This is our 10th interview in the interview series here at Admix Web, where we are publishing one interview per week of fellow web designers, web developers and graphic designers. This is our second female interviewee, and she comes highly recommended from quite a few fellow designers! Though, I have a few interviews set for the next few weeks, I am still requesting designers and developers to nominate colleagues in the field, or themselves! Please contact me if you are interested at hlamarche[at]admixweb[dot]com. This week we have a Las Vegas based Graphic/Web Designer, who is most well known for her amazing fonts! Lauren works as a graphic/web designer and mother, and runs Nymphont! I hope you like the interview! Enjoy!
Thank you so much for doing this interview for Admix Web. Can you give us a brief background on yourself?
Hi, thanks so much for having me. My name is Lauren, and I am a freelance designer (and mom) residing in Las Vegas. I have been making websites and doing digital design work since around 1996. I would say that I am most well known though, for the fonts that I have designed.
Do you consider yourself a web designer, web developer, or both?
As much as I love both web development and web design, I have to be honest and say I’m much more of a designer. The majority of the work that I do of a digital medium pertains to designing. I do enjoy web development very much though.
Why Design as a career? What were your inspirations for that profession?
I had not planned nor expected that I would pursue a career in design or the arts, growing up it was instilled upon me that art was fine as a hobby but a career in the arts was not something that should be considered really. Even now, I still find it surprising sometimes when my services are sought out for digital work. I had not considered that I could ever pursue design as anything more that a hobby, and I enjoy it so much, I almost feel guilty referring to it as work sometimes!
Are you self taught or did you study design/development?
How many years have you been in the field, and how has the field changed during that time?
I’ve been doing digital/web design for fourteen years actually! Many things have changed, and in my opinion, it’s continued to change for the better. I still love the CSS and all it’s power, and I love the fun stuff like jQuery. I love jQuery! He he.
Yet the web designer’s battle against web fonts is alive as ever. But to me that sort of thing is fun too, working out those details and finding the best solution for a given project. And, it’s still just as exciting to me as it was in the beginning.
Can you describe a day in the life of you?
A day in the life of me is way mundane. I am a mom, so I play with My Little Ponies a lot, and watch Dora the Explorer when I am not at the computer.
What is your favorite food?
I love cheesecake.
Would you define yourself as introverted or extroverted? How does that effect client relations?
I am an extrovert. I am approachable and like to keep things casual/informal when possible. I think this has a positive effect on client relations. I want clients to feel comfortable communicating with me, and at ease when doing so. I hope they can trust me and come to me with their questions and concerns.
If you could give a Shout Out to someone who has inspired you in your life, but may not know it, who what it be?
Mia Zoe from Dezin Diva is one. She always motivates me to do my best and to never settle. The fact that she believes in my abilities means a lot. And Ray Larabie. He is amazing, I have been a fan of and familiar with his work in type design for quite a long time, I am absolutely thrilled that I have been able to correspond with him online and receive his advice. I feel not worthy!
What is your favorite color? Does it infiltrate your designs?
I love Pink and Black. Pink somehow manages to infiltrate my designs to no end. At least within my own personal projects. It’s a problem.
How do you balance your raw inspirations for a project, with the client’s sometimes bad ideas?
I have enough respect for my clients to place my own raw inspirations for a project aside to focus on gaining an understanding of what their inspirations are, and achieving them. If their bad ideas are bad for logistical reasons rather than aesthetic ones, I try to convey this to them so that they will understand, and if this does not work, many times in the end they see my points and agree to make some changes after I complete an example of the project with said “bad ideas.”
What was your first design you actually marketed? How do you feel about it now?
I have been working “freelance,” since I began doing web design, and the first web design job I was actually hired on for ( in which I designed more than just graphical elements) was for an awards website, a site that offered web awards to other websites. I tried in vain to get a screen capture for you, I even searched on the internet archive because the though it was nice looking, it is embarrassingly dated! For one, it had frames! For a quick minute there on the internet frames were acceptable. Briefly as that minute might have been! I also would like to add the frames were at the clients insistence. Even then, I was not a fan and understood their drawbacks.
