Design Journey | Jane Reaction
Today we have the wonderful designer/mommy Erin Jane from Jane Reaction here on Design Journey. I was first drawn to Erin’s designs when I stumbled upon the lovely work she did for Kinfolk Magazine. I then started following her blog, fell in love with her little family and had the chance to meet her in Palm Springs in September. Erin is as wonderful in real life as she seems on the internet. She is a hard worker and values her family deeply. She is positive and encouraging, and equally open about the struggles she faces as she balances mommy and work life. I could really go on and on about this lady, but I’ll let her do the rest of the talking! Here’s Erin!
Hello! I am Erin Jane from the blog Jane Reaction. I recently moved to Dallas Texas with my husband and little boy (who is about to turn 1!!) a few months ago. I work from home as a freelance graphic designer while simultaneously taking care of my baby boy. Everyday we are learning how to make this whole life/work balance happen. I blog, design for small magazines and publications, do brand work, create websites and more. I am currently working on a stationary line with my friend who owns a small letterpress company in McMinnville Oregon. We are pretty excited about that upcoming project to launch!
When did you decide you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer about half way through design school. HAHA! I got my bachelors degree in ceramics while living on the North Shore of Oahu – which basically means I went to college to play with clay and surf all day. When I finally graduated and had to support myself I didn’t really know what to do. Get a mundane job at a desk doing something I hated? Or try to make a name for myself as a potter?? My mother (in all of her infinite wisdom) encouraged me to go through a graphic design program close to home in Portland Oregon. I decided I would give it a try but honestly had every intention of dropping out halfway through and running back to Hawaii to marry a surfer bum and live the rest of my days on the beach. However, after the first two semesters I was completely in love with design and knew that that is what I wanted to do!
How did you transition from being a student in school to being a designer in the “real world”?
Well, after school I actually really did end up marring that surfer bum (he’s not really a bum) and we did run back to Hawaii together. Aside from a few projects I had taken on during school and an internship for a small publication I had no real world experience. It is really difficult to find any work on the North Shore of Oahu let alone anything that is design related. So this transition was really hard for me. I felt like my only choice was to go freelance. I teamed up with a local photographer and did all of her branding and collateral. I traveled with her to workshops and made contacts with more photographers who were interested in hiring me to do their branding. I went back to the local university where I did my undergrad and asked around if any design work was needed. I took on jobs as they came and tried to stay busy. I teamed up with a few friends and helped them start Kinfolk Magazine. I blogged all the time. Eventually, more work started to come in and I had enough people asking me to design for them that I could begin to raise my prices and be more selective about the work I took on. It wasn’t easy, but it was rewarding and I feel pretty good about how far I have come since graduation.
What was your first paid design job?
My first paid design job was about halfway through my first semester – a wedding invitation. I designed, printed, hand carved a custom woodblock stamp, stamped every invitation and assembled everything myself for $80. WHAAAA??? I had no idea what I was worth, what work like this was worth, or how to convey my worth to others. I considered it a great learning experience. (the wedding invite she did pictured below!)
How have you been able to make a name for yourself in the design community?
Hmmmm… good question! I’m not so sure I have really “made it” yet. I still strive to be so much more! I guess I would say one of the biggest things that helped attract business and other creative professionals was blogging. Getting your story out there and showing people the work you can do helps you go a long way.
What is one quality you think all designers should have?
All designers need to be confident. There are going to be clients that are a little bit difficult to work with or that are somewhat critical. People will love your work but want you to change the very thing that makes it great. It is hard to explain why something looks good and why it should be a certain way if you are not confident in your work. Being confident in your work will put clients at ease and reassure them that they are in good hands.
What advice would you give to a new graphic designer?
Start right now. Whatever crazy idea you have been dreaming in your head – do it now! If you want to work for a certain company start creating work that will get you that dream job. If you want to be a freelance designer start asking around if anyone needs any design work done. If you want to start a magazine start laying out the pages and getting content together right now. A quote I repeat to myself everyday – a year from now you will wish you had started today. Whatever it is you want to do start right to make it happen.
Thank you Erin! You are so inspiring. I love your work ethic and positive attitude. Keep it up girl!