Laura Geyer is a graphic designer… and lives and work in her amazing campervan Yellow Matilda. Laura and her partner travel the world, creating work for clients as they go. Who said designers had to sit at a desk all day!
So what is a graphic designer?
My name is Laura Geyer and I am a freelance Graphic Designer. Like most jobs, graphic design involves many different things - we talk a lot about branding, print design, web design and typography which basically means anything with pictures and text that can be printed in a book or shown on a website. We design logos for companies and create the layouts for books and magazines and pretty much anything else you can think of!
At the moment my work focuses on branding and websites for small companies and individuals. I will create logos, colour palettes, typography ideas, photography and illustration. I develop the look and feel of a brand based on what they do and who they do it for.
I use Adobe software like InDesign for anything from social media posts to printed posters, Photoshop (although I try to avoid it because it gives me a headache!) and Illustrator for logo designs. Square Space is the platform I use to design websites. I also use a photo editing software called Lightroom and Premiere Pro for video editing (I told you graphic designers do it all!).
I wanted to go to art school from the age of 5.
Ahh school days! Our time at school is usually wonderful or traumatic – for me it was probably a bit of both! I didn’t even realise it at the time but along with my hormones, my creative energy was really going wild during school. I was keeping a sketchbook, writing songs, illustrating, painting, collecting and taking photographs. I liked Art, Drama and English and wasn’t so keen on Maths and Science so didn’t continue with them after 3rd year. I didn’t know that I was going to be a graphic designer. I didn’t really know what a graphic designer was. Since primary one I had wanted to go to art school but I had no idea what that really meant and what I could do after. My art teachers were enthusiastic and supportive but didn’t offer much guidance about the creative industries (or maybe I just wasn’t listening!)
Things don’t always go to plan.
Right, fabulous, I am in 6th year at school, I am a good student, I have created my portfolio, I have been going to life drawing classes, I am ready; I am going to apply to art school. Not just any art school. Glasgow School of Art. Let me take you through my thinking here, to me back then, Glasgow School of Art sounded more impressive than Edinburgh College of Art or Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. A narrow-minded and frankly ridiculous approach! if there is one piece of advice I can give you it’s don’t judge the merit of an education establishment based on a name. Well, guess what. I applied, and I didn’t get in. Thank goodness.
I was devastated for 5 minutes then I resolved to go on a gap year. One of the best decisions of my life so far. Do a gap year if you can! Save the money and pay for it yourself, it will mean more. There is more to life than what you have seen so far. So much more.
Two years later I got into art school in Dundee – it was the only place that would have me! It was wonderful. It gave me structure and focus and I learned a trade that opened my eyes to a huge breadth of possibility.
University… then adventure!
Up until leaving university, I was pretty happy with my path. My plan was to graduate and get a fancy job in London… However, after a summer of internships in both Scotland and London I started to question this idea. I realised that the reality of graphic design often means sitting at a desk all day working for companies that you may not agree with or support. Sometimes this has to be done but I wanted more control over the way I worked and lived. I had already started freelancing a bit during my studies so I thought I could
give that a go. My partner and I then decided we also wanted to travel and spend some time working and living in a van (as you do). So that’s what we did! We graduated, sold a lot of our stuff and set off. I can work from anywhere as long as there is some internet.
Everything happens for a reason…
That’s what I tell myself all the time. If you completely commit to this type of thinking you will never regret anything. There is always a lesson to be learnt, value to be taken and stored for the future. Find the silver lining in everything. Also, respect your journey, it doesn’t look like anyone else’s. It might be what you talk about during your future TED talk, it might be what you write your book about, it might be what drives you to constantly grow and learn throughout your own life. Own your story.