I’m so happy to get my Creative Insights column rolling. It’s always inspiring to read about other people’s creative journeys and what keeps them inspired. Today I’m featuring a lovely lady named, Alexandria Smith. We met through the, Be Free-Lance course, and after visiting her website I fell in love with her work and creative style. I’m so happy she agreed to take some time out of her day to answer my questions. Her description of Portland, OR sounds like a dream, and I can’t wait to visit. So let’s get started!
Tell us a little about your business and what it means to you.
Lx Design Co. is a design studio run by myself. I started about a year and a half ago fueled by my passion for design and art direction, I wanted to be my own boss. I started my freelance business from nothing, not knowing a thing about freelance or how to run a business. All I had was the drive to start, and my creative talent. I basically have been winging it ever since! (I’ve learned that no one ever really knows what they are doing.)
I started to blog for my business 5 months ago because I realized I really enjoy helping others and I have an emotional connection to the type of work I do. Being able to inspire and motivate people is what I thrive off of. Writing about things I care about, working on projects that have an emotional or moral connection to, and just overall sharing the beauty of things is what is so important to me.
“Sharing the beauty of things is what is so important to me.”
What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?
Writing lists. I make lists all day long on different topics like goals for the evening, preparations for projects, things I want to buy…etc. There are a zillion notebooks and post it notes in my workspace. I have like 8 planners, and I also write lists on my phone! It’s pretty crazy and seems unorganized from another point of view, but I find it always helps me to remember everything.
When you’re not creating where can we find you?
Hiking and going on adventures! I love the outdoors, especially the Pacific Northwest, SERIOUSLY the world is so freaking beautiful…I guess I am sort of a hippie in a way. My boyfriend Cody T. Cheng is a photographer and we are two peas in a pod when it comes to being creative. We go on these hikes spontaneously and sometimes we will just wake up one morning and decide to drive 7 hours away to go somewhere cool we’ve heard about. Then we take a bunch of pictures and shoot video footage. This video he compiled explains us specifically.
In all honesty I always find myself creating in one way or another, whether it’s cooking, writing, taking Instagram photos. It’s also kind of hard when the person I live with is just as creative, if not more, than I am.
What’s one thing you struggle with most when it comes to freelancing?
People have these dreams about being able to work at home in your pajamas and how you’ll get so much more done! Well its not true. I find myself needing to get OUT of my house to get things done and not be in my pajamas. I also go to school full-time and have a couple of other gigs that I am doing aside from freelance, so managing my time is always a difficult task.
What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?
Freelance full-time right out of college! I graduate this summer with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, and I want to feel challenged and take the risk! I also want to launch many more items in my shop, I have so many ideas!
How do you treat yourself?
I LOVE sweets and going out to new restaurants in downtown Portland. Portland is like restaurant heaven! There are so many great and unique places to try. I also just love cooookies! I can’t get enough of them. My favorite is homemade oatmeal cookies (With no raisins..raisins ruin a perfectly good cookie.)
Any tips for staying organized? Any project management tools you can’t live without?
My tips for staying organized is writing to-do lists by hand. I think when you are typing it into your phone or computer it isn’t the same as making a list by hand! I use the Day Designer by Whitney English to organize my to-do list all in one day. (Plus those other lists I have posted everywhere.)
Favourite part of living in, Portland, OR? Any favourite coffee shops/restaurants?
My favorite part about living in Portland, OR is that it is so unique and beautiful. It’s lush with so much greenery. Oregon in general has over 250 waterfalls to get to by car, a bajillion hikes and hidden gems to find, and even has seven wonders to visit! It’s only an hour away from the mountains and an hour away from the Pacific Ocean. The city is so lively and artistic! Its the perfect place for any creative.
Portland is full of delicious food carts, hipster stores and coffee shops. One of my favorite coffee shops is Barista (their logo and design is to die for), and Lovejoy Bakers is where I love to go for lunch, as well as Stumptown Coffee.
There are so many design studios and agencies, its hard to lose your inspiration with so many creatives running around, such as Wieden and Kennedy. We also have The Nike World Headquarters.
A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?
01. To have my own studio space with trees and waterfalls indoors. And maybe a slide instead of stairs.
02. To be able to help as many people as possible feel inspired and motivated to create.
03. To be able to work with a kick-ass adventurous people who think this world is as beautiful as I do.
Any tips for someone looking to get into graphic design?
My advice is to get schooling, I recommend Portland State University to everyone! www.psu.gd There are so many things I learned in school that I wouldn’t have otherwise. All of our professors are highly talented designers who have connections to others in our design community in PDX. Learning from them has helped me immensely. If you do not wish to go to school I suggest you take online courses, check out design blogs for help, and read TONS OF BOOKS. It can only help. Another thing is don’t get discouraged because your work isn’t as amazing as some big-time designer you saw on Pinterest, you will get there! Just practice, find your unique sense of style, and you are well on your way.
Just practice, find your unique sense of style, and you are well on your way.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to bringing you new interviews every Wednesday. Make sure to check out, Alexandria’s links below, you won’t be disappointed.