Leslie Becker
Graphic Designer

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Leslie Becker

Graphic Designer/Founder of Ephemera Studio

Peoria, Illinois

www.ephemeraletterco.com
instagram @ephemerastudio
dribbble

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I work with a variety of clients, from one-person businesses to retail companies with a global presence but they all tend to be creative or fashion-based.

However, the processes are often very similar, it’s all about growing through visual exploration while remaining true to the brand at heart. 

 

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

I interned with a couple of big branding and packaging firms in college but I found the work to be quite dull. Who wants to spend 2 years designing a new detergent bottle? When I got a job offer from Abercrombie & Fitch out of college I jumped at the chance to be part of the faster-paced fashion world. The design aesthetic at A&F wasn’t necessarily avante-garde but I learned a lot about quality and process from some talented art directors.  Later, I got hired at Levi’s to head up the women’s graphics team. Not only was it a company with a rich history to draw upon, I had true creative freedom to create things that were great. 
 

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

I see a lot of designers reproduce trendy things almost to a tee. I think trend is SO important, but I try to keep that to only a piece of the puzzle, and produce what is correct for the brand. 

 

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WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

Right now I’m designing and producing a merchandise wall for a coffee shop. It’s such a fun project because I feel like you can be quirky with coffee shop swag. Also, it’s multi-dimensional - I’m doing design, production, and visual merchandising so I can plan and curate every aspect.
 

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

I love taking inspiration from vintage typography and putting a modern spin on it.  My spring 2017 collection with Levi’s was a great example. I looked at some of the techniques from famous graphic designers of the 60’s like John Alcorn and Victor Moscoso and used them in modern ways that represented the Levi’s brand.
 

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

Many of my current clients have a limited budget, and can only afford to hire me to create their identity and not necessarily implement it in every situation going forward. I try to set them up the best I can, but I’d love to be able to design all future collateral; every social media post, newsletter, menu, etc to ensure consistency. 

 

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WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

People keep asking me when I’m going to launch my own brand or create my own product. I know it’s something I’m capable of doing, it just seems to keep getting pushed down the list by something more urgent or easier to tackle. I don’t want to admit it, but there is also a level of intimidation that’s holding me back.

 

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

For me, the hardest part about freelance is lack of collaboration with other designers. So, I would hire someone to sit next to me and talk with me about work all day. 
 

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

As a young designer, simply creating was very intimidating to me because I was afraid of producing something that wasn’t good. I wish I would’ve known that yes, that was true, but also that it was necessary. The times I’ve grown as a designer are the times I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. It always takes a few tries to get it right, but it’s always worth it. 
 

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

A collaborator at heart, I’d really love to grow Ephemera to a place where I can hire a full team. I’d like to have someone help me develop a 5 year plan to get there.
 

WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Generally, I like to work with people who are conscious of today's culture, understand the value of good design, and have the resources to fund it. 
 

DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

My ideal client trusts my process and doesn’t overthink or micro manage my design. Sometimes non-designers can get really caught up in the details, then pick apart the design until it’s very plain and doesn’t stand for much at all.  I also appreciate a client with good communication skills, who fully reads my emails and communicates their thoughts effectively. 
 

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

Living in a city with a low cost-of-living has its benefits in that I can keep my rate competitive. I typically charge $65/hr but most of my work is quoted on a project basis so that I don’t feel guilty about taking extra time to explore options if I need to. I can understand if my clients have budget constraints and I try to consider that by offering fewer design options or fewer rounds of revisions for a reduced rate.

 

HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Send me an email of course , and then let’s definitely set up a call or a coffee date. So much valuable client information is gleaned from conversation where he/she feels comfortable and just TALKS about their brand. Sometimes they need solutions that I can identify, but they have not yet thought through. The one thing I ask is that they have a good idea of their budget.  
 

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

Travel every other month.  Also: I workout.

 

 


This member profile was originally published in August 2017.