Episode 34

Episode 32: Creating cosmic connections through design with Lauren Dickens

Episode 32 features Lauren Dickens—an amazingly creative designer who specializes in brand identity and art direction. She’s has worked with some incredible clients including Target, Facebook, SXSW, and The Line Hotel. Lauren lives in Austin, Texas and has certainly left her mark around town—working with popular Austin establishments like Native Boutique Hostels, Better Half Coffee & Cocktails, STAG Provisions, and many others.

People might roll their eyes at like, ‘Oh, another enamel pin,’ but they’re cool. They’re like little trinkets of larger ideas and I think that, that small thing can mean all the world to someone that might be interested in it. And I love that idea of someone carrying my work out into the world.

In this episode, Dan and Lauren nerd out over typography, letterpress, process, and merch of all forms. Additionally, Lauren shares how important it is to her to work on personal projects and to have a sense of humor in her work. This episode even gets a little cosmic, so meet Dan and Lauren on the astral plane!

This episode is brought to you by Wix. Push the limits of design and start creating beautiful, impactful websites that are uniquely yours at

  1. Daughters 1 women apparel clothing stag daughters
  2. Shin Killer skateboard project loop design paint custom fundraiser deck
  3. Women's March Poster but take none give a shit pucker up salty lady women march fuck trump

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Dan: Hello there everybody, welcome to Overtime, this is Dribble’s official podcast. I’m Dan Cederholm, your host, this is episode 32, where we chat with Lauren Dickens. Lauren is an amazingly creative person. She’s a native Texan, currently in Austin, Texas. I’m just a giant, giant fan of her work. I think her work has a lot of personality to it. We talk about having a sense of humor and design work. We talk about getting cosmic and the astral plane and we talk about how personal work might lead to client work and how that differs. It’s a really awesome conversation with someone whose extremely creative and interesting and I think you’re really gonna enjoy this one. This week’s episode is brought to you by, push the limits of design and start creating beautiful, impactful websites that are uniquely yours with Wix. We’ll be talking much more about Wix later on in the episode.

I also want to again mention Hang Time Seattle, this is Dribble’s big one-day event in Seattle on May 15th. Tickets are available at a discounted price right now so you’re gonna wanna go grab tickets while they’re available. We’ve got quite a schedule planned for Hang Time Seattle. Lots of cool guests and speakers and activities and an after party and you’re gonna wanna come here. Aaron Draplin speak and Dana Tanamachi and Nathan Yoder and Koi Vinn, among many others so just go to for more info and to get tickets and we’ll see you in Seattle. And for now, I invite you to enjoy this excellent episode number 32 with Lauren Dickens.

Dan: Welcome to overtime, Lauren Dickens.

Lauren: Thank you Dan. Thanks for having me.

Dan: Yeah, thanks for being here. This is awesome because your work is awesome. I’m looking at, I was looking through this stuff before we hit record and I was laughing, I mean not … in a good, like in a happy way. Like oh my God, I can’t believe like this body of work. Like it’s just, it’s crazy and I don’t even know where to begin.

Like there’s just so much cool stuff in here and I guess it’d be cool to just … actually we should dive in there like one of your recent projects just to start to get the ball rolling because I know I wanna hear about like your, how you got started and what you’re up to and all that stuff.

But just to get into it, this latest project of yours, I think his daughter’s essential for women and the identity and branding work for that. It looks amazing. The Color Palette is super cool. Which I’ll be saying a lot by the way in this conversation, but tell us about that and then I think that’s a good way to start things off.

Lauren: Yeah, for sure. This was part of an existing company here in Austin, they actually have some stores in California now as well called Stag for men. Stag’s been around for a good bit and kind of the staple down here for basically men’s wear basics.

Dan: Yeah, really nice stuff.

Lauren: Yeah, really nice brands like RRL, Ralph Lauren’s kind of upper scale kind of hipster wear and stuff like that.

Dan: Totally, totally.

Lauren: They also have like local artisans with leather work in the shop as well and like some jewelry. So, it’s a really cool store. As a woman who tends towards, I would say less feminine clothing. I always was drawn to Stag, just to shop for myself.

