Rachel, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am a Los Angeles-based graphic designer and branding consultant who believes in building better brands through thoughtful, intentional design. I was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV and moved to L.A. in 2009 in pursuit of a design career. I received my Bachelor’s of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and spent my post-grad years working as a designer at Omgivning, an architectural firm specializing in adaptive reuse projects in DTLA.
In 2017 I stepped out on my own and started my own business with my partner Uriel Lopez, Play Grnd. Play Grnd is a full-service design firm dedicated to building better brands through thoughtful, intentional design. We work closely with each client to create a compelling visual identity that feels both innovative and authentic. From the logo, web, and spatial design to videography, art direction, and construction, we offer a uniquely comprehensive range of creative services, always rendered with care and professionalism.
I also publish and design a bi-annual publication called Array that showcases local photographers. Array is a collective book of local photographers. For each issue, eleven contributors are given one word as the theme. With a combination of eleven different interpretations of those two themes, Array hopes to explore the relationship between subjects and the act of photography.
Array is funded through book sales of past issues, and crowdsourcing/design service trades. The publication aims to eventually be fully self supporting through book sales, making it a true publication in which artists support other artists.
This past year has been so rewarding and proven to be such a great learning experience in terms of running a business and trusting myself. I have had so many opportunities to meet so many other creative professionals and built a strong community of support. I am excited to continue my business and see where it goes.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a graphic designer with a focus on branding. I love helping clients translate their ideas into a strong visual identity. I work to create a dialogue between myself and the client to help us both establish the brand and what it’s all about. Visual Identity is such an important and personal piece of someone’s business, it tells the story behind the product or service itself and acts as the face of the company. I especially love working with independent business owners and entrepreneurs who are just getting their start. Getting to work with people and help them form a concrete business identity is so rewarding and a big part of my process when designing graphics pieces.
My personal work is very graphic and clean. I love playing with clean lines and simple symbols while introducing graphic hierarchy. I also love designing exhibitions and creating 3-dimensional graphics experiences through gallery layouts. Array, for example, gives me an opportunity to design display pieces, the book itself, and a launch party with a unique gallery experience. I truly feel that each project I work on needs to be designed from every angle, that’s how you create a successful show or idea.
I plan to have more personal art exhibitions in this coming year and can’t wait to focus on designing graphic installations along with graphic print pieces.
The main thing that unites my work is the idea of supporting fellow creatives or finding a way to give back to my community. From exhibitions that are built around raising money for charities or creating projects that help fellow creatives and foster an idea of collaboration. I aim to always use my designs/skill set to somehow give back or encourage fellow creatives to grow.
Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
Yes! My main point of advice is to surround yourself with other artists and creatives who you can talk to when you feel discouraged or intimidated. I have learned that almost every creative or independent entrepreneur has those fears and self-doubt at some point, and when you reach out and are honest about it you find out you aren’t alone.
I also recommend focusing on a strong saving strategy with finances so that if you ever run into a time where you are tight or in some financial fear you have a safety net to fall back on. I was taught from a young age to always “pay yourself first” which meant that every time I got a paycheck I put a percentage into savings account before I had the chance to spend it.
My last piece of advice would be to push through the fear and negative self-talk when it crops up. It always helps me to remember that those who are successful in what they do are the ones who can acknowledge the fear and still push forward despite it.
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