Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Close Up Interview with Graphic Designer Beth Ramsay from Masere

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do
Born and raised next to the sea in Melbourne with a love for 1960’s glass, all things hand made and my vintage car (Morry). I’m a graphic designer specialising in packaging and print, I absolutely love typography and have a thing for patterns. My other passion is making pure and organic skin care products and soap using essential oils and natural, plant based ingredients.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
My brother Leonard is a huge inspiration, he’s self taught creating his own business hand making custom made furniture and sculpture, he creates the most beautiful pieces out of wood, resin, metal and bits that wash up on the beach. I found one of the first items he made out of wood the other day and it made me realise just how far he’s come.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?
Everyday I see elements of beauty that inspire me and start my brain running around with colours and shapes. I love Leunig’s work and at the moment I’m heavily into ancient Japanese and Arabic art. I find inspiration in graffiti, theatre sets, on the internet and in art galleries, crazy junk stores and particularly when I travel. Panelpop is an amazing place where I see a lot of local street artists work, I also look longingly at Pi Interest and www.dieline.com always has juicy inspiration, I love seeing what others are creating and being inspired by this.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Happy, passionate, kind, honest and always into something crazy (not 5 words I know :o)

Beth's Family
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
Well I’ve come a long way from my fist job as a check out chick in BiLo, as you can imagine I wasn’t too crash hot on the job itself, however I got to meet some great people. From there to realising my dream to be a graphic designer and beginning in a small design company. 

I then moved to do both graphic design and marketing in a wine distribution company and starting my love of food and wine, part of my position was to be involved in tastings and wine dinners and I was lucky enough to be sent out to wineries around Australia to visit them and see what makes them special. I did this work for some 6 odd years before leaving and moving to the UK for about 3 & ½ years and whilst living in Brighton I worked with Green People doing their packaging design for all of their natural and organic skin care products (I had been passionate about this area for a long time) and then moving to The Body Shop International where I designed marketing campaigns for the whole of Europe, Middle East and Africa, that was an amazing experience!

I arrived home about 1 & ½ years ago and spent my initial months freelancing around Melbourne, mainly designing for The Arts Centre and in June 2010 I started Masere, my own creative company specialising in packaging and print at this time I was fortunate to meet Vinh and Stuart at a crafts fair, ideally I would like to be designing and having a skin care product business at the same time (I can be a little over enthusiastic sometimes), however Vinh wisely advised that I not diversify too much, thus spreading myself too thin and to continue to start my design business first and then work on the skin care business after I have this up and running. I’m so pleased I took his advice as I’m finding designing for my own business so much more rewarding and business is growing! I’m still developing my skin care range – just in my spare time.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?
I always start with a nice hot cuppa tea. I find I’m my most creative in the morning so I start early and immerse myself in design, then about mid morning I generally make any calls I need to make and then get back into it. I find I can become a little too focussed from time to time so I try and make sure I have a few breaks away from the computer, then I pop out for a walk at 3ish to clear my head. After that, depending on how much work I have I’ll either get back into the studio or work on my own stuff.

 As a Solo Graphic Designer, what is your biggest frustration?
It’s disappointing sometimes when clients call with last minute jobs they’d known about for a while. I totally understand that people are busy and sometimes leave things to the last minute (I do this myself sometimes too). I feel that these jobs sometimes don’t get the same level of attention towards the design elements and they often cannot be allowed to grow organically so that rather than the design being great it could have been really super ace.

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.
My first priority is when I received the brief and the timeline discussed with the client, then to what level of urgency is it required, often this is a balancing act. I always want to have final artwork done by the agreed date and I make sure I keep very open communication with my clients as to how things are progressing and how busy things are.

Beth's Studio

Since you are working at home, can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I meet a few other artists through Panelpop from time to time and I make sure I keep up with friends I used to work with, as I like to know what’s going on. I would like to work on networking with other designers more, it hasn’t been a priority to network, however I’m really feeling now that this is something I want to do more of.

Mostly my clients are through word of mouth which I like as they already have a certain level of trust in my work, other clients come through google searches and occasionally I’ll pop up to one of the wine regions and speak with people and drop off my contact details should they ever need my services, doing this is also a good way for me to keep up with the wine industry and know what’s happening (and it also helps to get me out of the studio once in a while).

82 Meters Group Low Resling

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
If you love it, then most often other people will as well. Believe in yourself and be very clear about what your doing, for me organisation has been key and accepting support was difficult as first, however I wouldn’t be still here had I not had such a wonderful and supportive partner, family and friends.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
Definitely to live in a tree house!
To build Masere design and expand to have offices in Japan and the UK.
To help people by making natural products without any chemicals and nasty, yucky stuff
To hike all the great walks in NZ
To always be true to myself (I’m getting better at remembering this, but sometimes I forget)

What is your proudest moment so far?
Of learning to be honest, humble and kind even in difficult situations – I’m getting better at it every day

Who do you most want to meet and why?
Jim Henson (if he was still alive), what an absolute legend, can you imagine what amazing conversations could be had with a mind like that?! Creating all of those amazing puppets, characters and sets of Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Sesame Street is still going and it started in 1966! I think he would bring out the big kid in anyone.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
To be true to myself, at times it’s really hard because you have all these external ‘input’ (sometimes despite good intentions, whether you like it or not) and I think we’re really programmed, these days, to please others. Being true to myself always makes me happy, sometime I need to step back and take stock to remember this, with practice I’m getting better at it.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
The Life of Mahatma Ghandi by Louis Fischer – WOW, what a great book. Ghandi was such a fascinating person, such amazing shifts in the world started by such a small man, it really makes you believe that you can do anything. My favourite book is The Bone People by Keri Hulme, it has an odd style of writing and grammar and the story follows three characters on their journey and the relationships that develop, sometimes confronting but always mesmerising, it’s impossible to put down.

Where do we find you and your creative services? 
My design services are at www.masere.com.au, at this stage I’m not selling my skin care products – hopefully soon!


Anonymous said...

Great Interview

Anonymous said...

Beth is a very talented young lady

Anonymous said...

Wow, its easy to see why she has been so successful, what a bright spark! I wish I had half the enthusiasm & passion that Beth has.

Pure Leverage

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