Creative Q+A: Shauna Haider

Creative Q+A: Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Tell us a little bit about how We Are Branch came to be. As soon as I started my graphic design program in 2006, I began freelancing to bring in extra income. Over the next seven years, my list of clients continued to build while I worked at a variety of design studios, gaining as much real world experience as possible.

In 2013, I was at a crossroads — I couldn’t expand my freelance business any further because I was completely maxed out. I quit my agency job, launched Branch a few weeks later and haven’t looked back. Working 100% for myself has been some of the hardest work of my life but also the most rewarding and I get to work with people I have immense respect for…including my mom!

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Describe your design style. Modern with an edge. I like clean lines, pops of color and solutions that stand the test of time. I keep up with design trends because it’s important to stay informed but I’m always sitting with work before I turn it in, asking myself if it’s the best solution and if it feels balanced.

What are some of your main responsibilities at Branch + what does a typical day consist of? I’m the Creative Director so I’m always focusing on the big picture — how our processes work, how many clients we have the capacity for, what we want to take on more of, what we want less of. I also spend a lot of time in email and on calls, making sure our clients are taken care of. Those personal relationships are really important to me. When I’m not doing those things, I’m designing. I first set out to be a part of the design industry because I loved creating and I never want to lose that personal connection.

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

What are you currently working on? A little bit of everything! I’m wrapping up the design of a digital course for my other business, The Blogcademy, a branding system for a princess, the design of a new skincare line, a bunch of websites for creatives, a few books…the list goes on. I welcome the mix because it keeps me on my toes, thinking about different solutions.

Talk about one of your most treasured projects. In 2007, I was in my second semester of my design program when an email came in during class. It was from a band signed to Virgin records, asking if I was available to design their album artwork. I was so distracted that my teacher called me out in class. The embarrassment quickly wore off when I read through the email more closely — the artwork would be distributed worldwide and the payment was the equivalent of my entire year of school.

I spent the next two weeks sitting on the floor of my bedroom, cutting and pasting the 12 panels of artwork together and somehow delivered it on time. At the time, I was very inexperienced with design when this job happened and it gave me a lot more confidence to work with larger clients.

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Is there a fellow creative that you look up to and why? I’m always chatting with my design peers and follow a lot of their blogs but beyond that, I try to look outside of the industry for inspiration. I’m a big fan of an eclectic mix of musicians including Marilyn Manson, George Michael, Steve Perry, Boy George….the list goes on.

Where do you pull inspiration from? Everywhere! I always carry a camera in my purse and snap photos every chance I get. I also flip through fashion magazines and focus in on unique colors and textures. Online, I like scrolling through Dribbble and Pinterest to keep up on trends.

Shauna Haider / creative director of branch & co-founder of the blogcademy

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? That is such a big question! I’m trying to figure that out for myself right now…but overall, I’m pretty happy with my life. Anything else awesome that happens is the icing on top!

Lastly, any life advice? Deep down, you know what you were meant to do. Listen to yourself. Following what anyone else is doing will leave you unfulfilled. It’s hard stepping out and doing your own thing at first but the more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of the experience.

studio / workshop / blog

  1. Alex

    I’m so glad to read this q&a with Shauna Haider. I’ve been reading her blog for years and always leave her site feeling motivated. I love the advice she gives and will need to keep pondering it.

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