Designer Diaries: Melanie Pennell Design

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I am a graphic designer, surface pattern designer and fledgling illustrator. I freelance graphic design and also license art through my agency, A Fresh Bunch.

When did you discover your passion?

 I have always loved art and creating. I drew all the time as a little girl, took classes in watercolour after school and focused most of my attention on it.

After burning out a little at high school I followed a path in finance and business and ended up as an accounting a assistant! It took me a little while to realising it wasn’t making me happy. I made the switch at 20 to graphic design and not looked back. Creativity is in many parts of my life - art, design, cooking and creating a beautiful home that we want to be in!

What made you turn your passion into a career choice versus just a hobby?

 I truly believe that you have to follow a career in something that makes you happy and that you ‘have to’ do. I know I would not be happy working every day in a ‘job’ and only having my spare time to be creative.

How do you stay motivated?

Sometimes it can be hard, especially if you are commissioned to work on a project that doesn’t inspire you.

I have learnt to keep those ones to a minimum now. If it doesn’t excite me, then my heart won’t be in it and that will reflect in the end result.

Can you share a little about your design process?

If it is for a paying client I will ask many many questions so I can get a clear understanding of what they want to achieve with their design or artwork. I might also ask for inspiration from them. The closer I can get to what is in their mind, the more successful the outcome will be and the more collaborative the work will be. Then I will take some time myself to research what is already out there so I don’t do something similar. I spend ALOT of time on Pinterest. It is a gold mine of inspiration.

If I am working on a personal piece to later license or sell, the inspiration usually comes in a spark and I will take it from there. Again with lots of research on whats been done and what different techniques I can apply. I am still developing my style, so I am trying lots of new things, especially getting off the computer and drawing and painting.

What is your favorite part about having a creative business?

My favourite thing about having a business is the ability to be in control of myself and my time.   Being a creative business has lots of highs and lows that just go with creating new work - the highs are the best part! Very fulfilling and inspiring in themselves.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

Avoiding distractions - especially working from home and by myself. I’m not sure I have overcome them yet!

That and fear of putting myself out there creatively - also have not overcome but definitely working on it. I think just doing it is the key.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers looking to build a successful creative business?

To really put the time in to advance your skills as much as possible - both on and off the computer. Not everything you create will be amazing or sellable, but it will be a step towards getting better at what you do.  And stay organised in the practical matters! They are important too.

Whats next for your career?

 Next for me is taking my visions and dreams to the next level. Time to stop thinking about what I want and actually put steps in place to make them a reality. 

Where can we find you on the web?


Twitter:  @mpennelldesign


Instagram @saltpanhomewares