Today a Designer Interview with Kay Dee a full-time freelance graphic and web designer. She is the founder of KD Branding, a full-service graphic design studio in Austin, Texas. Kay Dee specialises in creative logos and websites for small to medium sized businesses that will capture consumer attention.
— The Logo Creative™ ✏ (@thelogocreative) November 8, 2017
Every story starts somewhere.
Larger than life billboards and artistic posters fueled Kays dreams of the designer that she wanted to be when she grew up. She thought of how amazing it would be to have her art, and creative ideas becoming integral features in the world around her! This led Kay on a journey across the world until she landed in Austin to cultivate KD Branding, the studio I founded in 2015.
One step at a time…
Her friends call her Kay which is short for Ksenija; a unique name even where she was born in a small town in Serbia. Building upon her dreams, she moved on her own into a dormitory at just 15 to study Graphics. Using her secondary school as a springboard she then transitioned to university at a selective Academy of Arts to graduate with a degree in Graphic Communications.
After stops in London, Maryland, Las Vegas, and Colorado where she dabbled in freelance and worked in a variety of design and printing companies, she found her way to Austin Texas to promote the next chapter in her life: KD Branding. Working with clients around the world – isn’t technology powerful! – And specialising in logo design, visual identity and web design, she merged European influences with American drive and purpose to continue to develop and grow KD Branding.
The Logo Creative – Thanks Kay for taking part in this series of designer interviews
Kay Dee – Thanks i’m more than happy to be a part of this designer interview
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Kay Dee – It all started from a single moment. I was about 12 when I told my mom that I want to make a billboard, It took her a while to realise what I meant by that, how it would someday be a cornerstone of my life. After I learned what a graphic designer was and that I could actually be one too, I found a school for it. In Serbia, you have to specialise in a career path when you are just 15, so naturally that was when I started. Later, I finished University at the Academy of Arts, become a freelancer, moved to Austin, Texas and now I am the Art Director and founder of a branding company – KD Branding.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Kay Dee – My days don’t have a defined schedule which is part of the novelty of owning your own studio or being a freelancer! But let’s say that my average day consists of 2 cups of coffee, a boatload of emails, the requisite work on client’s projects, keeping up with social media updates, collaborating at a coworking space (as they say, “working alone sucks!”), and a healthy sprinkling of business meetings or just hanging out with my husband, friends, or being sucked into Instagram more than I would like to admit!
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Kay Dee – I created a few when I was in our equivalent of high school. I am not sure if this was my very first logo, but it’s definitely in my first 5. Those are supposed to be the initials “S” and “O”
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite Logo you have designed?
Kay Dee – Kapani & Verma – it is a logo for a clothing company. Not surprisingly, selecting just one is difficult… Logos are inherently varied and unique, and I have numerous logos I might claim as my favourite depending on the day!
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite Logo of all time?
Kay Dee – It sounds cliché but Nike has always been my favourite logo.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Kay Dee –
- Design Brief: I have created a questionnaire for my clients to better understand their project and learn more about them & their company or entity.
- Research and Inspiration: I conduct research including the industry they are in, their competitors, and their goals.
- Sketching, brainstorming and conceptualising: Every logo that I design is a custom design that started from scratch with pen and paper.
- Digital Production: After I select 2-3 different sketches, I create them in Illustrator and refine them, improve them. Concepts are compiled into a presentation for my client.
- Revisions and feedback: After reviewing the concepts and consulting with the client, I revise and optimise the logo until a final design is approved.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion regarding Logo Design pricing do you prefer working on a fixed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Kay Dee – I prefer a flat, fixed price. It’s straightforward and I find that clients appreciate knowing exactly what they are committing to. In my perspective, clients should be (and are) paying for my ideas and not my time. As I gain more experience, I have become more efficient in the design creation process. I provide flat project proposals at a price that I am comfortable with, then I deliver on quality regardless and I leave out the ambiguity of justifying an hourly rate.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Kay Dee – 2-4 weeks.
The Logo Creative – Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Kay Dee – PC User. I grew up using Photoshop on a PC and I stayed with it.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently?
Kay Dee – Adobe Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop), Chrome, Word, Skype, Freshbooks
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Kay Dee – Lettermark (initials) and Symbol or Icon. I think that they can be extremely clever, simple, creative and timeless logos.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Kay Dee – Other logos that can be found online, or various logo books.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job been a designer?
Kay Dee – The best is sketching logo ideas, the worst is trying to figure out all those taxes, invoices – non-creative things.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Kay Dee – Hmmm… I don’t really have a single most inspiring person. I think that all designers inspire me in one way or another.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite Graphic Designer and why?
Kay Dee – It was David Clarkson while I was a student. Today I don’t have one that stands out above the rest as I am passionate about the design community as a whole!
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote?
Kay Dee – “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” –Ralf Speth
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Kay Dee – Graphic design is visual communication.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Kay Dee – Well, first I needed to figure out how to present my work, then who to even show it to, I had to learn how to succinctly communicate what I do (elevator speech!), what I can offer (including the value it brings!), and finally learn through experience what my prices should be… Collectively, all the steps were: learning. To me living abroad and learning a new language overshadowed any sacrifices that I had to make. It was quite the journey!
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Kay Dee – I don’t have any regrets. Granted, in hindsight I would probably change everything to some degree or another, but I know that now. Experience makes all the difference.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Kay Dee – Make the leap! It is worth it. (I took the risk and made the leap anyway, but that reinforcement would be comforting)
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Kay Dee – Sleep on it.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Kay Dee – To read a lot. Blogs from other designers, books about businesses, everything.
learn more about Kay Dee – KD Branding
Also published on Medium.