Interview with Kati Alice Bilsborough

Kati Alice Bilsborough is a great new designer who very kindly agreed to create the cover for our PARSNIPS ebook.

As you can see, it’s a great piece of work that really enhances the content.


Kati very kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions about design. Below is the mini interview. Enjoy!

Q1: Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere! I browse design pages on the internet and I look at all kinds of magazines and catalogues. I’m always looking at the design of things, everywhere I go. Sometimes I’m in a supermarket and I find myself looking at some of the packaging designs. I’m a bit obsessed.

Q2: What/who are your influences?

I love all kids of art and I really love architecture and interior design. I met Norman Foster, last year. He designed the metro entrances in Bilbao and he was over to get a prize. He’s amazing. But I admire anyone who has an original idea and makes something that attracts my attention. My mam and dad have influenced me a lot too. They are both artistic. My dad is a musician, my mam is quite arty and they both write. They’ve always encouraged me to be creative.

Q3: What is your creative process?

I work on paper first. I usually make sketches by hand, depending on what I have to design. Then, when I’m on the computer I experiment and play around with the design I’m working on. I do things more than once, I copy and paste loads of times and see which design catches my eye and eliminate all those that don’t work. That’s the fun part.

Q4: What is the greatest challenge atm?

Working and creating designs as a freelancer, starting off a new career … that’s the greatest challenge, because everything depends on me. It’s a bit scary but it’s exciting too. I don’t have a boss to tell me what’s good or what’s wrong, and everybody has different tastes, so you never know if you’ve done a good job or not. I get nervous the first time a client is going to see what I have done.

Q5: Do clients always know what they want?

Usually they have an idea about what they want, so that makes things easier. Other times they let me do what I want so that’s cool too. It means I can use my imagination a bit more and I can be more adventurous. I think the best designs come when the client has an idea and we work together, maybe discussing things like colours or different options for font.

Q6: What would you love to design?

I would love to design a “character” that would become popular in cartoons and stories. That would be great fun. But I like to design anything, because each new job is different from the last one. I’m learning new things all the time and I never get bored.

Q7: What are the key elements of good design?

According to my teachers I’ve always had the talent to not overthink things … I usually have an idea, and make it happen. I think that’s true and I think the key element of good design is simplicity. There are also lots of design “rules” to follow to make things look good. If you overthink, it’s easy to make a mess of things.

Q8: How has design changed in importance over the years?

I’ve studied design in various forms for several years. The pillars of a good design haven’t changed, but what’s cool its to see how sometimes breaking one rule can make a whole new design and create a whole new concept … BUT it doesn’t always work, you have to know what you’re doing, breaking the rule for a reason. As for the importance of design – these days people don’t just want a gadget that works. They want it to look good too. Design is everything.

Q9: How has Apple affected the design world?

I’m an absolute Apple fan! I was lucky enough to get an iMac for my birthday and Christmas presents to be able to have the best tools for my designs. Everyone likes the way that Apple products look but it isn’t just that. They work well too. They are easy to use and intuitive. I know Apple products are expensive but I think they are worth the extra money. We have to invest in the best tools we can. A good computer and good design software programs are essential.

Q10: What are your favourite fonts and colour palettes and why?

I usually like calligraphy fonts, but you can’t use them on all designs because sometimes they are not very clear. It’s important to make a very clear design, to transmit the right message. I love retro fonts too. I think calligraphy fonts are more familiar. They imitate the way we write, and aren’t as ‘robotic’ or artificial as some fonts. I like retro fonts because I love all vintage designs. I think they almost always look cool, whatever you do. The colours are another world. I could never just say a palette of colours I like best, because it all depends. Sometimes black and white is the best … but I will say that I’m not a big fan of brown shades.

A BIG thanks to Kati for answering all my questions. Look out for her next ebook cover which I’ll be posting about next week.

You can find out more about Kati on Facebook at: .