Graphic designer Leila Register’s interest in mundane, everyday objects contradicts her wonderfully playful and lively designs

Graphic designer Leila Register’s interest in mundane, everyday objects contradicts her wonderfully playful and lively designs

Becoming friends with the restaurant’s creative director, Leila began helping her with promotional flyers, menus and social media graphics. It wasn’t long before juggling both her positions became a bit too much, and she decided to quit her barista job and do design work for the restaurant full time. Despite feeling “a lot of insecurity around not having studied design or illustration in any formal sense”, Leila sees her first step as coming at the perfect time: “I was out of my comfort zone, but primarily I was just excited to be doing creative work”, she says. “Over time I grew more comfortable calling myself a designer and started to think of myself as someone with a strong visual sensibility.”

With her design beginnings being heavily rooted in the culinary industry, it seems natural that Leila has continued to work closely with food. A “dream project” for Leila is her work with Grocery Run Club, a Chicago-based initiative founded by Lucy Angel and Jorge Saldarriaga which works with organisations to supply fresh produce and necessities to underserved neighbourhoods in Chicago. Seeking an identity that emulated “vintage grocery ad meets bauhaus” Leila gravitated towards bold colours, textures and patterns. Also looking to incorporate illustrations of fruit and produce, Leila wanted to keep them fairly abstract – playing with the scale and rendering them in unexpected colours.

Whilst Leila’s work is so considered, well executed and consistent, the designer isn’t afraid to admit that she can sometimes be a victim of self-doubt. “I have a lot of anxiety and fear that I have no good ideas left”, she explains. But, she has sure-fire ways to combat these feelings: “I’m really afraid this is a line from Mad Men, but I remember once hearing the advice ‘think about something very hard, and then not at all’.” Leila discusses this pop-culture-inspired approach in line with her project with Goldune – an eco-conscious store whose name roughly translates to vase or vessel in Farsi. Becoming really “obsessed” with different ways to use vase and flower shapes for the identity, Leila says that “by the time I was done thinking about that, I’d already forgotten my own sense of inadequacy. I was too busy being obsessive about vases”.

Now working and growing as Goldune’s in-house designer, Leila is always eager to take on new projects. But, she’s also set high hopes on getting back to making physical things. “My dream is to design a billboard or maybe the side of a truck.”

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