Design & Inspire
Interview with Kate Rucker, Graphic Designer at My 1st Years
Hackney based designer, Kate Rucker has been designing for 3 years. Kate heads the graphic design team at My 1st Years and she recently designed the print for our British Airways X My 1st Years collaboration. Read on to find out what inspired her designs.
Kate is very relaxed, her messy ponytail and casual recline is the tell of a true creative. She explains that it was at school where she made decisions which would later guide her into a design career. “I did art & design, photography, economics and psychology. This really made me fall in love with everything creative but also sparked an interest in understanding people and why they make decisions. At university I studied fashion design with marketing which I absolutely loved. It was obviously a super creative course but the marketing side gave me a well rounded people-focus approach.
I did lots of internships with accessories & design, worked with some amazing companies and people. I love all the nerdy areas of design, typography, layouts and illustrations – so I decided to go into graphic design.”
Alongside her work for My 1st Years, Kate also produces a little range of her own. “Straight out of uni when I was doing all these internships I needed a bit of an income. I started doing little doodles and all of my friends said I should make greeting cards, so I started doing cards and I’ve kind of left the cards on the side-line a bit and started t-shirts because again it draws from my fashion background. I love designing and being challenged creatively so this is a good outlet; I can enjoy it as a pastime and I feel it makes me better at my job.
I design things quite quickly, which is a blessing and a curse. It could be seen that a lot of my ideas are very rushed but I like to go back on things and develop them as much as I can; being able to get ideas out quickly is a massive benefit. You don’t lose what you’re thinking at that initial moment. A lot of my people will take hours thinking about how they are going to lay something out in a sketchbook whereas I prefer to do it in the moment, get it down, make it as messy as I want. I’m not precious about it. But obviously when it comes to refining it and making it good, that’s when my perfectionist side comes out and then I’ll really refine it and make it beautiful.”
Whilst she employs her own illustration techniques, 5 days of the week she has a ‘My 1st Years’ hat on. So where did she find the inspiration for the British Airways backpack?
“From a commercial side our backpacks are one of our bestsellers. I dug deeper and discovered that our car print bag was a customer favourite and I thought, ‘how could I refresh it, bring a twist to it?’ BA adds something different in itself so I thought as we are teaming with a classic British brand, how can we reflect this? London buses? A union jack? A British policeman? Queen’s Guards? All the things that are typically very British. I settled on red, white & blue because they’re the union jack colours. Very British. Finally I jumped to BA planes; I try to think of different ways to portray something so I didn’t want to draw a basic plane. I thought about vintage planes, and the vintage concord just felt right. Then I decided to incorporate a fun childlike twist, adding a paper aeroplane because it’s fun and cute. It’s a kids backpack at the end of the day so we wanted to add that little quirk.”
“One of the best things about designing for a kids brand is the opportunity to be creative and find inspiration from the kids themselves. “I love a little toddler having a cheeky smile, or a glint in their eyes when they’ve done something naughty. I find that really funny. A lot of my friends have kids and they’re all still quite young but I can’t wait until they’re a bit older when you start to see their personalities come out. That’s what is fun about kids, they have no boundaries and they’re so cheeky.
Designing for kids gives you the opportunity to be more creative and fun and use really bright colours. Be a bit silly, because we want to be playful – kids are fun!”