A few months ago, I got the most adorable card for my birthday. Curious as to who the designer was, I looked up the name and BINGO, came across Balue/Co. I loved the style, and upon learning more about the company and designer, discovered they were based in Seattle. I emailed Lauren, the founder and creative behind this fun brand, to see how our home town influences her work, and what her art background is.
1. What was the inspiration behind starting Balue/Co.?
Balue/Co. was born out of a need for a creative outlet outside of the corporate design job I had at the time. Balue evolved out of a little blog and Etsy shop I was running at the time, simply called Lauren Wallace Design. Back then I made jewelry, but my background is in graphic design, and I eventually felt that I wanted to take my shop in a more graphics-focused route. I’m continuously inspired by pattern design, and began working within that more and more in my spare time. I launched the collection in 2013, and Balue/Co. was born!
2. If you could describe your company in three words, what would they be?
Focusing on the experience I want people to have when they encounter Balue/Co. cards, I would have to say versatile, thoughtful, and a little playful.
3. Do you have an art background, or were you naturally gifted?
I grew up drawing, and I’ve dabbled in most of the studio arts, but it wasn’t until college when I really became focused on graphic design, which is what I got my degree in. Lately, I’ve been enjoying getting back into a studio environment, working on a variety of little side projects involving hand lettering and illustration. It’s a fun challenge to create art off of the computer, and I enjoy the imperfection of non-digital work.
4. What are some things you do when you have a creative block?
Well, in Seattle it’s definitely going outside for a walk around the lake, or just through the winding quiet roads behind my place. Otherwise, I think just getting away from your project for a while, even just 15 minutes, can be a real help. I watch YouTube videos, clean my apartment, bake something tasty… I’ve definitely found that my best work comes organically when I take my time with a project. If only projects could be like that at work!
5. How much does Seattle influence your work?
Seattle keeps me creatively fueled in many ways, which in turn inspires me to keep trying new things in my work. For example, I’m finding a lot of pattern inspiration in the plants and flowers that are overflowing from my neighborhood. I also find that a lot of my inspiration comes from local music, travel around the Northwest, and the food culture here in Seattle.
6. Coffee or Tea?
Coffee! This is Seattle, after all.