When you try on men’s wear as a woman, the fit is just never quite right. We obviously aren’t built the same way. So, it was always kind of like a wish of mine that they would introduce some kind of women’s side of the store and one of the people that works at Stag is a wonderful woman named Gwen Riley.

And she approached me, and she had this idea as well for a few years and was finally trying to get it off the ground. So when she approached me, I was just, ecstatic obviously. Number one, that it was happening, and through that she wanted me to be a part of it and do the branding for her.

Yeah, and it was a really amazing team of women that took this thing on under the Stag umbrella. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jackie Lee Young’s work. She’s a photographer here in town, but-

Dan: No, I’m not actually.

Lauren: -as well, so she shot like the models with the pieces on it and I did the branding and Iconography. It all just came together and yeah, I’m super excited that that is now in the world and that I can shop there.

Dan: That’s what’s cool about it. It’s like you are actually a fan of the brand beforehand but wanted the women’s line and then here you are designing the branding for it, which is pretty cool, right?

Lauren: Yeah, it was actually like really appropriate. The launch party ended up being on international women’s Day, which was kind of serendipitous and it was a great time.

Dan: Wow. I’m looking at it now and I love it. The lettering and type and color and how was the process for that? Did they have something in mind for you, like a direction or I was wondering what the collaboration was there.

Lauren: Yeah, sure. Stag had a brand that was done by the Land boys years ago and so they wanted something that would … not necessarily be identical to that but kind of fit. Fit under that kind of aesthetic or umbrella, but then be able to stand on its own as well. And definitely wanted a little bit more of like, I guess a feminine touch.

Delicate kind of nature, so I really focused on the type itself. Stag kind of managed that as well, they use some iconography in their branding, but for the most part it’s just this word mark, this logo type.

So [inaudible 00:05:30] that for daughters as well and just really focused on the letter forms themselves and how they interacted with each other and tried to come up with some interesting ways that they formed together.

Dan: Well it looks … It’s totally in line with … you did an awesome job like making it feel like an extension of Stag, but having its own personality.

Lauren: Yeah, the Color Palette definitely kind of derived from there too, we wanted to more earthy tones, Kinda like neutrals that you would find in the store. Like that kind of army green or dark khaki color. That’s definitely what I’m drawn to in my day to day wardrobe. So it was kind of a no brainer for me.

Dan: It feels Austin to me too without being … I don’t mean that in like there’s an Austin style I guess. Well, I think there is maybe in a way like for my limited visits there, it feels like an Austin Brand. Do you think that there is an Austin style down there or?

Lauren: It’s funny, I’ve heard that come up in the design community before that there’s this set style in Austin. To be honest, I’m not even sure what that means. There’s a lot of really talented people here and I definitely think that as creatives, we feed off each other.

But at the same time I think there’s a breadth of work in very distinct styles within the community as well. So I try not to pay too much attention to that because I’m just kinda trying to do my thing and take each project as it comes in and let the client and the project itself dictate the work.

Dan: Which makes sense totally. I think you’re right, it’s probably that there’s like this high concentration of talent in Austin, right? So I think it was just consistently, it’s funny, even on Dribble, I’ll come across somebody and I’m like, “This is incredible.”

Of course, they’re in Austin. There’s just so much talent there and I don’t know why. I mean, for a while I didn’t know it’s a great city obviously. But did you grow up in Austin or Texas in general or?

Lauren: I am a native Texan, but I grew up in the Dallas Fort Worth area and spent up until high school there and came down to Austin, basically to go to college and just never left. Went to school at the University of Texas and actually, have a degree in design, which a lot of people these days seem to like not use their degree, but I’m one of the few, they’re using their degree.

Dan: I’m jealous actually.

Lauren: Yeah, I know right? I actually really value that time because it … our design program was a little, I would say unconventional in that. It’s not like it was, a graphic design program or a super-specific technical program.

It was more of like a design conceptual thinking program, kind of like loosened me up to these broader ideas and I think that influence can still be seen in my work today, which is cool. And something that I definitely think is important to the work that I do.

Dan: Yeah totally. [inaudible 00:09:41] that I was jealous earlier and honestly I am, like I’m jealous of … like I wish I had known that I had designed in me earlier in life, like college age or whatever. They actually took that kind of the web to unearth this lifetime move.

