Meet the Designer: Charlee Sully - Graphic Designer

We ask graphic designer Charlee Sully from The Usual Studio all about what it's like to live and work in the design world.

About Charlee and The Usual Studio:

  • 2007
    Charlee started The Usual Studio in 2007, and has since worked on a range of different projects, including designing brands for festivals and fashion magazines
  • Identity
    Charlee works with clients to create a visual identity for their project or business, which helps illustrate their brand story and draws the audience in.
  • Connection
    Charlee and The Usual Studio use their designs to form connections between brands and audiences.

What's the story?

Charlee Sully started her own design practice 'The Usual Studio' back in 2007. Since then she has worked on a mix of projects from fashion magazines to the graphic design for a Kate Nash album.

We interviewed Charlee to ask about her design process.

Check out Charlee's design practice

How would you describe the type of design you do? Brand identities, designing magazines and branded content.

What would be a typical day in your studio / work-space? Always different depending on the projects I have on. My day's often include lots of writing (proposals, emails, blogs, articles), design work, copy editing (if I'm designing a magazine), researching ideas and marketing The Usual Studio. I work with direct clients, do freelance design work for Marketing & PR firms and other freelancers work for me too.

What would be a typical brief/ project and how would you usually begin working on it? Design a brand identity for a fashion designer / restaurant / festival to include: logo, colour palette, fonts, brand guidelines, marketing materials and website.

How would you describe your design process? What does it consist of? Asking lots of questions and listening carefully. Researching, brainstorming, sketching ideas and working those up into presentable initial ideas. Develop, develop again and produce the final work. I like that design is always a process, the first idea is unlikely to be the best one, but it often points you in the right direction.

What do you see as vital to your design process? Having a curious mind and being open to new things. Having a mindset of always learning, not just about design, but science, technology, psychology, sociology...

Do you have a sketchbook? How do you use it? How would you describe its appearance? Yes - lots! They are a mix of quick drawings, super detailed ones (often lots of patterns) and almost 100% done in black ink.

What do you do when you need to get inspired/ don't feel creative? Space away always helps, so I do something completely different: walking, talking to friends, reading, or visiting a gallery.

What practical advice would you have given yourself when you were first studying/ developing your craft? Don't expect the job you are learning now, to stay the same your whole career - the design industry and the role of a designer that I trained for at University (I graduated in 2005) is very different now. Keep flexible and always have an eye on what's happening next, so you are ready to develop.

What can i do?

DISCUSS: What makes you choose the brands you like and why? What story do you think they trying to tell?

RESEARCH:Have a look at some popular brands and think about the choices they make with colour and image

DO:Have a go at designing a brand for yourself! Choose fonts, colours and images that tell your story and put across your personality.

Explore other pages

Explore a story

The creator of the Sony Walkman wanted to listen to music on Transatlantic flights... little did they know just how successful their design would become...

Explore an object

Eileen Gray's art Deco 'Transat chair' was named after the new Transatlantic flights that saw planes going from the Canada to Ireland. It was an optimistic time of modernism that Gray represented in her designs.