Meet The Designer & Founder: Nicole Lytwyn

April 21, 2022

Tell us a little about yourself (where you’re from, college, etc).

I’m a born and raised Florida girl, which probably explains a lot of things about me and our branding here at The Mug. I graduated from The University of Florida in 2014 with a bachelor’s in Communications and Leadership Development. As much as I loved my Gators and the life I had in Gainesville, the ocean and my family were pulling me back to my roots. In 2016 earned my master’s degree in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida. It was only then, after I got that last diploma, that I truly realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. 

How did you get started in design and why did you decide to make it your career?

I was always a computer nerd. If you think kids spend too much time in front of their phones now, just wait until you talk to my dad.

You see, my dad has always worked in IT with computers. So for as long as I can remember we had a computer in our house. Yes, it all started with one of those old dinosaur PCs. But once I hit 6th grade, all bets were off. I was ABSORBED in MySpace. I’d spend hours upon hours customizing my theme and editing code. If I stop and think about it… my life hasn’t changed a whole lot since then!

Long story short, I always knew that I wouldn’t be truly happy in a job unless I was able to create. While I was getting my master’s degree, I was simultaneously working a full-time marketing job which later turned into me running an entire marketing team. It was in that role that I discovered I was always more interested in the design side of marketing.

How would you define your personal design style?

That is such a hard question for me to answer! I truly appreciate so many different design styles and find myself bouncing back and forth between funky/retro and modern/minimalist design styles. I LOVE bright and fun colors but I also love my neutrals. 

If you were a mood board, what would it look like? 

What is your current favorite font or font pairing? 

Again! Hitting me with the tough questions! I can’t honestly say that I have a favorite. But here are a few that I am loving right now!

What design tool is your go-to?

It really depends on what I’m designing! Adobe Illustrator is probably what I use the most and Adobe XD for designing website themes before we develop.

What existing brand do you love and why?

I’m not going to answer this the way I think most people would expect. I’d like to give a different type of brand. A personal brand.

My favorite personal brand is music artist, Qveen Herby. Go check her out on IG or Spotify! It’s hard to put her brand essence into words.

She’s completely unique and she inspires people to be uniquely and unapologetically themselves through her brand. Her lyrics, album covers, funky fashion sense, her look, social media… It all tells a consistent story across all her platforms. Her story is definitely one that I buy into and support. She’s a vibe. Her brand is a vibe.

How do you get in “the zone”?

Every morning before work, I make sure I have my “me time” which is usually a cup of coffee on the back porch while I read a book. This daily ritual is so important to me. It helps me clear my mind and get ready for a new day. Once I get in the office, I put on my noise canceling headphones with whatever tunes I am feeling inspired to listen to that day, and get into the flow. 

If I am ever in a creative block, I force myself to drop what I am doing and take a 15 minute break to meditate and calm my mind. Meditating has gotten me out of so many creative blocks over the years it’s crazy.

What is your favorite part of the design process?

My favorite part of the design process is that magic moment when I know I’ve landed on the perfect design for a client. As designers, we go through so many different fonts, colors, and concepts internally before we nail the one we present to you. The sweetest feeling is that immediate *knowing* that you’ve landed on THE ONE.

What do you enjoy most about being a designer?

This is my dream job. I love getting to spend everyday creating and making beautiful things to help small businesses flourish.

On that note, I’d like to close with a cheesy cliche quote, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

By: The Mug Creative

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