Flair |fler| 1. A special or instinctive aptitude or ability for doing something well.

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today we're featuring a fun, talented chick hailing from the Midwest to share her journey as a freelance designer. Apart from being so inspiring, she's a travel chaser with a beautiful Instagram feed to prove it, which makes her that much more cooler in my book :) 

In a few sentences describe yourself and what you do. 

I am a Graphic Designer, and I own and run Savage Design Co, which is a one-woman show, boutique design studio that specializes in branding, art direction and styling

How did you first get into design, and what’s your favorite part about it?

I was one of those people who knew immediately that I wanted to be a designer straight out of high school, and I never wavered on that path all through college. I wasn’t particularly strong at math or sciences, and I’m a terrible test-taker, so it was pretty much design or bust. Luckily, I realized early on that it was a perfect fit for me, so I went all in and haven’t looked back. My favorite part about being a designer is when I have the opportunity to work with really creative people who are strong visionaries and know exactly what story they want to convey through their branding. They recognize good design when they see it, and nothing makes me happier or more satisfied than finishing up a project that we both feel amazing about. The reward of working alongside passionate people to create an identity that is absolutely on point for them, and then seeing the results come back time and time again … that is the most wonderful feeling. 


Do you have any creative heroes that you admire & have inspired you? Who & How?

Hands down, Anna Rifle Bond of Rifle Paper Co. I’ve always loved her story about how she was just doing what she enjoyed for friends and family by painting cards and invitations, and then decided to go for it as a business, even though she didn’t really know what she was doing. That kind of pluck is so inspiring. Plus, I just think she’s darling and classy, and her skills and vision are out of this world. I pretty much just want to be her. Haha.

What is your favorite piece of work you have done and why?

Oooh, such a tough question. It definitely varies, depending on what design format I’m working in. I would probably say the rebrand that I did for some photographer friends of mine this year is one of my favorites. They were definitely a classic case of what I described above about have a great client who makes you fall in love with design all over again … super passionate, and they knew exactly who they were and what they wanted their business to say. Not only that, but they trusted my vision implicitly, and we’ve been so ecstatic with how much positive feedback we’ve gotten from their new branding. With that said, I’m also working on some hand-illustration projects that are getting me away from the computer for a change of pace, which I love. I’m also working on some wedding invitations right now that are pretty baller, too. 


What made you decide to start Savage Design Co.? Is it everything you imagined?

Honestly, even though I’ve always dreamed of working for myself someday, I pretty much fell into it. I was working at an awesome agency job when my husband decided to go to law school. So I quit my job, we moved, and I was kind of at square one again. Since design job prospects were so slim in that area I just decided to let things happen (or not happen) and unfold as they will … which is very unlike me. I normally have to have a plan, or it’s almost like I can’t function. I guess I felt like I had nothing to lose, so what could hurt by just seeing what would happen? Within four months I was working enough hours for myself that I quit my two other part-time jobs and decided to try my hand at making a design business go. Even so, I still wasn’t even 100% all-in until the beginning of this year. As a freelancer, there’s always that potential fear of the work going away, and it takes a while to trust that it will keep coming if you keep doing good work. So I finally decided that if I was going to keep doing it at all, it needed to be unquestionable that this is my job and career, to everyone else, but also to myself. So I rebranded, had my website developed, and it’s just blossomed from there. It’s certainly been challenging, and sometimes I feel like I’m less productive a designer than I used to be, now that I’m also the business owner, project manager, accountant, and secretary all rolled into one. But there is so much pride in building something that’s all mine, that aside from all the doubts and stress and intimidating factors, I wouldn’t change anything. Plus, having the freedom to plan my schedule and take time off to do whatever I want, or work from anywhere … that’s priceless in my book. Definitely makes up for the lack of benefits and reliable paycheck.


Do you have a dream/goal that you wish to aspire?

Ugh, LOTS! So many, it’s insane. For starters, I would love to live outside the U.S. for a time and travel before we have a family. We always wanted to, but we just haven’t been in the position to make that happen yet. I also want a little studio someday and have a letterpress shop. Maybe speak at a couple conferences. And open a restaurant. 


If you could live and work anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 

Paris, duh. Maybe it’s cliché, but I’ve wanted to go for years. I just love everything about the city, the art, the architecture, the food, culture … everything is so inspiring and beautiful. Early next year, we’re hoping to finally do some traveling and it’s definitely top of the list.

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird gets the worm, as they say, and my dad definitely taught my siblings and I that growing up. It’s not always easy, but I definitely prefer it, unlike my night owl husband!


Thank you so much for sharing Leigh!


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