Q&A With California Based Designer and Illustrator, Wesley Bird

With daily life being so visually saturated on our social media feeds, it seems special when one designer stands out. Wesley Bird is one of these people. Her work is refreshing and engaging and many times, personally up-lifting. Wesley's west coast aesthetic brings positive vibes to anyone that comes across her pieces. We had the pleasure of asking her a few quick questions, and the answers are as delightful as they are informative. Get ready for a feast for the eyes!

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MM: Hi Wesley. Can you give us a quick history of your company?

Wesley: Right now my company is just me and it exists of two parts. I sell my personal art as cards, prints, pins, patches, and more on my website wesleybird.com. I also freelance for companies doing illustration and art direction. I’ve been doing this full time since June 2017, but I'd been doing it on the side since 2011. In 2012, I got my first licensing deal with Urban Outfitters for a couple of art prints, and that got me some really great exposure. I gained a lot of freelance clients from that and it all kind of grew from there!

MM: How did you get interested in Graphic Design, to begin with?

Wesley: It was actually during my first internship after my freshman year of college. I had been studying Fine Art at San Diego State University and had been given an amazing opportunity to intern at Hurley in Orange County. I was kind of thrown into Graphic Design there and had to learn my way around the Adobe programs (Photoshop and Illustrator). Once I got the hang of it, I loved how quickly things came to life on a computer and immediately became hooked! I decided to stick with my major of Fine Art so that I could perfect my drawing and painting skills, but always knew that eventually, I would incorporate Graphic Design into my profession.

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MM: What is your biggest motivation for 2018? 

Wesley: My biggest motivation is to make more art for myself. Up until last June I was basically working two full-time jobs - my day job as Art Director at Society6 and then freelancing for hours when I got home at night. It was exhausting and unhealthy and I had absolutely no time to create art for myself. Unfortunately, it takes a ton of work to make time for yourself! So I'm really motivated this year to make that time and get some passion projects out there.

MM: How about your biggest distraction for 2018?

Wesley: Definitely just life in general. I can get really bogged down with trivial things and worries (I’m a HUGE worrier). I’m really trying to navigate that this year and waste less time stressing about things that don’t matter - including social media. It’s SO distracting. Less time on my phone in general would be nice. I’m trying to spend 15 minutes a day meditating and so far it’s really helped calm and focus my mind before starting the day. 

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MM: What project are you the proudest to have worked on?

Wesley: I worked on a project early last year for Converse that I LOVED and felt so grateful to be a part of it. The initiative that the project was a part of, ended up going in a different direction so the piece I made was never used (which happens sometimes in the freelance world), but I’m still very proud of that work. (See image below).

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MM: What aspect of your design process would you say is the most important?

Wesley: The brainstorming phase! That happens away from my desk. I work from home by myself so I take long walks every morning before I start work and that's where I do my thinking and brainstorming. I work a lot of things out in my head before I even start sketching things out on graph paper. I love doing this outside while I’m walking and listening to music or audio books because I feel most open to inspiration that way. 

MM: There are strong west coast vibes in your illustrative work. How does living in LA influence your design sense?

Wesley: California has a huge impact on my style. I was born in Boston but really grew up in California (I went to middle school and high school out here). The weather deeply affects my mood and I’ve found myself to be the happiest here. I feel like that’s reflected in my color choices and the simplistic style that my work has. LA’s style is very effortless. It’s cool to look like you just rolled out of bed, and I guess I like my work to feel like that too. I spend so much time considering what to make and how I make it, but my illustrations really are very simple in their execution.

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MM: If you wanted the world to know one thing about your brand, what would it be?

Wesley: It’s just me over here - working for myself, by myself, fulfilling all my own shop orders, answering all my own emails! So everything I make is very hands on and special to me. 

MM: Lastly, if anyone wants to get a hold of you, where can they find you? 

Wesley: Instagram @wesleybird or my website, wesleybird.com. Or you can shoot me an email at hello@wesleybird.com. I’d love to hear from you! 

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