Contributor Spotlight: Providence Studio

by Caitlin Crews

posted on 12-10-2018

Laura Providence is a graphic designer based in New York City who runs her own boutique design services as Providence Studio. Previously, Laura worked as an interactive designer at a production agency before she decided to branch out independently to design on her own terms. As a template contributor on Adobe Stock, her designs span across InDesign CC, Photoshop CC, and Illustrator CC, creating modern, clean, and eye-catching work. The Adobe Stock templates team was able to sit down with Laura and chat about her process, motivations, and most importantly her hopes for future design work.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and education in Design?

For as long as I can remember, I was in charge of designing flyers and marketing materials for family members who owned their own businesses. Yet somehow, I was on track to be a pharmacist at the University of Connecticut. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized majoring in pharmacy really wasn’t my calling. From there, I transferred out of the University of Connecticut to the School of Visual Arts, where I graduated with a BFA in graphic design. Two days before graduation, I secured a job as an interactive designer at a production agency in New York City. I spent the next four years gaining experience in designing digital and social media content for major brands before leaving to start Providence Studio.

Download Providence Studio’s Social Media Post Layout Set here.

Where did you find your entrepreneurial spirit?

My entrepreneurial spirit has always been present. Since I was little, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of getting people to pay me for things. I understood the concept of supply and demand at a rather early age, and would practice this on a daily basis at school during recess. Whether I was charging kids for snacks that I brought from home or “gel pen tattoos” or printed song lyrics (so they wouldn’t have to go to the library to print them out), I knew that one day I would like to be my own boss. Also, working for an agency I was mostly put on urban accounts, and hearing how much my company was getting paid to make a simple website, I realized how much someone was willing to pay and compared those figures against my salary. Being one of the few females and a woman of color at my job, I knew it was time to pivot. As long as I have a laptop and Wi-Fi, I can make money.

Can you describe your experience as a woman of color in the design industry?

Being a woman of color in design, more specifically a black woman in design, has been a continuous roller coaster. In some rooms, I’m looked at as a “unicorn” — a formally trained designer that has agency experience, a degree in design, and the skin color that can make a company appear to be diverse. In other rooms, my skin color automatically makes me a less-qualified candidate. The reality is: there’s a major diversity problem in design, and it unfortunately becomes obvious when you’re an underrepresented person operating within it. As a woman of color, you must always know your worth and never let anyone feel like you’re not qualified to get the job done. Two other female writers and I are starting a group for black creatives called “Kindrd,” and we are focusing on diversity and inclusion and professional development. We all share a similar experience and decided to push the importance of professional wellness.

In the future, where do you see design moving for people of color?

I think there needs to be a resurgence of creativity in the black community — a shift that brings light back into design. Parents need to be OK with sending their kids to art school. A person can make a living doing something creative and earn just as much money as a dentist or lawyer would. To impact the future, we need to start with community — design makes or breaks the world.

Download Providence Studio’s Promotional Postcard Layout here.

What is your creative process?

My creative process relies heavily on the research and development stage. Before starting any project, I spend a great amount of time making sure I have an understanding of everything that is involved with it. I like to have complete insight on the industry, the audience, the history — everything. When you know who you’re creating for and why, it makes the design phase so much easier and fulfilling. I write everything down.

What gives you inspiration?

New York City. As a native, I love just venturing out into the city when I need an inspiration refill. The people, the food, the subway rides, the architecture, the neighborhoods — inspiration can be found everywhere you look.

How has Adobe Stock and template creation changed the way you approach creative design?

When it comes to the way I approach creative design, creating templates for Adobe Stock has taught me to cut the fluff and get to the point. Don’t just design for design’s sake, design with purpose and intention. Template creation has allowed me to put myself in the client’s shoes to understand what they truly need from a template for it to be useful to them. Making templates has really helped me pivot into freelance work and making a template for users to have a beautiful place to start. A template doesn’t need to waste your time. A template needs to be ”plug and play” ready, easy to edit, and most importantly, well-designed, yet customizable.

Download Providence Studio’s Real Estate Flyer Layout here.

What is a typical day for you, and what keeps you motivated?

Since I work from home, there’s really no such thing as a typical day for me. While I prefer to work from my home office, I do like to get out and explore coffee spots and coworking spaces throughout the city. I start the day with a cup of coffee and music as I write a daily to-do list — I like to be able to literally cross things off my to-do list as I finish tasks. My daily workload is a mixture of client work and template creation. In a perfect world my workday is finished around 3 p.m., but of course when reality hits, some days I find myself working late into the night. One of the main reasons I decided to start working for myself was to have the freedom to do whatever I want on any given day. On some days, if I want to end the day early and go to the movies, I can. If I want to start the workday at 8 p.m. instead of 8 a.m., I can. The freedom for every day to potentially be different is what keeps me motivated. That, and keeping the bills paid.

Best tunes for getting into a creative flow?****

I’m a big fan of classical music, ambient sounds, and instrumentals to help get into a creative flow. I love listening to all genres while I’m actually designing, but I find it’s easier to get into a flow listening to music without lyrics.

Where do you see your design going in the next 5-10 years?

I see my design going back to print in the next 5-10 years. While digital design plays a major part in our everyday lives, there’s something special about being able to design something tangible. ”Old” things are making a comeback: film photography, vinyl, zines. The oversaturation of online content will have people looking for content offline, such as indie publications. I’ll be here for that. I look forward to getting more experimental with print design in the future.

Any words of wisdom can you share with creative people who are interested in becoming template designers?

Creating templates is a great way to build a portfolio, get better at your craft, create projects you normally don’t design, and make some passive income. If any of those things sound intriguing to you, it’s worth giving a shot. Just remember: when creating templates, you must put yourself in the client’s seat. When you do that, you’re able to have a clearer understanding of what details the client might need to be present in the template.

Check out Providence Studio’s portfolio on Adobe Stock.

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Stock, InDesign, Photoshop, Creative Cloud