Creative Club: Cherie Allan
You know those people that are continually creating and keeping your feed all pretty and inspirational. Well I’d like to introduce you to one of them. Cherie Allan is a designer, maker, doer, explorer and just all round creative extraordinaire. Running her own graphic design business she dishes out tips on taking the freelance plunge, keeping a work-life balance and finding new sources of inspiration to keep that creative mojo ticking along.
Follow her on insta (@designbycherie) to get insights into her creative process and behind the scenes on imaginative projects.
How did your freelance work evolve into what it is today?
My career began when I started an internship at an Advertising Agency. Whilst there I started receiving requests from friends to do more and more freelance work. As the momentum grew, I realised advertising in that context wasn’t my dream. I contacted one of my favourite freelancers Tess Guinery who generously took me on board her business to work on projects with her. This is where I learnt most about business and managing clients. I always knew I wanted to start my own business or brand someday, but always thought 'in the future'. Tess was the one who made me realise - I could do it now! With all that support I took a massive leap out of my comfort zone and started taking on my own clients as a freelance designer, and it has worked out really well for me!
What’s your background and how did it lead you to what you do now? Were you always involved in design?
For as long as I can remember I have been good at drawing, and making things with my hands. Surprisingly, after I finished school I had such an interest in psychology and I was sure, that is where I was headed. Luckily for me I had some wise people around me who actually encouraged me to take the risk and study something creative. After two gap years I realised this was Graphic Design. Within two weeks of making the desicion, I packed up my life on the Sunshine Coast and moved to Brisbane to study Design.
What inspires your work/creative process at the moment?
I am always inspired by retro and old school designs, but at the same time I love Scandinavian design! Minimal and clean! I constantly find myself inspired by the natural world. Growing up by the sea, the beach is my happy place. Long, hearty conversations with friends are always inspiring my work and the concepts behind designs.
As a designer what are your essentials to keeping fresh/motivated and getting in the creative groove/mindset?
I think a good work life balance is essential to keeping yourself motivated. I find if I don’t take time out for myself every now and then, my inspiration well runs dry. A quick swim, drive, read or look around a gallery gets the inspiration flowing. If you are always giving creativity you need to be getting some creativity.
Where do you call home? Any local insider gem spots you can spill the beans on?
I live in Brisbane, Newmarket! Yes, I have a favourite coffee shop near my house ‘The Tiller’ it is run from a shipping container, it is a suburban paradise with the most delicious coffee! I also love visiting this vintage clothing shop in West End called ‘Swop’ where you can take your clothes to swop for cash or new second hand items.
What’s the one thing you’ve made and you’re proudest of?
The thing I’m most proud to have made was an event called ‘The Creative Project’ in 2012. I was really young and I created this event to bring creatives together and encourage creativity. There was art from some amazing artists and live bands through the night. It took a lot of work to orchestrate and in a lot of ways, was a turning point for me in stepping out of my comfort zone.
Thinking back to when you started working for yourself what’s one piece of advice you’d give yourself then?
Don’t waste your energy on doubting your abilities. Also do not worry about missed opportunities and failed job applications. I would tell myself to relax as I was really worried about getting a design job! Which although seemed really negative then, is a big reason why I’m working for myself now!
What are some brands that you think are killing it and would recommend to other creatives to keep an eye on?
There are a lot of smaller Designers and agencies I am loving - The Binding (and I’m not just saying that), Van Der Zwaag studio and Tess Guinery Designs just to name a few.