I’m happy to share another Spaces feature with you all! This week, graphic designer and blogger, Megan Gilger of Hitch Design Studio, is giving us a peek into her workspace and sharing a little about herself as a designer. Megan’s blog, The Fresh Exchange, is full of inspiration and overflowing with beautiful images and design. And like most Spaces features, Megan’s workspace reflects her style perfectly.
Tell us about yourself as a creative.
I am a graphic designer and blogger. I own Hitch Design Studio and get to work with some awesome creatives to help them brand and create an aesthetic that helps them do what they do best and I love that. My designs are most inspired by a combination of who the client is and also my own creative explorations. I look at every project as a new challenge to push myself some how as well as meeting the client’s expectations. When I am not designing I am blogging my little heart away. The Fresh Exchange is where I talk about my life living in Traverse City, Michigan and whatever is inspiring me as creative. I use it also as a space to explore my own aesthetic through my type style and doodles. This also has led me to open a shop where I sell prints based on my handwritten style and things that inspire me. The blog has opened up so many doors but one of them has been my partnership with the Blog Brunch team. We are currently prepping to launch our new site, which has been in process for a while now! So exciting!
Describe your creative journey.
Design has always been something that has been apart of me. I may have been one of very few kids in elementary school that seriously was concerned about my type and colors on a science project. I grew up with a dad who was an architect. We always had a drafting table covered in eraser dust and I watched my dad build amazing things all my life. The first time I ever realized I wanted to design was when I took yearbook class and was given those old graph sheets to sketch page layouts. I went nuts. It was like a spark clicked and I knew what I wanted. I begin clipping magazines and studying type and images and how they worked together.
When I entered college I jumped in with no real strong knowledge of how to design. I had never been formally trained and the school I went to was not a design school. I learned from experience and being pushed in to situations. To this day there are 3 people from college I say are the ones who defined me a designer. They mentored me and gave me skills and opportunities I never would have had without them taking me under their wing and believing in my eye and vision. So while I was in college I was able to gain a ton of serious studio experience. I worked on various marketing campaigns for Walden Media for the Narnia movies, Art Directed the marketing for a Film Festival, and worked for the Beijing Olympics. Those times taught me how to manage my time, work under intense deadlines, and develop a creative process. Most importantly it helped me grow tough skin to take criticism and not take critiques personally.
After leaving school I tried to find a studio position, but honestly every job I tried seemed boring or not me and I never wanted to find myself where I had no passion for my work. It was always my biggest fear to not wake up and love what I did every day. I was stupid about this feeling to the point I turned down some pretty good first jobs. Thankfully I still had a ton of freelance clients left after college and so I stayed afloat by taking those projects.
One day I finally was encouraged to begin my business. I began it with the intention of being a print designer as that was what I knew, but quickly changed that view. My husband is an interactive designer and he began teaching me how to design for web. I instantly fell in love and Hitch quickly took a turn. I began to realize what I wanted was to work with amazing creatives who were passionate about what they did. I wanted to work with people who were pursuing their dreams and I wanted to help them by creating a brand and image that they were proud of and would help them be successful in every way.
During all that time I was developing my company, my blog started. This opened up a whole new perspective on design. I was able to be creatively free in this space. The space became where I placed inspiration and could design whatever I felt was me. At some point I remember being frustrated with type and searching for new typefaces and trying to find something unique. I got so fed up with the search that I just made my own type. I fell in love. I had never felt so free as a creative. The blog gave me a place to explore this further and ultimately has been where my style has developed. That blog has cataloged so much of my creative journey, which is why it is so dear to me because it feels like my open creative journal to the world. I always hope it inspires people at the end of the day more than anything because that inspires me to create and challenge myself.
Share a little bit about your space.
My space is kind of my little corner of the world where I feel safe. I have tons of art mostly because I love supporting my friends who create. Some of my favorites are the ones over my desk (the pink and white arrow paintings) my friend Jonathan Grant has such a unique tribal style to his work that is all based in historical stories and seeing these pieces always make me happy. He has been so influential in inspiring me and pushing me to think different. The other is the portrait of the bearded man. This is a piece my husband did a year or so ago and have always loved it. The rest of my space I want it feel pretty minimal but have this eclectic feeling as well. I like color and it feeling happy and slightly whimsical.
What’s your favorite thing about your space?
My favorite part is of my space is my husband’s painting. He has been the most influential part of me doing what I do and I hope to one day be that influential to him in his passion as an artist. This painting always makes me so happy and it was done during a time when we were both trying to define ourselves creatively so it holds a lot of meaning to us. It will always be a piece in our studio because of that.
What’s one thing you think every creative needs in their space?
A space to create without the computer. I have a second table in my office where there is never another computer. My intern uses it from time to time, but I need this space to make myself create away from the screen. I am always trying to keep myself in check with that. It is not always easy but whenever I feel creatively blocked, I take a walk and then sit back over there to just draw and separate myself. After I always feel refreshed and develop something more unique than I would have if I just stayed at my computer.
Photos by Megan Gilger