One Saturday afternoon, I subscribed to all of the blogroll recommendations Glamour writer Joanna Goddard included on her site (an absolute favorite of mine), A Cup of Jo. Among the links, I discovered miss Kate Miss. A 25-year-old designer, artist, Etsy shop owner and blogger in New York, Kate’s smart style instantly caught my eye.
How would you describe your style as a designer?
My design work, art, and blogging all have reoccurring themes: hand drawn type, de-saturated colors, grainy photos, quick glimpses, nature -- I'm naturally drawn to anything that reminds me of the Northwest. I love clean and simple, lots of white space, nostalgia, vintage, and internal dialogue. I'm notorious for using Meta Serif and Neutraface typefaces whenever possible.
What’s the absolute best or most frustrating thing about being 25 in the industry right now?
Being exposed to so many talented young people in New York and in the blogosphere, I constantly question myself if I've accomplished as much as I should by my age. I think that New York also does that a bit to you because it's so damn expensive and isn't totally an easy way of living, so you're struggling a bit here and there, which can make you feel a little unaccomplished sometimes. It kind of warps your view of success. You have to define it for yourself and stop comparing yourself to others, but isn't that just easier said than done? Ha! Also, in the blogging world I feel like a lot of the bloggers I'm closest too are a bit older than me, and are all moving into the married/having babies mode. This is hard because your peers are so influential, and I think a girl can get swept up in that!
You recently moved from Seattle to New York. Why did you make the move and how has the city influenced your work?
The designer job market in Seattle is very small and competitive. I just wasn't ready for it right out of college. I had an internship that never allowed me to do anything very creative, and all my teachers in college would tell us about all the endless design jobs in New York. I took a vacation here and fell head over heels. It's such a cliché story, but I just wanted to live that big dream so many young people have of living in New York City. I figured I'd be starving for a long time and I was OK with that -- but so far my experience here has only exceeded my expectations. I think that living in New York helps my work and blogging. It's such an incredibly inspiring, alive city.
If I'm bored in New York, I know that I'm just not trying hard enough to not be. In turn, blogging has helped me love New York more -- my "Bits Of My Weekend" series is a glimpse of my weekend, and honestly it forces me sometimes to get off my ass. I'll realize I have no pictures to post on Monday, so I'll make myself go on a walk and shoot some things around me. It makes me stop and notice things more.
Speaking of your blog, I actually bumped into you on the web after religiously subscribing to every one of the blogs Joanna recommended on A Cup of Jo. When and why did you start writing For Me, For You?
For Me, For You started a couple years ago when I moved to New York and my friend Andrea, back in Seattle, and I would send emails back and forth all the time with things we found that we thought each other might like. Eventually we realized that starting a blog would be a great idea -- to keep it all in one place and open it up for others to see. We both have a style and taste that's similar, but with our own uniqueness, so it made for a great collaboration. We use to post almost equally, but Andrea doesn't have the kind of Internet addiction that I have (it's bad), and she became really busy with starting a family (an adorable one at that!), so I eventually took over almost all the posting. For the first year it felt like no one but my close friends were reading it, but once I got into reading more blogs and commenting on them, I met so many people and my network of online friends snowballed! That is the most effective way to grow your blog network, comment comment comment! It's just like becoming a regular at a place in your neighborhood.
How did you first connect with Joanna? It seems that you both have a mutual addiction to each others’ feeds. Do you know each other, and excuse me for sounding like a nerd, IRL?
Joanna is the queen of the blogging world, I swear. She's sent more people my way through links than anyone else. Her following is mind-blowing! I can't remember how we first met online, but she's always been so supportive of my blog, so I try to return the favor when I can. I love her voice on her blog -- she's so down to earth and opens the floor for others to have a real conversation with her. Her blog is inspiring, but totally unpretentious. We actually have met once in person! She is just as fantastic in person, if not more.
