Spending time with Emily is like drinking really good black coffee out of your favorite vintage thrift store mug, and that is quite literally what we did before diving into her photoshoot and talking through her brand. She has a way of making you feel welcomed, seen and heard within seconds of meeting. I have so enjoyed getting to know this lady over the past few years and watching her grow as an artist and business owner. She is fiercely passionate about creating excellent and beautiful content that is tailored to the individual and individual businesses all the while maintaining a commitment to her faith and her family. You can read a little bit more about her personal and business journey below!
How did you get started in graphic design?
I accidentally fell in love twice at the end of my junior year in college– once to my now husband, Michael, who was moving across the country 3 weeks later… and the second was to graphic design.
As an Advertising and Public Relations major, I had to take one introductory design class to satisfy my degree requirements. This intro class was by far the most frustrating and difficult of my college career (and I cried the tears to prove it), but it ended up being the most rewarding and satisfying. This class ignited a new passion and purpose. Faced with blank art boards in Adobe Illustrator and a task to communicate a clear and unique message, an artist emerged inside me.
What inspires you?
A lot of different things inspire me as an artist. I am a Christian, and God is the origin and definition of beauty, order, and peace. He is the supreme creator and artist, and we are all made in His image. I love delighting in and worshipping God while I work, knowing that I am reflecting Him and being who He created me to be. Also, I am a wife and mom and I often am inspired by everyday life at my house. I look for beauty here. I look for opportunities to wonder at the grace found in the four walls of my home. Out of an overflow of this joy and wonder, I create. I also, look at beautiful things to inspire me. If I’m stumped on a design, I’ll often peruse the catalogues of Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Minted, Gracelaced or Magnolia Market and wait for inspiration to strike again. I love researching the New York runway fashion trends and eagerly await Pantone’s release of their color of the upcoming season. My husband laughs at me because often I look at layouts and color choice on billboards and advertisements while I’m around town and consider how I would do it differently. I comment on font pairings and obviously hate Papyrus . I’ll also wander down aisles of bookstores or libraries and look at book covers for inspiration. (PS- I totally judge books by their covers and I won’t read a book with an ugly cover). I keep a notebook close by, and I jot down thoughts and layouts for the project I’m working on for whenever inspiration strikes
What is unique about being a female business owner?
I started my freelance company out of a desire to use my gifts, help meet financial needs of my family, and also maximize time at home with my daughter. I suppose one of the greatest tensions I feel is the juggling act of “doing it all.” I want to love my family well, help take care of my home, and be the primary influence in my daughter’s life while also growing a business. The lines often get blurry between home and work (because I work from my home), and I can struggle with feeling the pressures of not doing any of it well. My faith has helped me with this though. I have learned over the past few years to be grateful the grace God gives me each day and accept my limitations.
What makes your designs different? What about your brand stands out?
I am passionate about infusing my love for beauty and commitment to excellence with my client’s brand and vision. As a graphic designer, I am hired to help other organizations accomplish their vision. Honestly, I often say that I am hired to be silent and yet loud. I am hired as their designer to make their company look great, to communicate their message effectively, and help their dreams be accomplished—in that sense, I am silent. I try to study them, listen, and ask good questions to draw them out. I enter the trenches with my clients and perceive the brand that they can’t even articulate and try to capture it in a design. No one should look at my finished product and say “Oh, that’s so Emily Guyer.” Instead, they should say, “Wow, look at that company!” However, while I am to be silent, I am to also be loud. Over my ten years of designing, I have developed a keen eye for modern, fresh design that my clients come to me wanting to infuse into their brand. Wide-set type, lots of white space, powerful photography and neutral colors with subtle pops of watercolor florals or thin-lined geometric elements… these are things dreams are made of for me These are the things that often work their way into my designs with my clients.
How do you push yourself to learn more about your craft and go further with your designs?
Honestly, I accept new projects designing things I’ve never created before! It’s terrifying, but it’s so rewarding. If I’m nervous about attempting a new type of project, I spend a lot of time researching it online and admiring other creatives’ work online. Then, I put my hand to the plow (or the mouse in my case) and get started. I won’t give up until its something beautiful, compelling, and accomplishes my client’s vision.
Describe your office space and what your most productive time to work is.
I have 2 office spaces—one is the dining room of my home that I’ve turned into a studio and the other is some local hipster coffee shop that has pour over Ethiopian coffee (usually Jubala or Black and White Coffee). My home office is my favorite space. My desk is an antique that I scored at Goodwill with a stroke of good luck, and my walls are covered with artwork that I have designed (PS- I sell my artwork here). I typically work best from 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. or 2:30-4:30… because, let’s be honest, my daughter is at preschool or napping during that time. Haha I have to work efficiently whenever and wherever time comes.
What is your favorite thing to design or favorite project that you’re working on?
Asking me to tell you my favorite thing to design is like asking me to tell you my favorite child! I can’t do that—I really love it all. But, here’s a project I’m working on right now. This month I’m designing conference materials for a women’s conference in Oklahoma. I love this project because it’s right up my alley. I’m honored to get to be designing all of the pieces for the conference, and I love getting to ooze all of my femininity out on an event for women only! I am using all of the calligraphy, florals, and rustic farmhouse charm I can.
What’s the most tedious but necessary task in owning a business? How do you hustle through it?
Finances!! I’m the creative and really struggle managing the financial side of the business (which is one of the most important parts). Luckily, my husband is a huge help in this area and often helps me stay on top of it all. I do all of the invoicing and receiving payments from my clients, and he helps me with taxes.
What are some goals you have for your business?
I’d love to develop a team. Because I am a Christian, I am passionate about helping others grow in their relationship with God and also in the gifts He has given them. I have a dream of one day bringing on interns, designers, and other creatives where I am training them in excellence in design and honing their craft, while also discipling them to love God in all areas of their life. I want to build a team that serves local churches, ministries, and missions agencies with communication and design needs while also freeing up my employees to follow God wherever He is leading them. The beauty of being a designer is that you can work remotely and design from anywhere in the world.
What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in their small business?
Try to find your own gift, voice, and style. Don’t just create what everyone else is creating or doing because it’s popular or may make a little bit of money. Be you and create or work from your unique passions, gifts and styles. Don’t just open an Etsy shop and make replicas of what you see others making. You are undercutting their creativity and yours. Work hard and hone your craft. Create from a unique place of conviction (what do you really love?) and personal expression (what do you have to say?). You don’t have to be perfect or the best. You will develop and grow over time. But… you don’t have to be the same as that person to be successful.
What do you use most for marketing? What is your favorite social media platform?
Most of my marketing is from word-of-mouth—clients or others who recommend me to someone needing a graphic designer. I love Instagram and use it often, but usually my posts are about my life. I occasionally post about my work on Instagram… usually scenes from whatever coffee shop I’m camped out at for the day.
How can we buy your products?
You can view my portfolio or get in touch with me to talk about a design project by visiting my website: emilyguyer.com. If you’d like to purchase the artwork and other products I sell with my best friend, Lauren Weir, at Words Worth Noting visit wordsworthnoting.com.