Heather Maehr
Art Director/Designer

heather maehr

Heather Maehr

Art Director / Designer / Co-founder of Substrate Creative

Portland, OR

www.substratecreative.com
www.heathermaesla.com
instagram @substratecreative
instagram @heathermaesla
dribbble
pinterest

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am the Co-founder of Substrate Creative, a small design studio based in Portland, OR.

We specialize in refined + thoughtful design and enjoy working with small business owners and like-minded creatives.

 

WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

Growing up I always admired artists and musicians and dreamed of doing something similar. Having an overly practical upbringing, I thought that you couldn’t make a decent living on an unpredictable income. So I got a steady “reliable” job and did that for a few years before realizing that I wanted things to be different.

I moved from Salt Lake City to Seattle and enrolled in a Graphic Design program. Since graduating with a BA in Graphic Design, I’ve been steadily freelancing while working toward the launch of the Substrate brand.
 

heather maehr

FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?

Some designs have a tendency to lack substance and be based solely on aesthetic with little or no message. Graphic design is about communicating a message visually. I strive to make this a priority with every project.

 

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

As I mentioned before, I’m currently working on the brand identity for our design studio. I’m also doing some ongoing design work for an aromatherapy store + spa in San Diego, a skincare and beauty brand in Boston and a pet lifestyle and accessory brand based in Brooklyn.

 

WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS? 

I’m drawn towards simple designs that make a big impact. I do my best to achieve a balance between being open-minded and willing to incorporate new ideas while also showing restraint with elements that aren’t adding to the brand’s message. There will always be a part of me that wants the end result to be refined with just the right amount of flair.

This quote sums it up pretty well. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

heather maehr email

WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

I wish I had the time and motivation to learn front end development. I know the basics but need to increase my skills in that area so that I can incorporate it into my business at some point. I also like to work with my hands and jump at the opportunity to do custom lettering or hand-painted illustrations and patterns.

 

WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

I want to be better at blogging consistently and growing my social media community. Both are a work in progress but I also feel like I don’t have time to keep up with them at the moment. I’m working on refining my process to help alleviate this burden.

 

IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

I could definitely use an assistant to help with the daily tasks of running a business. Emails, contracts, budgets, that kind of thing. 

 

LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I would tell my young adult self that I don’t need to take the safe route. That I can pursue my passions and that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. Also, be kind to yourself.
 

heather maehr packaging

IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

Lately I’ve been seeking resources about self-branding, which most designers will tell you is no easy task. I’m always looking to gain insight into people’s processes for both design and running their own business. Also contracts, budgets, financial planning, taxes and all those fun business-related tasks.
 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

I love working with small businesses and like-minded creatives. I have a particular interest in working with beauty, skincare, and fashion brands. Oh, and I’m obsessed with wine and beer labels lately so that would be a lot of fun. I’m open to anything really!
 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

I feel that trust and communication play a huge role in the success of a project. I look for clients that respect and trust my design judgments but also have a good understanding of their business and where they’d like it to go.
 

WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

My hourly rate is $50 but most projects are priced at a flat rate. Branding and website design depends on the complexity as well as numerous other factors, but usually begins around $1,500.

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Email us at hello@substratecreative.com. We will also have a detailed contact form on our website once we launch. The type of project, name of your business and/or website, and budget are all good things to include.
 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Go outside.

 


This member profile was originally published in July 2017.