Oh, I have been paying attention to letters like I said that must be a music type biography. But I wonder did you always know that you wanted to be creative or?

Lauren: Well, I guess I knew I wanted to be creative, but I grew up drawing and mostly like illustrating and I don’t think I really knew that graphic design was a profession necessarily, like what if we interact with things that are designed by people all day but some reason doesn’t register on your radar as a profession.

So when I was graduating high school and thinking about what I wanted to do, I saw that UT had this like design program and I was really intrigued by it and I didn’t even really know, what exactly that meant.

But after going, through the process and through the courses, I really started to develop these sensitivities that I never would have thought, would be in my skill set. Like honestly, I just thought it would be drawing stuff for lack of a better term.

And I really got interested in typography because UT was fortunate to have the Rob Roy Kelly, type collection in our facilities. So I really started to work with type in a physical way in college. And it really opened me up to, to really typography in general.

And I think the way that letter press, in particular dictates the design process can still be seen in my work to today. Even digitally. I like to think of it as a puzzle. You know, it’s like these lock ups and things are more of a puzzle than anything else.

Dan: That’s interesting. So did you study letter press at school as well?

Lauren: So there wasn’t technically like a letter press class, but, it was kind of an extra curricular. It was basically just a resource that we could use for certain projects and once I was introduced to it, they couldn’t get me away from it.

Dan: It’s predictive, isn’t it? I’ve just started working on a side project that’s entirely letter press. It’s fascinating because I don’t have … I’m just doing everything late in life here, but like it’s so interesting watching the process and the things you have to the extra things you have to worry about, like you’re printing on paper or both sides of the paper or like how like-

Lauren: There’s no command z.

Dan: Exactly.

Lauren: You have to reset everything if you wanna make an adjustment. It’s pretty crazy. I think that taught me a lot of patience with my work as well. And also not being too precious about it because there’s always gonna be some kind of imperfection with letter press.

In my work now, and I mostly work digital now, which sometimes I feel is unfortunate. I would love to get my hands dirty more, but I try to embrace these imperfections and try not to let them pull me up too much from letting a piece go out into the world.

Dan: I love that, and it shows in your work. I was gonna ask about the daughters project, but other ones as well here, what logistically the process would be like, is it hand it, there is a very handmade quality to a lot of your work, but you’re working digitally?

Lauren: I wouldn’t say my process tends to vary. I really don’t spend too much time sketching on pen and paper and once I have an idea, I just go for it. I tend to work pretty intuitively, which it serves me well so far. But I can definitely see how other designers like that sketching phase and to really flush out ideas.

But I think it goes back to what I was saying with the letter press stuff. I really kind of viewed design is almost like a puzzle more than like this crafting of a piece. I’m really intended not be too precious about my work. And I think that’s important in our field especially for client work.

Dan: Yeah, totally because for them it’s the most important thing. And not necessarily … I love it. I work similarly too, well I know I do a lot of sketching and never have much. I think it’s because I’m a bad sketcher though, I’m just not that good at sketching, but I wonder, do you use any digital sketching tools or is it mostly a mouse driven?

Lauren: Currently it is mouse but me and my studio mates have actually been … we’ve all been talking about getting iPads and trying that whole thing. Because you know, I obviously follow a lot of designers online and have heard about other designers processes with the iPad and it seems to speed up the process immensely, which is never a bad thing, especially when you’re doing like really intricate illustrations that clicking that mouse takes forever.

Dan: It hurts your wrist after a while too.

Lauren: Yeah. I don’t want that-

Dan: No, no, exactly.

Lauren: What do you think I’m already having fun.

Dan: I might too. For a while I was just using the Trackpad only to … which is completely terrible, right?

Lauren: I’ve definitely been there.

Dan: Yeah.

Lauren: Sometimes it’s necessary.

Dan: Yeah, totally. If you’re stuck. This is really amazing to me because I really not just saying this, like I really love all your work and just like scrolling through it here is just amazing and there seems to be a sense of … maybe his sense of humor, I guess I could put it or wakefulness or in a lot of your work, which I really appreciate too.

I was wondering if you could talk about that a little bit too. Is that intentional or is it just sort of a byproduct of your personality when you’re designing or?

