Bloodflower Design, a United Kingdom based designer, is For The Punks’ July 2020 Creator of the Month! Lucinda, who designs under the name Bloodflower Design, turned her passion into a full time career in the music industry. Keep reading to hear the story of how Bloodflower Design came into existence, and to see the amazing designs that have been created through this brand.
Tell us about yourself, who is the face and name behind Bloodflower Design?My name is Lucinda. I’m a freelance illustrator, designer, and musician. When I’m not on tour with either of my bands (Cultdreams / Nervus) I take on commissions and design projects under the handle Bloodflower Design.
What inspired you to pursue the creation of Bloodflower Design?Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved art and drawing. When I dropped out of school to pursue music, my art teacher laughed at me and said ‘you’ll never stop doing art,’ but I didn’t believe her. Pursuing music full time at a DIY level means there’s never much budget for creative stuff, sadly. So from being 13 and being in bands, I always designed my own bands merch, album artwork, myspace(!), websites etc. As the years went by, I got better, but never really called myself a designer or illustrator because I felt like because I hadn’t studied it, and I didn’t ‘deserve’ that title… (that’s the complete wrong mindset to have by the way! haha!) In 2015 I applied for a marketing job (I have no idea why I thought I should?!) for a major record label because I just wanted to work in the industry. My CV at the time had a front-page that was a big dumb illustration of my face drawn in the style of Daria, with my name in big bubble letters above it… (it sounds ridiculous but y’know what, that CV got me loads of jobs! haha.) Anyway, I didn’t get the marketing job (obviously), but I received an email asking me to interview for a designer role instead. I was really confused, but said yes and went to the interview anyway. The guy slapped my CV onto the table and said, ‘why are you applying for a marketing job when you’re clearly a designer?,’ to which my reply was, ‘am I?!” Anyway, that designer job I did get, and I did it for a year, learned a lot, and eventually left when my bands got busy. In 2016, I took the steps towards freelancing as a designer, and being in a band, but at this point, I also had various part-time jobs in between tours. It took me 2 years of working part-time jobs, illustrating, and pursuing music to eventually be able to go full time with it in May 2018. I’m still grafting every day and still learning, but I’m 100% glad I ended up being able to pursue music and art alongside each other, as they’re both hugely important to me.
How did Bloodflower Design come to be? What was your vision for this company/brand, and how did you get started?As I’m in a couple of bands, and use social media a lot to post about music-related stuff, I wanted my design work to be separate from my music as I started to take on more work and tried to pursue it full time. So, in 2017, I came up with Bloodflower Design, and started putting all my design and illustration work under one umbrella. Who do you primarily design for? Do you design solely in the music industry, or do you make designs for any person/business interested? Because of the circles I run in with my bands, and because of my previous work within the music industry, 90% of the work I do is within the music industry. I do a lot of tour posters, band merch, designs for labels, agencies, etc. But, I don’t limit myself to that industry in any way. I love working with coffee and beer companies, and basically any small independent businesses or organizations.
How do you manage to still find “fresh ideas” and new designs to make? What inspires you?My inspiration varies as I love so many different styles of design and illustration. I love really clean minimal illustration, but also love more detailed textured art, so I’m forever trying to find the balance of that in my work. I really love dark art, and occult and macabre work, so I definitely seek a lot of inspiration for that for certain pieces. Sometimes the people I work with come to me with a vivid idea, but most of the time it’s just a rough outline or just a message that says ‘just do your thing’. I don’t ever look at my Instagram feed these days for inspiration, as I want all my work to come from my head, and I try to use a lot more ‘real world’ references for everything so that whatever I draw is 100% myself and can’t be swayed by looking at someone else’s work. When I work with bands I really like listening to their music while I draw, especially if it’s a band I’ve not listened to before. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s nice to get to know them through their music and take inspiration from the lyrics which I do a lot.
What has been the biggest challenge as a designer/illustrator?
The biggest challenge initially was making the jump to becoming self-employed and doing this full time. From a ‘business’ perspective, the biggest challenge daily is just keeping a consistent flow of work coming in. From a creative perspective, the biggest challenge is developing myself more and continuing to push myself to create more ambitious work.
What is the best part/your favorite thing about being a designer/illustrator?It makes me happy to create things for people and use art as a platform to help others when they need it. Seeing the illustration community come together to make informative and bold art during the recent Black Lives Matter protests has been really heartwarming, but also really important. A lot of illustrators and designers have been creating resources, raising money, or purely just using their art to speak about the state of the world at the moment and I think that’s a really powerful thing.
What is the one design you’re most proud of creating?That’s a really hard question, especially as I tend to pick apart all my work after I finish it, so I’m always thinking of ways I could have done something better. Haha. I’ve been working on some merchandise for ‘The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die,’ recently, and I’m really happy with how that came out.
What advice do you have for designers/illustrators looking to follow in your footsteps? Any cool tips you can offer to anyone who is looking at starting this type of company?If you’re just starting out in the world of design or illustration then personal projects are going to be your best friend. If you want to design band merch, but don’t have anyone to design it for just yet… create a fake band and draw a cool idea for it. Just make stuff. In the creative industry ‘make the work you want to see’ is thrown around a lot, and it’s 100% true. If you don’t have anyone to make an idea for… make it anyway and display it anyway. You’ll get more work out of it than if you didn’t do it at all. Another tip that sounds super cliche is to find your ‘niche’ within whatever industry you’re in. With me, it’s been illustration within the music industry and for small businesses. Having a broad spectrum for your work can sometimes be over-complicated, and niching down can help you find your people a little easier, and direct your services to them instead of just throwing them out there and seeing who responds.
Besides graphic design, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? What makes you, you?Outside of design and music, I don’t have loads of free time, but I’m trying to get better at taking more time for myself. I have a very needy pup called Aubrey, who’s my little partner in crime, so I spend a lot of time out on walks with her. I like going to the gym every day as it gets me away from my desk and keeps my brain happy. I’m a big coffee person, and although I’ve never been a gamer, I’ve recently got very obsessed with my Nintendo Switch. I played NBA2K until 3am last night and had a wonderful time!