Kate Miss, Designer
You had us at Fiona Apple and Donna Summer, Kate! As a designer, jeweller, photographer and relentless creative, we have admired Kate Miss' work for a LONG TIME. Her responses here are honest, perceptive and heartening - this is a damn good read.
What do you do?
I'm mainly a graphic designer, but I also design jewelry on the side. I take photos and dabble in other creative outlets as well.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
I have two things pinned to my wall at my desk: 'Honor Your Limits' and 'Argue for your limitations, and you get to keep them'. Which is funny as they kind of fight each other at first glance, but they actually compliment each other as you have to keep yourself in check. Don't be too hard on yourself, but don't limit yourself either by what you think you can't do.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
Moving from my hometown of Seattle to NYC after college and hitting the ground running - I got my first job doing design production in 3 days. A few months later the designer was let go, and I was thrust into a design job. Talent helped, but boy, there was some luck involved as well.
Starting a blog way back in 2007. It opened countless doors for me, helped me start my freelance business and my jewelry line.
Leaving my corporate job to freelance full-time in 2011. I've gone back and forth ever since then, but it taught me it was possible, and I was capable of being my own boss if I put the time and blood, sweat, and tears into it.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I did a lot of fun projects over the summer that are finally launching - a bourbon label, some branding for small businesses, I'm excited to finally share them. As for down the line? I'm honestly not sure, that's the rollercoaster of working for yourself! (eek!)
What is your dream project?
I think it would be a blast to brand an indie beauty company from the ground up. I'm a makeup junkie and would honestly love to learn how to be a makeup artist.
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
I think I'm the happiest person when I'm in a karaoke room singing. Music has always been huge in my life - I was a choir nerd growing up and sang every chance I got. I'm a fairly shy, anxiety-filled person, but singing in front of people fills me with a lightness I can't describe.
If you could choose to hear from any female contemporary at a Make Nice event, who would it be and why?
I'm really inspired by Meg Lewis of Ghostly Ferns. Not only is she super talented, she's incredibly open and honest and a riot. I'd kill to see her speak someday, she'd be perfect for Make Nice.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
I recently heard the quote "the grass is greener where you water it", and it's so simple but it really blew my mind. It's basically how I approach my marriage with my husband, but I've realized I need to apply it to my work, badly.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
I'm a huge podcast junkie as I listen to one nearly every morning when I walk my dog. My current top favorites are Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell, Reply All, 2 Dope Queens, and Undone. As for TV, I'm plowing through Atlanta and Insecure lately, You're The Worst is one of the best comedies, and Westworld is some damn good escapism right now. I just recently discovered that Mozart In The Jungle is not at all what I thought it was, and am loving it.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
In the design world there's such a pressure to always be sharing these fun personal projects you're working on. To show this really conceptual side of yourself online and make sure your social media persona is very Designer. Sure, I do personal projects and I make nice things on my own time, but mostly I just make nice things for clients and sometimes no one will ever see them, and I'm just happy the client is happy. I just want to post photos of my dog on instagram, ok?
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
Honestly I'm surprised anyone wants to read any of my answers, but MAYBE they want to know my favorite karaoke song. If the crowd is right, Sleep To Dream by Fiona Apple. If it's a different kind of crowd, Hot Stuff by Donna Summer.
How can we find our more about your work?
Who would you most like to answer these questions next?
Maybe Margot from Pitch Design Union, she's a rad lady.
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
I've actually only recently started to network with other female designers since I started freelancing again this summer. The older I get the harder it is to network and keep my community strong, we're all working so hard and some are having kids, we start to drift and it become less of a group and more of a few good friends. My network online is much stronger - I've been blogging/sharing online in someway or another since I was about 16 or so, and I still keep in contact with some of those ladies I met way back when.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
It's a little funny now, but I have such a vivid memory of being 14 and seeing the music video for Fiona Apple's "Shadowboxer" come on MTV. I was enraptured by her and the song, and soon after I bought her CD at the record store my dad and I would go to once a week. I took the CD booklet out and underlined all the words I didn't know and looked them all up. I was obsessed, I'd never heard music like that before or heard a woman express this intersection of sexual energy and anger. I loved Alanis Morissette at the time, but this felt different, more beautiful and haunting. I think I still compare all powerful moments to that one. I'm still to this day obsessed with and inspired by her, no matter how odd she gets. She's an original.