We spoke to Gabrielle as she enters a new stage in her career journey: freelancing! After five years in the field, this Founding Member was ready to swap accountancy for something more creative. She discovered graphic design one fateful evening in 2018 and hasn’t looked back. After graduating from Shillington, completing an internship, and working full-time for over a year, she now feels ready to take the leap and be her own boss. We’re super excited to see what’s in store for her! Read on for all the good stuff…

Gabrielle, what’s your creative occupation?

I’m a graphic designer based in London. I mostly like branding and experimenting with type, and anything else that looks fun.

Where have you been?

Before deciding to freelance, I worked at Harvard for a year and a half, and interned for five months at a small design studio in Carnaby. This was only three weeks after graduating from Shillington, which was such an amazing experience.

Before I became a designer, I was an accountant. Despite not enjoying accountancy at all, I worked and studied it for about five years… when it hit me that that was a pretty big amount of time to be doing something I didn’t like. Although I always knew that I wanted to do something other than accounting, I didn’t know what that ‘something’ was. Growing up in Luxembourg, I’d never heard of graphic design, what with it being such a financial country. All I knew were banks and offices. I couldn’t imagine a creative job that wasn’t being an artist.

I’d never heard of graphic design (…) all I knew were banks and offices. I couldn’t imagine a creative job that wasn’t being an artist.

gabrielle on life before discovering graphic design

During the winter of 2018, I was home one evening, searching the web, when I found a video about colour theory. After watching it I just knew that something inside me had clicked. I watched another video about typography, and one about layout, and proceeded to look these up and see what job they might be linked to, which is when I finally discovered graphic design. Right then and there I was pretty sure I’d found my new career. 

Fast forward a bit and we’re now in February 2019. I’ve quit my accounting job, found a part-time job in Brixton Village, and I’m doing an introductory course on graphic design with Coursera. With the help and support of my family, and my boyfriend, I’m then able to go to Shillington and make this big career change. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Where are you now?

I’ve recently decided to go freelance and am busy setting everything up to do so. I’m really excited about it and am looking forward to what comes next! I’m still trying to figure out the big stuff like how much to charge, finding clients etc., but it feels like the right decision.

I’ve learnt to also try and take a break from designing every now and then, instead of trying to design something daily or weekly. I’ve come to realise how important rest is, especially with working from home and the lockdowns we’ve all had to go through. We don’t have to be productive 24/7, it’s not healthy. Introducing that balance between work and life has really felt amazing.

I’d love to be a part of the kind of work that stands out from the crowd; that turns heads and goes in a different direction to the rest.

gabrielle on the kind of work she wants to do

Where are you going?

Onwards and upwards! Cross your fingers and wish me luck for what’s to come. I know that as a freelancer debutante, I can’t be too picky with the work I do. But I don’t want that to limit me, and I don’t think it needs to. I want to do really fun work for people, exciting collabs and keep working on personal projects. Mainly, I’d love to be a part of the kind of work that stands out from the crowd; that turns heads and goes in a different direction to the rest. I want to do weird and wonderful designs.

Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?

“Resist the temptation to order yourself a gyros and Crosstown donuts, we have lots of fresh food in the fridge…”

It’s a Friday… we will not be resisting! Thanks for sharing your journey, Gabrielle! Got any questions for Gabrielle, or just want to say ‘hi’? Reach out to her via our ‘Members’ page. Not a member yet? Join us today for networking, mentoring, resources & more!

Make sure you check out Gabrielle on the ‘gram –

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