To kick off my interview series, Cool People, I’m starting with Georgie Luhur. ❤️ She designed my previous and current blog themes, and I’ve followed her blog since 2009…and I was her first interviewee, too. Since I’ve hired her again and again (and again) because I love the experience of working with her, I sent her design-related questions. I briefly considered interviewing her about her work with Campaign Monitor, but am not adequately familiar with UI components and email-building things. ?
Onto the questions!
What kind of environment do you need to be in before you can design something? Do you have any quirks needing tended to before you can start working on a project (e.g. freshly brewed tea, phone off/silenced)?
I definitely need to have a hot pot of tea at the ready. The tea depends on my mood. At work, for example, I have a range of a couple of different chai teas, some black earl grey and bergamot teas, some oolong tea, some green tea with caramel, some detox tea… and I pick whatever one sounds good to my tongue at that point.
Music is not really important for me to work on something, but if I am lacking inspiration or just starting a project, I will put my headphones on. I prefer music that is not new to me. I don’t like listening to new music when I have work to do, primarily because I review music in my spare time and I like to pay attention and really absorb both the lyrics and music of a song/album. I can’t do that when I am designing or coding. 😛
I generally hate working on a project at night, because it feels stressful. I love to sit by a window or door that has some light coming through.
Are you ever nervous to present a project to someone? How do you get through it and present it anyway?
I am mostly nervous of clients’ reactions. In the past I was a big perfectionist about what I was doing and I hated to show half-finished work. The bad thing is, this often resulted in a lot more work for me if the client did not like the work I had done. More recently, I have chosen to show progress. I’ve learned that there is nothing to be afraid of when you are doing work for someone—what is important is that they like what you have.
Speaking of presenting, are you planning to do any talks again, or are you done with it?
I don’t think I am done with it yet! I am just going through a bit of quiet time. It takes a long time to prepare a talk and I was recently rejected for two conferences in Perth, Australia (I will still be attending, though, as one of my idols—Una Kravets—is speaking there!) and Bristol, UK. Even if my talk had been accepted, I don’t think I would have been prepared to do it without any stress.
However, I have had an idea for a talk for quite some time, and I was recently approached by one of the organisers of Girl Geek Sydney to do a talk next month… so I thought, well, might as well get that idea developed into a talk! 😉
Do you have any dream projects?
I have been thinking of my own jewellery subscription box for the past eighteen months, but it will require quite a bit of work. My fiancé, Nick, and myself are thinking of working on a tea app together, though we haven’t thought much about what it will do.
Is anything in your design process similar to what you do with the email builder at work?
At work, a lot of our process involves formal discovery and inception, and there are customer interviews and research conducted to determine whether a feature should be introduced to the product. Our team has regular meetings to discuss the scope of a feature—what’s in scope, what’s out of scope, and what questions we have—as well as brainstorming the various tasks and ‘stories’ that make up the ‘epic’ that the feature is. I work closely with a designer at work, so the designer does most of the visual work, while I work on coding the user interface and interactions.
I don’t follow this process in my own designs or my freelance work, although I do find the process to be generally beneficial and have a lot of pros. One thing I do love to do is get a client to dump all their thoughts on me, and tell me everything that has inspired them, the look they are going for, how they want to feel about a design, while also fleshing out the technical details and features.
What’s your favorite tea? Is there one you’d like to try, but haven’t had the chance to yet?
My favourite is chai, and I definitely prefer black tea to green tea, but I’ll give anything a try. I have recently been obsessed with a chilli chai that I got from London in June. I love the spiciness and it’s perfect on cold days. One particular tea that sticks with me is Daintree Chai (named after the Daintree Rainforest in Australia), which I tried a couple of years ago after I bought a bag from a trip to Canberra. I adored the black peppercorn taste, it gave the tea a nice spicy flavour. I also buy new tea almost every month, TWG’s New York Breakfast Tea being my most recent purchase, and T2’s Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric being an interesting vegetable-based one that I need to start drinking more.
I want to try some teas by Teavana and more from Leaf (I purchased some in Liverpool when I visited in June), but because they are not available in Australia or shipping costs are high, it’s a no-go. Looks like I will be finding out where to get some Daintree Chai… but I also want to try and make my own teas by mixing different ingredients, so there’s that. 😀