A sought-after graphic designer, celebrated blogger, and newly published author, Emma Robertson is taking the creative world on by storm! We first met the lovely lady back when Rue was just an infant and she worked on our graphic design team. We fell in love with her laid back, sweeter than sweet vibe back then and couldn’t be happier for all that she’s accomplished since! With a recent move to the bay area, Emma took on a new creative workspace and doused it with style and inspiration. Here’s what she has to say about it!
We’re in love with your charming new office space. Tell us about it!
Yes, it’s wonderful. It’s owned by this mysterious Italian family that hasn’t raised the rent in like 20 something years. It’s full of all kinds of different people – artist, tenants, transients… For me, the selling point was all of the old unique details that the building had. I did one walk through and knew it would be a special place to come everyday. In my experience, finding something like this is very rare – I’m not sure how it hadn’t been snatched up. Luck I guess.
Your favorite part about your office?
The light – literally 75% of my corner is covered in huge windows! It’s so nice to be welcomed by such gorgeous light when I walk in every morning. It keeps me awake, warm, and happy!
It’s every creative’s dream to rent and decorate an inspiring space to work in but can be a big financial step. How did you know you were ready to take the leap?
Last year I lived in Los Angeles, where I shared a space with an inspiring group of young creative entrepreneurs. It was the first time I had an office, let alone office-mates! It was a good match for me financially because we had a decent amount of people in there, splitting the bill in a reasonable way. When I moved to the bay area, I knew that I couldn’t go back to working from home. I was hooked on leaving the house, being surrounded by business savvy peers, and having a separate work-zone that’s dedicated to just that. The big challenge was finding something as affordable as my place in LA. I was very new to the bay so I didn’t have a nice rolodex of friends to contact about sharing a space with, it was just me. I basically started searching in hopes that I would luck out. And guess what, I did!! It’s in an old building in Jack London Square, a warehouse district on the waterfront of Oakland. There’s great light, unique old details, nice people, and it’s in a really great location.
What were your design goals when decorating your new office space?
All of a sudden I had 395 square feet of office all to myself! I was used to one little desk in one little corner so the amount of space and freedom I had was a bit overwhelming. My main goals were to leave it open and spacious for projects and photo-shoots but keep it welcoming and comfortable for meetings and designing at my desk. I’m feeling pretty good about where it sits right now.
Can you share your top 5 tips for overhauling a workspace?
Oh man, this was my first time so consider me a newbie! Since my desk is where I spend the majority of my time, that was what I tackled first. I found this wonderfully simple white desk from Euro Style Lighting, an online based company that is collaborating with tons of great interior designers and bloggers. They are a great resource for products and inspiration. So once I had picked out my white desk and realized I only had white and wood in terms of a color palette, I embraced that and let it drive the rest of my decisions. So:
1.) Choose a color palette – I let this guide my big decisions like the chairs, tables, and wall color.
2.) Sketch out a plan – Where is your desk area, meeting spot, messy craft table, etc. I love sitting down with a pen and paper and playing around with options!
3.) Make a list and knock ’em off, one at a time – This was around the time that I got overwhelmed with options and ideas. It took me almost 5-6 months to get it in a state that I was happy with.
4.) Help is nice – I tried to do it all on my own and struggled. My boyfriend worked with me on the larger projects like my big work table that’s in the middle of the room! Then I just needed my friends’ and office mates’ opinion on how things were looking. Otherwise, I’d just stare at it all second-guessing my choices forever.
5.) Make sure you have everything you need to get your work done comfortably and efficiently – Sometimes I was so focused on how I wanted it to look that I forgot about functionality.
So, tell us about your office mates!
Yes, I have four of them! Two of them are older women who have been in the space for years now. They are painters and the motherly figures of the bunch. When I found the place on Craigslist, a few of the other artists that were working there had decided to leave and were looking for replacements. As soon as I stepped foot into the studio, I had to have it. I claimed my corner and took on the responsibility of finding the other tenants. I wanted to make sure we got a few young people in there. Loren Crosier, a graphic designer and artist, was the next to move in. She was one of the first people to reach out to me when I moved to the bay. The first week I was there, we had drinks at a small bar in Oakland and got along really well. It has been a great match. Lastly, we have our newest member, Bri Scarff! She moves in this month and will be sharing my corner with me. She is a graphic designer and all around awesome lady! Our group is growing and I couldn’t be happier about it. My dream is to fill the place to the brim with designers, creating a community that is supportive, inspiring, and active!
You were freelancing then decided to take a more steady position doing graphic design with Cuyana.
Freelance is all I know so it has been such a wonderful experience stepping out of my comfort zone and working with Cuyana. They are a young fashion company based in San Francisco that has so many exciting things happening right now so working for them was an easy decision to make! Everyday is positive, new, and challenging. I work with Cuyana two days a week, leaving the rest of my time dedicated to clients and personal projects. It’s a great balance.
Let’s talk about your book! You just published your first one- congratulations! What was the path you took to accomplish this?
Thank you so much! It was released last month and has been such a fun time in my life. The whole thing was a bit of a whirlwind and went by very fast! I feel like I was just signing the contract and going over the deadlines. I was first approached by Chronicle Books while I was living in Los Angeles. They had seen some of my knitting projects and shoots that I put together and wanted to create something similar, in book form. Obviously I was flattered and intrigued by the offer – I had to say yes! Who doesn’t want to be a published author? I spent one year exactly designing, knitting, writing, and shooting everything! The community that I had in Los Angeles at the time was perfect for the project – My friends modeled, styled, photographed, everything! I couldn’t have done it without them.
What’s up next for you professionally? Any new projects on the horizon?
I have a few large plans for my business in the back of my head but I’m not sure which one I’m most excited about. Graphic Design is my passion so anything that involves me furthering my career in that will leave me happy! I would love to open up my own design studio and manage a team! Although, I’m enjoying where I’m at right now so who knows!
We’d say you’re in a sweet spot right now, too!