We took a rest last month, and we are back with another Girl Power! She works behind the scenes, but you might have seen some of her work plastered across walls or products. If you are a fan of us, you may have seen some of her work included in our collaboration with WO Studios and our tote bag. "Who's she?" you say. A budding graphic designer to watch, that's who!
Please introduce yourself and share your journey as an expat woman in the field of graphic design.
I'm not really good at introducing myself, but let me do this quickly. I'm Mia. I came to Malaysia about four years ago to complete my English Diploma. But something unexpected happened, and oh my God, I discovered design, and it captured my heart. It's funny because I wasn't sure which path to take when I first arrived. I had studied biology before, but it never really resonated with me. Then, one day, I created a lovely card, and a friend encouraged me to make more. That was the moment I realized I wanted to dive into this!
What are the biggest challenges for graphic designers today?
Being a designer isn't always a walk in the park. What used to be my hobby has turned into a job with deadlines, and there's often a lot of pressure.
One of the toughest challenges is feeling like I've run out of creative ideas. It's like trying to squeeze water from a dry sponge. I wish I could always come up with amazing designs, but sometimes, it takes time for the inspiration to flow again.
Working quickly is also another challenge. Sometimes, projects need to be done fast. It's like trying to finish a puzzle before the timer runs out. Managing my time and resources well is a big part of meeting these tight deadlines.
And lastly, being a designer isn't just about making things look pretty. It's also about understanding what clients and audiences want. This means listening well, being kind, and being flexible. It's about turning ideas into designs that really connect with people. Being a designer has its tough moments, but each challenge is a chance to learn and get better. Every project is a chance to try something new and make it even better than before. Even though it's not always easy, I love what I do and am excited to keep learning and growing.
How do you stay inspired and come up with fresh design ideas for your projects?
Discovering ideas is like a fun scavenger hunt for me. I find inspiration in all sorts of places, even in unexpected nooks. It's about training my mind to spot these neat ideas and weaving them into my designs. Whether I'm watching TV, cooking, listening to music, or just taking a stroll, there's something interesting around every corner. I also enjoy browsing Instagram and Pinterest to unearth cool ideas.
Could you tell us about some of your most memorable or favourite graphic design projects or collaborations you've participated in?
One project that holds a special spot in my heart is the "You've Got Tits" campaign I worked on with COCODry. This project was more than just design work; it was a meaningful tribute to the strength of women facing breast cancer.
My past experience volunteering with a cancer group back home made it even more personal for me. Those years were filled with moments of triumph and reflection alongside those fighting cancer. So, when I had the chance to use design to support this cause, it felt like it had come full circle.
The "You've Got Tits" campaign wasn't just about creating visuals. It was about spreading a message of support, strength, and unity. We wanted to start important conversations about breast cancer in our community, which is something I deeply care about.
I also had the chance to work on the Oat Mighty Cleansing Balm campaign with Handmade Heroes, and oh my gosh, I loved working on that! It was the first time I worked on such a big project from scratch, starting from the mood board to designing stickers and even finishing with the ice cream packaging, which I'm proud of because it turned out so cute! I love creating things that are aesthetically pleasing and capture the heart. It warms my heart when I see people taking pictures of them.
What are your future goals and aspirations as a graphic designer?
Looking ahead, I've got big dreams and exciting goals as a graphic designer. I picture myself teaming up with major brands and other talented designers to bring to life projects that really make a mark. I'm eager to step out of my comfort zone and take on new challenges, exploring different styles, techniques, and design methods.
For me, growth is key. I want to build a strong foundation and keep on learning. It's like building a sturdy house—the stronger the base, the taller you can build. I'm enthusiastic about pushing my boundaries and trying out fresh ideas, and I'm committed to creating designs that are not only visually striking but also meaningful.
In a nutshell, my future as a graphic designer is all about growth, exploration, and creating designs that not only look great but also touch hearts and minds. It's an exciting journey, and I can't wait to see where it takes me!
Looking back on your journey, is there anything you would have done differently in your career or life choices?
Well, when I reflect on my journey, there's a sense of contentment with the path I've taken. Each twist and turn, even the challenging moments, has played a part in shaping me as a designer. While there might have been moments that seemed tough at the time, they all contributed to my growth. So, in all honesty, I wouldn't change a thing. Every step has been a valuable lesson and an integral part of my unique journey.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a graphic designer?
For someone just starting out in design, my advice is simple yet powerful: dive into tutorials, experiment with different styles, and never be afraid to make mistakes. Also, soak up inspiration from everywhere—movies, nature, everyday life. And don't forget, feedback is your best friend. It's how you level up. Stay curious, stay bold, and most importantly, have fun on this creative rollercoaster ride!
What is something about yourself that no one knows, but that you would like to share with them?
Here's a little something that not many people know about me: I'm a sensitive soul!
You might not know this about me, but I'm actually pretty sensitive. Like, I feel things on a deep level; happy moments, sad vibes—they hit me hard. It's like having this mega emotion detector! This sensitivity is low-key my superpower. It lets me vibe with others and really get where they're coming from. Being sensitive also means I sometimes need a bit of me-time. That's when my thoughts click, and I come up with my raddest ideas. It's like having a creativity boost. It's not always a breeze, but I totally embrace it. It's a part of what makes me, well, me!
If your life was a movie, which character would you be and why?
If my life were a movie, I would play Joe from the movie "Soul"! I think Joe Gardner would be the character representing me. He loves music a lot, just like how I love being creative and doing things that matter. I also understand Joe's moments of thinking deeply about life and trying to find what makes it special. Like him, I often wonder about the big questions and want to feel like what I do is meaningful and important.
I also relate to how Joe helps and supports the character called 22. I enjoy helping people find what they're good at and encouraging them to go after their dreams.
What is the best quote that you live by?
Years ago, I discovered this symbol +=+ from a famous French YouTuber, Lena Situations. It's really interesting because I now relate to it and live by this quote that means "Positive attracts positive". This suggests that when you have a happy and optimistic outlook, good things are more likely to happen in your life. It's like believing that your positive thoughts can lead to positive experiences. But remember, it's also okay to acknowledge and deal with tough times when they come along. Balancing positivity with a realistic view is an excellent way to grow and be happy.
Follow Mia's digital diary @themias.diaries for more deets on what she does!