Young creatives, take note: Graphic artist and blogger, Stephanie Kramer, gave us a peek inside her beachside workspace, and let us in on her creative process.
Kramer's dream job is a balance that sees her dividing days between blogging at watermeloncrush.com, select freelance gigs, and her role as Creative Director at THR1VE, a buzzy new health food chain gaining popularity among food and fitness influencers.
Keep scrolling to find out how she's carving out her ultimate career.
Did you study at university? What did you study?
I studied Graphic Arts and Communication at Billy Blue College in North Sydney which I graduated from with a Bachelor's Degree in Arts and Communication. I also took a year “off” and went back home to Sweden, where I took a concentrated course in Typography and Print Design at their sister school—Berghs School of Communication & Design.
Do you think tertiary study is important for graphic artists?
Absolutely. Though I found that the most useful time in my career was getting thrown in the deep end at my first job, it’s crucial that you have the basic skill set and knowledge in your field. Plus, it’s a really great time to make friends and form future work relationships.
Did you ever intern?
I dove straight into my first job as Head Graphic Designer at SUPRÉ, before I graduated from College. It was a busy time!
Describe an average day.
I tend to wake up early, around 5:30 a.m., let the dog out and put on the coffee machine. I have a book where I use one page a day to get thoughts out on paper—this helps me start the day fresh and clear minded. By 9:00 a.m. I would have finished most of my emails and admin, and then get stuck into the creative work which can involve anything from a photoshoot, to planning a campaign, to drawing up a business pitch for our Founder and CEO. This can go on as late as to 10:00 p.m., but I make a conscious effort to switch off screens and wind down at around 8:00 p.m.. No screens at least an hour before bed! I also usually fit in a gym session, a long walk with the dog or a yoga class in the afternoon.
How do you split your time between your work as a creative director/graphic artist and blogging at watermeloncrush?
I take my job as Creative Director for THR1VE very seriously, so this naturally comes first. It’s such an exciting role with a company that’s got some amazing things in the pipeline, and I genuinely love my job. The blog is my lifestyle and creative outlet, so content is generated very organically, which is how I feel it should be for every blogger.
How did you get your foot in the door in the industry?
Through taking a chance and going after what I really wanted. I never thought I would be chosen for my first job, so I wasn’t even going to bother applying. With a little push from my then partner, I did, and I got the gig. You need to believe in yourself, and chase the things you really want in life. Do a good job, always, and things just go up from there.
Tell us about your role at THR1VE?
My role as Creative Director at THR1VE comes with many hats. We are young business, with a lot going on, all the time—so you need to stay organized and have a clear goal with every project. My role involves marketing planning and execution, managing and creating content for our social media channels, executing creative for online and in store, all photography, styling and editing, video production and shooting, as well menu design. It's busy—but I love it.
Do you take on freelance clients?
Currently I am very picky with my freelance clients, as I am quite short on time. But yes, I’m always open to project work, it’s a fantastic way to broaden your skill set and works with exciting brands and interesting people.
What do you find most rewarding about working as a freelancer?
Meeting new people, and helping them reach goals with their brands. It’s extremely satisfying, for me anyway, to see people succeed.
And most challenging?
Long hours, which is usually a result of a client not knowing what they want. A clear brief and end goal is important not only for the designer, but for the client also.
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
In a similar situation as to where I am today, but with more experience and hopefully a small team of creative under me. I have always dreamed of owning my own agency, a small, specialized creative team who work across the globe together.
What advice would you give to any new graduates wanting to pursue a career like yours?
Stay hungry, and always do your best. Be it a small or a big job, paid or unpaid, fun or boring—always give it your best.
What is your ultimate dream job?
I am lucky to be living it now. I would just like it to be a little less busy at times, but I know I will get there.
How you maintain your creativity?
The “morning pages” help me to start every day fresh. Living by the ocean and being able to pop down for a swim is a game changer. It’s important to stay grounded and allow yourself time to think about what and why you are doing things. But don’t forget to have fun and unwind! Sometimes my best ideas are generated over a glass of wine with my partner, sharing stories, and having a laugh.
What’s the worst piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
To not sweat the detail. As a freelancer, or even just as a professional in a big business, it’s important to deliver your work complete. No one wants to work with someone who does a half-assed job, so deliver things complete and deliver them well.