Anyways, it had a celestial theme with a dark bluish-purple textured background, with little stars randomly placed throughout! And it’s menu featured image-changes on-mouse-over which was also pretty top notch back then too. It was really graphic-heavy, but again, at the time that was also a bit more acceptable. Overall the design was a huge improvement upon the previous, and the client was very happy with it, so in that sense, it was a success.
What is your favorite type of design work?
Type design. I am infatuated with it.
And, what has been your favorite project?
Well, one of my own personal projects I’ve enjoyed are what I have called my, “Sans-Serif Experiments.” I created a series of geometric sans-serif fonts which have been pretty well received. Champagne & Limousines, (my font) is a result of such experiments.
I also really enjoyed creating Sachiko, my first script typeface design and am pleased with how it turned out. My favorite font though, that I have designed of all time is LT Oksana.
Recently I have had a strong desire to create art, just for arts sake. I have been working within a digital medium for so long I do not have a lot of traditional tools for creating art, so to satisfy my desire to create, I have been doing a lot of vector illustrating just for myself. I think that it’s very important for an artist to continue making art simply for art’s sake, rather than simply creating pieces for a particular project or for work.
Explain the significance of your company name?
I told my dad it referred to fairies, like “wood nymph’s” but he wasn’t buying it. I had expected to experience more negative feedback or consequences by using the moniker “Nymphont,” but I have not at all, and if I have, it has been so slight that it hasn’t had an affect. I like to think it’s simply another way of saying, “Font Freak.”
Are you a Mac or a PC? Why?
PC. It’s just what I have always used. I haven’t used a Mac since grade school.
What design tools do you use? Which tools would you suggest to fellow designers/developers?
I use FontCreator to design fonts though I wish I had more comprehensive software, such as Fontographer. But for those interested in trying their hand at type design I do recommend it, I think it is great for beginners. I use PhotoShop and Illustrator for graphics/illustration, and notepad for coding HTML, CSS and so on.
Do you work better under pressure or do you need time to cultivate your ideas?
Sometimes pressure is good, though I try to keep my working atmosphere pressure-free.
Tell me about the Blog.
What made you start it and why do you write? I always have liked having a website or blog where I could express myself, vent, and make use of some creative energy. It gives me something to do, and is a great hobby. I also really felt the need to “put my name out there,”so to speak, make some sort of record of my existence in the design community on the web, even when no one knew who I was.
What makes you unique?
Maybe one thing that makes me unique is that I am not the slightest bit afraid to “go against the grain.” Not at all to say that I am motivated by shock value, or that I intentionally try to be different, but If something works for me, I do it. Whether or not a technique is preferred or if it is touted as desirable, I am confident in what I do. And this I do believe has always been a successful tactic for me.
What are some of the design and development blogs you read on a regular basis, why?
Design Juices, is one, the blog of Jared Thompson, whom I have been a fan of for a little while. He is a bright and talented designer in his own right, and he also has an amazing eye for talent, and he shares those discoveries on his blog often. I like blogs that are approachable and unpretentious. A “too-good” or “better-than” attitude is something I do not relate to, and it garauntees that I will not be a fan.
Please share some pearls of wisdom for up and coming designers in the field.
I would imagine that starting a career in web design and web development now a much more intimidating task than it was when I began, with all the amazing practitioners already in the field. That said, I would recommend they trust in themselves and their abilities, and to continue on with whatever it is they planned. I’d also advise them to stay current of course, and to learn, learn, learn. Learn till you know, learn till you understand, learn till you master, and keep learning.
How can people get in contact with you?
I can be reached via email, email@example.com and on twitter @nymphont
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Holly Lamarche is a writer and attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana. Holly lived in Santo Domingo for two years, where she taught at a local private High School, and she currently writes and edits part-time for AdmixWeb and lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.
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