Meet: Amy Devereux, Visual Designer
Amy has been a Visual Designer at Envoy since 2016. We recently sat down to chat about The College Board, why typography is key, and the power of self-doubt.
What do you want to state for the record about yourself?
I would like to state for the record that brunch is unequivocally the best meal.
Tell me in your own words what you do at Envoy.
I’m a Visual Designer! Right now I’m in the process of redesigning the marketing site and defining a new set of illustrations. But I work on all aspects of the brand — from icons and enamel pins, to sales decks and internal posters. Essentially the whole umbrella of the brand across teams to help ensure a consistent experience.
How did you end up in this career?
You know when you’re in high school and you’re told to take that College Board quiz that asks questions about your personality and is intended to spit out what your major should be? Well I don’t know what percentage of people for whom it actually works, but I would imagine it’s low — so I expected to shrug off the answer. But for me, that silly quiz actually worked.
I remember it so distinctly: it was in that moment that I discovered design.
Sure, I had noticed it before; design obviously surrounds us. But I hadn’t previously considered who creates the packaging in the grocery stores, who type sets the magazines in my dentist’s office, or who draws the logos for my favorite stores. Not only that, but I was also drawn in by the juxtaposition of independence and collaboration existing in one career. So at 16 years old, I decided that’s what I was going to do.
How does that balance of independence and collaboration exist at Envoy?
To me, design lends itself to being fluid between the two really easily. Typically it starts with other people, working or brainstorming with stakeholders and other designers. Once it’s time to start cranking out ideas, it’s a little more isolated with sketching or initial concepting. Next back to collaboration with critiques. And then you repeat the ideate → crit → ideate → crit, until you decide it’s time to ship.
Now that we’ve recently hired a second visual designer, I expect we will take the collaboration to another level—more brainstorming, discussions, and even some healthy competition. 😉
What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve designed at Envoy?
Ice cream. For Dreamforce one year we wrapped an ice cream cart and pushed it around San Francisco, passing out treats to attendees. The ice creams even had little stickers that said, “Envoy: The sweetest way to sign in.” Oh, and we did on-brand chocolate coatings and sprinkles (of course).
What’s your favorite color?
PMS 245U — I’m just kidding; I have no idea what color that is.
Note: We checked; it’s a lovely purple similar to 2014’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid.
Really I don’t think I actually have a favorite. I find different colors appealing depending upon the use case. But when I was four, my favorite colors were purple and orange together, so you can see I’ve really always had, uh, quite the design eye.
If you were to recommend one thing for a non-designer to learn to break into the field, what would it be?
Honestly, I would say to tackle typography. I’ve found that a solid understanding of type instantly sets designers apart. This is because in order to do it well, it requires the ability to understand hierarchy, contrast, grids, color, white space, accessibility… if you nail type setting, it’s such a strong foundation for the rest of design.
Did you have any creative outlets before design?
I’ve had an affinity for art, from studying to crafting, my entire life. I’ve dabbled in countless forms of expression: pastels, watercolor, knitting, oil painting, pottery, needlepoint, decoupage, sculpting, sewing… you name it, I’ve probably tried it.
But my problem was that I always tried it once. This is because I looked at what I had made and thought, that’s not up to my standard. I know what it’s supposed to look like; I’m not good at this. And gave up on whatever it was.
Which, by the way, is a really bad mindset. It doesn’t get you anywhere.
But when I had that a-ha about design—I don’t know why—I immediately felt like I could learn it and keep at it.
Did you have any more of those moments of self-doubt when you were in design school?
Oh absolutely. It’s not like that’s something that just poofs away— I still can experience self-doubt. But in some ways, I wouldn’t want it any differently. I think it’s good to have to self-reflect and strive to improve. It’s not like one day I’ll wake up and be like, okay, I’ve learned all I can about design, I’m officially done. Design isn’t static. Things are always changing and there’s always more to learn. Plus there’s always going to be someone else that’s going to do it better, faster.
But you have to use the doubt for good. The difference was that once I was in school, I decided to not let it become crippling. I had a clear goal:
I wanted to do design so I was going to do whatever it took to actually get there.
I believe that’s a much better mindset, because then, anything is possible.
Any final thoughts?
Just one for you high schoolers out there: if it still exists, take that College Board quiz seriously. It’s way more accurate than anyone gives it credit. Who knows where I’d be if I hadn’t!
P.S. Amy’s current top brunch around SF:
- Sweet Maple
A variety of solid eggs bennies and the millionaire’s bacon is a must-have. I’m going to redesign the menu for my next side project though.
- Mission Beach Cafe
Maybe the best french toast ever. They also have gradient mimosas, which the designer in me obviously appreciates.
Cornbread benny. Order it.
- La Garage Bistro
It’s in Sausalito, but if you take the ferry on a sunny day and sit by the marina, it can’t be beat.
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