Lauren: I think it’s a little bit of both. I think it’s definitely somewhat intentional. I love making people laugh, and I like surprising people to … I also like surprising myself. And when that happens while I’m designing is probably one of the best feelings you can have as a designer when you can step back and be like, “Wow, that’s really something that I’ve tapped into something here.”

That’s a really incredible feeling. So, it’s really not like I started a project, and the goal that I’ve set for myself is that I want to make people laugh about finding that connection between whatever I’m trying to communicate, conceptually and then tying the visuals back into that.

Almost like an infinite loop, if that makes sense. Injecting some weight into the work and basically these larger concepts that really help the work resonate with people and keeps it interesting for me, doing the work. Because if you’re not having fun, then why be doing what you’re doing?

Dan: Amen. Yeah, totally. Just as an example, you design a skateboard, and it’s like the original Shin killer, beautiful script Shin killer deluxe, which is hilarious. But also like its intention isn’t just to be funny, which is kind of what you were saying before, but it is, and it works perfectly as a brand. How did that come about?

Lauren: Okay, that project was a three-year project called Project loop, a photographer here in town. He lives in. Well, actually he lives in Taylor, Texas. Started project loop in order to build a skate park for the kids of Taylor. There’s a lot of creative kids out there and he felt like they didn’t really have an outlet for that creativity.

So, basically for three years, there’s a roster of artists and designers that donated some work to be auctioned off in order to raise funds to build that park. And the park is actually, I think it might be complete by now. But I’ve been following their Instagram feed and it looks sick. He’s a skatertram.

Dan: Yeah. So, that was a good cause that you got involved in then.

Lauren: Yeah. I try to do that when I can some pro bono stuff or some things for a cause that I believe in. The shin pillar piece in particular, it’s funny that you bring that up because that was kind of the first stab at creating a brand for a thing that’s like not real. Like a fake brand and I’ve started to do that more lately too.

Like I don’t know if you saw the Circle Jerk Boys club and then the extra salty lady lot. They’re all kind of doing the same thing. They’re like these fake brands or like this big brand packaging for a concept essentially.

Dan: Yeah. Which is so cool. It’s amazing and it doesn’t look fake at all to me. I was going to ask about those as like, what client was this? Because it’s so cool. Is it sort of like, what does that do for you in terms of … obviously it’s not a client so you’re not necessarily getting paid for it, but it’s still it’s fun and yeah. What do you get out of it?

Lauren: So for the women’s March poster in particular, it’s kind of a lighthearted way to take on these really tough issues. As a human being, I would say I tend to use humor as a tool in a lot of ways or at least humor to talk about deeper things. And so I think that it’s number one, a really great exercise for me to really gather my thoughts and the world we live in is such a touchy place right now.

And so trying to inject a little bit of humor into these concepts, in trying to get a laugh out of people or bring people together in that way I think is a step in the right direction because it’s harder to be serious all the time about these things, even though you know it’s important.

Dan: Well, yeah, absolutely. That’s such a great way to look at it actually. I am very similar and I try to use humor whenever I can. Getting people to laugh is like important to me. I think that’s actually a brilliant. I was supposed to say angle, is not the right word, but way to approach some of these difficult topics as you said. Right?

Lauren: Right.

Dan: I think that’s great because it … I mean just visually it’s so interesting and then if there’s something else behind that, something important that you’re trying to call attention to, then that’s even better. I mean, I guess that’s graphic design really. That’s like successful graphic design, right? If the message is getting across, you know you’ve done your job.

Lauren: Sure.

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Dan: So you do client work, but you also enjoy like personal projects as well. I noticed you have your own store as well. Awful Goods?

Lauren: Yeah.

Dan: Which is super cool. I have to ask about that because I’m obsessed lately with just merchant and getting things made as a cap and we’re going to link all this stuff obviously in the show notes, but there’s a cap that says dance on it. So it’s a dunce cap, which I think is brilliant. Oh it’s sold out shoot.

Lauren: Yeah. That was actually the first product that I launched, I guess it was about two years ago, two and a half years ago now. But I use Ebbets field in collaboration with them and great, great quality hats, but basically Awful Goods is kind of this … it started as an outlet for these silly stupid ideas that I had, because at the time I was working at a studio and needed just like an outlet for some of this stuff.

