Leading Ladies of Design: Louise Kellerman
Leading Ladies of Design is a monthly interview series featuring female designers in New Zealand, highlighting their work, hearing their voice & championing their success! This month’s Leading Lady is Louise Kellerman!
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to chat about being a Leading Lady of Design! Firstly, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your work?
I'm Louise Kellerman, I founded Design Assembly in 2008 and continue to run, grow and evolve it today. I live in Auckland with my husband Daniel and two daughters, Isabel and Paige. I love the outdoors and try to get into nature as much as possible. Yoga and mediation keep me going along with sharing a laugh with my family and friends as much as I can.
My work is growing the DA community to become a sustainable community - DA exists to be the home of NZ design bringing NZ designers together as a community.
DA supports NZ's design community to inclusively connect, educate and inspire each other.
We do this through online conversations on the website and social media and the events and workshop program through NZ.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I don't really have a typical day- fitting work, my children and family and my friends into any one day. Generally speaking I like to start the working week with a coffee at my local (Taco Loco) and a catch-up on the weekend and week ahead with my office mate (work wife), Carol Green - illustrator. We've shared an office space for over six years now and it wouldn't be the start of the week without that ritual.
My days are made up of day-to-day tasks within DA, designing the events and workshop program, some social media, looking for content for the website. And then meeting up with designers to hear what's going on for them so that DA can stay relevant to the needs of our community. And also working with sponsors and design schools to meet their needs.
What piece of work are you the most proud of? Can you tell me a bit about it and why its your fav?
Seeing Design Assembly reach its 10 year birthday and taking a breath to step back and ask 'Where to next?' We'll be asking the community to help shape the next 10 years together. DA is my third baby and seeing it come to fruition, people see its value and support it keeps me going.
Here’s a challenge! Can you describe your design career journey up until now in three words?
Unexpected, challenging, rewarding.
Do you think being a woman has impacted your career as a designer in any way, either positively or negatively? If so, how?
Starting Design Assembly 10 years ago and in doing so working for myself, I've largely chosen who to work with - personally I don't feel being a woman has had a positive or negative impact during this time. I have the opportunities I need to focus on my work as well as my family with a partner that co-parents alongside me.
I would love to know how you would define success as a designer? Do you think you’ve found it yet?
Success looks different to every single person. It's about embracing who you are and what success means to you. When you get on the path to discovering that (and it keeps changing and evolving) and feeling strong in yourself then you're on the way to finding it.
Have I found it yet? I'm getting better at it every year.
What do you think that the industry could do to better empower women in design and other creative fields?
We are strongest when we work with the people at the back and move forward with them, supporting them from behind and cheering them on - in this way, we all reach the finish line - together.
I think we need to get better at working together and supporting all the different views and approaches to living in this world. We will be stronger, healthier and richer living in this way.
It's time to look at the world through many lenses.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Don't assume - ask.
Are there any other Leading Ladies of Design who inspire you?
Annie Dow for running a successful design studio for over 20 years.
Catherine Griffiths for establishing a internationally recognised graphic design and arts practice.
Tana Mitchell and Emma Kaniuk for their hard work in starting and running a successful design studio producing beautiful work.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other female designers?
Don't assume anything - ask people, ask for what you want and need.