longer term contracts alongside shorter ones. I’ve taught small workshops, and have just launched a Skillshare class. I’ve also just launched an online shop of Bespoke Squarespace Templates and I’m developing other design resources that business owners and entrepreneurs need. Just like the seasons of the year, my own weeks, months and years look different.

I’ve now been working in marketing and design for the past seven years. At the intersection of both of these, I found the current purpose of my work.  The strategy of marketing paired with the problem solving of design mixed with the expressiveness of art. These are the tools I use, and the ones I am dedicated to continual growth in. This is my craft, my work.


I do this work because I enjoy it, and also because it helps me to fulfil a larger purpose. I want to continually establish and grow a life and business that’s right for me, and I want to help others to do so too. I want to help as many smart and creative women as I can with this.

As women in today’s world we are constantly sorting through our priorities, seeking a balance between our creative practice, personal goals, family life, love life, friendships, professional goals, financial goals, the list goes on. We usually have a vision of what we want our life to look like, imperfect, but what’s right for us in the current season of our life.

Through my years of experience I know that design can be used to help us reach our big goals and achieve our visions. This goes for personal, financial, professional or creative goals. And of course, many of our goals will be a mix of these.

Design helps us to reach our goals by solving problems. From big problems, like needing a website to attract the right customers to the seemingly small problems that have a big impact on our day to day,  like how to organise things visually to help you work easier and save time. These are all problems with design solutions that will stack up and help us to reach our goals, in turn helping us to live well.


This podcast is an extension of my design work. A different format, a different tool, the same end goal. So what can you expect?

Any helpful tool, tip or piece of knowledge I have in my design and self-employment arsenal will be shared.  I’ll cover things within the topics of website design, brand design and brand strategy and I’ll also branch out into related topics if I believe it will help. I’ll share resources I find useful, and discuss questions I don’t yet have answers to. The episode length will vary, I’ll keep some episodes short and sweet, while some will dive deeper. Brevity matters, you are busy people. So the length will be tailored to the topic.

Design is made to solve problems, so if you have any issues you want explored, please do send them over, you can find my details in the description box.

I believe design can help us to achieve our goals and live well, so let’s explore that together.

Subscribe if you want to hear the latest episode, or check back when you want to dip in and out.

Take care and thanks for listening.