Meet: Eliza Davis, Freelance Graphic Designer, a free-spirited, fun-loving, dream-chasing force. She left her home in Australia one year ago to travel the world, eventually settling in London, UK to continue her career in graphic design. With her dreamy Instagram account and impeccable design skills in hand, Eliza is always up for travel and new adventures.
First off, how did you get into graphic design?
I always knew I would do something in art or design, there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. I remember in high school not really knowing a lot about the scope of what graphic designers did, I knew they could work in magazine design though which at the time was something that sounded really interesting to me! I got hold of a University booklet on the course and was sold!
Were you always set on art and design, even as a kid?
Definitely. If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I was 5, I would’ve said I was going to be an artist. It’s always been my dream to have a creative job.
You’ve seen a lot of the world over the last few years. Is graphic design a career that fits well with travel?
It fits really well. It’s definitely a career that you can do anywhere, and pick up work most places. Most things are through email these days so its not difficult to do design work without ever meeting the person you’re designing for.
What are some of the favourite spots you’ve travelled to recently?
Costa Rica is one of the best places I’ve ever been, I had so much fun! I know for North Americans it’s a really popular destination but, as an Australian, it’s really far and probably not that many people have visited.
Whitehorse in Canada was a really random destination that I ended up loving! I went in December to see the Northern Lights. While an arctic holiday may not sound that appealing, it was really interesting to experience those kinds of low temperatures and see how people just get on with life. The area was beautiful and seeing the Northern Lights was amazing!
Nice! So what was it like going to University for something really creative?
It was fun, most of the time. Stressful other times – I guess it’s like any university course. I ended up living with a bunch of other people who were also in the course, so our house was always a mess with all kinds of crazy things happening. Paper everywhere, we were always just creating stuff, plus it was great to always have someone around to give constructive criticism.
Is it still a lot of tests and readings, or is it more the doing?
There were no exams, no tests, we did a bit of art history but that was really the only theory part. Everything else was hands on. We weren’t even allowed to be on the computer during the first year, every project was done by hand. Even when we were learning typography, we had to print letters, cut them out and form sentences by sticking them on paper to know how a properly designed sentence should look.
Was It hard finding a job right after university?
Not for me, I already had a part-time graphic design job I was doing throughout my last year of University. When I finished my program, I continued there part-time and got another design job to fill in the spare days, eventually I went full time at the first company and worked there for 3 years.
Were there a lot of people to learn from on the design aspect?
It was only a small business so I was the only graphic designer. All kinds of businesses need graphic designers, so unfortunately there won’t always be someone to look up to or learn from.
Are there any places you go to for inspiration?
I’m always on Pinterest, that’s a good one. Its great to see other people’s ideas for my own inspiration – sometimes the tiniest part of someone else’s work can be enough to inspire an entire design, you never know when inspiration is going to come! It can be frustrating when I’m working on something and coming up with ideas that I know are good but they’re not the one… It’s always the best feeling though when it finally clicks and you know you’ve got it, for me that’s probably the best part about being a graphic designer.
So, it sounds like there’s a lot of things you love about graphic design. What’s challenging about it?
The hardest part is coming up with new ideas all the time, sometimes it’s not always that easy to be creative. Especially if you have been doing a job for a while where it doesn’t have as many creative aspects – it can be difficult to get back into using your brain again.
What are some examples of the work that isn’t as creative?
At the moment I’m working on the marketing side of a large publishing company, sometimes I get to do creative things but the other half of the job doing things like edited to already made designs, like updating logos in flyers or changing a sentence in a web banner, its definitely a side to graphic design a lot of people don’t think about.
And that all falls into your job as a graphic designer?
Yeah, it’s not always fun and creative. Especially when you’re young and getting started, it’s less likely you can do all the fun stuff right away. That being said, that isn’t the case for everybody.
Is there any advice you would give to someone wanting to be a graphic designer?
I would recommend making sure it’s something you really want to do before undertaking a career or degree in it. When I first began my course a lot of people there said they were only doing the degree because they didn’t know what else to do and they thought it would be a fun option. Needless to say most of those people didn’t finish the degree or have since taken other directions in their careers. Overall, being a graphic designer is an amazing job and like any job it has its ups and downs. I’m really lucky to have a career where I can combine my passion of being creative with my passion for travel!
And any final tips or tricks you’ve learned from your travels?
Sky scanner is my go-to whenever booking flights, a little trick is to adjust the price into another currency. I’ve saved almost $100 in the past booking an international flight in pounds rather than dollars. Just don’t forget to take into consideration the currency exchange fee from your bank!
I also never get on a long haul flight without spare underwear and socks in my carry-on luggage -I’ve had my luggage go missing before! I also always bring an external charger for my phone and power converters even for countries I’m supposed to just have a quick stopover in. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I missed a flight and had to stay overnight in Rome. Most importantly, never leave without travel insurance!
For dreamy inspiration and travel pics, visit Eliza’s site www.elizajanedesign.com
and Instagram Eliza.Jane
Interviewed by Amye Parker @amye.parker