At this time last year I was preparing to graduate from college.
That blows my mind a bit. I was a college student with no intention of being a designer or artist of any kind. I was preparing to be a part of the corporate world. I was buying all sorts of professional clothing and learning how to filter myself and be professional. Those thoughts make me laugh now because those clothes are folded up in the back of my closet and I don’t think anyone would describe me as “filtered”. My realty changed. And then it changed again about five times after that.
I have never been someone who is good at transition. I avoid it at all cost if I can but that was impossible in my post grad life. I was trying to do something so different from everyone else and being able to transition became the name of the game. It’s almost a joke to me at this point. Right as I would settle in with a certain schedule, something would get juggled around and I would have to figure out how to balance everything again. There was one thing that was constant through all of these changes; I was always a designer. That was one hat I refused to take off. Some days I resented it but I always came back to that role in a hurry. It was the role I was proudest to have because I worked so hard to make that a reality for myself.
If I had the opportunity to say something to my former self I would tell her these things:
You can do anything you would like to for a living and you should because not many people actually have a job they enjoy.
The corporate world is not for you and there is absolutely no shame in working a part-time retail job or being a nanny while you figure out your life.
You will struggle the first few months after graduation because everyone and their mom will ask you what you’re doing with your life and that question is unfair because you’re 22. Try to answer it anyway, it will help you understand what you actually want to do.
Lean on your mentors.
You’re not dead, you’re just graduated. (I actually had to tell myself this everyday of the summer after I graduated)
People party far less often because everyone is tired all the time.
Be patient. You can’t accomplish everything on your list of goals and dreams in one year. Great things take time and planning.
When you don’t know how to do something, say yes, figure it out later and ask for help.
You will be incredibly lonely at times, that is what your paint set is for. You will create beautiful things when you are at your saddest.
Informational interviews never end. You will go on about 500 coffee dates with people around Minneapolis and meet amazing people because you are genuinely interested in learning about them and their experiences. Keep doing this for the rest of your life.
Social media will drain you some days if you let it. It can also change your life for the better if you decide to use it correctly.
You love writing. Use your words to inspire.
Most days you’re a complete mess and showers are few and far in-between for a while because of the crazy hours you’re pulling. IT’S OKAY. You have it way more together than you think.
Your youth is a powerful tool. Don’t use it as an excuse.
Design what sells but never make anything you don’t want to make.
For every goal you meet, help someone else cross off a goal on their list.
Whatever you do, don’t stop designing.
Here is an update of what I’ve been up to:
1// Coffee now notecard available here
2// Sporting my society6 Rian bag available here It goes everywhere with me. I’m in love with it.
3// Coffee and donuts by the river. This has to be my favorite new thing.
4// Midday walk on the train tracks
5// Stripes on stripes
6// Morning inspiration searching
7// My spring collection. Click the numbers to be linked to the items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
8// Easter outfit
9// Okay so here’s my big news…I’m hosting an event at Free People with my art displayed all over their store at Mall of America on May 29th from 6-9. I am so excited. This is a goal and dream of mine and I’m so excited it’s actually happening. I would love to see you all there!!
10// Close up of my Minty Dream painting available here
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.
KATIE! You are wise beyond your years, girlfriend. Reading all of those things you would tell your former self I was like “yep. that one. that one too.” You write with such raw transparency. I feel like you make me understand things about myself. You will go far. I can’t wait to say “I know her! …on Instagram…” 😉
Okay this comment though. SUCH A COMPLIMENT TO ME! Writing transparently is the only way I want to write but it feels so risky. The fact that my writing makes you better understand yourself, makes me melt. Thank you so much for telling me that. And I don’t think you will ever need to say I know her…because I consider you a friend, so you can say I’m friends with her 😉 just kidding.
Yes! Friends it is! 🙂