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Meet Highland Park Graphic Designer and Jewelry Designer: Kate Miss

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Miss.

Kate, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always dabbled in some kind of art; as a kid, I was always painting and drawing or involved in music. My dad is an artist and has owned an upholstery business most of my life so there were always projects going on in our house. There was never a doubt in my mind from a young age I’d do something creative for a profession, for a while I thought it would be music, but when I was in high school my dad brought home a computer and a copy of Photoshop and we taught ourselves how to use it. I bought a book on HTML and soon was building my own websites and blogs and making digital art by the time I was 16. I didn’t even know you could really go to school for that until an art teacher suggested it to me. Once I got into school for graphic design and illustration it was a really clear cut path for me. As for jewelry, I’d always been interested in jewelry: my mom won’t leave the house without it and I’d play with her and my grandmother’s jewelry boxes all the time as a kid. I’m a very do-it-yourself type person, always figuring out how to make things, so I started making jewelry when I couldn’t find what I wanted to buy. I taught myself and then took a handful of classes to refine my craft. Jewelry and graphic design compliment each other so nicely – it’s nice to switch from a computer to hands-on.

I go back and forth between working for myself and working full-time for creative studios. Right now I’m freelancing, but I can see myself going back to full-time again soon, it’s a lonely, stressful life working for yourself but very freeing!

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not, and it’s still not smooth. Sometimes you get wonderful clients who have a shared vision and understanding, and sometimes you’re just not on the same page and there’s so much tension and struggle. Working for yourself has a really wonderful freedom of schedule, which is great for someone like me that likes to start working at 7am and takes a break during the day and continues later at night, but it’s a constant financial and emotional struggle. Working for someone else is stable and often really fun to collaborate with other creatives every day, but has its own set of drawbacks. You wonder constantly if you’re doing the right thing for your future, but that’s just life!

What’s your outlook for the industry over the next 5-10 years?
I think this election means a lot more politically-motivated designers, a lot more thoughtful design and volunteering of time design-wise. I think it will feel similar to when I was in college during the Bush administration, publications like Adbusters becoming popular again. Maybe I’m reaching here, but I wonder if it will influence a rougher, more “distressed” look to design because there could be a rise in political protest street art again. Everything is so clean and minimal now, a counter to that is coming!

Has there been a particular challenge that you’ve faced over the years?
Deciding what was more important: creative freedom and making my own schedule/being my own boss, or making money and having a stable career with benefits. It’s a constant struggle for me on what is important and worth working towards. It’s also hard to always be creating something fresh and interesting, something that doesn’t feel like it’s already been done. Constant comparisons to other designers work, constant, it’s hard to ignore and just put your head down and work.

Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
Networking isn’t a dirty word, it just means creating a community of friends that can all help each other out. Creating a circle of creative people around you means you always lift each other up. It’s immensely helpful and sometimes you get too busy or tired to keep it up and then you find yourself not being recommended for projects and also not having people to recommend yourself!

Another piece of advice I heard recently and loved: the grass is always greener where you water it.


  • Layered Metals Earrings – $75
  • Layered Metals Necklace, Large $80

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
© Kate Miss

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