As founder and owner of Amber Reesor Design, she gets to set her own hours, pick her own freelance gigs, and let her own creative vision be the driving force behind each and every job she takes on.
“I’ve always just felt really drawn to doing my own thing and working with many different clients. I love that every day is different and that I’m always getting to try new projects and new techniques based on my clients’ needs,” said the Stouffville, Ontario-based designer and mother of one.
“It just pushes me creatively, too, to learn new things on an as-needed basis. I’m always growing and changing with each new project and experience. I love that about freelancing and doing my own thing.”
For this month’s edition of How I Made This, Reesor agreed to showcase the artistic process she followed during the creation of one of her most recent design projects for a client in small-town Manitoba – a car window decal for a friendly ‘I Wear Because I Care’ mask campaign.
“My client is based in Manitoba, and she was noticing that in her town, there was a lot of anti-mask pushback and rallies. She wanted to find a way to take a peaceful approach to spreading the message that, ‘We’re doing this because we care about each other,’” Reesor said.
The project, she added, took her just three hours to complete – from hand-sketching her first few drawings on her iPad, to ‘vectorizing and finessing’ those sketches in Adobe Illustrator on her desktop computer. Once approved by her client, the final sketch was then sent to the printer, where the stickers were created and sold to people in the client’s town, with proceeds benefitting the local food bank.
“There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a design you created out in the wild and knowing ‘I made this,’” she said of the project.
Reesor didn’t always know that a career in graphic design was the route she was going to take in life, though. A creative kid from the start, she initially pursued an education in the visual arts after high school. However, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from York University and working for a few years, she began rethinking her future.
“I love it and I have an appreciation for it, but I’ve always felt a little bit of a disconnect from that fine art world,” she said, noting that she was introduced to graphic design by her older brother.
“I just love the practicality of fusing the creative aspect of the arts with everyday life, and just having a very clear vision and purpose with it.”
It was around that same time that Reesor came across an advertisement for the Online Graphic Design & Interactive Media program and her interest was piqued. Having already gone the traditional university route with her Fine Arts studies, she said she was drawn to the Toronto Film School program for both the flexibility it provided by being online, but also the range of subject matter taught.
“I remember I had set myself the personal goal of learning how to use Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but that was my goal,” she laughed.
“Then one day, an ad popped up for the Graphic Design program. When I looked into it, I found out that it offered me that flexibility of being able to still work, while studying and expanding and getting into graphic design. Within three weeks, I was enrolled.”
What the online nature of the program also did, Reesor said, was prepare her to work for herself in today’s COVID-19 world, where her client meetings have gone exclusively virtual.
“I loved my time at Toronto Film School. I really loved the faculty and I loved the online format. It just worked so well for my lifestyle,” she said.
“Also, with my business now, I operate mostly with clients from different places. So, I think having that experience of doing my schooling online was really useful because now I’m working in that way all the time.”
In addition to projects like the car window decal, Reesor also likes to draw on her Fine Arts background to do custom illustration work, as well as visual branding projects for smaller businesses and organizations.
“I also have a few recurrent clients, where it’s really just kind of whatever pops up for them – brochure design, social media ads, and stuff like that. So, there’s a wide scope of different projects that I’ve been doing,” she said.
As for her future goals, Reesor said she’d like to continue doing what she’d doing – freelancing and running her own business.
“I’d love to keep building it up and to take on more clients and run it full time, that’s probably the extent of it,” she said.
“I don’t have any huge goals of massively scaling my business or team at this point – I’m just so content doing what I’m doing and having the variety and excitement of and taking on new projects.”