Today we share with you all an interview with Amber Leigh Turner, a web and graphic designer from Nashville, TN where she has her own creative company; January Creative.
Who is Amber Leigh Turner?
I am a graphic and web designer located in Nashville, TN. On August 10th (in mere hours!), I will be graduating from Austin Peay State University with two degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication with a focus in Graphic Design, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Management. During my six years at APSU, I have done so much, including graduating at the near top of my class, started a thriving freelance business and started a great side project focused on student freelancing. I started freelancing my sophomore year of college and during my first senior year (there was three senior years!) I started Students That Freelance to help other students just like myself start freelancing while in school. I will soon be publishing a book through Students That Freelance that will be an all-in-one source for new student freelancers.
What is January Creative? What made you start the company?
January Creative is my freelance business which started as Amber Turner Creative five years ago. On January 1st of this year, I changed the name of my freelancing to January Creative to better align my business with my goals and dreams: to own and run a graphic design firm. Currently, it is just a one-woman firm doing graphic and web design work such as logo design, print design, and web design.
As I mentioned above, what made me start January Creative was that I was already freelancing, and since graduation was right around the corner, I wanted to make my freelancing a full-time thing. So after lots of thinking and planning, I relaunched my business under January Creative on January 1, 2012. Since relaunching my business, it has helped me achieve so much already and has helped me inch closer to my dreams.
Who were your creative influences and inspirations growing up?
Honestly, I didn’t have many creative influences until I got close to going to college. While I had always been fairly artsy since middle school, I did the fine art type of work that all middle and high school art classes wanted you to do. So the influences I had mainly came from fine artists. The two that I tend to gravitate toward are Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol. Only when I started my education at APSU and took several art-history based courses (Art Appreciation, Art History) did I start to look up more graphic designers and those that did work similar to me. Of course I first gravitated to present-day designers who are well known today (Elliott Jay Stocks, David Airey) but then slowly started looking at more historic figures such as Paul Rand, Saul Bass, and M.C. Escher.
How would you describe the creative scene in Nashville, TN? Are you involved in many groups or events?
I think the creative scene in Nashville is growing but doing so very diversely. Being Music City USA puts a bit of a cloud over Nashville in making it think it is only for music, but several kinds of arts are starting to thrive here too, specifically fine arts and theatre. As for graphic and web design, Nashville has a fast growing web design population, but I am guessing that could be said in just about any town. As far as specific groups in the Nashville area I am apart of, I am said to say that I am not, however now that school is done, I hope to become more involved with a variety of groups and events in the Nashville area (if I have time!).
What has been the best thing about studying at Austin Peay State University & What lessons have your learnt the most from at university?
I would have to say the best thing about studying at APSU was that the art department was absolutely fantastic. The professors really care about the students and their success and go above and beyond to help us succeed. They stay current in technology and methodologies and always done what they could to benefit the students.
I think the most important thing I learned from being a college student is how to learn. Seems a bit odd, but I feel it is more important to know how to learn than it is to learn something. If you don’t know how to constantly learn new things, then the things you learn won’t have much value. Definitely learning to be a “lifelong learner” has been the most important thing I have learned.
What are your long term goals long term? What would constitute being a success for you?
My long term goal is mainly just to be able to give myself and my future husband/kids a strong and financially stable life and future. Being able to control my own income and my own life will allow me to do so many things, all of which would be to benefit my future family. If I can be able to get my future family to a point where we are not struggling and able to live happy lives and be able to spend alot of time with them, then that to me is being successful.
What other sites and blogs do you follow online?
Tons! I am a writer for FreelanceSwitch, so of course I follow all of the great content from them. Others include TheNextWeb, Smashing Magazine, Mashable, and Freelance Folder. Mainly I follow tons of freelance and design related accounts on Twitter, who often share great posts on many different websites.
Who are your 5 favourite people to follow on twitter?
Wow this is a tough question. I would have to say the top five favorite people on Twitter of course starts with my amazing boyfriend who is a college football expert Steven Lassan @AthlonSteven, followed by Joe Casabona @jcasabona, Eliffio Rodriguez @eliffio, Daniel Francavilla @francavilla, and Laci Morgan @lacigrl. I wish I could name many more than just five though, because out of 175 people I follow, there is about 20 of them that I chat with on the regular bases, while the others I follow for their awesome links.
What do you do to relax outside of work?
If I get any time to relax, I like to spend time with my boyfriend of eight years, exercise and running, watching movies, swimming (in the summer time), or work on things I want to do, like experimental side projects. It is hard sometimes to separate work from a life outside of work because I really enjoy doing what I do for a living, but when I get some time to myself, I like to do things for myself
Don’t forget to sell online to make your own money as a freelancer or student.