Portfolio of Sarah Jade Aubé

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About Me

I believe design is about more than shapes and images. I need to guide my audience on their journey and consider their entire experience. Content and visuals should strengthen each other, which is why I chose to give my portfolio a theme that extends beyond just its layout. I therefore challenged myself to draw connections between the wildly different projects that have spanned my career as a graphic designer, in order to change this website from something you idly browse into something you want to explore and discover.

Inspired by the beauty of the stars and my love of Greek mythology, I chose to use constellations as a throughline, with their namesake myths serving as symbols for a selection of projects and the different mediums I use. I hope that by making these associations, I manage to enhance your overall experience looking at my work.

Before I take you on this little odyssey through my career, I’d like to share with you what I consider to be the most important things I’ve learned in my time as a professional graphic designer:

Anything can spark creativity.

Pulling something out of nothing is challenging. But if you have a tiny little piece of something – be it a word, a feeling, an image – you can build on it and mold it into something really cool.

This is why I always appreciate brainstorming sessions with colleagues, whether or not they’re designers too. I believe that, during these types conversations, there are no ideas too crazy or stupid. The mind can make associations from any of them, and that can lead to some pretty amazing concepts.

One of my favourite times this happened, we were trying to recruit customers to one of the campaigns we run on a regular basis. We usually did this via newsletter or our online portal, but my new boss had the idea of sending something physically, so it would stand out from just another email or banner. Someone suggested a postcard, and since our campaign would be awarding a travel gift card, I then had the thought of making a typical “greetings from” postcard with the big letters containing photos of exotic places. It ended up being one of our most fun and engaging campaigns and it was a blast to work on the project.

I find that my creativity thrives when I’m looking for ways to shape multiple different things into a single one with a specific purpose like this. Or even overcoming limitations. Working at solving such little puzzles and problems challenge me in a way I find very satisfying.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

While experts in most things visual, designers can put in the research and still not know their target audience from A to Z. It’s easy to grow blind spots due to personal and cultural biases, which is why I seek out feedback from colleagues – with a wide range of expertise and practical experiences, their insights are often invaluable.

There’s also the tricky fact that encyclopaedic knowledge within my field is impossible. With ever-changing technology, there’s always more to know and skills to hone. I once had a fellow designer at ease with tweaking existing CSS code, but that turned out to be a far cry from being able to build something from scratch. Without hands-on experience, they were unprepared for things as basic as differences in behaviour between block and inline elements. Helping them over this hurdle was a real eye opener for me on the importance of practical work. It made me realise that knowing the theory inside out isn’t always enough, and I gained great appreciation for the ever-growing body of work under my belt.

Not wanting to fall into these traps myself, I try to dedicate time to look at what other designers are doing, for inspiration and keeping up with trends. I’m not shy about exploring ways to solve technical challenges more easily and often stumble over little tricks I start using every day. Above all else, I try to be open to criticism, keeping in mind that what I create isn’t always fool-proof, and that everyone can be wrong sometimes.

Investing time now will save everyone even more time later.

Designers have a lot to juggle. Between photos, text and instructions often coming from different sources, not to mention our work documents’ structure with layers, links and repeating styles – it could all easily turn into a giant mess. Very early on, I adopted the habit of naming things appropriately and carefully sorting them in case I’d need to easily pick out elements for future creations. While this may take a few extra minutes in the beginning, it has always made it easier and faster to work with files and reuse parts later, not to mention share and collaborate with colleagues.

I once found myself baffled when receiving a large user manual created by a big professional design firm. All the fonts and sizes had been individually set to each line and paragraph. The sensible thing to do would’ve been to create styles for each type of heading or paragraph and apply them to the text. Not only would this have saved the creator time building the document with 2 clicks to apply formatting as opposed to 4+, but it would’ve saved me a ton of time when we later updated our brand.

While my naming and organisational structure is by no means flawless, I’ve never regretted investing a tiny bit of extra time on this. On countless occasions I’ve easily been able to find things years later and it has made my current work much more efficient.

The constellation Capricornus

Explore my portfolio!

I think a lot of what graphic design is, is to combine things that don’t seem like they work together. That’s why the constellation I chose for this page is Capricornus, which represents a strange half goat, half fish creature. It is believed to be Amalthea, whom Zeus’ mother depended on to provide her son nourishment after she fled to save him from being consumed by his father, Cronus.

While the combinations required in graphic design are rarely to make something quite as weird as a sea goat (it hasn’t been requested of me yet, in any case), the goal is always to reconcile multiple ideas or elements into something that has purpose.

While they’re not necessary to view my work, I hope you let yourself be immersed by these little snippets of myths and enjoy them. And if you’re in a hurry, you can get a small sample of projects by choosing your own adventure.

Already starstruck? You can fly past my project samples and set your sights on the details of my work experience on my CV. Or just get in touch!