Gemma Andrews, Gemma Andrews Design
I first came across Gemma’s Instagram profile back in 2019 when she was featured by The Brand Stylist as part of the Elevated Designers Collective. Gemma’s design style is one that I admire a lot, she creates stunningly simple designs that are unique to you and your business.
When I was putting together the “A coffee with…” series, Gemma was on my list of designers to interview right from the start.
What coffee do you like to drink?
Tell me about the work you do
I create brand identities for small businesses. All of my brand identities are designed with my client’s core values and target audience in mind so that they strategically attract the right clients and have commercial impact. In practice, this means using colour psychology and carefully selecting typography and textures and /or patterns that not only combine to create a cohesive look and feel, but also conveys a sense of what you and your business is about.
This also means, to a certain extent, putting aside your own style preferences and likes, or current trends and fads, and thinking about what would appeal most to your target audience as well as what the essence of your brand is. My style is very simple, smart and quite muted so its important too that I’m working with businesses that my style works for – a loud, bold and shouty brand is probably not going to come to me! In the past I’ve worked with beauty brands, architects, interior designers, landscape designers, and photographers and these fit well with my aesthetic.
Finish this sentence. Great design should be...
Great Design is about solving a problem.
As designers we call the problem a brief, and our solutions to the problem, our concept!
Finish this sentence. Great design elevates your brand by...
Great design elevates your brand so that it not only stands out in what is an increasingly visually over-stimulated world, it also resonates and engages with your people so that they are compelled to do business with you. A smart and stylish brand identity shows the world that you are professional and that you’re serious about your business.
When lockdown eases, the first project I would like to design would be... because…
I’ve been fortunate that I have remained booked up throughout lockdown but I’m super super excited to have a Landscape Designer and a Photographer lined up to work with me next. I can’t wait!
What piece of design do you wish you’d created?
I absolutely adore what Lick has done with their paint brand. They’ve really managed to set themselves apart from the competition and connect with a younger, more aesthetically driven audience. They have created a distinctive look that is more than just their logo, but is the sum of many different elements that is instantly recognisable and has a huge personality. It is inspirational, simple and beautiful and makes me want to use them over any other paint brand. It’s very clever.
What do you think makes someone a great designer?
A good designer is a good listener. It’s important to be strategic and not only think about what looks nice or what is “current”. You not only have to work out how to solve the problem (the brief), you must first discern what the problem is, and trust me, clients don’t always know what that is! Once you’ve defined the problem, you’re half way to the solution.
Also it takes a lot of practice. More than you’d ever imagine starting out!
If you weren't doing design, what would you be doing?
I’ve always loved art and design but it took me a long, long time to believe anyone would ever pay me to do it. In fact, when I left school I went on to study the sciences because I thought it was more vocational, and then I went on to train as a primary school teacher alongside a Fine Art degree! After university I spent some time teaching English in Japan, and when I came back to the UK I fell into marketing roles whilst temping in London. I always managed to end up designing in those roles though and couldn’t help but make the Powerpoint’s beautiful!
Now, I really really love what I do and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Sometimes I wish I’d been more confident early on and had a more direct route, but maybe I appreciate what I have now even more.