As designers, we’re part of the lucky few who are passionate about what they do for a living. After all, we get to play around with shape, color and type all day, on a mission to contribute our share of beauty to the world. And it was passion that got us into this field in the first place. But then in come the clients, the nine-to-five, and the painfully unimaginative briefs that can, sometimes, get the best of us. And we find ourselves slowly wearing out and giving in to routine. That is exactly why we decided to feast our eyes on some creative career paths that are absolutely dreamy. Read on to discover four dream jobs in the design world that we secretly wish for ourselves, and the fortunate individuals behind them.
Graphic designer for film
When Tom Hanks presents his passport to East German police in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, the printed document has to appear just as convincing as the actor’s agitated facial expression. Achieving this authenticity is the job of Annie Atkins, a graphic designer for film. Thanks to her, the passport pages are just the right amount of aged and creased, and the typography stamped under Hanks’ mugshot features historically appropriate fonts. Somewhere between design wiz and master forger, Annie’s telegrams, newspapers and shopfront signage flash for brief moments of screen time on movies such as Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and animated film The Boxtrolls.
“There’s something satisfying about forgery, which is essentially what it is,” she shares with us. To explain the process, she walks us through the making of the Tom Hanks’ passport: “The prop-master found me a really well-kept real US passport from the 1950s and I took all the pages out, remade them with our character’s details and photograph, got some rubber franking stamps made up, filled it with fake visa stamps, then stitched it all back together again.” And why not just do the whole thing in Photoshop and be done with it? “It’s a combination of working digitally and manually,” Annie explains. “You could make fake rubber stamps in Photoshop but they’re never convincing enough and anyway, I think it’s actually quicker to make the real thing.”
Annie assures us that it’s the kind of job where the excitement doesn’t wear off too quickly. “Working on a movie that’s going to be shown in cinemas all around the world is thrilling,” she tells us. “Also thrilling: working around famous actors. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just pretending to be jaded, everyone I know who works in film is secretly delighted with themselves that they get to queue for lunch in a line behind Bill Murray.” As for the downsides, she lists the long hours and her almost nonexistent family or social life during a production. Her work usually ends up hardly noticeable on the big screen (if seen at all), but then again, as Annie concludes, “still: Bill Murray!”
Go behind the scenes of Annie’s work on her Wix portfolio.
What can be better than traveling the world and creating the visual documentation to remember your journey with? Not much, we think. Louise Amelie Whitehouse gets to enjoy the perfect mix between a bit of work, a lot of travel and much creativity. She’s had her share of living abroad, with cities like Melbourne and Berlin on her list. Now back in her home country of Sweden, she frequently takes off for other adventures around the globe. With a recent two-month road trip around California and an upcoming return visit to Iceland, Louise is constantly on the move. Her beautiful photographs capture the world around her in soft lighting and delicate colors, but it’s not her captivating artworks that pay for her next plane ticket. Be it waitressing, hotel reception or customer service, Louise has done it all in order to maintain her perfect work-life balance. Currently, she runs her hometown’s Instagram account for a living.
Left: Self-portrait by Louise Whitehouse; right: Sweden, by Louise Whitehouse
“Income is necessary, but it’s just not what drives me,” Louise says. “The most important thing for me is that I can do something with my life that sustains me and feels meaningful. So long as I’m able to do something fulfilling, I’m fine with my financial situation to go up at times and down at times.” And Louise really does live by this statement. She once spent a summer volunteering at a farm in Denmark, expecting nothing in return but a room and board – liberating her from the need for money altogether. This sense of freedom is something close to Louise’s heart. “I can definitely say that I’ve customized my lifestyle and choice of work after pretty much exactly what I want to do, and that’s a privilege that I don’t take for granted,” Louise shares with us. “But it’s also something I actively work really hard for, every day.”
Go for your own spontaneous tour around the world on Louise’s Wix portfolio.
Master screen printer
Jacob Ben Cohen is a master screen printer and founder of Hamelaha Workshop. The Workshop is an Israeli studio devoted to the ancient art of screen printing, which might be 2,000 years of age but its popularity is now on the rise. The studio creates manual, high-quality art screen prints. It also teaches the technique in the hopes of passing on the knowledge to others. “I get to actually enjoy doing my job,” Jacob tells us. “I meet so many interesting people on a daily basis and oversee complex, large-scale print projects that involve many artists. I do my own creative work, teach, and I’m still learning new things all the time.”
Jacob’s studio work involves a lot of manual labor and many technical tricks of the trade to be mastered. He points out one key element of the job, which is color. “Color is an art on its own,” he says. Screen printing doesn’t come with a digital color picker or ready-made color swatches, and the colors are always mixed and created by hand. “We create the precise hue, perfecting it with the right pigments in the correct doses – it’s like following a recipe,” Jacob explains. He recommends designers play around more with color in real life, rather than only on the computer, to form a better understanding of what makes up color and how to control it. “It’s immensely satisfying,” he notes, “and requires creativity every single time.” But according to Jacob, on top of being a technical expert – a good screen printer should be an artist, “And then your studio starts to feel like your private screen printing playing field!”
Textile pattern illustrator
Illustration is always a magical endeavor, but even more so when applying hand-drawn creations to practical real-world objects. New Zealand based Katherine Quinn creates patterns for wallpaper, wrapping paper and many types of textile, from silk scarves to baby clothes. And she enjoys every minute of it. “It is one of those wonderful jobs that doesn’t feel like work at all!” Katherine tells us. Better with a paintbrush at hand than she is with a needle, Katherine leaves the production aspects of the job to the pros. “I work with companies who license my designs and then commission a printing company to print the design on a particular fabric or product,” she walks us through the process. “It can sometimes be a long process but it is always so satisfying seeing your drawings come to life on clothes and products!”
She also uploads her acrylic and watercolor-pencil creations online, for buyers to choose from a variety of fabrics to receive the printed patterns on. The companies then go on to create outfits, bags or blankets out of the illustrated fabrics. Katherine’s favorite part of the job, perhaps unsurprisingly, is seeing her creations make the transition from her sketchbook pages, to real-life products. “One of the loveliest perks is seeing my grandson running around wearing a romper set featuring the whales I drew on my kitchen table!” And the sight of little Albie with his whales makes us beam with joy, too.
See more of Katherine’s whimsical creations on her Wix portfolio.