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12 | Em Melling, Florence Studios

Em sorted my branding for El's Vintage Workwear and was pleasure to work with. Based at the Bad Hand Coffee warehouse, it's been ace to see Florence Studios flourish - and rightly so.

El: What have you learnt from your time freelancing?

E:It's going to be tough to fit this into a few paragraphs, there's so much haha. I think the main thing I've learnt is that you have to persevere, that might be because you are not getting the leads you want, have taken on too much or you are frustrated with your work/process. All three of these can be super stressful and scared me at first but I noticed other freelancers struggling with the same feelings, I really think it's a normal part of the lifestyle. Just pushing ahead and working through the difficulties is really gratifying. I'm lucky to have great creative people around me who have helped me to get work and to push my own style forward so I would really recommend making connections with creatives in a similar position or who are ahead of you career-wise - the support and advice can be invaluable. I've also found out that you are constantly trying to learn, figure out your work routine, decide where is best to get work done, and wonder where the next client is going to come from and so far I haven't ever fully got to the bottom of these questions - I'm guessing I probably won't haha but I feel like I'm still only scratching the surface of what freelance could offer to me, it's a great feeling to be building your own thing and be in charge of your own time.

El: How has your style developed? E: To begin with, I was keen to work with any client to bring in money and experience, this meant I had to be flexible style-wise to fit the needs of the client, I definitely don't regret this because it got me started but I looked around at very successful freelancers and noticed they had a honed style which clients went to them for. This plus the fact that I wanted to create work that was meaningful to me and that I could see myself in meant I started to explore more of a personal style. I've always loved typography, more minimal style artwork and more conceptual artwork but when I started freelancing only the minimal elements were filtering down into my style. Now I'm exploring more conceptual elements in my work and pushing the typography I create to have wayyy more character. I'm learning every day and want to keep evolving so the concepts in my work really shine and I feel real ownership over the style I work in - hopefully I will put out a font or two as well.

El: What’s your dream project? And your dream client? E: This is something I've actually been thinking about a lot recently, I've listened to a tonne of podcasts from literally incredible creative people and they pretty much all say that understanding where you want to go is the only way you are going to get there. The dream project has changed a lot over the last few years as I have developed my style, started illustrating more and just seen more of the industry. I think it would have to be something planet positive for a forward-thinking brand. At the moment I'm learning towards a project for Lucy & Yak, I've admired what they are doing for years, I think there are elements of my style which align with what they put out and they also work with creatives outside their in-house team. Hopefully one day I'll get there haha.

El: Where do you get your inspiration for your design work?

E: All over really, I used to look at Pinterest and online spaces more but this year especially I've really tried to look further afield at more art-driven work or bits of typography I spot on the street. I recently visited Milan and found the colours in the artwork really inspiring and would love to use some of those in a branding project. This artist called Andy J Pizza has said that your creative style starts with your taste in art, design, music whatever it is you are into and that filters down into your work - it's your job to create stuff you are into in your own way. This really stuck with me and I try to keep it in mind when hunting for inspo.

Thank you Em. Florence Studios you will find on Instagram, and to see Em's portfolio, head over to:


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