Life After LJ with Matilda Wilson
It’s always interesting to see where interns and junior designers end up after their first few experiences working inside a ‘real’ design studio/agency. In this series we’ll be catching up with designers and interns who have worked on various issues of Ligature Journal.
Let’s see what they’ve been up to!
Who are you? My name is Matilda Wilson, I’m 23 years old from the Central Coast of New South Wales, a graduate of Billy Blue Design College and a graphic designer!
How and why did you choose design as a career?
I chose design as a career in my final year of high school, as most do. I did my research into creative-based pathways and found that the Communication Design degree at Billy Blue explored graphic design and also covered a fair bit of social and business entrepreneurship. To me, that was perfect, it meant that I could draw on my interest in illustration whilst learning new creative skills that would then translate into a career.
I consider myself extremely lucky that my tertiary studies exceeded my expectations and really ignited a passion for design and business, business being a passion that had previously remained, untouched. Safe to say, I haven’t looked into any other careers!
Was there a defining moment in your life that shaped you and your path as a designer? Tell us about it.
I don’t think I’ve necessarily had a defining moment, I’ve more so had a collection of wins and losses that have over time taught me a lot about being a business owner, people, integrity, and how important it is to relish every opportunity that comes your way. I think the losses have shaped my path more so. Failure has taught me not to get strung up when things go wrong and that I shouldn’t fear failing, often the best outcomes come from the times when the odds are particularly stacked against you.
After finishing university in 2017, and working part time at MTV Australia, I was offered a job in Hunters Hill at a great studio, however I turned it down to travel through South America, a decision not made lightly and one that was gut-wrenching at the time. During my time overseas I found my downtime was spent meticulously researching studios and reading books on starting your own business – because I’m a closet nerd and that’s what a closet nerd does on a holiday (apparently). I think it was then that I set myself the goal of owning my own studio and combining my love for social consciousness, business, people and of course design, into one collective business. Moral of the story: If I didn’t turn down that job offer and feel especially crappy for a while, I wouldn’t be where I am now and I wouldn’t have travelled to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced, so that’s a win I think.
Where have you worked since you graduated?
I currently work for Lovatts Media, one of Australia’s largest independent publishers and content producers where I’m the lead designer for Teen Breathe Magazine Australia, as well as co-design Breathe Magazine Australia, Audrey Daybook, Mindful Parenting, KIT and Nourish Plant Based Living. On top of this, I own my business Matilda Wilson Creative and in the past year have launched two brand new restaurants Kew Dining and Social Society Sydney. I have a client base of over 45 businesses and have been lucky enough to work with some incredible people on their projects, both big and small. I truly appreciate both my full time work and my own business and I am excited to grow and grateful for the flexibility to explore so many different areas of design that often aren’t presented to designers this soon after graduating university. Big ol’ dream jobs.
What do you want your future as a designer to be?
As long as I keep learning, collaborating with people and progressing, I’m open to absolutely anything. I think this industry is the perfect place to be if you’re eager to explore the hundreds of different tangents it can branch out to. If you’re willing to put the work in and are passionate about what you do, don’t be afraid to explore the road less taken. In future, ideally, I’d love to be an Art Director (as we all would, right?) and if it were out of my own studio then that would be the cherry on top.
Finally, if you could share one piece of advice with a current design student,
what would it be?
My advice to current students would be to sit down and set goals, both personally and professionally. Setting short term and long term goals as well as reflecting on them (which is just as important) in areas like personal growth, where you want to be financially, mental health, career and education has taught me so much about who I am and encouraged me to break bad habits. You can have less than desirable characteristics about yourself, but you can change them too. What’s important is to honestly acknowledge them and make a conscientious effort to work on that area of your life. It also feels pretty damn good when you look back over time and see that you’re in a different place than you were a year ago. You deserve the little wins, don’t rob yourself of them!