Jealous Follow: Anna Potter aka Topgirl.Studio
@topgirl.studio has long been a firm favourite insta feed of mine. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, pairing a colour palette that makes me feel like I’m in a Wes Anderson movie, typography that legitimately makes me sigh with relief… typegeeks you get me right?! and ironic chit chat that makes me question everything about my life.
So for me, there’s nobody I’d rather chat to about graphic design than the girl in charge of Instagram’s most popular ‘Burn Book’, Anna Potter. YAY.
So, what was the feels at high school?
I was always creative, there’s no doubt about that. I went from wanting to be a dancer, to a journalist. When I was 18, I was convinced I should be directing music videos for @badgalriri. It was crazy how quickly I went from plan A to B. I had no clue what I was doing or what I wanted to do, all I knew was I liked making n breakin’.
How much did you know much about Graphic Design at that point?
I didn’t know anything about graphic design, or even consider it ‘my thing’. After my A-levels, I went on to study at The Arts Institute, Bournemouth where I completed a diploma in Art and Design. It was super general, and I spent most of the time working with photography. I remember thinking how much I loved it, but I wasn’t like, ‘photography 4 life’. Something was missing. I just didn’t know what. I needed to be obsessed with something, so after a few (hundred!) breakdowns, I ended up talking to tutors and that’s when graphic design got mentioned. After looking through all my images it became apparent that I wasn't just taking cute photos, I was creating messages, I was telling stories, and I had BIG ideas. That’s when I learnt about graphic design, and that’s when I fell in love, hardcore.
And then what?
When I realised I wanted to study graphic design, I applied to 3 Uni’s. I actually put CSM down as a ‘YOLO’ kind of move. Growing up, Central St. Martins had always been my dream school, so like most that apply there, I never thought I would get in. I legit put it down as a joke, like.. ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ kind of thing.
So FYI guys follow your dreams, literally, haha.
Was it pretty daunting starting at CSM?
TBH, I was more freaked out about the tube and figuring out how to use it on my own, haha. But in all honesty, moving somewhere on your own, not knowing anyone can be scary, but what you soon learn is that everyone’s in the same boat, and no one’s out to get you.
What were the most beneficial elements of studying at CSM?
This sounds so cliché but studying at CSM was life changing. Don’t get me wrong, there were loads of tears, millions of breakdowns and thousands of computer crashes. But all in all, I wouldn’t have changed anything. There’s a lot of ‘finding yourself’ involved and generating ideas at a fast pace but on reflection, the one thing I gained from studying there was how to sell myself. Obviously from the get-go, you’re surrounded by very talented people and this can be very daunting. Central St. Martins pushed me to stop focusing on what everyone else was doing and instead focus on myself. Be dramatic, make noise, kick up a storm and sell your soul with confidence. (And if all else fails, fake it till you make it).
What was the hardest part for you?
Simply, trying to figure out where I would fit in to the world of ‘graphic design’.
Your iGirl series is the one that initially got you my follow on insta (via DAZED actually, GAHH, amazing!). What was the inspiration behind that series?
iGIRL was created for a laugh, it was a personal project. The goal was to poke fun at the superficial aspects of social media but also show how we've become reliant on it. After scrolling through Instagram, I realised it was all about 'internet goals and having the perfect feed’. People, including myself, would spend hours organising which photos went where etc., and caption their posts with lingo like ‘lit af and slay’. I wanted to highlight how ridiculous it all was and get people laughing at themselves. After all, laughing basically cures everything.
What’s your feelings about how girls are using social media right now?
I think the positive outweighs the bad. Social media can help get important messages out there, and create a support system for so many girls that either need to say something or support someone. Do I think the majority of us are obsessed with social media? 1000% yes. BUT, I think as long as we are aware of this, and take time out to live in the real world and appreciate one another, not just from behind an iphone, then it’s all good.
Do you run Topgirl Studio full-time now?
Yes, I run Top Girl Studio full time now. After finishing uni, I did what most grad students do… panic. I knew I wanted to be a freelance graphic designer but I didn't really have a clue what I was doing, so I just started uploading my projects from uni onto Instagram and Behance. I started generating a following, then iGIRL happened, which was crazy and now, I’m here.
How did it feel to take the leap to launch your own business?
To be brutally honest, it wasn’t a big deal for me. I knew coming out of uni that I didn't want to work for another company, designing work I wasn’t totally in love with and/or that I believed in. I’ve always wanted to work for myself so I didn’t over think it.
You’ve had some incredible clients and worked with some pretty awesome brands and magazines. What have been the highs so far?
iGIRL fo’sure. Without her, I don’t think I would be where I am today. I’ve been really fortunate and I’m basically doing what I love, which is the cherry on the cake for me.
What’s the struggle for you?
Low battery. I legit need a phone that never dies.
Who's work are you loving right now?
Who would be your dream client?
Gucci and Glossier… email me guys xoxo
Any tips for aspiring Graphic Designers?
Rule no.1 : Ignore the haters - I was told I could never be a graphic designer because I couldn't draw. Did I listen? No… not to mention that’s just full on bullsh*t. Do what you love, make money from it and never give up. Let yourself have breakdowns, let yourself fail and learn to be okay with it. Take your mistakes and turn them into $$$$. It’s all about the development babyyy.
Making more girls laugh and love themselves. That& world domination would be cute. xoxo