We had the good fortune of connecting with Mal Kilby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mal, why did you pursue a creative career?
A creative career blossomed naturally for me. Since I was young I was always expressing myself through multiple forms of art and creative activities. I always knew that I wanted to use these talents to make a career for myself. Growing up in a small rural town, there were not many technology inspired opportunities. I always thought I’d pursue just strategic marketing and express myself that way. It wasn’t until watching my sister thrive in her own graphic design business was I then inspired to take the more creative design side. The main reason I pursued this creative career to the full extent is because of how many avenues have opened up because of it. Design just takes on so many forms and day to day I find myself creating loads of different content for multiple businesses. I’ll start my morning designing collections of apparel to finishing off the day creating content for social campaigns. I just feel like everyday is a new creation.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At this point in my career I would define myself as well rounded creative designer. I run my own freelance business where I take on small creative projects as needed like logos for example. As well as I currently maintain 4 consistent clients where I work as a contract designer. I think what sets me apart is my work ethic and my drive to succeed. I like to take on a lot of work because it makes me feel fulfilled when I’m working on a multitude of different projects. My favorite client work right now consists off creating custom illustrations for apparel, product development and creation for 14 online retail stores, creating marketing content like emails and social media campaigns for those 14 retail stores as well as a few other businesses mixed in along the way. I am the busiest I have ever been and I feel super grateful to be where I am at. Getting to this point was not an easy road and I will never forget the days of busting it out bartending and waitressing on the side when graphic design just wasn’t enough to support me. When I first moved to LA it took me over a year to find good steady work because of all the competition out here. I am grateful for that time in my life because it makes me appreciate how far I have come.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love taking my visitors to Venice Beach and renting bikes and taking the path along the beach as far as we want to go. For sure stopping to get tacos and margaritas at Blue Plate Taco in Santa Monica.
I also love to do any sort of hiking so I like to take people to Malibu and hit up any of the trails there and then one of my favorite hikes to do is the Wisdom Tree Hike which can then take you right up behind the Hollywood Sign. It can be a bit of a challenge but well worth it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A huge shoutout goes to my entire family and all my close friends for their support and encouragement throughout my entire career. From college to the big move across the country to California they have all been there to guide me when I need it and lift me up in the times I doubted myself.
A special shoutout to my older sister Adriane Leigh, who is a fantastic Creative Director. She inspires me everyday with her creations and having each other to bounce ideas off of has been such a blessing.
Another shoutout to Johnson & Wales University, College of Engineering & Design, it was there that I truly learned all the tools I needed to make this success happen for me. The design program molded me into the designer I am today.