Meghan Vanderstoep graduated from the Advertising & Graphic Design program in 2019. Upon graduation, she was inspired to create a branding and design business called Meghan Ariana Design. We sat down with her to talk about her Humber experience and her inspiration for starting a business.
What inspired you to start your business?
Before I went to college, I spent a few years travelling around the world, and I met a lot of people who were living these really inspiring lifestyles, and it made me realize that if I set my mind to it, I could design my life in a way that excites me too. When I discovered how much I enjoy designing, and that I want to help people and surround myself with people with similar goals, creating a brand and web design business felt right to me.
What does your creative process look like?
I try to start my day by doing a creative warm-up where I give myself 30 minutes to design anything for fun: an illustration, playing with typography, creating a mock brand, etc. I think it's important to work on projects sometimes where you have full creative freedom and don't have to worry about what your clients or anyone will think.
When I start any project with a client, I do a lot of research to really get to know the brand I am working on. The key is communication and asking the right questions. Then I pull images and create a mood board in Illustrator to establish the creative direction for the project before I design any major brand assets. I usually create about 3 options and work with the client to determine which is best for the direction they are going. With that base, I start designing the brand assets, choosing the typography, colour palette, patterns, logos, submarks, etc. Then it's just revisions and we're done!
What was the highlight of your Humber experience?
My favourite part of my experience at Humber was the days where we would pitch our projects to our class and then have an open discussion about them. When you're just starting out as a designer, it's hard to separate your self-worth from your work, but these discussions offered a safe place to critique and be critiqued without feeling ashamed about it. I also met some of my best friends at Humber and they have been so supportive of me throughout this whole process.
What advice do you have for new grads looking to start their own business?
Think about why you want to start your business and hold on to this. Read it every day. Do your best not to overthink every decision at the beginning because it will keep you stuck. Remember that you will have bad days where you question literally EVERYTHING - let yourself have those days but don't let them define you. Invest in the time and resources to improve your skills and your business so you can offer the best services to your clients. Don't undervalue your work—charge what feels good to you, otherwise, you will start to resent what you do. Surround yourself with people who are in the same boat as you and support each other so you don't feel so alone in the process of building your business (because there will be people who doubt you—especially your own self). And remember to have fun with the process.