This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with our June Artist, Sydney Michuda. Based out of Milwaukee, Sydney is the owner of Super Creative Co - a full-service design studio churning out everything from branding and logos to packaging and wall prints. She's a letterer, illustrator, designer and all around rad human.
During our Q&A we talked about everything from how Sydney made her way into the design world to how circumstances from COVID pushed her into being a full-time freelance designer. Read the full convo below and don't forget to snag your free wall print from Sydney HERE
PP: Hi Sydney! Tell us a little bit about yourself - who you are, where you're from, what you do.
SM: My name is Sydney Michuda and I’m the owner and freelance designer behind Super Creative. A bit about me: Milwaukee, WI is home, and while I get fired up about snack time, a well-crafted cocktail, and the occasional murder podcast, it’s good design that gives me life. By day and by midnight oil, I’m a designer, letterer, and illustrator with a penchant for branding and product design. When I’m not glued to my laptop, I enjoy thrifting/antiquing, trying out small plates restaurants with my husband, pampering our two cats, Juneau and Poe, and slowly chipping away at renovations in our new home.
PP: Tell us a little bit about your design journey. We would love to hear your story – how you got started and how it led you to where you are now.
SM: I was interested in art from a young age and was lucky enough to have that interest encouraged through dozens of art classes growing up. In one particular class, a college rep came to speak to us. She told us all about what a graphic design major entails and what the eventual career looks like. I immediately knew that was the path for me. Several years later, I graduated from UW-Whitewater with a BFA with an emphasis in graphic design.
Upon graduation, I got a job at an experiential advertising agency. It was an interesting place with lots of late nights. After a couple years there, I started to feel like my design skills had plateaued and extremely unchallenged. My goal for the longest time was to work my way up in the advertising industry but once I was there, I didn’t feel satisfied. To take some control back, I started to design things here and there for myself. I began by illustrating the things on my desk, and by no means did I consider myself to be an illustrator. I just felt like if I didn’t do something new and creative soon, I was going to explode. So I started creating more and more while posting it to Instagram.
After enough improvement, I got a new job at a local design firm. This place was essentially exactly what I was looking for. Lots of design, all day, everyday. It was like being thrown into the deep end of a creativity pool and it forced me to step up my game way faster than expected. During this period, I decided to put all those designs I made for myself to use by launching my own studio, Super Creative, to sell my creations as prints, pins, greeting cards, and whatnot. After lots of trial and error, I landed on the right vendors, supplies, and creative process to bring this new dream to life.
Fast forward 3 years and I was let go from the design firm due to the pandemic. I was always a person with a clear plan and timeline and pandemic really pulled the rug out from under me. But again, this circumstance forced me to change, adapt, and improve. It took a bit of time, but after several months, I built up a solid client base and was able to commit to being a full-time freelance designer. I’m still getting the hang of this new gig, but I’m loving it so far and can’t wait to see what opportunities the future holds!
PP: Where do you find inspiration these days? Is there anyone in particular in your life who inspires you?
SM: I find a majority of my inspiration online. I regularly check and save work that speaks to me via Pinterest, Instagram, Behance, and numerous design blogs and makers. I also make sure that I write down every random creative thought that pops into my head. Whether it’s about a branding project or a new print design, I always make sure to write down those ideas so I can use them when the time is right.
PP: What is the last book you read? Favorite musician/band you can’t get enough of?
SM: The last book I read was Freelance, and Business, and Stuff by Amy and Jennifer Hood of Hoodzpah. Very helpful information for a creative starting their own business!
I’ll never ever get enough of Phoebe Bridgers!
PP: How has the past year affected you emotionally, physically and within your work? Can you share any rituals or practices you use to stay afloat that you’ve learned along the way?
SM: Like I mentioned, I was let go due to the pandemic and it really threw me and all of my plans for a loop. Luckily, my husband got a job at the same time so we were able to depend on him (literally the same time, his first day was the day I was let go). Like everyone during the early months of the pandemic, I didn’t know what to do with myself. But gradually, as I gained more work and more of a schedule, things started to feel normal again. A few things that helped me, especially as someone who exclusively works from home: I make sure to do a quick 15 minute clean up every morning before I start working. This really helps every day feel fresh and new, and leaves me ready to be productive. I also like to take a bit of time on Sunday nights to plan out my work week, roughly hour by hour (although it almost always changes). It helps me know what’s coming, what my priorities are, and puts my mind at ease. Lastly, I consistently remind myself, no matter what happens, nothing is the end of the world and everything will be ok!
PP: What are your professional and life plans for the next year? Any words of wisdom for those of us who are also small business owners, striving to lead more intentional lives and create something beautiful?
For my life plans this year, my husband and I just bought a house recently so one of my big personal goals will be to make renovations and make the space feels like home. There will be a lot of ups and downs, but I can’t wait to make it our own. For professional plans, I’d like to get my work space up and running at the new house, hopefully this will include setting up a screen printing set up! This past year I haven’t really made my shop and products a priority, so I’d love to commit more time to product design and development. And lastly, I’d like to continue to sign new, exciting, interesting design clients.
Where can we learn more about you and your work? (website, social, etc.)
Instagram & Facebook: @supercreative.co
Behance: Sydney Michuda
LinkedIn: Sydney Michuda