It’s International Women’s Day! And so we wanted to share with you a look inside the world of one of the most inspiring women we know, Kate from Wit & Delight.
One of the most important things I’ve learnt in the last few years, especially since becoming a mother, is how valuable it is when women talk honestly about the experiences and challenges they face. There’s just so much pressure for us to only share perfectly filtered selves and keep all the messy stuff hidden, it takes a lot of courage to open up. But if there’s one thing that’s freeing it’s when the women around you are able to be vulnerable, by sharing their fears and challenges. I think it gives the rest of us the strength to share our lives too, and gives us solace that life is chaotic and messy and that’s fine!
One woman who’s created a platform and community based on these sorts of honest conversations is Kate Arends, the founder of the website Wit & Delight. A website I’ve been reading for years, you come for the beautiful interiors and gorgeous stationary products, and stay for the open and raw dialog about love, relationships, ageing and, well just about everything! After reading just a few articles on her site, you feel such a sense of community, and get the feeling that we as women could empower each other so much by being more open about life. Recently we sat down with Kate to talk about how she got started, her community and the process behind her designs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a trained graphic designer who started a blog in 2009. Wit & Delight as personal project to get to know myself through sharing my love for design, food, fashion, and travel. In 2013, I began publishing personal essays exploring my journey through divorce, mental illness, and an undiagnosed learning disability. 3.3 million followers later, Wit & Delight has become a resource for others to feel less alone in the ups and downs of their journey through life and where readers can find suggestions on where to travel, eat, or shop from someone they’ve come to know as a friend.
How did you start experimenting with prints and stationary?
Making things has always been where I’m most happy. I guess you could say that making prints and stationery is really about going back to my roots and connecting this community I’ve built with tangible products in real life.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process?
I start with word associations when making artwork… it is how I come up with some kind of conceptual framework to guide design choices. From there I sketch thumbnails and select one or two to begin exploring either on my computer, ipad pro, or with physical materials like paint, paper, canvas. I work within a select palette of colors and materials so I don’t have as many big decisions to make while I’m working on composition.
What inspires your use of materials?
Materials often drive my creative decisions because my design sensibilities tend to skew towards a minimal and functional approach. I love where beauty and function intersect and really believe there is too much bad design in the world when it comes to the objects we use everyday. And design for design’s sake is wonderful but I get more excitement from making something beautiful and useful. Focusing on good materials is part of letting the functional aspects of a design drive aesthetic/style-based decisions.
Do you have any creative advice for us?
Amazing things happen when you remove the pressure to make something amazing every time you sit down the create. Most of my creative breakthroughs happened when I have the mental space to see opportunities in quick sketches. Then you can take the time and effort to take those ideas and flush them out.