A day in the life of Elara Aitken
Published: 21 August, 2017
Elara Aitken Graduated from Inscape with a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design, she is currently based in the Kingdom of Bahrain where she works as a Graphic Designer.
I am Elara Aitken Graphic designer based in the Kingdom of Bahrain and a graduate from the Inscape Education Group, my daily mantra that I live by is “It’s fun to be happy”, I always remind myself of that daily! If I had a round trip ticket to see the world that would be ideal! Having lived in 4 countries and visited a number of places, I’d say traveling is one of my favourite things. Realistically, I’m also perfectly fine with a glass of wine and being around good friends just enjoying each other’s company. My greatest achievement so far has been Working as a freelancer in Bahrain and still being sane (Just kidding, I learnt how to be even more patient working here!) I am still proud of myself for graduating top of my class at Inscape, there were times where I was so ready to give up but I’m glad I didn’t because it only made my graduation that much more special. More recently, I’d say that being able to do what I love for a living is certainly up there as number one.
If I were to describe my average work day, 6am – my day usually starts with a cup of Coffee! 8am – A bit more coffee, check emails and making lists of what needs to get done that day/week, I usually start working around 9am- things here in the Middle East are a bit slow when it comes to mornings. Living in Bahrain for so long has one accustomed to the way companies and clients approach the day, sometimes I’m working 8-6 and some days its 12 hours of crazy! By midday If the workload allows it, a brain break! Involving sending friends Snapchat videos of my dogs in the pool or scrolling Pinterest and Behance to find some inspiration, see what others are up too, 3pm – Being an independent designer I don’t have a set routine, everyday is different! I work closely with a company that operates 8pm – 3pm. so I then have the afternoon to continue working on projects for my other clients, by 5pm – Hopefully check tasks off the to-do list; get some admin out the way and emails, 8pm – If I am working on a huge project or have deadlines then I continue to work through the night until I’m done, use some of that Inscape student dedication! When things are normal with work then I try to be done by 7pm. and spend time with family and friends.
“Life has taught me ‘Keep on keeping on’. If it didn’t happen today, it will happen tomorrow” – Elara Eitken
When I was still in college the thought of being a freelance designer/ doing thing on my own was out of the question. I was all about working for a studio and finding my way from there, but as life would have it, that plan didn’t work out. For the last year and a half I have gained a number of clients that I work with constantly, some part time positions as well as one off project clients and I couldn’t be happier. As I said before, everyday is different; my clients range from Haute Couture fashion houses, real estate to food products and restaurants. I have the opportunity to work with clients who are all for bold and creative ideas; that “surprise me” client is my favourite, which is balanced out by clients who know exactly what they are looking for and that’s that. What I love most about the design Industry is that you have to know the rules in order to break them! Graphic Design has the basic rules and regulations and once you know those you can go beyond and create work that is unique and true to yourself or your client. There are so many styles within Graphic Design and it amazes me every time I see something new, there are some incredibly talented folks out there! However, I do feel that there are areas in which the design industry can improve on, being in the Middle East, I would say an appreciation for the amount of time and effort that goes into creating work would be nice! Understanding that most careers here consist of accounting, construction or sales, it’s difficult to make “I’m a Graphic Designer” sound like a substantial career. In terms of the Graphic Design industry as a whole, giving students and recent graduates the opportunity to learn and develop their skills within a studio or company will always be my number one opinion. The time I spent as an intern taught me a lot about the way things work in reality, there are nightmare clients but there is always room to learn something new and exciting everyday. Unfortunately the way the world works now is a constant battle of needing experience to get a job but you need the job to gain experience. Companies that I think are getting it right and that student/aspiring designers can look up to, an Australian company called Smack Bang Designs, Swedish company called Kikki.k, American company Studio DIY, Canadian based Clover & Crow. There are similarities amongst them and complete opposites but I find their projects to always be fresh and exciting inspiration, I can confidently say that I draw some of my inspiration from them, Arabian architecture is a great source of inspiration as well, as it has a certain charm to the graphic patterns and textures used. I love bright colours and bold lines; I could be sat in a restaurant and marvel at the tile pattern on the floor and find a way to create something from it.
The most important lesson that life has taught me ‘Keep on keeping on’. If it didn’t happen today, it will happen tomorrow or next week or maybe next year, but don’t stop going for what you want in life. Surround yourself with positive people, creative people, book-smart people and find a lesson in everything you experience.