Artist helps firms show their vision
After earning an art education degree from Appalachian State University, LAUREN GEORGE taught middle and high school art for four years. While she enjoyed teaching drawing, clay and fiber arts, and screen printing, George knew she wasn’t passionate about it.
“Teaching was only about 50% of the job,” she says. “The rest was things like creating lesson plans, grading work, and maintaining art supplies and equipment.”
After designing a logo for her father’s furniture business, then creating designs for friends, George realized she enjoyed graphic design and creating imagery that best represents a business. So, she taught herself Adobe Creative Suite by watching videos online. “It worked out, that during my last year of teaching, I was learning graphic design and teaching my students the same principles of art and design at the same time,” she says.
In 2018, George quit teaching to pursue starting her own business, Arete Graphix.
“Arete is a Greek word that means to do something at the highest level of excellence,” she explains. “I wanted the business name to match my core values and reflect why I started my business. When I do something, I’m going to do the very best I can.”
While building her client base, George worked part-time at local cafes and coffee shops. A year later, she was designing full-time. “I was nervous I wasn’t going to be able to do it,” she says. “But everyone, from my parents and my boyfriend, now husband, was so supportive.”
The pandemic shutdown was scary for Gordon. “Some months I had no business,” she says. “But I care so much about this business because it’s important to me that I love what I do. I don’t want it to fail so I put in the hours to make it work.”
When working with clients, George starts with a questionnaire. “I want them to describe their business, the meaning behind the business name, core values, target audiences, and what sets them apart,” she says. “Art is emotional, so if I can get a feel for what they want the brand to look and feel like, it helps me capture their vision.”
If a client already has a current brand, George asks them to expand on what they like and don’t like about it. Next, she asks clients to provide reference images to see what styles and colors they gravitate towards. She also encourages them to view her portfolio and choose a style they like.
George then creates three to four concepts in black and white. “I use black and white for the initial concepts to avoid swaying their opinion,” she explains. Using feedback from the client, George refines and edits, then finalizes fonts and colors. “When complete, I package everything they need to take their brand to where they need it,” she says. This includes providing font files, color codes, style guides, and primary and secondary logos.
Her designs can be seen around town, from Cheeky Monkey (pictured) in downtown Wilmington, Mariposa Tapas Bar, the Starling Bar, and more.
Social media and word of mouth have fueled Arete Graphix’s growth.
“I really focus on relationships with my clients,” George says. “I put people first and it feels good that they share the word with someone else.”
Her goal is to one day have a brick-and-mortar location to meet with clients and sell goods like t-shirts and stickers. “It’s not a need right now,” George says. “For now, I want to continue to use art to help businesses and individuals communicate and express themselves.”
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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