Jessica of The Shiny Squirrel has blogger meet-ups from time to time, which reminds me that we really need to have another one soon! It's kind of a strange experience to meet someone in person who you feel like you already know. Outside of blogging I'm actually pretty shy and have some of social anxiety, so blogging is so incredibly helpful to me to make connections and meet people. I have to force myself to step outside of my computer and meet these people in person -- but I've never had a bad experience doing that.
Tell us about one of your favorite original designs and one of your favorite finds by another designer. Why do you love those designs? What’s the story behind them?
Right now I'm really, really excited to release my jewelry very soon (I'm wearing one of the necklaces in my photo here). The idea behind the designs is a grown-up take on friendship bracelets -- something myself and so many other girls spent countless hours crafting as kids -- turned into necklaces. I'm making jewelry that I would wear any day, and jewelry that's very simple, but pieces that feel very unique and organic. It's such a different experience making these than it is with any other project I've worked on, as I'm creating something that someone will be wearing rather than hanging on someone's wall. I'm constantly staring people down on the subway to see what type of jewelry they're wearing and what clothing they've paired it with.
It's very very hard to pick a favorite find of mine, there are so many wonderful things out there and so many talented people. I'll just share a few of my recent posts that are my favorites: Charley Harper Birds, Ruche clothing and Swedish Fjallraven Kanken bags -- which I own and LOVE.
Tell us about a few of your favorite blogs, books, movies, albums, etc. and how they influence your work.
Starting with music, lately when I work I listen to a lot of Department of Eagles, Animal Collective, Iron & Wine, Au Revoir Simone, Grizzly Bear, Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, and Ratatat -- which all kind of have a similar quality to them, which I'm sure influences my work one way or another. Lyrics have an impact on my type work. I can't work and not have music on. I'm not particularly a fan of a silent room while I'm working, so I'm also a podcast collector: This American Life, All Songs Considered, KEXP's Music That Matters, NPR's Radio Diaries...
In terms of books for inspiration I love Mike Perry's Hand Job, full of hand drawn type, and my boyfriend recently gave me William Eggleston's Guide, one of my absolute favorite photographers, and I can't stop looking at it. When it comes to fiction, I'm into tear-jerker girly books. I love A History of Love, No one belongs here more than you, Everything Is Illuminated, Revolutionary Road, The Time Traveler's Wife
For movies, I'm obsessed with Paul Thomas Anderson movies and think that everyone needs to see the incredibly underrated Punch Drunk Love. I'll see anything Wes Anderson or Michel Gondry make just for the visual experience. Right now I'm super excited (with the rest of the world) for Where The Wild Things Are! But I'm also one of those people that just LOVE movies and will almost see anything if someone wants me to watch something with them. My boyfriend has roped me into seeing more '80s action movies than I can count on my fingers.
How has the web helped, hurt or otherwise transformed your work in graphic design? What sites are you particularly active on or follow?
It's definitely helped. I turn to the Internet for inspiration more than anywhere else. It can be so, so overwhelming at times, but I have a few favorite places for inspiration: FFFFound, Graphic Exchange, Book Cover Archive, Under Consideration, The Die Line and of course, my wonderful Flickr contacts!
Leave us with some links. What bloggers and Etsy shops are you particularly addicted to? And if you had an entire day off to spend exploring your favorite places in New York, where would you go?
Picking a few of my favorite blogs is so incredibly hard! My google reader has over 100 blogs on it, and there are so many that are essential to my day! Here are a few, besides Joanna's aforementioned blog, that I get most excited about: Eat Make Read, Unruly Things, My Love For You, Garance Dore, 2 or 3 Things, Modish Blog.
A few favorites on Etsy are Dear Golden Vintage, Argyle Whale, Lauren Haupt Jewelry, Santoki Vintage, Made By Mavis and Pigeon Toe Ceramics.
A perfect day in New York for me is doing two things: gallery hopping in the Lower East Side and tasting my way through the East Village. I'd stop at some of my favorite galleries like Lehmann Maupin and Eleven Rivington and I'd eat bratwurst at Currywurst, octopus at Otafuku and because I'd be so sleepy by then, have the best latte in the whole city at 9th Street Espresso.