Position Spotlight: Freelance Brand Designer
Today we sit down with Lana Belton, freelance Brand Designer, and hear how she became a Graphic Designer, what she likes most about freelancing at GetYourGuide, and how she balances speed with perfection.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Lana. I’m a Canadian graphic designer. I came to Berlin four years ago to study communication design at the University of Europe, formerly Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule. I run a design agency called Studio Skulptur (instagram: @studioskulptur) with Emma Skaaning and Madeleine Berg, who I met at university.
How did StudioSkulptur begin?
There are a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, but to be honest I didn’t see myself starting an agency so quickly after studying.
In my university, we had a few different internship semesters, and while I went to intern with a Graphic Designer here in Berlin, Madeleine and Emma actually started their own studio. I came on for a few collaborations while we were studying and really enjoyed the dynamic. I was already seeing the direction they were taking their studio, so it was a very easy and natural decision when they asked if I’d be interested in coming on and making it a new entity.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
No, I didn’t. I came to Berlin to study design, but it actually wasn’t my first degree. Originally, I received a degree in business administration in Canada and worked as a project manager and account manager at different advertising agencies.
Working and brainstorming with the designers was the part of my job I enjoyed the most. I loved seeing the different creative directions they could take a project and eventually seeing the final product. Working closely with designers made me realize design was the path I wanted to pursue.
So I decided to go back to school and to go to school in Berlin, because I figured if I’m changing one aspect of my life, I might as well change it all. It was such an amazing decision, and the rest is history.
When did you start working with GetYourGuide?
I started with GetYourGuide as a working student in 2015. I’ve come and gone from GetYourGuide over the years, exploring different paths in my career, but I’ve always felt a connection here. I’ve had so many great colleagues and mentors here throughout that time.
Can you give us a brief summary of what being a Freelance Brand Designer entails?
I have worked on a large variety of design projects for GetYourGuide, but my focus has been mostly on employer branding with projects like designing a relocation guide and collateral for job fairs and events, to name a few.
What is your favorite thing about freelancing at GYG?
The team at GetYourGuide has a really lovely, positive energy. Things move quickly and everyone is always open to brainstorming and trying something new. There’s also lot of room to develop and explore new things. Through my design agency, I work with some small clients who are just at the start of going after their dreams, so to freelance at GYG and see how far following your dreams can go is really inspiring.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The most challenging aspect is working on tight deadlines and time management. It’s a very positive atmosphere at GetYourGuide, but there is a level of performance required.
It’s also challenging and important to for me to be able to strike a balance between delivering things quickly and delivering things perfectly. It’s important to know how to manage delivering things quickly and iterating on a design as opposed to really taking time and crafting every single detail.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working in the travel industry?
It’s rewarding to work on a product or service that is really a part of people’s lives, maybe even the nicest part of people’s lives. They plan for it, they look forward to it. Travel makes up some of the most formative experiences a person can have.
When I look back, it’s the amazing experiences I had on a trip that I really remember and the stories I keep coming back to, so working on something that creates such a joyful experience for people feels good. Not the mention, the industry is changing and growing so quickly, it’s cool to see the different trends and movements.
Why is now a good time to join the Brand team?
Now is a really amazing time to join the team because there’s a great opportunity to push the brand to the next level. There’s so much possibility right now and the potential for some really interesting and high-visibility projects.
Furthermore, the resources and drive we have at GYG to make these projects happen is pretty rare. There’s so much momentum and support behind the Brand team. I think this will become a great playground for design over the coming months.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to work as a Senior Brand Designer/Art Director with GetYourGuide?
Keep a positive attitude and know that that the team here is so supportive. There’s a sense of positivity when working with GYG that even when things get stressful, the energy here keeps you going. The team is always open to discussing different solutions to find the best way forward. Be open and flexible and don’t be afraid to experiment.
What is your top destination that you have visited and the destination at the top of your “must-go” list?
Two years ago I visited Georgia which was an incredible experience. We visited monasteries for wine tastings, looked at ancient frescoes in churches, and even had a traditional feast with live music. My favorite part was visiting the remote village of Ushguli in the Caucasus mountains. The drive up the mountain road was terrifying but it was well worth it! I really want to go to Japan. The food, the design, the architecture. It looks so beautiful, it’s definitely next on my list.