So I decided to start this kind of side hustle and started using it as a way to release personal work. Because I really love the idea of just coming up with these one liners or one-off phrases and concepts that people relate to and for lack of a better term, want to wear on their bodies or want to use in some way.

You know, I know the enamel pen and my patch thing is like super trendy right now, but there’s a reason for that and it’s a really easy way to get people to see your work and where your work and you know, I’m all for people relating to each other and supporting each other in that way.

So I think it’s awesome and people might roll their eyes at like, “Oh, another enamel pin,” but they’re cool. They’re like little trinkets of larger ideas and I think that, that small thing can mean all the world to someone that might be interested in it. And I love that idea of someone carrying my work out into the world.

Dan: Yeah. I love it too, and I don’t care if they’re trendy either. I think the patches and pins are so fun and like you said, a great way for designers to get their stuff out there and in a very affordable way for people too.

Lauren: Exactly. And also like, enamel pin in particular, like it’s very noncommittal. People like to like them and it’s almost like, “What’s the flavor of the day?” Like, how do I feel today? What am I going to let people know about me right now?

Dan: Yeah, that’s true. Like you can’t have too many of them. It’s not like you’ll reach a point where you’re like, wow, I did that. I got my pins and now I’m done. It’s like you’re collecting them.

Lauren: Yeah. Exactly.

Dan: Yeah. I love that.

Lauren: People don’t really do anymore. Like, I don’t really collect anything. I guess I collect hat.

Dan: That’s a good thing. So yeah, I mean like on the patch pin thing, like there’s a bunch of them on here that I love. I mean the gay ambassador patch is really cool. I wonder if you could tell us about that.

Lauren: Yeah, for sure. So, I am gay, first of all. I was just kind of like … I think at the time there is a bunch of stuff going on with the Supreme Court and that whole decision. So I wanted again like a lighthearted way to bring basically support for certain cause. Why not make like a military-style rainbow gay patch like that’s-

Dan: It’s awesome. It’s so great.

Lauren: Like I love the kind of juxtaposition of these visual languages, like the rainbow and kind of this military surplus style. It’s a weird kind of don’t ask, don’t tell vibe thing going on.

Dan: Great. Well it’s cool. Your description like, be militant in your support for equality and do ask, do tell which is awesome.

Lauren: Right. Yeah.

Dan: It’s such a great … this brilliant because it’s like a really creative way of joining the … I was supposed to join the debate, but you know, like getting your point across with a little bit of lightheartedness but also about something that’s super important and super relevant. And I got to buy one of these because I think it’s perfect.

Lauren: And anyone can be a gay ambassador, you don’t have to be gay.

Dan: That’s what I love about it because as a non-gay person like I … but that’s something I could wear and I could help support.

Lauren: Totally. It’s definitely going back to the women’s March poster and this personal work. It’s definitely like a way to subvert the dialogue about how these things are usually presented. It can be really polarizing.

And I think at the end of the day for me at least, it’s easier to engage with people if there’s some element of light-heartedness and more of a human element because I find it so off putting when people are just at each other’s throats and like so stubborn and set in their ways. It can be really difficult.

Dan: Totally agreed. And I think that’s what’s so great about the patch and I mean a lot of the other stuff that you’ve created too but like yeah, it’s a way of joining the conversation without getting into a screaming match with somebody because that’s tough.

I mean, it’s a tough world out there. The other one I got to ask you about because I’m into just space stuff and meet with me astrally, which again is like the design is awesome. And then it’s like … I just love the concept. I got to hear about this too.

Lauren: Yeah. I got pretty heady with the description of this one too. And I’m definitely like, this is something if you’re a friend of mine, you know about me can be, I would say a little difficult to really crack my shell, but once we’re like tight I will go as deep as you want to. I don’t hold back. So this is a introduction to that world or that side of me. But yeah, it’s just like just cosmic man. I don’t know.

Dan: Exactly. I was going to say exactly that, but I didn’t want to sound, you know.

Lauren: Cheeky.

Dan: Yeah.

Lauren: [inaudible 00:32:14]

Dan: No.

