Gabby Lord, Designer
Meet Gabby Lord, an Australian designer brightening up Berlin with her creativity. Her blog and newsletter OMGLORD is a veritable treasure trove of interesting designs, creative heroes and musings on the industry and life. We love your honesty and the confidence that drives you, Gabby. Thanks for sharing what pushed you to live overseas, your inspirations and the maxim that drives you.
What do you do?
I usually tell people I’m a graphic designer, but I guess it would be more accurate to describe myself as multi-disciplinary. I work across a few mediums these days and love to write, illustrate and tinker with random things I find at Planet Modulor.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
Just start! It’s so easy to talk about all your amazing ideas but they are worthless until you start. You don’t have to have it all figured out or nail it first go, I like to think of everything as version 1.0 that can be continually improved and built upon.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
The first one wasn’t really a specific milestone, but there was a moment about halfway through my degree where the whole design thing just clicked. Suddenly I got what it was all about. I wasn’t miraculously good at it by any means, but I finally understood what I was working towards.
The second was winning the AgIdeas Newstar award and spending two weeks at Fabrica in Italy. The experience was a total bust but it really confirmed I wanted to live abroad and pursue a design career overseas. The trip propelled me into quitting my full-time, very secure job and kick my ass into gear to make that happen.
A third milestone I guess was finally working up the courage to do what I said I was going to do: move. Living in another country has opened my eyes, ears and heart in ways I didn’t realise I was otherwise ignorant.
What is your dream project?
After discovering Annie Atkins I think I’d really love to work on a film. I feel there is this whole other industry of graphic design in motion pictures, designing physical objects, props and set pieces that play such an important role in making films appear and feel like real-life. Otherwise my dream projects are not anything over-the-top or crazy. I’d love to collaborate with brands like Gorman, Marimekko, Hay and just people I have an affinity with in general.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
A lot of personal work this year that's for sure! I’ve started a series called ‘Broads Down Under’ that features Australian women in design that has had a really positive response so far. I’m also doing the 100 Day Project and attempting to post a photo to Instagram every day, working my way across the colour spectrum—it’s tougher than I expected!
Right now I’m mainly focussed on evolving things I’ve already started such as my blog and newsletter. Obviously I’m working on commercial stuff too, but it’s definitely my side projects that keep me up at night.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
Obviously facets like equal pay, not just in our industry but in general. The end of free spec work because no other industries are expected to do it. More women starting their own companies and leading existing ones. Perhaps even just a little more self-confidence in creative women? I want to see these changes within my field but also within myself.
If you could choose to hear any female contemporary present at Make Nice, who would it be and why?
I already mentioned Annie Atkins, and although I’ve watched some of her talks online I’d love to pick her brain in an environment like Make Nice. There are also loads of female comedians and writers I admire—Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of Broad City, Jenny Slate and Lena Dunham (less for GIRLS and more for her newsletter, Lenny) who are creative in a different way to myself and I think I could learn a lot from that.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
I think it was in a Paul Arden book to “Give away everything you know” and that it’s never too early to start doing that. Even if you don’t feel like you are in a position to teach, there is always someone who knows less than you who is eager to learn. Share even the little you do know, and more will come back to you.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I am super lucky to have a supportive network of females here in Berlin as well as back in Australia. Many more are scattered across the globe now but the internet makes staying connected so much easier. It hasn’t always been that way but like any network it takes time to build genuine and long-lasting relationships. I wouldn’t say this is limited to just females however, as I’ve had a lot of support from male friends and mentors too.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
Listening: Jessie Ware and Drake are on constant rotation and I’m really into Kanye and Beyonce’s new albums. Also tuning into a number of design podcasts and finally the first season of the much-talked-about Serial.
Reading: Mostly emails, sadly.
Watching: Season 3 of Broad City (dump out, flawless!) and hanging for Game of Thrones to start up again!
Inspiring: I recently went to Keukenhof in Holland, it was incredible! Definitely feeling inspired by travel and nature right now.
Entertaining: My housemate. She’s in show business and is constantly dancing around our apartment, doing handstands and planning crazy circus acts. There is never a dull moment when she is around!