Jess Lewis is currently in her final year studying Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading.
As I am still a student, most of my work comes from briefs we are set by the university. At the University of Reading we are really fortunate to have the Real Jobs scheme, which allows students to sign up to work from clients outside of the University. This gives us invaluable experience of designing for real world clients, and means we are better prepared for jobs in the design industry after graduating. I have completed a couple of these real jobs now, ranging from branding to illustration. Outside of university, I have also been working freelance for a couple of years now, designing for a custom sportswear company and doing the odd personal commission.
I was interested in Art & Design at a young age, largely inspired by my Mum, which led me to studying Fine Art at A level, followed by Art and Design at Foundation Diploma level, which was intense but a lot of fun. I subsequently began an undergraduate degree in Typography and Graphic Communication at The University of Reading.
Motivation and inspiration comes from all different places and media. Other designers are huge inspirations to me, I love browsing through portfolio sites for ideas and current trends. I also like to read design books and collect magazines, which I then spend a lot of time sorting chronologically!
Coming from a Fine Art background, I think it’s really important to be able to draw, and so I always begin by jotting down ideas and rough sketches in my moleskin. I can’t recommend it enough as an initial problem-solving method. I also like to research relevant topics on Pinterest and Behance before I start a piece of work. I then usually turn to my Macbook and refine these concepts. I try to have three solutions to show the client and finish by refining the final design.
I carry my moleskin and ball point pen everywhere with me. I am also glued to my phone, so I can snap inspiration in everyday life. Adobe InDesign and Illustrator are programs I couldn’t live without. It’s where I go to make my designs digital.
I currently work at home in our little office, with views out onto our garden. It’s a relaxing environment and we have two cats who try to distract me all the time.
From the day-to-day point of view, I love the structure of being set a brief and having several tasks before the finished design. Work wise, I am always working on a variety of projects, which is great. One week I’m designing a newspaper, the next a responsive transport website or a new brand and identity for a local charity.
When I finish my degree, I’m aiming to be able to start working for a design agency close by. In my free time I’d love to do more personal projects, like designing my own typeface or a range of cider bottles.
I’m looking forward to and busy working towards our degree show in June, but until then you can see my work at madebyjess.co.uk