Lauren: I’ll put myself there. I don’t care. I’ll be cheeky all day long. If you want to get like really deep, let’s go. Let’s do it. My mother passed away when I was a teenager and so sometimes she visits me in my dreams and I totally believe that, like when that happens, I feel differently afterwards, and I don’t think that that is a coincidence.

I don’t have it figured out by any means. But I know that whatever makes me feel I guess secure or validated in my own life, then I’m going to kind of pursue and you know and this idea of meeting someone on the astral plane and like having a conversation with someone who might not be in your physical realm or your physical reality is really intriguing to me. So that’s kinda where that came from.

Dan: I love this. Oh my gosh. I wanna start the episode over and just start this and then-

Lauren: Talk all about that?

Dan: Yeah. I really have to hold myself back here. Because, yeah, I agree like I have dreams like that too. Where it feels very different than a normal dream and that’s kind of why they stand out for me. And like it’s pretty crazy.

And so like you I don’t pretend to have things figured out either, but I think having that open mind about where we fit into the greater cosmos is just like a … not only is it fascinating, but it’s like a healthy thing.

Lauren: Yeah. I talk to my friend Keith about this all the time. I’m sure you’re familiar with Keith’s work as well.

Dan: Yeah.

Lauren: He definitely likes to go deep and we’ve had conversations about this exact thing and I think for me living in that unknown is more interesting than trying to act like I have it all figured out.

Because, at the end of the day, no one really knows what the fuck they’re doing. They’re just going to do the best they can.

Dan: That’s true.

Lauren: We may portray ourselves a certain way online or otherwise in our daily lives. But I think really getting to the core of it is like getting down to basic human nature stuff. That’s what really interests me and that tends to come up a lot in my personal work as well.

Dan: Which is really cool. I was just gonna say like a lot of your work is personal, which I think is great. Do you think that, that’s helped you on the client end of things? Like do people … is that stuff resonate with a client where they’re like we resonate with … we love what you’re doing here and that we want you to do something for us that’s personal or is it totally two separate things?

Lauren: That’s a really good question. I think they are separate from me because I tend to not hold … while I’m very proud of a lot of my client work. I tend to not hold it as precious as my personal work obviously because it’s not really mine.

You know, it’s my work and I had a hand in it, but at the end of the day you set it free and it becomes something else. Once it’s out in the world and carried forward by the client.

Dan: Right. Yeah that makes sense. I think that’s healthy too like not being too precious about client stuff as opposed to your personal.

Lauren: Yeah, I can definitely be challenging at times because there’s egos involved everywhere and I try to keep mine in check as possible but it’s a creative field. It’s a subjective field, so there’s always going to be opinions and neither of them are necessarily right because of the nature of what we do.

So navigating that kind of stuff is a challenge at times, but it definitely comes with the territory and I joke that our professional side of things with client tends to be almost more like therapy than design work sometimes, especially with like … I do mostly brand identity stuff and that can get really, really intense, especially startup companies.

This is everything to them and they really value you and need your help. And so recognizing that I think is important and definitely removing the ego is important when handling clients.

Dan: Yeah. That’s not always easy, I know. It’s hard not to take every opportunity to be like, “How can I express myself here?”

Lauren: Right?

Dan: Or it’s like, “Oh, no wait. This is their thing.” It’s difficult.

Lauren: It can be, but then it can also be really amazing. Like the best kind of space, I feel to work in is one that’s really collaborative, but one that also allows for people’s strongest suits to be amplified in and for there to be a lot of trust in that, and I’ll use Better Half as an example for that, which is a recent project that I worked on.

Dan: Yes, I wanted to ask about that.

Lauren: So there’s a bar here in town called Brew & Brew that’s pretty well established. It’s been around for a few years and Better Half is kind of their new venture to coffee and coffee cocktail concept.

One of the guys we were buds before and he really liked my work and this particular project was actually kind of a catalyst for me going out on my own and they had the name already and I loved the name.

Kind of met the other partners and we hit it off and they really just let me go crazy. Like there was pretty much zero kickback on any of the work that I presented, which is like unheard of in a process.

Dan: Yeah that’s so true. It’s a dream.

Lauren: It really was. And like they just put together this dream team of architects and interior designers and design build places and garden architectural landscaping stuff and it came together. It’s a perfect representation of hiring the right people and letting them do their job. Just let’s let everyone do what they’re good at and sit back and see what happens.

