We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Gilbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kate, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’m relatively young “business owner,” I guess. I decided to take the leap into doing freelance design because I didn’t know how else to start out. After graduating from college with a degree in Anthropology, I was interested in pursuing work in sustainable food systems. I’d always been drawn to food on a personal level. And, as a college student, I began to understand its significance as a center point of many socioeconomic and environmental issues. It felt comfortable, too, to work in basic entry-level rolls at small businesses where I didn’t need to expand my skillset beyond basic research and writing. I worked at a few startups, and soon realized that my actual professional interest lay not in food itself but in the design elements of food brands and businesses.

While working at DONA, a beverage startup based in Brooklyn, I spent most of my time wishing that I could get in on the design meetings and contribute to the website and branding. I was unhappy with my job and didn’t feel excited to talk about it with friends and family. I knew I needed a change but didn’t know how to jumpstart it. The only way I knew how to learn was through school. So, I started taking design classes at night and then immersed myself in a coding bootcamp for front-end web development. I was scared of this shift, and enduring persistent internal battle, wondering if I was actually creative enough and skilled enough to pursue a creative career. And then, when COVID hit, I was left jobless and knew that I finally had my in. So, I began producing work and passion projects, developed a portfolio, and started applying to jobs. Soon enough, I landed one freelance gig, and then more just started coming my way.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make minimal designs with playful + colorful elements. I like to add a bit of whimsy to something that would otherwise be simple or straightforward. As a graphic designer, I incorporate illustrative elements into my designs. I draw them myself by hand or digitally. I have more of background in fine art than design, and I think that informs my work because it allows me to feel free, less tied to particular constructs and ideas.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I’m very in on the natural wine scene, so I’d definitely check out a few spots like Melody and Bandini for drinks. My partner works at the wine shop Vinovore, so I’d probably stop by to say hi to her, and also pop into Bar Keeper, the place next door, to check out their fun barware and awesome liquor selection. Like many Angeleno’s, I’m dog-obsessed, and I’d want us to take my pup for a walk around the Silverlake Reservoir. The trails in Elysian Park are great too. I’d love to pick up some nice cheeses from Milkfarm and have a picnic one weekend afternoon, maybe toss around a frisbee or kick a soccer ball. And definitely play some tennis. The most beautiful courts are in Los Feliz on the edge of Griffith Park. Bavel is my all-time favorite for a nice meal out, and the Arts District is a fun place to walk around. It’s kind of hard to remember what I used to do before COVID… but those are a few ideas.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yes! I owe a lot of my confidence today to the person who gave me my first freelance design gig, Abby Pendergrast. Abby is an interior designer, prop stylist, and event producer, and she hired me knowing that I lacked the formal design experience of other candidates. She has consistently given me opportunities through introducing me to friends and colleagues in need of design work, and has offered professional advice to me whenever I’m in need of it. I’ve been working for Abby for almost a year now, and I feel lucky to continue to grow and support the behind-the-scenes of her business.

Website: www.kategilbert.work

Instagram: kategilbert.work

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