At the ripe old age of 24, London-based creative Kate Moross has worked on advertising campaigns for Cadbury, capsule collections for Top Shop, watches for Firetrap and illustrations for Vogue. Her distinctive graphic style plays with bold colours, three-sided shapes, puzzles, illegible typography and freeform lettering...
I try to avoid defining myself at all costs. When people ask, “What do you do?” there aren’t words to describe it. Some people think I’m an illustrator, others think I’m a fashion designer, filmmaker, or a creative entrepreneur – but I prefer to call myself a Jack of all trades.
From a very early age I had a drive to create things. My mother was so exhausted by the constant necessity to keep me entertained that she had to hire art students to come to the house and distract me. School was an incredibly formative time for me. My art teachers introduced me to Apple computers at the age of 12 or 13. They would order the latest design software and I’d be the first to use it, so I was incredibly lucky.
University was more about finding out what I didn’t like, than what I did like. I went to Camberwell to study Graphic Design, but struggled with how conceptual the course was. I wanted to do something for the world to see – not just my tutors – so I started taking on freelance work. I designed posters, flyers [see Mystery Jets flyer, above], logos, websites for record labels, and even took photographs of people in clubs, just to get free entry.
Things really came to a head in my second year at university in 2007 when I won the big Cadbury’s Dairy Milk campaign [pictured below]. That knocked my tutors for six. The icing on the cake was when they fitted a massive billboard with my design on it right outside the university. It was a bit grotesque, but at least they started to take me seriously.
In January 2008 I launched a capsule clothing range with Topshop [pictured below], and suddenly everyone was interested. It was so overwhelming – I was in glossy magazines, design magazines, newspapers – and I felt my reputation running away from me.
As soon as I graduated from university, I moved to New York for three months to work. It was good to be away from all the media attention and just do my job. When I came home I set up my own studio and worked my arse off – and that’s where I am today. I work bloody hard, from £50 fliers to £50,000 campaigns. One week I’m designing watches for Firetrap and the next I’m creating a poster for the homeless charity Shelter. Whatever the project is, I commit to it wholeheartedly.
I think good ideas generally come through hard work and processing your thoughts. I enjoy puzzles and patterns; making something clear unclear, creating illusions and hidden items within my work.
If I had to give any advice to young people starting out, it would be don’t listen to the man – but take his point on board. Talk to your peers and take them just as seriously as your teachers and most importantly, don’t be afraid of approaching people and offering your services. You won’t get any work waiting around for the phone to ring; it’s about making that phone call yourself.
Kate Moross was talking to Sarah Harris.
Kate Moross’s work is featured in Outline Edition’s new exhibition Into the Forest, which runs from 11 November to 31 January at 94 Berwick St, London W1F 0QF.
Main image courtesy of louise lynn on Flickr.