Dan: Yeah. That’s like it’s cosmic when that happens.

Lauren: It’s inevitable. You can’t really put it into words. It almost becomes more of a feeling. And I think that feeling really comes across when you walk into the space and really experience it.

Dan: The work is brilliant. I mean I’m just looking at it now too, it’s got so much personality and it sounds like that’s mostly from you or do they give you direction on that as well or?

Lauren: So like the concept for the space itself was kind of like this West Texas Diner vibe. And so that was really like the first jumping off point. And then for me it was about kind of communicating the personality of them as kind of this trio and the name itself, like really, really playing off of the name. I mean there’s so much that you can do with that.

Dan: There really is.

Lauren: And I was just kinda like off to the races and went crazy with it. And the system itself is really loose, like they’re almost are no rules with it, and that really opens me up to continue to have fun with it as it grows, which is important for me as a designer because, I mean, you work on something for too long and it can start to get a little stale. I definitely had that experience in the past. So just trying to keep it fresh and fun down the line is important.

Dan: I love that you’ve got this whole like visual language going on with this like, there’s so many visual metaphors for Better Half. You’ve done a lot of them, it’s so cool. But there is like this very perfect color Palette and line weights are uniform and stuff like that. And then the illustration is just yeah. I wouldn’t even know where to begin here.

Lauren: Thanks.

Dan: So good.

Lauren: It was fun to do, that’s for sure.

Dan: Are you close enough where you can go there regularly for coffee and cocktails?

Lauren: Yeah. So I live on the east side and this place is on the west side, but in Austin it’s really easy to get across town. It’s not so easy to get up and down town, you know, like north and south is no fun, but I can pop over there in about 10 minutes, I’d say.

Dan: That’s cool. It must be awesome to go in and like everything is so familiar.

Lauren: Oh yeah.

Dan: I think going back to the beginning where I was like, is there an Austin style? I think what I was thinking of, was when I visit Austin, a lot of, I don’t know, like the restaurant or like shops, bars, they all seem to value branding maybe more so to me than other cities or at least the concentration of it is higher.

And do you think that’s because the people starting those businesses are just more savvy and creative or is it that the concentration of talent there is also the reason.

Lauren: It’s probably because a lot of designers hang out in coffee shops.

Dan: It’s true actually, yeah. It really is though yeah.

Lauren: No, I mean we have an obscene amount of coffee in Austin and on the other end an obscene amount of bars. So, I think that they kind of feed each other for sure like the creative community obviously, it’s notorious like designer hangs out in coffee shop. They feed each other. I guess would be my comment on that.

Dan: Yeah it makes sense.

Lauren: I definitely feel like living here right now there’s ample opportunity for independent designers like myself to get really interesting work because there’s so much opportunity. There so many new places popping up every week it seems like. So yeah, it’s been great.

Dan: So cool. I need to get back to Austin.

Lauren: Yeah, you should come down here.

Dan: Yeah. I want to see. I want to see all your work, you know, for real up-close. What’s next for you Lauren, like is there anything non secretive that you can tell us about?

Lauren: I’ll just kinda speak broadly here. I’d love to start traveling more for work. I am a big cultural leach, I would call it. I really feed off of new places and new experiences and new things like that.

So I would love to post up in Chicago or LA for a week or two and just hunkered down with some clients and get some work done and experience some new things. So that’s, I would say a goal of mine for this year and the coming years and then again more broadly, I think just opening myself up to new opportunities.

I’ve been working as a designer for a while now and I would like to find this place where all of my sensitivities can rest and I’m a big people person. I obviously love making people laugh. I love spending time with people.

And I also love writing and I’ve been concepting ways to bring all of these sensibilities together. And that’s more of a personal project that I’ll be taking on, but I think there’ll be some cool stuff in the future.

Dan: Awesome. I can’t wait to see it, honestly. This is so good. Thanks so much for taking the time with us today it’s really … like I said, the work is just amazing. So it was like super treat to hear behind the scenes.

Lauren: Yeah, of course. It was really fun talking to about it all and thank you so much for having me.

Dan: Yeah. Thanks again, Lauren.

Lauren: Of course.