Tell us about yourself.
I’m a graphic and web designer based in Auckland. I sort of stumbled into being a freelancer, I got a few small jobs upon finishing my design degree and it snowballed into full time from there. Depending on the day I could be doing anything from websites, billboards, print work or branding.
What is beauty to you and how do you define beauty?
It’s not what you’re seeing (that part’s subjective), but how looking at it makes you feel. Beauty is pleasure. For me, that pleasure comes from an overwhelming feeling that something has got it ‘just right’. I think it’s always harder to get that feeling with when looking at your own work.
How did you get into website design?
I made my first website when I was 11, as a platform for my pixel art. But it wasn’t until about 7 years later I was at University that I realized that what I had been doing (and enjoying) was actually the design side of things. That’s when I started taking more design and typography papers, as well as my interactive ones.
What is it about coding and html that appeals to you?
A lot of the time coding is more of a means to an end for me, but it can be quite relaxing at times, because it’s pure logic. If it works then you’ve got it. I find design is much more subjective; you don’t get that same instant gratification as often.
What programs do you particularly enjoy using? And to that note, what programs have you yet learned but hope to in the near future?
I work predominantly in InDesign, because the manipulation of type and the grid is so great and most of my work centers on those principals. When coding, I like Sublime Text 2. Looking to the future, I’ve recently come across Adobe Edge Reflow for responsive design, which could be promising. It does seem to take awhile for those sorts of programs to catch up to the technology we’re designing for.
You have a very minimalist approach to designing websites. What’s your philosophy when it comes to approaching a project?
To me, the common element for all good websites is a combination of strong design and usability. The minimalist approach serves both the aesthetic needs of my clients, as well as a functional one, by being clear and easy to navigate. And just to be a cliché designer and quote Dieter Rams, I definitely adhere to the view that design should strive to be “Less, but better”.
What are some common misconceptions about graphic designers?
There are so many myths around Graphic Design, I suppose because it has become quite a glamourized profession and yet the work itself is often misunderstood. The biggest misconception is probably that it’s always easy and fun. If you’re a freelancer, you’re not just responsible for coming up with original concepts and design work to deadline, but also for consultations, project management, client relations, accounting and sales. Like any profession, it’s a lot of work. Just one that I’m fortunate enough to both love and have work in.
If you weren’t in the graphic/online design industry, what alternative career paths might you have pursued?
It’s hard to imagine doing something completely removed from the design industry now, but I would love to do some work where the design and craft is more tangible, like product design.
You have an impressive list of clientele, like our favorite Curio Noir and others. What have been some of your favorite or memorable projects? Why?
Thank you, yes I’ve worked with some really inspiring people in the past couple years. It’s hard to choose favorites in retrospect, but one project I’m really enjoying at the moment is branding a new furniture company. It’s really exciting helping a client build a story around their products and their approach to it.
With many computer engineers, I know that website design is not a simple day-long project. How long can a single project take you to complete?
So tricky to answer! Sometimes it’s a quick landing page; sometimes it’s a huge undertaking with a whole team. It can be as quick as a day or as long as six months.
As a Auckland-er, what are your favorite locations around the city and New Zealand?
I only moved to Auckland about 5 months ago, so I’m definitely still discovering my favorites. For a drink I love Freida Margolis or Golden Dawn. For comfort food I can’t go past Little & Friday without seeing if the have some bread & butter pudding left. I’m also really enjoying this smoothie trend, especially the Tropical Green variety; both Ceres in Ponsonby and Little Bird do great ones. For dinner, El Camino up the road from our place does the best Mexican I’ve had, and on Sundays it’s $12 mains. Finally, the Winter Gardens Conservatory in Auckland Domain is really stunning.
What songs are on your personal playlist?
Naked if I Want to / Cat Power
I’m on Fire / Bruce Springsteen
Lay Your Cards Out / Polica
All Dolled-Up In Straps / The National
Wuthering Heights /Kate Bush
Instant Crush / Daft Punk
Baby / Joe Emerson
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan. Battlestar Galactica is a gateway drug.
2. I love listening to audio books.
2. I kill all of my plants that aren’t cacti. I’ve had to stop buying anything remotely fern like.
For more of Natasha’s work, check out her website.