What's one non-negotiable in your creative process? Is there anything you have to use, do or incorporate in order to successfully create?
I usually always need an objective! For example, if it’s a brand, I need to know what the brand should feel like and how it needs to make people feel. If I’m designing packaging, a website, or social graphics, I need to know what the goal is behind that product—is it functionality, flair, or a mix of both? Knowing the destination helps me create efficiently and effectively.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Unfortunately, I am not a morning person. So I usually start my day around 10am and do admin/housekeeping with emails, Slack messages, ClickUp notifications, and Instagram messages. By around 11-12ish, I can start things on my to-do list, which vary greatly from internal business stuff to client work to meetings and more. My to-do list definitely differs in terms of urgency and quantity day-to-day, so sometimes I’ll be able to finish by 5pm and other times I’ll be working later!
How do you decide what photos/images to utilize in your work for a website as a mock up? Where do you go to find them?
I usually ask that my clients provide either product or brand photography to make my job easier, but if they don’t have any yet, I love using photos from Death to Stock or Pexels! If it’s a temporary filler, sometimes I’ll use Pinterest photos to give my clients an idea of what types of shots to have done, but I never publish a website using them.
What's been your favorite project you've ever worked on?
I honestly have loved most of my projects, so this is a tough one! I have to say though, working on Future Group Chat with @flex.mami has been the most creatively fun and freeing project and I’m so grateful to Lil for hiring me! We did the branding and website for it and I’m sooo pumped about it.
How do you implement personal projects in your schedule? Any advice for fellow creatives on how to carve out the time to honor their own creativity?
I think Instagram and Pinterest content is a great way to get creative and create for yourself while still getting some functionality from it! It’s hard to find time to create mock brands or design full on sites in my free time, so taking a minute to make an Instagram carousel can be a great alternative. My best advice is to let yourself create in the in-between moments when you’re uninspired by your client work—that’s when your best stuff can come out~
Okay, we have to know: are you a morning person, or a night owl?
Unfortunately, I am the nightiest night owl ever. I’m strangely too good at staying up into the late hours of the night. Something about sunshine makes me sleepy LOL.
What's one thing you love doing when you're *not* creating?
I LOVE dancing! Something about moving my body to my favorite songs is just pure joy to me. Whether it’s in my room, on a night out, or in a class, I have to dance. I also really love hanging out with friends...especially if we’re dancing!
What are some of your favorite platforms, tools, blogs, and resources that you look into regularly that we can share with our readers?
I really love how much free information is on creators’ social medias! I like to follow creatives that I really respect and resonate with and then I digest the free info they post! I also love YouTube for visual learning. Almost everything I know about InDesign and Photoshop came from YouTube tutorials! I highly recommend The Futur and Kel Lauren to start off. Additionally, following people on TikTok is a great way to casually keep learning...just don’t get sucked in like I do haha.
What is your enneagram?
I usually get either a 3 or an 8! I’m not entirely sure what it means but I just googled and it says I’m ambitious and powerful?? I guess HAHA if they say so!
Lastly, How do you incorporate colors in your work? Are there any tools you use for generating color palettes?
This sounds weird...but it just comes to me! I know that’s not helpful for others, but colors have always been such a big part of my design and I love experimenting. When I see a brand, I feel the colors associated with it...and from there I can make pairings pretty easily! So no, I don’t use any tools to generate them!
I think everyone would love to hear a bit of your journey on how you started your branding studio. Would you like to share that with us?
If you want the FULLLL story, definitely check out my podcast The Design Diaries ep. 1! But to make a super long story short, I started designing random flyers and Instagram posts for my extracurriculars at University for fun. Eventually, people took notice and started asking me to design all sorts of things for their clubs, which resulted in an alumnus reaching out to me for a paid job! I started doing small design favors here and there informally, and then it ramped up to a point where I started freelancing at a consistent rate during my Junior year of college! When the pandemic hit, I decided to put my energy into booking more things, learning more things, and by Spring 2020, I launched Alyssa Nguyen Design.
Check out more work from Alssya Nguyen