Web Afternoon

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Design Edition

February 26th – 1-6pm · The Garage at Tech Square · Atlanta, GA

Meg Lewis

Designing for Happy Companies

Or… How Getting Weird and Finding a Purpose Created a Design Mission — Meg Lewis, the world’s happiest person, shares her hilarious life journey and how it led to Meg finding her purpose. She will discuss the benefits of leveraging your quirks to create a career mission. You’ll laugh and cry your way to a happy ending during this unconventional, fun talk!


About Meg:

Meg is the leader of what is quite possibly the coolest creative collective in Brooklyn, Ghostly Ferns. With an all-star team of designers, illustrators, and interactive developers, she’s building some of the coolest designs on the web today.

You’ve seen her work all over your favorite galleries and websites; now she’s coming to teach us how — and why — she does it. Meg is unashamed in her joy and excitement for her work, and you can be sure that she’s going to bring that same energy to the stage at Web Afternoon.

A Brief Interview

So, Meg…we checked out your portfolio, and your work is rad. We also couldn’t help but notice your tattoos, which are ALSO rad. Do you design your own?

I absolutely did not design my own. I wouldn’t be able to put enough faith in my own work to do that. Rather, I had friends, illustrators and tattoo artists design them!

Why did you name your company “Ghostly Ferns?”

Before I was a designer, I owned an online vintage shop. I had hundreds of products and I was constantly spending my time picking out names for each piece. My favorite dress I ever sold was one I called the “Ghostly Ferns dress,” because it had faded little ferns on the pattern. When I closed my vintage shop to open my design studio, I found that, once again, I needed a name. I thought Ghostly Ferns was a perfect homage to my past adventure, and, as it turns out, it’s pretty fitting because so many plants have died in the Ghostly Ferns studio. We’re definitely haunted by quite a few ferns.

Can you describe your creative process a bit?

Sheesh, you aren’t going to make this easy for me, are you? I don’t particularly have a die-hard everyday process because I rarely do the same kind of project twice. The most important thing for me to do, personally, is wait to start the design process until I get a surge of creativity. Unfortunately, I can’t control when that happens. Sometimes it’ll hit me at 10:00am, other times it happens late at night. I’ve learned to realize that I don’t do very good work when I’m not in the mood. I’m fortunate enough as a freelancer to be able to wait until the time is just right for every project.

What are some questions you ask when considering taking on a new project?

I like to figure out why the potential client contacted me. Do they even understand what I do, or are they just contacting a bunch of random designers? I also want to know why their brand is truly working toward making the world a better place. I try my best to figure out if they’re full of bologna or if there’s really heart and soul behind their company.

What industry sites and blogs do you read regularly?

I’m bad at reading the internet. I typically don’t go directly to blogs or websites to read content. Rather, I wait for one of my trusty internet pals to post something interesting. If it’s a person whom I trust that is vouching for an article or post, it means a lot to me and I’ll read it.

Which apps do you use daily?

I recently got into the stock market and am constantly checking Stash and Robinhood. I’m also a hardcore Swarm and Foursquare user, which works only because all of my friends use them too. As for games, I’m really into Neko Atsume.

Do you have a favorite design tool? Why?

100% Sketch, forever and always. Sketch changed my life so much and made every single part of my job as a UI, web, UX, whatever designer better. It’s put less strain on the designer/developer relationship as well. I just love it so much!

Who are some of your design heroes?

  • Adi Goodrich brings my imagination to life in physical spaces. I love her work so much!
  • Will Bryant is my cool vibes soul brother and I’ll forever be a huge fan.
  • Shawna X’s work is on a completely different level and always takes my breath away.

Long story short: designers who use color and happiness with elements of weird are always okay in my book.

How do you stay on top of design trends?

I look at Site Inspire a whole bunch to stay on top of what the cool kids are doing. Otherwise, I read A Book Apart books for actual knowledge.

If you had a magic wand and could create the perfect job, what would the job description be?

Independent woman needed to design experience for the Museum of Farts. Must be an aspiring illusionist and lover of mimes. Extensive knowledge of N’SYNC lyrics required. Proficiency in ribbon dancing is a plus. Must be okay touching butts.

Is there anything you’d like to say to Adobe Flash before it goes away for good?

You made so much magic happen!

Do you have a celebrity doppleganger? If so, who is it?

Ugh, someone’s mom once told me I look like Bette Midler, and I’ve never been able to let that go.

We’ve been wondering, Is a picture actually worth a thousand words?

I have definitely used at least a thousand words to describe this picture of organist Cameron Carpenter. He deserves so many words, good and bad.

Why aren’t there any B-sized batteries around?

Apparently, there used to be B batteries but no one used them and they became extinct, like dinosaurs.