To say Mélanie Johnsson is a woman of many talents is an understatement. Illustrator, letterer and graphic designer – to name a few, as well as an avid eco-creative with a contagious flair for the good things in life. From Browns Fashion to Penguin Books, Dr Marten to Knot & Pop, Mélanie’s range of clients is hugely varied, which isn’t surprising given her range of skills.
We had the pleasure of chatting with her about growing up in Paris, favourite collabs and her recent move to the Kent coast.
FROM PARIS TO LONDON TO MARGATE, TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROAD TO BECOMING A FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER…
I grew up in the suburbs of Paris, surrounded by all sort of creative people: designers, photographers, architects… Raised being told I could be whoever I wanted to be, and do whatever I wanted to do. It was always very clear that I would end up in a creative field… but it took me a while to figure out where exactly! I first went to art school in Paris thinking I would become a shoe designer. But instead, I fell in love with graphic design and photography. After I graduated, I traveled to Chile for a few months on my own, and that’s where my love for illustration was born. I moved to the UK four years ago. I first found a graphic design position in a cool travel company where I worked for a year, before taking the plunge to work for myself and collaborate with the most amazing brands and people. I just recently moved from London to Margate: I wanted to adopt a slower, healthier pace of life and this move has probably been the best decision I’ve ever taken! Living by the sea is amazing. It’s also made me realise that I’m very much more in love with illustration than I am with graphic design, and I’m rolling with it!
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
What I love about freelance life is that you don’t really have a typical day! I do have little habits though. I usually wake up quite early, and always start the day with a nice, yummy breakfast that will put me in a great mood and ready to take on anything. I live in a big warehouse style home by the sea, but I still have a room (the mezzanine) set up as a studio, where all the magic happens. I like having a room dedicated to work so I can get into it quicker, but can also unwind when necessary. I always start the day by making a to-do list. It helps me achieve a lot. At lunchtime, I usually go for a walk along the beach, or if it’s super hot, I’ll go for a swim! Better yet, if it’s windy, I’ll drop everything and go kite surfing. That’s what I really love about living by the sea: the freedom and the adventures!
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
I don’t! But I do drink a lot of tea during the day (my favourite is the Lemon, Ginger and Manuka honey from Pukka Teas). I’ve also recently become obsessed with Kombucha (the ones from Lo Bros. are amazing).
FAVOURITE SPOT IN MARGATE?
Ahhh that’s a tough question. I love everything about this town! I would say it’s a tie between the Sundeck (in the summer, when the sun is shining and the sea has turned turquoise blue, it’ll make you feel like you’re in the Carribean) and the Walpole tidal pool (perfect for a swim at any time of the year!)
FAVOURITE COLLAB SO FAR?
My collaboration with Moo. They got in touch with me earlier this year, asking if I wanted to take part in their Festival of Fonts campaign and create some illustrated cards, using my favourite typeface. Theme-wise, I was free to explore whatever I liked; so I chose to illustrate endangered animals. I feel lucky I was given the opportunity to speak out about preserving a few of the extraordinary creatures that inhabit this planet with us. I love a project that is not only visually enticing but also carries an important message of hope and preservation.
More exciting adventures, more collaborations and more personal projects that I can’t wait to unveil!
Stay tuned for her collection of plastic free cards coming out soon (so simple, yet so needed).
GO TO: melaniejohnsson.com
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Image Credits: melaniejohnsson.com