Designer In The Spotlight: Kate McInnes

Designer In The Spotlight: Kate McInnes

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Designer In The Spotlight

Designer In The Spotlight (DITS) is a weekly feature that I run every Sunday (or more) to help particular individuals in the design community get their name ‘out there’ and to educate the community as a whole. It is a series of questions that asks the designer about themselves and their job as a designer. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming DITS post fill out the form here.

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1. Please tell us more about yourself, your background, education and what you do as a designer.

My name is Kate McInnes and I’m a designer and Illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia.

I have a Bachelor of Multimedia Design and a Post Graduate Degree in Communication Design.

Currently I’m working as a freelance Illustrator and a designer for Nitro PDF Software.

2. How long have you been designing and what made you become an artist / designer?

I’ve been designing since I was in primary school, I was the first to invent designer toilet paper, I thought the idea was completely ridiculous – who would have known as the economy changed the need for such an item would surface.

I became a designer because I liked it better than anything else.

3. How did you market yourself in the beginning of your design career and how has that differed to how you market yourself now?

In regards to my illustration practice I was pretty crappy at marketing.
I was lucky to meet some people in my city who shared the same interests and I started to exhibit work with them.

Now it’s just a matter of exposure and reputation, increasing the traffic to the blog and folio site.

Saying that, I do try and write blog posts that are of interest, like tutorials and reviews – people like them.

For those you still starting out, you may want to read How To Get Your First Job.

4. What are your tools of the trade? This could include hardware, software and traditional tools.

The Adobe Suite.

5. Where do you work and what is your daily routine?

I work at Nitro PDF Software.

My daily routine changes all the time, sometimes ill be on an email campaign and the next ill be redesigning software boxes or making icons.

Every day involves coffee and chocolate.

6. How do you manage the business side of design such as accounting, invoicing and bookkeeping?

I only take freelance that inspires me so as you can imagine I don’t break the tax limit that often.

I keep all receipts in a really nifty book from kikki.K and invoice all my clients in PDF form.

7. Where do you get your inspiration and how do you keep up to date with what is happening in the industry?

I am completely in-love with my Ffffound account, that site is amazing!

I don’t follow the design industry as closely as I follow art and illustration, design shouldn’t be about trends, it should be about what’s right for the brief.

8. Can you please guide us through a typical project from start to finish.

Hmmm, well people are fairly interested in my work on icons, so here goes.

I get a brief from the development department outlining what the icon will be called, its tool tip, its function and how big it will be.

I then do a few concept sketches and research existing examples, when it all looks right I start making the image in illustrator (at actual size).

Once the basic shape is made I export it to Photoshop and add gradients and shadows until it’s done.

9. What are your top 3 websites / books and why?

I love all of the books at Victionary.
Their books are always presented really nicely and the contributing illustrators and designers are very inspirational.

My Ffffound Account! I could spend hours on this site.

Nice Produce
is where you will find all the latest news on Melbourne art and events.
They are also big supporters of my partner in crime, Bucket’O’Thought.

10. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?

Don’t give up, don’t copy other peoples stuff and don’t forget to have fun!

Thank you Kate for taking the time to fill out this interview! If you want to be featured as the next Designer In The Spotlight, fill out this form.

18 thoughts on “Designer In The Spotlight: Kate McInnes”

  1. Nice answers, I particularly liked “design shouldn’t be about trends, it should be about what’s right for the brief.” I think too many designers, especially those so heavily involved online, sometimes take trend following too far and seem to lose sight of what a design needs to really achieve rather than simply look like.

    Great statement

  2. I completely agree to the statement about trends! The most important thing is that the design suits its purpose. And we don’t want to come across as followers, do we? 🙂

    Great illustrations!

  3. Nice! a woman designer:) Sometimes seems to be so few out in the world.

    Hey, Kate, do you have some of your icon work anywhere? It was great to read the process.


  4. OK, one more… I like her out of the box thinking.

    and ya…Life of a typical designers in simple words — 70% hard work + 25% contacts + 4% luck + 1% A$$$$$.

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