Berenice Smith, Hello Lovely
Berenice is a fellow typography fan and I first heard her name mentioned in a couple of online networking groups. I met her at Freelance Heroes day in 2020… I say met, it wasn’t in real life thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. We met virtually during the break, and I know that we would have sat together and spoken for ages if we’d been at the event in person.
Berenice has a lot of experience in the design industry, and she’s someone that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend working with! She’s someone who has a great work ethic, and I have no doubt that I can (and will) learn a lot from Berenice.
What coffee do you like to drink?
I’m 95% tea so I’d love a cup of Bird and Blend Earl Grey!
Tell me about the work you do
I’ve been a designer for years. Maybe since primary school when I won three Blue Peter badges for drawing competitions! Later, at secondary school, I remember watching careers videos, none of them appealed to me. I loved art and English! One day the teacher showed a programme about a commercial artist. I can still recall that moment as if a light bulb was switched on. That was my vocation, and I claimed it! I’ve since claimed a Masters degree in graphic design and typography.
I work across different disciplines. Print is my first love particularly books and multi-page documents, but I also apply my design savvy to websites and branding too with a specific interest in typography and collaboration. I love it when my clients feel they’ve gained more than just a beautiful product.
Finish this sentence. Great design should be...
Inclusive, with well-balanced typography, offering a user-friendly and accessible experience but most of all completely invisible! The 2020 Covid communications from the government are a sobering reminder of poor design. They failed on all these elements; poor font choices, inconsistency and illustrations which alienated many demographics. Good design is stealthy and so clever nobody knows it’s working hard (unless you’re like us and pick it apart to find out how and why!)
Finish this sentence. Great design elevates your brand by...
Great design elevates your brand because it’s part of your story. It’s a research project that combines a narrative about you, your business and your clients, those you have now and the ones you want to attract.
When lockdown eases, the first project I would like to design would be... because…
I don’t actually think I have been restricted by the lockdown and work but I’d like to get out there and so a bit of social design, I fancy getting some chalk out and asking people to share their experiences whilst it’s still in our minds so we don’t forget.
What piece of design do you wish you’d created?
Right now, Vic Lee’s Corona Diary. I find it intensely moving, but the story of the last 12 months is softened because his illustration is so honest. Everyone should own a copy! I would also add Marian Banjtes, Candy Chang and Erik Spiekermann as influencers on my work and attitude too.
What do you think makes someone a great designer?
A natural curiosity and an openness to learn. As an industry, we need to be less dictatorial and more inquisitive about what our clients do and lead by example in our creative interpretation. We can educate and explain but to do that we must listen first and pay attention. I do believe that good design is being relatable, authentic and supportive.
If you weren't doing design, what would you be doing?
I have a City and Guilds in stained glass, and relief printmaking so I’d love to do more of this. I have dreams of owning an old church with space to create, hold workshops with a gallery space! Or adopting more dogs or perhaps some donkeys.
And finally, can you tell me about 3 other freelance designers or small biz owners whose work you admire
Anne-Marie is a great doodler and designer. I admire her work and appreciate her friendship.
Lucinda is a photographer in Cambridge and takes the most beautiful images -she has some great stories behind her work and Dinky Doors who have created mini portals into worlds in Cambridge and sum up this amazing city in which I’m lucky enough to live and work.
I absolutely love your work Bhavini as I hope you know! ( Thank you for your kind words Berenice).
You can read the previous A Coffee With…interview here.
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