"Stay true to yourself and keep working hard."
Brittany Levine gets inspired by experience. Lucky for her, she's living in the greatest "interactive museum" of them all: New York City.
Read on to learn where the art director finds motivation, how she manipulates her morning routine to keep herself productive, and why doodling helps her tap into her creativity the best.
DesignRush: Where do you look for inspiration in your day-to-day life?
Brittany Levine: Everywhere! Living in New York City is like living in an interactive museum. I love noticing the different architectural styles and how it's changed throughout time. I notoriously Google buildings that seem like they have a ton of history to find out more about its past life. With literally every step you walk here, you can find something to spark your creativity -- especially how shop windows are designed, logos, the different typefaces of the numbers on buildings. It's really an exciting place for creatives! I even find tons of inspiration in supermarkets or bodegas too... there are so many small companies that have such smart branding.
DR: Take us through your morning routine.
BL: I am definitely not a morning person. I roll out of bed around 7:50 AM, take the quickest shower I can, throw my entire wardrobe on my bed, get in a less-than-10-minute makeup routine all while feeding my dog Milly and taking her on a quick walk (my husband and I switch mornings, so I do get a break from that). I have about a 10-minute walk to the subway and then have to transfer two times (oh, the joys of NYC), but I turn on a good playlist and skim through Instagram and Pinterest for some morning inspiration, or look through random pictures I've taken to inspire my day! When I get off the subway, I grab an iced coffee and some breakfast. Once I settle at my desk, I make sure to read all of my emails and get started on the most urgent request first.
DR: What makes a great work environment for you?
BL: Lots of color and sunlight! Sunlight is a non-negotiable for me. And, of course, music! Working with people who are positive and collaborative really helps polish off a great creative environment.
DR: What are a few of your favorite design tools and why?
BL: Adobe programs, and a great fine point black marker. I love doodling, and sometimes getting away from the screen and just drawing helps when you're in a design rut. No one can be on 24/7, so I find other outlets to help express my creativity.
I couldn't do my job without the Adobe Creative Suite. I work mostly in Illustrator but simultaneously work with Photoshop and InDesign as well. The way you can transform your work into these programs is endless and I learn something new every day.
DR: Which blogs, websites, or apps to you check every day and why?
BL: I am on Pinterest every day -- it has everything I am looking for and is one of the best reference tools for a designer. You can really gather all different styles in one place. Plus, it offers endless inspiration. I also love searching social media and finding all different forms of design; its cool to see what other people are doing and how they're doing it.
DR: Any final thoughts, comments, or words of wisdom you’d like to share with someone in the industry?
BL: This is a TOUGH industry and everyone has their own standards of what 'good design' is. Stay true to yourself and keep working hard. You will be discouraged at times, but never let that stop you from finding your own design style. You need a thick skin in this industry. Most of the time, if someone doesn't agree with your art, it isn't personal, so you have to remember to take everything as a learning experience, especially when there is something to learn every day -- no matter how long you have been around!