With her trademark smile and effervescent energy, creativity, and passion, this designer is known by many. Some people call her Design Lotus, while others refer to her as the mayor of the Minted forum who coined the term “Minties.” We simply know her as Amy, the rock star designer and mom of three who has shown over and over again that she is a force to be reckoned with. Fair warning: As if it weren’t enough that she is tirelessly enthusiastic, generous with her knowledge and opinions, and always hilarious, her kids are really, really adorable. Keep reading to see for yourself.
Everyone who encounters your energy and spirit must wonder: How on earth do you juggle three children and a bustling design career?
Bustling design career? Are you talking to me? Distractions are my life right now and Minted is my joyous outlet. When everyone is finally fed, clothed, and happy… it’s mommy’s time to “play!” It’s usually not until after the kids are fast asleep that I am REALLY able to think and/or brainstorm.
How did you get your start in graphic design?
I stumbled into it while I was working as a training/event coordinator. I took some initiative to create some name badges, table tents, and signage for several training events. They were a hit with the client, and hence, launched my career in the design field. I discovered Lynda Weinman’s H.O.T. books, which were fantastic, and I’ve been hooked on her training material ever since. In fact, I have learned every software I know through lynda.com.
Where did the name “design lotus” come from?
The lotus flower has many layers and petals as do my design aesthetics. Also lotus tattoos are meant to represent life, new beginnings and the possibility of people growing to change into something of beauty. I would like to believe I can do the same for my clients through design – by taking something from a murky/chaotic start and transforming it into something to celebrate.
How does living in the D.C. area impact your work?
I wish I had a more eloquent answer for this question, but the truth is I moved around a lot growing up and was never attached to any place except for Cordova, Alaska. It’s still my ‘hometown’. Although I’ve been in the DC area since 1991, I’ve never really put down roots here. I can’t stand politics and I don’t like blue crabs. My influences come more from where I want to go rather than where I’ve been.
Have you seen an evolution in your approach to design since having children?
The evolution was more in my identity rather than my approach to design. I never imagined I would end up a mom of three. There are days when I wonder, when and where I signed up for all of this. Don’t get me wrong – I adore my family more than anything. But when I became a mom, it was like someone said to me. “Here’s your new identity.” It’s what I call my evolution from “stilettos to crocs.” I don’t think I would have ever had the gall to go freelance though, if I didn’t have kids. It’s been a tough and wonderful road with seasons of creativity bursting out my ears and seasons of total creative coma. I just take it all in stride.
What are a few things you look forward to every day?
- The pitter patter of little feet running up the stairs to wake me in the morning.
- My big mug of tea – earl gray with cream and sugar.
- Checking everything minted – emails, forum, twitter, facebook and my blog, of course.
- The crazy, fun, and sweetest things my kiddos will say and do.
- I love to garden – even if it’s just getting out there for a few minutes to pull weeds.
- When my hubby FINALLY walks though the door.
- The quiet that follows bedtime for the kids. Sweet silence…
What is your workspace like?
Files or piles? Shamefully, piles and piles! It’s either spotless or just a jumbled mess – never in between. During minted challenges I need a shovel to dig myself out of the stacks of books, magazines, catalogs and paper.
What are your favorite blogs?
Apartment Therapy, Design Mom and Design*Sponge. I try to limit my visits to these blogs because there are so many pretty things that I’ll start ogling. I could disappear for days searching for things like the perfect shade of gray paint for the living room, just the right mismatched pillows for every season, and of course there’s my obsession with wall mirrors. As the minted community grows so does my blog list. I love to see what my fellow minties are up to!
You are really active in social media and blogging. What role has technology played in your career as an artist?
I’m just a novice when it comes to blogging and participating in social media. It came out of my passion to compete in the minted challenges. It’s an excitement I wanted to share with others and I just happened to find an outlet through my blog and the minted forum. With how much I blog about minted I should rename my blog to the unofficial minted blog/fan site. As for my career… I’m just starting over at square one again. I’ve never considered myself an artist. If you look at my design work I’m kind of all over the place. I don’t really have a niche or specialty. I consider this a strength in that I’m adaptive and not predictable, but on the other hand there’s the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
What tips or advice do you have for designers who are new to Minted’s design challenges?
Oh boy, where do I start?
1) Use the templates and font suggestions provided by minted.
2) Don’t over design — white space is your friend.
3) Try to avoid clip-art. It’s everything, but fresh.
4) Look through old designs: fashions, catalogs/mags, wallpapers, fabrics… Look for styles, layouts, patterns, and compositions that are still appealing to you now. A winning design should transcend design trends and fads.
5) Don’t forget to have fun. It’s pointless to do a minted challenge, if it’s not fun.
6) Participate in the minted community by leaving constructive feedback and joining in on the forum.
Finally, which of your designs for sale on Minted is your favorite and what was the inspiration for it?
My favorite has to be Midnight Vineyard because of its simple concept and flexibility. The inspiration was my dream of one day strolling through the streets of Italy with my hubby. The old cobblestone under our feet, the smell of garlic bread in the air, and of course all the pasta and cannolis we could eat!
Amy, thank you so much for your enthusiasm, creativity, and passion. We are so lucky to count you as a friend, fan, and contributing design genius.
In celebration of Amy’s leadership and contribution to the Minted community, we have invited her to become the first Minted Mentor, a community role that will draw on Amy’s energy and knowledge to start conversations, guide designers towards resources, and, in general, help the team at Minted make sure we are hearing designers loud and clear. We’ll be opening the opportunity to a few other designers in the future, and we’d love to hear who you think should be the next Minted Mentor. Drop us an email with your pick, or just to say hi, at designers [at] minted.com.
Find more of Katherine on her blog.14 COMMENTS