First published July 11, 2022
The sun is shining and we’ve got a brand new interview for you… double win! Introducing Devi and Iqrah, founders of The Creative Corner; the podcast where two South Asian women navigate through the creative industry & discuss their experiences. We got to know the gals behind the show in this chat which covers their career journeys so far. Learn how Devi mastered the Instagram algorithm to expand her client base during the pandemic, why she moved away from being a full-time freelancer, and how she’s taking her future international! Plus, how Iqrah discovered that it’s OK to love a bit of everything, why she won’t be ‘stuck behind a screen’, and, of course, the thought process behind The Creative Corner. You can’t help but be inspired by these two and all that they’ve accomplished. Read on for more…
Devi (left) and Iqrah (right)
What’s your creative occupation?
Devi: I am currently working as a Visual Merchandising Graphic Designer for Estée Lauder where I design for all of the Clinique stores in the UK & Ireland. In my free time, I also freelance as a ‘hybrid creative’. For people that might not know what that is – I basically wear a lot of hats!
Iqrah: I am a British-Pakistani gal currently working as a Motion Designer/Art Director for a creative agency based in London and New York, specialising in luxury fashion and beauty. I also freelance as a photographer and director in my spare time (not as often as I would like).
Artwork by @shaw.22
Where have you been?
Devi: I started working as an intern throughout high school to get a feel for the industry, and to see what type of design was best suited to me. This helped me make a decision on what I wanted to study at University, which was Graphic Design. I started at Ravensbourne and by my second year I had begun freelancing and was commissioned to be the lead designer for a new campaign. I created various motion graphic and promotional items which were showcased in over 90 pub locations all around London and Manchester during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. You don’t see many British-Indian girls in the creative industry, so this was a big win for me to really represent. When Covid hit, I had to think of new ways to keep myself relevant and engaged in the creative industry, so I decided to grow my brand on social media. I stayed consistent no matter what the engagement was initially (and it was definitely a slow start), and posted various pieces on Motion Graphics, Typographic Design etc. I really learnt how to master the Instagram algorithm and this bought in clients from all over. I even worked with individuals and organisations on pro-bono social design projects based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.
[I] was commissioned to be the lead designer for a new campaign (…) You don’t see many British-Indian girls in the creative industry so this was a big win for me to really represent. DEVI ON STARTING OUT
Iqrah: I graduated in graphic design during the middle of the pandemic and spent my last term in lockdown doing my final major project. In between the first lockdown and graduating I was super bored and started watching Adobe After Effects tutorials on YouTube, and teaching myself motion graphics. I also picked up my camera, after studying at GCSE, and fell in love with it again. I started shooting my friends and anyone who would let me. During this time, I was seeing the switch Instagram was making to become a video-focused platform, and they introduced reels, which I was intrigued by. I started combining my photography, and all the editing techniques I had learnt, to create short reels/videos. I instantly saw how in demand this style was, and how well received it was on social media. Throughout Uni, I feel like it was ingrained in me to specialise in one area of the creative industry and now, being in the middle of it, I have learnt that it’s okay to love a bit of everything… it’s an asset. I can see how my skills in motion design help communicate in post-production and inform decisions I make at the start of tackling a brief.
I always knew that I didn’t want to be stuck behind a screen, and I wasn’t too keen on pursuing a career in Graphic Design because of that. I started picking up work through Instagram and was exposed to being on a set – I was in love with the fast pace and energy, and instantly knew this was something I wanted to do! Within a year of graduating, I had been the creative director of a Nike and Converse campaign… something I had always dreamed of.
Where are you now?
Devi: After graduating, I spent the next two years freelancing for: a branding and strategy agency, a Museum in London, a multidisciplinary creative studio and clients of my own. Even though I was enjoying all of these experiences, I did find that being a full-time freelancer was a lot, as it wasn’t always consistent work. I was looking for something more permanent which is when I landed my current job at Estée Lauder (which I absolutely loveeeee!!). Sometimes I still can’t believe I work for such a huge brand and that they believe in me to be a lead in the team, and run my own projects that you’ll all hopefully see showcased across the UK and Ireland.
Iqrah: When we started coming out of lockdown, I landed my current job and have had the opportunity to be part of incredible campaigns, working with the most supportive group of creatives. I’ve been a part of Milani Cosmetics’ anti-gravity campaign and flew over to New York to help shoot the BTS. I also edited the entire campaign and led post-production, which was the most challenging but rewarding piece of work I’ve done in my career so far!
Our main aim is to show representation of women who look like us, something we didn’t have growing up and see the need for. IQRAH ON THE PODCAST
In our free time (when we’re not freelancing), Devi and I run a space called The Creative Corner Podcast. We created the pod as a way to share our journey as newbies in the creative space and women of colour. We are joined by our friends in the industry to help us explore and share advice on obstacles we face. Our main aim is to show representation of women who look like us, something we didn’t have growing up and see the need for.
Where are you going?
Devi: In the next few years, I aim to start working and travelling abroad as I would love to see more of the world, and being in the industry we’re in we have the flexibility, so… why not! I would also like to explore my style and see where I can take my own brand. Who knows, maybe even take The Creative Corner international.
Iqrah: I’m not the biggest of planners but I do know I want to travel a lot more for work. I love the idea of doing what you love in a completely different environment! I am a huge sneaker head and obsessed with Nike so doing more work for them in the future would be a dream. I want to tap into my own style as a creative and keep improving and learning new skills.
We are also in the midst of planning Season 2 for The Creative Corner, which we have big plans for!!
I have always struggled with switching off – what I love is what I do for a job – so creating boundaries is what I am working towards. IQRAH ON WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?
Devi: I’m in a place in my career where there are so many opportunities around me given the experience I have, the projects I’ve worked on and the great clients I’ve met – there’s so much to do and I finally have the free creativity to choose what I really align with. I’m very lucky to be in a position where people see my creativity and allow me to shape their vision. I’m feeling really grateful for the journey I’ve been on so far and I’m excited to see where it will take me.
Iqrah: I feel like I am learning how good breaks are and I’m working towards a better work/life balance. I have always struggled with switching off – what I love is what I do for a job – so creating boundaries is what I am working towards.
I know so many of you will relate to that! Creating and holding boundaries can be really challenging.