Hey! I’m Lucy, aka ShinyThoughts, a colour loving 25 year old living in North London who loves gallivanting in the woods, ugly dolls, Lazy Oaf, loose leaf tea (cos I’m, like, posh) and Zumba.

ICON has asked me to share my design experience and inspirations with you, to celebrate their search for the next talented young designer. Like the sound of designing your own bespoke item and winning some tech goodies to help? Enter your design on the ICON Facebook page.

Lucy Nicholls

Q. What do you do in terms of design?

A. Well… I’ve actually just gone freelance, so bring on the baked beans! But for the sake of my work in graphic design, I’ll back track a month to ASOS. I worked for ASOS Fashion Finder and Marketplace where I created graphic assets for emails, CTAs for the homepages and general look and feel. I helped come up with creative editorial ideas for Fashion Finder which meant spotting trends in user generated content, as well generally bouncing ideas around with the team.

Q. How did you get into it?

A. I studied Fashion Promotion in London because I knew I wanted to work in fashion but could never be a designer. It turns out there’s hundreds of jobs you can do with such a broad degree like that! When I left uni I fell into a couple of freelance jobs thanks to my blog, but after a bit of a freak out, I decided to get a full time position. ASOS had always been my ultimate place to work so when an ideal role came up, I went for it and miraculously got it!

Lucy-Nicholls ASOS

Q. When did you first notice you had an interest in design?

A. I always knew that I was interested in design in a very broad sense because I was always a creative child. I’d love to know how things were made and did a lot of crafts as a kid. I studied product design at school and flicked through my Dads vintage copies of Graphis Magazine, plus I remember I was obsessed with making collages out of old Vogue mags, which looking back, showed that I was always into layout and magazines. The weird thing is that I never thought I was good enough to do graphic design or art so I never studied either at any point but now I’ve somehow fallen into it.

Q. What creative process do you love the most?

A. I probably love photography the most, but there’s definitely a sense of satisfaction when I’ve designed the layout for a new editorial at work, based on the same content and canvas dimensions as before, but suddenly I’ve created something new and my colleagues love it. It’s so rewarding when someone tells you your work looks awesome!

Q. From your blog it’s evident you love colour. Where do you think this stemmed from?

A. I swear it’s genetic! My dad is an interior decorator and loves getting dressed into something relatively colourful (for a dad). He’s very optimistic too and I’ve inherited that streak, so maybe loving vibrancy can be linked to that. I do believe it’s slightly innate as I have synaesthesia in certain situations too.

Q. Who is your favourite designer and/or photographer?

A. I love the work of paper based set designer Hattie Newman and I always love reading emails from The Design Files as they’re always profiling fun artists and designers. As for photography, I was very inspired by Tim Walker as a student, but now I look to the big Bloggers for inspiration. Shini Park, Gary Pepper Girl and Kit Lee all put photography first.

Lucy Nicholls

Q. What’s the best place you’ve ever photographed?

A. Probably Morocco, I couldn’t wait to get home and edit photos of the Majorelle Gardens!

Q. What’s your proudest moment in your design/photography career so far?

A. I haven’t had much of a career yet! But probably shooting for Carnaby Street for their Carnaby Guide which is given out for free in all the shops.

Q. What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in the future?

A. Well, who knows where freelancing will take me! I’m not great at predicting the future, but I know that I want to travel further. I’m planning a trip to Australia so that’s probably as far as I’m going to get! I can’t wait to shoot there. In the nearer future I need to redesign my blog so that it’s responsive (ashamed face) which I hope will increase engagement and readership.

Q. Do you have any advice for younger people looking to break into the art of graphic design?

A. Unconventionally, you don’t have to have studied it!

Q. I noticed that you have a portfolio on your blog. Have you found this a useful thing to have and do you have any advice on how to build a portfolio in the most effective manner? What’s worked for you?

A. University taught me how to build a physical portfolio and I was pretty chuffed with mine. I just got a nice canvas, hard backed folio with my name in silver, and then it was just about laying out the pages so that they’re as minimal and clear as you could ever go without loosing communication. As for online, it’s my most visited page in my nav bar. That said, it doesn’t bring me much work because I don’t push it. Maybe people are just nosey! I’d recommend having a satellite site on your blog that takes you to a site where the layout works for a portfolio. My blog format is rather restricting.

Q. Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?

A. At the moment I’m doing a couple of photography bits for the Camden Market blog, but hopefully more exciting work will come my way in due course!

Feeling inspired? Find out more about Lucy here.